Why is Yoga Good for our Children?

Being a child in the current environment can be challenging. Why? Well, from the ever- growing list of activities in which they have to participate, school sats, exams, homework, competitive sports, expectations of parents and peers not to mentions hours they spend in front of a tv screen or games console! Our little and young ones are often forced to live in a busy, rushed, competitive world that can affect their natural enthusiasm and fun for in life. This is why childhood stress, anxiety and mental health issues are becoming the new norm.

 

"The last survey, conducted in 2004, found that 1 in 10 children aged 5-15 had a mental health disorder (either emotional, behavioural, hyperactive, or other. In the newly released 2017 figures, this has risen to 1 in 9. When we include older children and look across all children and young people aged 5-19, we find that 1 in 8 (12.8%) have at least one mental disorder. This change was largely driven by an increase in emotional disorders (including anxiety and depression), which for 5-15-year-olds rose from 3.9% in 2004 to 5.8% in 2017. Across the whole group of 5-19-year olds, around 1 in 12 (8.1%) reported an emotional disorder." (mentalhealth.org.uk)

Fortunately, there are ways to help your children reduce or even prevent these symptoms from and that can be achieved by engaging her into activities that increase mindfulness such as kids yoga.

 

Downward dog and a partner tree pose for children may seem odd initially, but this practice along with breathing exercises and mindfulness provides children with an opportunity to focus, listen, respect and work together with others as well as communicate his own desires; which in turn help to develop a child's emotional needs and mental state creating a positive, confident, healthy and well rounded being. So, why not see how a few hours on a children's yoga mat can benefit your little one, here are just some of the science-backed reasons which prove why kids yoga is definitely worth the try!

YOGA FOR KIDS AND MENTAL HEALTH

EATING DISORDERS

Even though we live in a 'more' body-positive time, there are still some physical ideals present, especially within the teenage years.  A child's insecurities, peer and media invoked pressure can often enhance common eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, and orthorexia.

 

How does Yoga for children help here?

Yoga can help with getting children out of their heads and into their bodies. According to studies*, through yoga practice children experienced increases their body awareness and appreciation by making them focus on their positive attributes (e.g., increased strength and flexibility). More than that, the use of positive mantras and mindfulness, which is commonplace in kids yoga, boosted their sense of self-worth, and reduced insecurities.

ADD AND ADHD

Another issue which seems to have gone mainstream over the years is children's short attention span. From a simple attention deficit (ADD) to a hyperactive streak (ADHD), such behaviors become more common by the day. Experts* have found that children’s yoga can be an easy (and most importantly, drug-free) way to minimize attention-deficit symptoms in kids with ADHD. This is due to the focus on breath, asana, activities and the surrounding environment that encmpasses the yoga practice, removing the urges to lose interest. As a result, they learn how to manipulate and direct their energy whichever way they want, and thus, manage their own emotions. Magic!

STRESS AND ANXIETY

Yoga can positively influence a kid's emotional well-being just by regulating certain parts of his/her brain, thus alleviating stress.

Below are references and interesting articles and findings if you would like to explore more:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945853/

https://www.longdom.org/open-access/yoga-and-the-therapy-of-children-with-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-2157-7595.1000168.pdf

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/what-new-statistics-show-about-childrens-mental-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28441363

https://www.longdom.org/open-access/yoga-and-the-therapy-of-children-with-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-2157-7595.1000168.pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229913000964

https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-016-0130-2