"Here's a trick that usually calms my children anytime they have more energy than their little body can contain. I simply ask them to touch their toes. Filled with giggles, my kids spill over their legs, grasping their feet with ten wriggling fingers. "Think you can keep touching your toes to the count of ten?" I ask next. If I'm doing this at bedtime, it's usually a matter of seconds before one of the two is yawning. That's because -- as I learned when I was training to become a yoga instructor -- simply bending forward is calming." ~ Betsy Stephens from Parents Magazine
For real? You bet. And in fact, there are SO many reasons why children should be doing yoga. For a great read, check out Parents Magazine's article (see link below). But it's a lengthy read, so if you are short on time, here are a few interesting facts from the full article:
1. Yoga, a mind-body practice, can be very helpful for stress or anxiety. Today's children are increasingly overwhelmed with the pressures of school, extra curricular activities, social pressures, friendships...the list goes on. Yoga gives children the tools to find their calm, re-center, and re-focus.
2. Yoga positively impacts academic performance. Recent research from Columbia University suggests that yoga increases the brain chemical dopamine, which has been linked to attention, movement, and learning. ~ Parents Magazine
3. Yoga has positive physical benefits. Children's yoga has caught the attention of medical practitioners nationwide and there are now classes for kids at leading medical centers including Boston Children's Hospital, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and Mount Sinai Beth Israel in NYC. From the Children's Research Hospital in Memphis: "We're seeing a decrease in pain and anxiety as well as an increase in endurance, range of motion and strength." ~ Danielle Doria, Children's Yoga Program at St. Jude's in Memphis, TN
4. Yoga can empower children, build confidence, and rein in emotions. "We don't want our children to throw tantrums when they are angry and frustrated, to be impatient, or to give in to the desire to grab any toy they want without thinking of others. Through yoga, kids could reduce all of these behaviors by regulation their emotions themselves." ~ Gurjeet Birdee, M.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
Pretty powerful stuff.
So, while yoga is certainly not going to save the world, the growth of children's yoga is certainly taking off....and for very good reason.
Until next time friends!
PS. Click here to read the full Parents Magazine article.