Why Kids' Yoga and Mindfulness?
Let’s take a moment to recount some of our most embarrassing, serenity threatening and traumatic events or moments of childhood…
You’re doing great. Take a deep breath. In for four…hold for seven…. exhale for eight. Yes, it’s all coming together now: our broken inner children wishing they had known the extent to which these events would impact our worldview, attachment styles and personalities as adults.
But what if a fairy, Buddha, Mother Teresa, or another great guru such as your first grade teacher or grandma came to you as a child and said: “today we are going to learn how to identify and experience our emotions in a non-judgmental way in a non-competitive environment” or “today we are going to use our breath to calm us down, help us concentrate, and connect our minds and bodies incorporating movement and strength”?
We’d probably stare bewilderingly at our grandma or the strange fairy floating around us because neither of those activities make sense or sound exciting. But that’s just it: the fun and benefits of yoga for children are organically threaded through the universal experience of breath work, movement and community. Benefits include:
1. Reduced stress and anxiety: the power of breath signals children’s brains to relax! Many children (and adults) are not experts in emotion regulation, but our breath doesn’t need to know exactly what’s going on as long as we use it! Our nervous system is integrated through breath, and our breath work helps us to listen for signals of which we may not be aware.
2. Develops concentration and focus: by moving through poses and incorporating balance and breath work in a fun themed environment, children develop these skills which transfer to school and later, professions/careers.
3. Develops self-awareness, self-acceptance and empathy: children move through poses gaining an understanding of the way the body moves, what the body is capable of, the body’s limitations and how to accept and grow from the learning process. Most importantly, children learn that everyone is more similar than different in a supportive environment. Hence, NAMASTE (the light in me honors the light in you, which is the same)
4. Mind-Body connection through breath, movement and mindfulness: By teaching children to pair their breath and movements, they learn to identify feelings and how they manifest in the body while working to abandon self-defeating thoughts through challenging, breath driven movement.
5. Team work and community building: Yoga offers children an extracurricular activity which is non-competitive and beneficial to all personality types: the class clown, the introvert, the overly anxious, the distracted butterfly chasers!! During these classes which are intentionally themed for the desire of children, everyone is encouraged to laugh, fall, offer great tips, and build each other’s self-esteem.
Children are beautiful, minimally jaded members of society who will one day drive our world in what we hope is a positive and prosperous direction. The extracurricular activities we were once offered through cheer leading, football, track and field, debate etc. can now be nicely complemented or replaced by a yoga and mindfulness practice. Had we been offered or taught such beneficial life skills, maybe we would have then known how to stand up to Tense Tonya or Pete the Pillager to live in divine unity with one another.
Kids’ Yoga and Mindfulness is offered every other Saturday at 11am at Ubuntu Wellness, LLC: 205 Main St., Chardon, OH 44024
Check out Ubuntu’s website for scheduling with a licensed counselor, reiki master, or licensed massage therapist. Also, check out our upcoming workshops and events!! www.ubuntuwellnessohio.com