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I believe that physical education is every bit as important as learning academics. One of our favorite ways to get a little exercise is through Yoga. Mom and dad have apps on our phones as well as several favorite DVD’s. The kids watch Cosmic Kids Yoga on You Tube. Each episode guides them through a story where they meet different characters and at the end they lay quietly and think about the moral of the story.
Yoga has been shown to have some great benefits for kids such as better flexibility, strength, and coordination, boosting self-esteem, and developing focus and concentration. Of course there are many forms of exercise and sports that bring these benefits, but how many of them can you do in your living room!
Flexibility, Strength and Coordination
A child who does not have a healthy body can not have a healthy mind. When they are sore, stiff, or tired they can’t focus and learn. By doing regular yoga their physical bodies are stretched and strengthened. Each pose that they do helps them to focus on different muscle groups. They learn how all of their muscles work together to form a strong body. As they develop these gross motor skills they are more prepared to focus on the fine motor skills involved in activities like writing later on.
Yoga can be difficult when a child is very young or just starting out. They may have trouble holding the poses due to a lack of flexibility or strength. As a child works through this, with encouragement from the parents, they will learn that they are strong and capable of overcoming challenges. As a child confronts and overcomes physical challenges early in life it helps them become more resilient to emotional challenges as they grow older. As they develop confidence in their yoga practice that confidence will spread to other difficult things that they are trying to accomplish.
Developing Focus and Concentration
Most kids are born with the attention span of a flea! In our world of instant gratification and overindulgence in electronic media children are rarely afforded the opportunity to just sit quietly and think. the ability to focus and concentrate doesn’t just magically appear as we age, it is something that we have to work on and develop, just as we do our physical muscles. By sitting quietly at the end of a session and thinking about the message of the story told a child learns to process information and take action on it. They learn to just sit quietly and think about solving a problem. The develop a mental endurance that they will need later for solving long calculus problems or conducting scientific experiments.
Yoga for Kids has Improved our Family
Because the kids have to stream yoga on my computer, I will admit there are many days where it doesn’t happen. I can definitely tell a difference. When the kids do their yoga practice daily they are calmer, happier, and better problem solvers. When I put it off for days at a time I start to see the change in their attitudes. I’ve found that for us the best time for Yoga is right before dinner. This has always been a difficult time of day for us. Their minds and bodies are tired from a long day of playing hard and working hard. They are hungry and impatient. They often succumb to the witching hour crazies and it drives me bonkers when they are in my way in the kitchen! By setting them up with a Yoga practice while I am cooking they stay out of my way, they calm their minds and bodies, and they have something to focus on other than the impending meal. Our evenings are much calmer and happier.
Do you or your kids do Yoga? How has it improved your home environment? What are your favorite videos, apps or instructors?