There's no denying that a lot of kids these days are glued to their electronic devices. But while they're more technologically adept than adults when they were younger, the reliance on gadgets and gizmos affect many aspects of their childhood and growth. These include their ability to socialise in the real world and boosting their physical health.
With yoga being an increasingly popular practice across the world, not only can it be enjoyed by adults, but children as well. Research shows that kids who engage in yoga enjoy a slew of physical, mental, and emotional benefits during key developmental stages. And here are just some of them:
Increase in physical activity
With technology at their fingertips, instead of playing outside and exploring nature like you did when you were little, the children of today would much rather tinker with digital screens. Now, the challenge for parents is to help them find physical activities that they will enjoy doing. While yoga is not known as a "fun" activity for children, you may want to personalise the practice by integrating things that your kids already love. You can look up yoga videos that tie in with your child's interests, like their favourite cartoons or movies. Today's Parent also suggests naming positions after nature and animals so they'll be more inclined to do them. Parents have to get creative when it comes to encouraging kids to engage in yoga. Not only because it can help improve flexibility, strength, and coordination, but also because the activity can be a form of bonding, too.
Aside from physical benefits, Daydreaming in Paradise’s post on the spiritual benefits of yoga also points out how yoga can do wonders for the mind and spirit. This is actually backed up by science, as a study published in the Journal Psychology Research and Behavior Management suggests that participating in yoga and mindfulness activities can help kids exhibiting anxiety, improve their wellbeing and emotional health. If children manage to get into the habit of practicing yoga and meditation, they will have the capacity to be more resilient to stress. It also creates a feeling of calm and happiness, which contributes to enhancing their emotional wellbeing.
As previously mentioned by Melissa Reve, there's no overstating how important it is to build a foundation of mindfulness; to learn how to listen to our own thoughts, focus, and be present. Learning yoga can help them achieve this as the practice has a central goal of quieting the mind and cultivating a deeper connection to the self. Tiana Woolridge, MPH, MD '20 notes that one in five children experience mental health issues, so learning yoga and using it as a method in which they can maintain balance and find peace can be extremely beneficial for the kids. When they're able to regulate their emotions and develop psychological resilience, there's no limit to what children can do.
Boost brain function
Yoga, specifically SuperBrain Yoga, has the ability to optimise the brain capacity by making us super containers of knowledge and energy. This applies to both adults and children. With continued practice, children can elevate their academic and behavioural performance in school, improve participation in class, and even better their social skills. What's more, it can also do incredible things to their memory, as well as supercharge their focus and attention span.
As a whole, yoga keeps your child physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. And most importantly, it is a much-needed break from the digital world. It can be a bit challenging to convince your kids to start practicing yoga, but it is up to you to give them the right push in the right direction. You can read and learn more about this in My Book of Yoga and Movement. With so many benefits in store for both parent and child, taking up yoga will definitely be worth your time.
Written by Renee Jillian for the exclusive use of Enlighten Press