The physical, physiological, mental and emotional affects of yoga are not limited to and beneficial for adults, they can also provide essential support and stability for young, developing minds and changing adolescent bodies too.
We already know that improved fitness, flexibility, strength and posture can also be achieved through a regular yoga practice – and this is true, no matter how old or young you are…
Practicing yoga in the early and formative years, however, can help establish life-long healthy habits and teaches young children about the importance of self-care. Just like learning to brush their teeth!
Yoga is also a great tool for self-observation, which in turn helps develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence – some of the most essential human skills that are quickly being lost by the increasingly social media and ‘selfie’ obsessed younger generation, who are permanently attached to their tablet or smart phone.
Stepping onto the mat and working through the asanas, children (and adults) are asked to pay attention, be mindful and live in the present moment. While the breathing promotes relaxation and can help manage anxiety and stress. Many studies have even shown that yoga has helped many children to manage their ADHD.
But it’s not all serious - yoga can also encourage more creativity and playfulness. As space and freedom in the body and mind is cultivated through regular practice, this sense of openness and lightness can often be reflected in the child’s imagination and general disposition. Who wouldn’t want a happier, healthier and more creative child?
Top 3 benefits of Yoga for Kids:
· Wellbeing: introducing kids to a regular wellness routine early in life will teach the importance of looking after their body and mind.
· Body Awareness: younger children learn about their capabilities and limitations, and learn how to listen to their bodies by coming to yoga.
· Coordination & Balance: yoga helps build strength and stability in young bodies, forming some of the vital foundation for a healthy and successful adult life.
Top 3 benefits of yoga for Teens:
· Self Awareness & Confidence: yoga is non-competitive and promotes self-acceptance, helping to establish self-confidence and compassion and a positive body image.
· Focus & Concentration: yoga helps students improve their concentration and cope with the demands of school attendance, studying, assignments, and exams!
· Discipline: the slow systematic approach of yoga helps teach self-control and patience, at a time of intense peer-pressure, raging hormones and moods swings…
Always seek the guidance and supervision of a qualified Yoga teacher and make sure they have passed a working with children check. You should also speak to your GP or health professional if there are any serious or ongoing health conditions, before commencing any new exercise routine.
Niccy Swan is our resident yoga teacher specialising in kids and teens yoga. Niccy has been practicing yoga for over 15 years, and has 4 children of her own. She is passionate about sharing the nurturing and balancing aspects of yoga with kids and adults alike, and also teaches pre and post-natal yoga classes.
Niccy’s kids and teen yoga classes help develop awareness and understanding of how the individual body works through poses, and nurtures mindfulness through concentration and simple meditation. Niccy believes that the skills learned in yoga enable children and adults to navigate calmly through the increasingly complex web of life.