The Health Benefits of Yoga for Kids
September 30, 2019
Over the last several decades, yoga has become a popular form of exercise. From physical strength and flexibility to helping those who practice it deal with stress and emotions, the health benefits of yoga are numerous. Usually, you hear about the benefits adults get from yoga, but children can also derive great health benefits from practicing yoga.
Focus, Concentration, and the Mind-Body Connection
Kids are surrounded by distractions. Overstimulation can lead to many problems like the inability to focus and learn. Because yoga requires practitioners to pay attention to both the mind and body, focus is a skill that can be honed through yoga. The emphasis on breathing in conjunction with movements can help children center their minds in situations outside of yoga.
When learning how to correctly get into different poses and adjusting body alignment, children will subconsciously learn to focus on how their bodies move to achieve each pose in a series. In vinyasa (or flow) yoga, the necessity of transitioning smoothly between poses to make them run together is another way children learn to concentrate.
All of these factors educate children on the tightly connected relationship between mind and body. And when they learn about that relationship, they can make it work to their advantage to tune out distractions and focus.
Along with helping children realize that there is a powerful connection between the body and mind, yoga can help them learn more about their physicality and the way the body works. As their practice continues, they will get familiar with what the body is capable of and the different parts of the body that make certain movements and poses possible.
When children are more aware of how their body works and what it is capable of, they often have more respect for their own body and the bodies of others. This can lead to a healthier relationship with body image.
Self-Esteem and Self-Acceptance
While yoga is capable of physically transforming a body, that’s not the goal at the heart of the practice. Because yoga focuses on the connection between the mind and body, both mind and body benefit. The non-competitive and introspective nature of yoga can help a child learn to not only accept themselves but love and cherish themselves as they are. As their abilities advance, they will also feel proud of their accomplishments and impressed by what their own bodies can do without comparing themselves to other people.
Any exercise routine started as a young child will help that child develop healthy habits relating to physical activity as they grow up. Yoga takes the formation of these habits a step further by enabling children to focus and calm their minds. Focus serves them in all areas of life and being able to use techniques learned in yoga to manage stress is also incredibly useful. As a holistic practice, yoga also encourages a healthy relationship with food, nutrition, and eating habits.
As mentioned earlier, children learn healthy breathing and focusing techniques when practicing yoga. With a bit of effort, these skills can be transferred to everyday situations that may cause them frustration. Instead of throwing a tantrum, a child using techniques used in yoga can take time out to breathe and focus on the problem and then react in a more tempered and appropriate way.
Physical Strength and Energy
Many people are under the mistaken impression that practicing yoga doesn’t build strength. Different poses use different muscle groups, so holding those poses strengthen those muscles. And a varied sequence of poses will strengthen multiple muscle groups. It will also help with coordination.
Partaking in regular exercise is also proven to improve energy levels. Yoga can also help improve your breathing, which is also extremely beneficial.
Flexibility and Posture
Yoga doesn’t just build and strengthen muscle, it makes those muscles more flexible. Flexibility is an important part of physical fitness because it can prevent injury while doing other forms of exercise or performing physical tasks. Being flexible and limber will also increase physical comfort in certain situations where being stiff and unable to move easily can be detrimental.
Because children focus on alignment while practicing yoga poses, they will naturally improve their posture. Having the correct posture is also important when trying to avoid injury or pain. The better your posture, the better your skeletal posture and the less likely you are to develop issues with your back and neck. This has become even more important recently, as studies are showing the damage poor posture while using computers, tablets and smartphones can do.
About Holly Springs Pediatrics
At Holly Springs Pediatrics we focus on providing quality healthcare, and that includes providing education for children and parents on staying healthy. Letting our patients know about ways to achieve and maintain good health is part of the way we practice. We pride ourselves on having open relationships with patients and their families and want to be as accessible as possible, so you can be confident you’ll have someone by your side to help keep your child healthy and happy. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s health and wellness, then call us at 919-249-4700 or request an appointment online.