Benefits of Yoga in Schools for Kids
Yoga is great for the mind and body. Anyone who has tried a class will know it instantly calms you down and makes you feel more centered. Well, who needs calming down more than excitable little ones? We often think of yoga as an adult-only activity, but in recent years we’re starting to see more and more yoga classes directed towards children, often held in schools. Children too benefit from learning how to be calm and relax in their exciting everyday lives.
It makes sense. The world can be a busy, confusing place for children and adults alike, and yoga is a great way to reflect and unwind. Even more importantly, yoga is fun! Kids who try it often enjoy the different positions, the stretches and the breathing exercises. For younger children there are lots of ways to make the activity exciting, like making noises that relate to each position (think ‘woof!’ for downward dog…). Before they know it, children become little yogis, enjoying the many benefits for body and mind.
(Thanks to Chickpea for this beautiful image.)
Even better, yoga is one of those activities that can help connect kids to nature. Schools have increasingly started holding yoga classes outside. This puts yoga in the category of fun activities in the natural world, like a scavenger hunt or mini-hike that gets little ones fit while helping them to appreciate the great outdoors. Unlike a scavenger hunt, though, you only need one outdoor space for a yoga class – so why not suggest starting one in your local school’s yard or play area? If you need help pitching the idea to the school board or local authorities, here are some great reasons to hold yoga sessions at school for kids:
- Yoga builds concentration. During sessions, kids will learn skills that will help them think more clearly and will give them renewed energy that they can put back into learning.
- Yoga also increases muscle strength, which makes it a great way to help kids perform well in other sports, like football or athletics. It’s the perfect complement to other physical activities – not a distraction from them.
- As any practicing adult yogi knows, this activity is great for slowing the body down and creating a reflective mindset, calming all the senses. In a busy, bustling world full of competing stimuli, this is a great thing to be able to offer young minds!
- Yoga classes can also help children learn to encourage and support one another. They’ll empathize with peers who are struggling with poses and help each other attain their goals.
- Yoga also connects kids with their bodies. This is important at any age, but becomes increasingly vital when children’s bodies start to go through a lot of very rapid changes, particularly in middle and high school.
- Classes like these are a great opportunity to teach little ones about other cultures. Yoga is an ancient Indian practice with a long, rich history, and the physical classes could be used as a starting point for academic learning about India and its culture.
Teaching yoga to children in schools makes a lot of sense, and those places that have done so already starting to reap the benefits. Speak to your kids’ teachers today and see what they think!