Why Kids Need Yoga

by admin on February 23, 2012

 

 

I just got done teaching a kid’s yoga class and I am so inspired, I had to write about it. I’ve been teaching children’s yoga for years and it never ceases to amaze me how they take to it. There are so many stories and examples I could share of kids over the years and things they have said and things they’ve done but today was just one of those days when everything was just clicking.

The kids were 8 years old or so and there were about 10 of them. We started with a quick question and answer around yoga with my asking them what they think of when they hear the word “yoga,” and what does yoga help us with? (Strength, flexibility, focus, breathing, relaxing, stress reduction). Yes, we talked about stress. I asked them what makes them feel stress. Some of their answers:

  • When I get into a fight with my brother
  • When I’m bullied at school
  • When I can’t get to sleep
  • When places are really noisy

We started to go into the yoga practice and I shared poses with them, they made up some of their own and then we did a little meditation. During the class, some kids had more of a challenge with focus and we talked about the difference between “focus” and “being silly.” They completely understood and that allowed us to move into some meditation to end the class.

Kids feel stress just like adults. Kids struggle with weight just like adults. Kids struggle to focus and pay attention just like adults. They develop coping mechanisms just like adults too; overeating, tuning out and using video games, TV and computers to avoid dealing with painful feelings.

Yoga for kids addresses all of that and more. Yoga helps kids focus; it shows them how deep breathing can affect their bodies and how they feel. Yoga helps kids build self-esteem by tackling different poses. Yoga helps kids work cooperatively together through the presentation of partner poses.  Yoga is a great way to help kids stay active, gain strength and learn to balance. Yoga helps kids relax through deep breathing. Yoga gives kids tools that they can use to process uncomfortable feelings and decrease stress. Yoga increases their awareness of how they feel; something that many adults should develop as a skill.

In today’s class, while we were doing a few minutes of meditation, some of the kids were laughing and having a hard time sitting still. I asked the kids to think of a color and when we opened our eyes, each child said the color that had came to mind. I asked if they found meditation relaxing or stressful. Some of them said “stressful.” When I asked why, they individually started to share feedback about how the behavior of the other children affected them. We had an amazing adult conversation and talked about what we found challenging about meditation and how our behavior can affect other people.

In the context of a 45-minute class, kids built strength, learned how to balance, focus and get stronger.  They meditated, worked cooperatively with others, used their imagination to create custom poses and relaxed. As the adult in the room, I was inspired beyond words. I kept thinking, “ I wish someone else was here to see and hear this!” One of my biggest passions is to bring yoga to children; I am grateful every time I teach and inspired beyond words.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

rony February 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm

great post! wish I could’ve been there to see it. I can only imagine. what a wonderful gift – to the kids…and to you!

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admin February 24, 2012 at 6:42 am

Rony, it was too cute! Thanks, Karen

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Bernardette February 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing!

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admin February 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Bernardette, glad you liked it! Thanks for reading! Karen

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Amanda McFadyen February 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

Beautiful reflections – thanks for sharing! At Rainbow Kids Yoga we absolutely share your perspective on the benefits of yoga for children, ages 0-99! Not only do children need yoga, but modern yoga needs children to remind us of the wonders and simple wisdom that we knew in childhood. In our hurry-up world, yoga for children, families and communities reminds people how to connect, laugh, play and have fun together! We are happy to be part of the global children’s yoga community and wish you the best in all of your endeavours!
Love Amanda McFadyen

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Amanda McFadyen February 29, 2012 at 9:04 am
admin February 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Amanda, thanks. Yes, children are our best teachers! Thanks, Karen

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Amanda March 8, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I just started teaching yoga to kids and I love watching what they can do and how much FUN they have in their bodies. —> I kept thinking, “ I wish someone else was here to see and hear this!” I know exactly what you mean!

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admin March 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Amanda, good for you! I’m so glad you liked the post. By the way, check out my Mentorship Modules page. I have a teacher training module on teaching kids if you’re interested. Have fun! Namaste, Karen

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Jacob Bosse May 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Love this… I started a program teaching the inner city kids at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence. I teach yoga regularly, but I did this with no prior expirience teaching children yoga. They only expirience I have with younger children is by way of coaching baseball, weight training and football.

It was amazing to see them react and respond to such a change in atmosphere and activity. If you have ever been to a one of the larger B&G Clubs, you will understand, its fast paced, loud and can be overwelming. There are as many as 400-500 kids on any week night in the building!

We usually start the class with 20 kids and they seem so relieved to step into the studio, dimming the lights and hearing very little outside the room. This expirience, combined with some flow, meditation and some play time with yoga poses really helps the kids step away from the challenges and stesses they expirience day to day.

I appreciate all you do Karen :)

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admin May 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Jacob, thanks for your comments. It is so inspiring to read! I am sure you are a great role model for the kids! Thanks for all you do too!! Namaste, Karen

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Rebecca July 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Hi Karen

I loved what you said!

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Rebecca July 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I teach kids yoga at Prana and park yoga and I think that everything your commenters said is so TRUE! Kids need yoga and come away so relaxed and more focused…especially after doing savasana.

Rebecca

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admin July 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Rebecca,

Thanks for your note. I am so glad you liked the article. I hope to meet you at Prana soon!

Thanks,

Karen

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