Our children live in a hurry-up world like we all do with school pressures, constant lessons, video games and competitive sports. We usually don't think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The pace of our children's lives can have a profound effect on their inherent joy.
Yoga can aid to counter these pressures. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with physical activity that's noncompetitive. Fostering cooperation and compassion—instead of opposition and provides many tools to assist with navigating life's challenges with a little more ease.
Kid's yoga classes are designed specifically for children. They love to engage all of their senses and explore freely with their mind and body. Classes are intended to be fun and may include age-appropriate games, animal sounds and creative names for poses, stories, music, imagination, and visualization. Classes integrate movement, sound and play as these elements have a profound impact on learning, creativity, stress management and improved health and well-being.
Yoga classes also teach kids the language associated with their bodies. They learn the names their body parts, muscle groups, and how to breathe fully. They get to challenge themselves by seeing how long they can lie still for in corpse pose, or balance like a strong and powerful tree.
Both hemispheres of the brain are continuously stimulated as children practice yoga poses, breathing exercises and balancing postures. Making their yoga experience a holistic one that nurtures their mind, body and spirit.
What is Yoga Nidra? How does it benefit children?
Yoga Nidra translates as Yogic Sleep – an ancient sleep-based meditation technique that includes breathing and relaxation techniques and also assists in creating a different relationship with stress producing thoughts and emotions. Focusing primarily on quieting the mind, Yoga Nidra combines mindfulness practices into a series of breath, body and awareness techniques which allows a deeper brainwave state than typical mindfulness meditation.
Because Yoga Nidra is done while lying down, it is very comfortable, making it accessible to all ages and backgrounds including those who may be affected by physical impairments.
All practices of Yoga, including Yoga Nidra, will support a child’s ability to learn, to take in and digest information at school, and to develop individuality and interests.
Not only is stress increasing in adults, but kids as well. Even children who may be “pre-verbal” still experience feelings and physiologically react to adult arguments such as: increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and stress hormones in the urine. This stress and conflict relate to kids’ ability to do well in the classroom and in the workforce as they grow up. Stress affects emotional regulation, memory and problem-solving abilities. The higher the stress the greater effect it has on standardized test scores. Therefore, when kids are less stressed, they learn better. Stressful events may impact a child’s health and well-being almost immediately. It may contribute to learning disabilities and can increase the risk of developing health problems as an adult.
Yoga Nidra for Kids:
-Able to be customized as relatable to each child
-Includes focus on the senses- inward and outward
-Offers physical components to explore outward senses before turning inward
-Allows opportunities to explore body sensation, exertion, story, and imagination
-Allows opportunities to talk about specific experiences and describe what they see/feel/experience
-Offering an artistic outlet such as drawing or painting is an additional option for children to express their experiences after Yoga Nidra
-Yoga Nidra addresses most if not all conditions and symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, Conduct Disorders, Anti-Social Behavior, Aggresiveness/Fighting, Substance Abuse, Bed Wetting, Sleep Disorders, Learning Disorders, Acting Out, Hyperactivity, Lack of Focus, Withdrawn, Low Self Esteem, Difficulty with academic achievements, Inattentiveness, and ADHD
Benefits for children include:
-Helping with focus and concentration
-Helping kids learn better
-Improving self esteem
-Helping with concentration
-Stress management (especially for high stakes testing)
-Helping with emotional resiliency
-Helping to regulate/stabilize hormones
-Learning to be less reactive
-Decrease anxiety, worry, and depression
-Helping with feeling loved
-Helping with inner connection/peace
-Helping with sleep disorders or just lack of sleep
-Helping kids face life with greater belief in their potential
-Helping with PTSD/trauma
Bright Beginnings Elementary Charter School in Chandler
Before school yoga program