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exercise for kids
Searching for a way to relax? Need a way to distress? Could you benefit from mindfulness? Do you have a child with ADD or ADHD that could use some help focusing? Have you ever considered yoga? Did you know that recent scientific research is focusing on how yoga could help kids in school. I look forward to the day that my children can practice yoga not only at home, but at school as well.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, where it originated in India. Many people all over the world practice yoga. The Indian definition of yoga is union. So if you are practicing yoga, you are uniting the mind and your physical body. When you are able to complete this union, you should feel an overall sense of well-being, or happiness.
According to PBS.org, “There are many aspects to yoga. In short, yoga is a system of physical exercises or postures (called asanas). These asanas build strength, flexibility and confidence. Yoga is also about breathing (called pranayama), which helps calm and refresh the body and mind. We are going to focus on these basic two aspects of yoga, but there are many other parts to practicing yoga. Yoga is about exploring and learning in a fun, safe and playful way. Yoga and kids are a perfect match. Here is what children (and adults!) can learn from yoga:
- Yoga teaches us about our bodies.
When we practice the physical postures or exercises (called asanas), we learn how to move more freely and with greater ease and awareness. These postures help our bodies become strong and flexible.
- Yoga teaches us how to breathe better.
When we breathe deeply and fully (called pranayama) and become more aware, we can bring peacefulness or energy to our bodies.
- Yoga teaches us how to use our energy more effectively.
When we practice yoga, we learn how to use the life force energy in our bodies (called prana) to feel more relaxed, focused, or motivated.
- Yoga teaches us how to quiet the mind.
When we practice yoga, we learn how to be still. This helps us to listen with attention and make good decisions.
- Yoga teaches us about balance.
When we practice yoga, we learn to be more aware about the need for balance in our lives. This could mean equal stretching on the left and right sides of our bodies or making sure we balance our very busy time with equal quiet time and relaxation.
- Yoga teaches us to be the “boss” of our bodies.
Yoga teaches us to listen to our bodies by modifying or changing poses that are too hard or cause pain. (We will talk about how to modify poses in a later section.)
- Yoga teaches us about taking care of ourselves.
Yoga is a great way to move our bodies and feel healthy, and teaching children how to take care of themselves is one way to show love. As with all forms of exercise, a good yoga practice can mean a good night’s sleep!”
As I previously stated, I cannot wait for the day that a mindful course of yoga is taught at my children’s schools. The pleasure I see in their eyes and the calmness I see and feel in their bodies, when they practice yoga at home…is indescribable. To see that taught as a daily practice at school would open doors and minds to learning. Once that union between the mind and body is met, it will only make retaining the information being taught, that much easier. I honestly believe that if children can find that mindful connection, they will love to learn, and be truly happy doing it. Lets all encourage yoga in schools, and at the very least, practice it at home with your children! It’s an incredible connection.