Children today are rarely given opportunities to relax and escape from the high expectations and pressures of their fast-paced lives. This is the one exercise all children should be participating in today to help control stress and anxiety levels.
Providing an outlet for children to develop tools that will nourish their emotional wellbeing, and help them to deal more effectively with distractions, temptations and peer pressure, has never been more important. The earlier they are given these tools, the better for their emotional intelligence and wellbeing.
Kids yoga cultivates children’s self-esteem and confidence in a non-competitive environment and equips them with techniques to be more resilient to the pressures of daily life. Kids yoga classes offer tools for managing stress, and encouraging mind-body awareness through the practice of appropriate poses, breath awareness, meditation and mindfulness. Such practices enable them to deal with stressful situations with more equanimity, compassion and calm.
Beth Borowsky, Founder and CEO of KarmaKidsYoga, discusses how kids yoga helps to develop children’s emotional wellbeing by increasing self-awareness, cultivating compassion and building resilience – important tools that they will carry through to adulthood.
• Promotes self-esteem and confidence.
There is no such things as “I can’t” in a kids yoga class. Children are encouraged, in this non-competitive environment to honour all that their body can (and cannot) do.
Mind-body awareness is cultivated by gaining an understanding of where their body is in space, and developing strength and flexibility in their bones and muscles.
Yoga encourages perseverance, patience and how to work towards a goal at one’s own pace. Each week children are given opportunities to boost their confidence and self-esteem, and are encouraged to feel good about themselves, both inside and out. Learning about the ‘magic of their breath’ and how to live more mindfully, helps children to feel calmer and more in control, reassuring them that they are able to manage challenging situations with less reaction and more
compassion for themselves and others.
• Teaches children to control their stress and anxiety levels.
Giving children tools and opportunities that help them to unwind and relax is vital in developing their abilities to counter stressful situations and balance their anxiety levels.
A kids’ yoga class offers a myriad of experiences to develop such skills. Balancing poses demand slowing down and focusing, promoting mental clarity and stability that enhances children’s focus, and increases their ability to pay attention to activities off the mat. Gaining an understanding of the importance of their breath, and learning deep breathing techniques, gives them tools to calm down and stay centred, and to be less reactive when situations get stressful or challenging.
These skills help to facilitate positive social interactions, and encourage them to behave mindfully and compassionately to those in their world.
The best thing about attending a kids yoga class is that it’s not competitive.
All children are welcome and are honoured for who they are and for what they can do.
Not all children suit the competitive nature of sports/dance that requires participating in competitions of varying sorts. Kids yoga allows children to move at their own pace, encouraging them to push their boundaries without being compared to others, in an environment that feels safe and nurturing. They are given various opportunities to explore their body in space, to focus their attention, develop their breath and be mindful of both themselves and others without the worry of being wrong or bad.
Yoga is an inclusive activity that encourages children to be the best they can be and to feel great about themselves, both inside and out.
Yoga means union or “to yoke”, and participating in Kids Yoga classes gives children opportunities to explore their body, mind, breath and spirit and so nurture all aspects of themselves. Our lives are fast, full and stressful. Providing kids with tools and techniques to manage anxiety, stress and challenges is vital if they are to navigate through life with a sense of control and belonging, and to feel proud of who they are in the world.
Beth Borowsky is CEO of KarmaKidsYoga and is committed to bringing Kids Yoga into childcare centres across NSW.
For more information about the KarmaKidsYoga Early Childcare Program and how to bring it into your childcare centre, or to find out about Kids Yoga training programs contact Beth Borowsky at KarmaKidsYoga – www.karmakidsyoga.com.au
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