BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR KIDS
There is a steadily expanding number of Childrens Yoga programmes now available internationally within Primary and High schools in France, Britain, the United States and more recently in Australia. Early Childhood Yoga programmes are also on the increase in Preschools, Kindergartens, and at Yoga Centres.
There is a growing body of research world wide on the beneficial effects of Yoga on children.
The practise of Yoga is holistic and affects all levels of a child's being. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects are subtly brought into balance.
The benefits to children (and adults) in practising Yoga are numerous. On a physiological level all muscles of the body are exercised and strengthened, the spine becomes straighter, stronger and more flexible, posture is improved, internal organs are massaged, stretched and toned, and full deep breathing is facilitated. Ultimately this leads to better health and vitality.
MORE SPECIFICALLY YOGA CAN HELP CHILDREN:
On a Physical level
- Develop flexibility in all joints of the body
- Improve postural awareness
- Enhance all Non Locomotor skills
- Develop both body and spatial awareness
- Improve balance and concentration
- Increase their muscle tone and strength and helps develop muscle coordination;
- Improve the function of all of the body's major systems eg Digestive, Respiratory
- Develop greater awareness of how the body functions (particularly the lungs); and the difference between relaxation and activity within the body.
On a Mental and Emotional Level
- Balances the functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which helps establish hand dominance, and promotes both creative and cognitive brain function.
- Promotes Laterality and familiarises younger children with concepts of right and left.
- Listening skills and the ability to imitate and follow instructions are improved.
- Provides a variety of methods for releasing stress and pent up emotional and mental states of mind.
- Introduces the ability to focus the mind which enhances concentration & study skills.
- The relaxation phase stimulates Alpha brain wave patterns which encourages a feeling of wellbeing and increases creativity and imagination.
- Provides opportunities that help foster positive self image and esteem.
- On a more subtle level I have found children to be more aware of the power of their minds and of positive thinking. Over time this can help develop a more caring attitude to others.
Copyright Joanna Gardner 2003