Photograph by Johnny McClung
The benefits of yoga are well-know among us grown-ups, but in this busy world there are so many positives for kids too. Children’s and teen yoga teacher Emily Davies from EmPower Yoga
in Oxted, gives us the lowdown on we should get our kids doing yoga while they’re young.
Yoga creates balance
Get children practising yoga from a young age – when their little bodies are still developing – and it teaches them how to balance their bodies. As adults we spend years developing bad habits with our bodies. When you sit cross-legged, do you automatically do it the same way each time? The way that feels natural? Most of us do, and that’s because when we find comfort in our body we naturally repeat this motion throughout the rest of our lives, without even thinking about it. And then, without realising, we cause damage to our bodies from misaligned hips to tennis elbows and frozen shoulders. Teach yoga to kids and you get a positive message across at a young age which makes them more conscious of the balance in their bodies, and hopefully the mind too.
Yoga teaches self acceptance
With society sending out so many messages of inadequacy, yoga teaches kids to love themselves just as they are. We learn from yoga that we are all different, we are all unique, everyone’s body is different and everyone’s mind is in a different place from one day to the next. We learn to accept that, and understand that it’s ok to feel tired, angry or upset. Plus, when we learn to love and respect ourselves, it’s only then that we can truly learn to love and respect others.
Yoga is calming
Kids are under SO much pressure these days, from schools, parents, friends and social media, they are unable to switch off from the white noise that surrounds them. Some time and space in a room practising yoga gives them the opportunity to switch off, get to know their changing bodies and really tune in with their minds.
Yoga encourages healthy habits
Ok so it’s good to stay physically active, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but through yoga we can really see the benefits of it when we compare it to someone who has NOT done any yoga. It is healthy to move, it is good to stretch, it is rejuvenating to take longer and deeper breaths, and it is cleansing to be open and communicate in an honest and truthful way. And it’s great to give kids a distraction or break from the many hours they spend staring at screens.
Yoga builds focus
Kids are distracted by their screens so often these days, and it’s shortening our attention span. Mindful meditation, be it through yoga asana practice, meditation, breathing practice, painting, drawing, singing or even running, jumping or skipping is good for the body and soul. Time spent away from distraction – to focus – truly focus on yourself, and what you need, is a great lesson for kids to have and something that they can carry with them to help them navigate their way through life.