Did you know that yoga is becoming increasingly popular as a form of exercise for kids? Some elementary schools are even integrating yoga movements into their physical education programs so that children can enjoy the physical and mental benefits of this ancient practice:.
- Increased flexibility
- Improved posture and stature
- Enhanced balance and coordination
- Heightened focus and concentration
- Improved self esteem
Some experts believe that yoga is the ideal physical activity for kids, including those that tend to shy away from athletic activities that have more social or competitive aspects to them. For example, children who might opt-out of recess-style games or be chosen last in team sports can engage in yoga without fear of failure. At the same time, they will develop more self-confidence and self-esteem as they find themselves excelling in the practice of yoga. And for high-energy children who have difficulty controlling or channeling their energy, yoga may offer an opportunity to learn techniques that will help them focus.
Enhancing the Mind-Body Connection
The same mind-body connection that adults experience during yoga will also benefit kids. The goal of the practice is to bring together the physical, mental and spiritual components of the individual to create a unified feeling of inner harmony. This may be especially valuable for kids that encounter challenges and conflicts on a regular basis. Learning breathing techniques and some key physical postures can give them the tools they need to handle these situations more effectively.
How Yoga Enhances Physical Growth
The various poses used in yoga incorporate almost every muscle of the body. Not only does this increase the flexibility of joints throughout the body (including those in the spine), it also gives children a new awareness of how their bodies work. Attempting various poses helps them enhance their natural balance as they develop. Some experts even believe that when children practice yoga from an early age, it can help them to grow taller. This is because improved core strength and flexibility tend to enhance posture, which typically makes an individual appear taller.
If your child’s school doesn’t offer yoga as part of their physical education or after-school programs, there may be yoga studios in your area that offer yoga classes for kids. The growing popularity of yoga as a children’s activity has led to more classes being designed for kids of all ages.
Another great thing about yoga for kids is that you don’t really have to invest in any uniforms or specialized athletic gear (though a good mat and some blocks may help improve the overall experience). Plus yoga is a healthy physical activity that parents can enjoy alongside their children!