The Power of Yoga at a Young Age
There are so many powerful lessons a child can learn from starting a yoga practice at a young age. Yoga is a time to tune inwards, to notice the body, the breath, the mind, and how to connect with each. It is a time to slow down thoughts, push everything else aside, and focus on oneself. It is also a time to be playful, to balance on one foot, to fall and get back up again, to laugh, to realize no one is perfect, and that’s okay. No competition among others, no distractions from phones or media, just you on your mat.
There is so much going on in a child’s life, from school, activities, friends, family, media, etc. When are they taught to be able to just slow down, when are they taught how to manage stress, negative emotions, insecurities? A yoga practice teaches these lessons, and much more. And not only are they taught these lessons, but they are taught them in a discreet way; they may not even know they are learning. By learning how to focus on the breath, one must tune everything else out. By noticing one’s own body and how it feels in this moment, one must tune out others opinions and others practicing nearby.
So not only are there many positive physical benefits that your child will gain from a yoga practice such as strength, being active, and moving the body, but a yoga practice also teaches focus, instills inner calmness and stress management, and creates body awareness.
1. Teaches Focus
Developing a yoga practice at a young age is so healthy for a child’s wellbeing, especially at a time when they are growing up with so many distractions around them. They have all the information they can dream of at their fingertips, so many activities and games in the App Store. Going from one tab to the next, these distractions teach a child they can lose interest in a topic in 2 seconds, and easily find something more interesting.
Not only does yoga mean they are away from these distractions for an allotted period of time, like many other after-school activities and sports, but yoga teaches your child how to train the mind to stay focused. How to create space in the mind for oneself and ones thoughts. Focus the attention on one spot in front of you, listen to your breath, notice how your body feels. Keep the mind present. These are all common phrases mentioned in a yoga room. At first, maybe they won’t know how, or what any of it really means. But eventually, with practice, they will learn.
2. Stress Management
By focusing on the breath and becoming aware of the breath, one is gaining such a valuable tool to calm the mind. Try it, take a deep inhale through the nose. Open the mouth and let it alllll go. Make the breath audible and release all the air out of your belly and chest. Do you feel calmer? A little more relaxed?
This was just a quick example of using the breath to calm the mind. It’s such a simple excercise, but such a valuable and powerful tool. In yoga, you are constantly focusing on the breath, bringing your mind back into the present moment by noticing the path of air as it flows in and out of the body. Your child can use these tools, and many more, throughout their daily lives. Through a yoga practice, your child will learn how to calm the mind in stressful situations.
3. Body Awareness
This one is huge for a child growing up these days. Children are so exposed to mass media telling them how a body should look; what an ‘ideal body’ is. There are so many pressures to look a certain way in order to be beautiful or desirable.
Throughout a yoga practice, you are constantly tuning inwards and listening to what your own body is telling you, doing what your body is craving. You are creating this mind and body connection. Rather than the idea that your body is just something that is attached to you, but creating unity between the mind and body to create appreciation and acceptance of your body. Exactly the way that it is, in this moment. How beautiful is that? To be at peace rather than at war with the very walls in which you live. to learn to love and be grateful for what your body can do. It’s such a valuable lesson for a child, in fact anyone, to learn.
There are so many benefits and valuable lessons your child can learn and grow from through beginning a yoga practice. Here at Dottir HotYoga, we really believe this is true. That is why we’ve started 2 yoga courses, one for kids (ages 8-11) and one for teens (ages 12-14).
Sign your child or teen up for either: Warm Yoga for Kids or Warm Yoga for Teens. More information is found here.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.