Our article ‘Namaste – How Children Benefit from Yoga’ was featured in ACA NSW’s Nurture Nook – Autumn 2018 Edition.
Read it below.
Namaste – How Children Benefit from Yoga
Adults all over the world have been experiencing the benefits of mind-and-body balance that yoga brings, but what we’ve been seeing recently is that, with some simple modifications, the ancient practice can help young children develop focus, motor skills, balance, and self-confidence with a wide range of emotional resilience and social skills.
Children learn through play and they are constantly seeking unique experiences for learning. This is one of the reasons we now see so many early education and care centres offering extracurricular programs, as well as indoor and outdoor spaces specifically designed for children to explore. One activity that is now trending amongst services all around Australia is yoga – and there are many benefits to it.
Not only deep stretches and flows
Yoga programs for children are usually more animated and expressive than adult yoga, and children are encouraged to have fun. It’s all about giving children an opportunity to develop balance, strength, and coordination in a playful environment. Programs usually involve storytelling, music, games and props to engage the little ones both physically and mentally.
Breathing exercises where children pretend to be balloons, bubbles, or even a washing machine teach them body awareness and concentration, all while having fun. Yoga also allows children to make the most of their distinctive flexibility, and poses are selected to encourage risk-taking and trust, trust in their own strength and ability. They show children how much they can achieve when they focus their mind on one task at a time.
Emotional Intelligence and Resilience
Yoga creates a special experience for children. By weaving together imagination with relaxation and visualisations, children learn how to relax. This improves their listening skills and taps into their ability to perform academically with their reading and writing and with artistic flair as their imagination expands.
Children also learn to connect which each other, through the practice of acknowledgement and gratefulness that is fundamental to the teaching of yoga. They love the simple greeting of Namaste as they start and finish the session on their mats.
Yoga teaches children to remain present instead of thinking about what might happen next. It teaches them to be aware of their feelings and emotions and learn self-soothing techniques that help deal with stress in a healthy way. By understanding their feelings and learning to manage them, children have better relationships and leave their yoga class feeling happy and content.
Stress-free Option for Parents and Management
While the benefits of yoga for children are undeniable, working parents don’t always have time to take their little ones to yoga classes or play groups, which is why offering a yoga program at your service is such a great selling point.
But you don’t need to do it inhouse – there are providers, like Early Start Programs, that offer extracurricular activities such as yoga as incursion programs at early education and care centres – and they take care of all logistics, staffing and paper work for you, so your workload stays the same.
“My 2 and 4-year-olds come home and tell their grandad how to place his feet and legs and say to him: ‘you need to say namaste!’ They love the yoga sessions, it is very cute seeing them do it at home.” – Current family whose children attend a centre offering Fun Key Yoga.
To learn more about Early Start Programs – music, sports, fitness, yoga and foreign language programs, visit our website on www.earlystartprograms.com.au.