Yoga for Children
SMSC – Spiritual Moral Social and Cultural
- Developing and expressing personal views or values
- Recognising right and wrong and applying itDeveloping personal qualities and using social skills
- Developing personal values and beliefsExperiencing fascination, awe and wonderUnderstanding
- Human feelings and emotions
- Using imagination and creativity in learning
- a. examples of diverse values encountered in society and the clarification of personal values
- f. how a balanced diet and making choices for being healthy contribute to personal well-being, and the importance of balance between work, leisure and exercise
- c. the characteristics of emotional and mental health, and the causes, symptoms and treatments of some mental and emotional health disorders
1 in 10 young people suffer from mental illness, and 70% of those do not receive appropriate intervention
What Exactly is Yoga?
Yoga is a fun and easy way for both adults and kids to feel healthy and happy. The word "Yoga" translates to mean "Union", which quite simply means the unification or coming together of mind (thoughts and feelings) and physical body. Many people feel an overall sense of well-being when they practice yoga. 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, which helps calm and refresh the body and mind. It also helps young and old alike to understand their own feelings and emotions and helps people to develop their ability to be resilient physically and mentally.
There are many benefits of our yoga for children course. These include:
- Increased concentration
- Lower stress, and resilience to stressful situations
- Improved body control
- Reduce risk of injury
- Improved access to creativity
- Developing emotional and physical awareness
Yoga for children
Yoga helps kids concentrate better on their studies; research has even showed it helps in improving grades. It can increase creativity, build stamina and confidence, reduce stress levels etc. In today’s time, young people are under pressure to perform well academically and physically, all while having a high general knowledge and balancing a social life. As the Mental Health Foundation observe, 1 in 10 children suffer from mental illness and 70% of these do not receive "appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age". The benefits of yoga are such that kids can maintain these roles whilst being more resilient to the stresses of the modern world.
Yoga is about exploring and learning in a fun, safe and playful way. Here is what children (and adults!) can learn from yoga:
- about our bodies: physical postures or exercises teach us how to move more freely and with greater ease and awareness. These postures help our bodies become strong and flexible
- how to breathe better: when we breathe deeply and fully and become more aware, we can bring peacefulness or energy to our bodies
- how to quiet the mind: Yoga teaches us mental stillness. This helps us to listen with attention and make good decisions
- about balance: through Yoga we can become 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
- to be the "boss" of our bodies: Yoga helps us to listen to our bodies by modifying or changing poses that are too hard or cause pain
- 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 our love for them
Children yoga project
This project started from the desire to let everyone know yoga so that everyone could take from it what they find to be best for themselves. It also offers the possibility to build a different, healthier approach to one's owns body and and one's own being. To teach yoga to young people, it is hoped, will allow them to find and maintain a physically and mentally balanced way of living throughout their lives. It also aims to hand down some ancient knowledge in a playful and fun way to allow children to learn yoga principles quickly. This is done through play, imagination, creativity, will, awareness, kindness, safety, inner peace and awareness of one's own breath and body. Yoga can open the door to an inner world, and by offering this possibility to a child it means give the chance of harmonious and full growth.
The three pillars of the Children yoga project
The project involves three pillars:
- Meeting of one's own body: to gain awareness of the body by making simple yoga poses representing animals in the natural world. This also includes dance as exploration of the surrounding space
- The breath: learning how to breathe fully and deeply
- Fairytale: developing imagination and moral standards through storytelling
- First pillar: meeting with own body. In this section children will be introduced to simple yoga postures, choosen for both ease and effectiveness. In effect, postures with names and movements from the animal kingdom are helpful in the creative process of our course, especially in our third pillar: fairytales. Yoga is done on our course in a soft and spontaneous way and includes both static and dynamic postures. These help students to gain the ability to control and improve awareness of their own bodies and to learn how it works and how to care for it, respecting natural limitations. It is a fantastic way for children to discover their own, individual potential. Included in warm up exercises are also ice breakers and games to help the group work together with ease and playfulness. This is especially evident through the music and dance used in the course which the children always enjoy.
- Second pillar: Breathing. Learning awareness of the breath Students will develop their awareness of their breath in a relaxed state where, with closed eyes, they will learn to listen to the sound of their breathing. Focussing attention on the breath allows our students to learn to breathe with awareness and how to relax. It also improves oxygenation of the blood and therefore improved brain function and overall health. To be aware of something so natural and everyday allows children to appreciate the importance of the breath and how to listen to and accept themselves as they are. It gives a chance for self discovery.
- Third pillar: the fairytale. Stories are a powerful way to communicate knowledge. The pillar of fairytale is a tool that allows our students to develop their listening skills and appreciate the joy of reading. The postures are combined with the fairytales, so children are integrated into the storytelling. This creates an engaging and immersive experience which is meaningful, enriching and stimulating. Yoga for children combines imagination and creativity with mental and physical health in a sustainable and fun way. Activities of this sort, which are visual, audiotry and kinaesthetic, boost neural connections in the brain (particularly those associated with memory and learning) and create indiviudals which are more effective and engaged in every area of their lives.