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With the social media and it’s distractions, heartbreak and devastation on the news, as well as peer, home and school pressure, it’s no wonder that children are showing early signs of stress and stress-related challenges.
According to yoga teacher and founder of The Karma Class, as a result of these everyday stresses, classrooms are becoming stress pools, drowning in cortisol and adrenaline, the hormones that the body produces when we are anxious, angry, upset, scared, worried or sad. It’s our body’s way of attempting to protect us.
Then for much of the day, primary students are expected to sit still, often for extended periods, hunched over their desks, which further reduces deep breathing capacity and causes restlessness.
Beth says a few minutes of mindful movement, such as yoga, and deep breathing overrides the stress response, halting the flight-fight hormone production.
Children who practice yoga build resilience and learn tools to help manage anxiety, stress and social challenges,
That is why The Karma Class advocates to bring “peace pauses” into the school day, giving teachers the tools they need to take kids through mindful yoga-style movements, breathing and visualisation exercises.
Here are the top five reasons why you yoga and mindfulness will benefit your child:
Yoga helps kids become more vibrant, less reactive and better at concentrating
The strengthening, lengthening, twisting, bending and stretching, coupled with smooth breaths, creates mental and physical focus and, very quickly (in fact immediately), helps students and teachers to feel more vibrant, less reactive, more interested and able to concentrate better and for longer. Why? Because it stimulates kindness, both to oneself and to others. The Para-Sympathetic arm of the nervous system (rest and digest), starts to kick in which can get kids back on track and feeling better.
A few minutes of mindful movement, such as yoga, and deep breathing overrides the stress response and brings calmness.
Yoga gives kids a chance to focus on their inner self
The non-competitive aspects of yoga encourage students of all strengths and abilities to participate. In fact it welcomes those who may not be naturally sporty because it focuses on the inner self, and does not place emphasis on competition. It is extremely empowering, giving them added strength and flexibility as well as boosting their self esteem.
Yoga teaches kids the language associated with their bodies
Yoga also teaches students the language associated with their bodies. They learn the names of the muscle groups; they learn about their lungs and their breath; they get to know all the names of their body parts and understand why a good posture aids digestion. Alongside the many physical benefits of yoga, both the left and right hemispheres of the brain are continuously stimulated, cultivating creative and critical thinkers. All of this fosters holistic learning environments, and cultivates social and emotional intelligence while nurturing students’ mind, body and spirit.
Yoga helps ease anxiety and tension
Daily doses of yoga and deep breathing helps to ease anxiety and tension, calm an overactive mind and body, or boost energy when students are listless and tired. It gives them an outlet to express themselves and to build a connection between what they hear, feel and do. When students have healthy body and breath awareness, they feel more confident and strong, enjoy greater self esteem and a stronger posture which fosters deeper breathing, better digestion and quiet strength. When they have tools to self regulate they have less need to misbehave, to be unkind or uncooperative.
In addition to all of the above benefits, of course yoga is also great for helping to develop balance, strength and body awareness, enhancing large and fine motor skills while building toned and supple muscles.
Yoga also helps to cultivate a better posture by building core strength and a stronger, cultivating deeper breaths (more O2 to the body and brain) and healthier digestion.