Written by Christina Aquilina;
Christina is passionate about dance and yoga and teaches both to kids. She is all about promoting creativity and self-expression and through yoga in particular, seeks to encourage an ethos for “a healthy, mindful and happy life”.
6 Reasons Why Kids Should Practice Yoga
In today’s fast paced world, it is very easy for kids to get stressed. Different “stressors” may fill kids with various negative emotions which they find hard to deal with. I feel that yoga serves as an outlet to acknowledge these feelings and in turn, counter them.
Yoga practice inspires self-esteem and body awareness and through learned techniques such as relaxation, self-care and inner peace, children are provided with powerful tools to conquer life’s challenges with a little more ease.
Here are 6 reasons why I feel kids benefit from practicing yoga ….
Yoga for improved focus …
Being able to really focus on one thing at a time in today’s chaotic world is not an easy task. Yoga helps to master this skill, making things in general seem more achievable. I encourage kids to pause, listen to their heartbeat, to their breath or to focus on a balance pose. With clear direction and a clear set goal, external distractions are diminished and the kids are eager to succeed. By slowing down, I am helping them to re-direct their energy within which helps them focus.
Yoga for encouraging imagination …
Imagination is a powerful tool for kids to use when trying to understand new information. We often “go to the beach and surf the waves” in warrior two pose, in boat pose we pretend we are sailing across the sea and we stand strong and tall – picturing our favourite tree – when balancing in tree pose! (we even try to blow each other over sometimes which guarantees a few giggles)
Yoga for strength, flexibility and balance …
When children practice the physical postures (called asanas), they learn how to move muscles with greater control and awareness. These exercises help developing bodies become strong and flexible. Balancing poses promote physical calmness as well as mental stamina and overall patience. When kids have difficulties holding an asana, for example, they begin to realize the necessity of a balanced relationship between their minds and bodies and how they work together in order to succeed.
Yoga for fun …
I don’t want them to take themselves too seriously all of the time. At times, we make silly faces, we roar fiercely in lion pose, creating an environment, where it’s ok to be a child, it’s ok to be silly sometimes and to laugh with each other and also at ourselves! My aim is to create a “good vibes” zone, a safe space where we support each other and also have lots of fun.
Yoga for promoting respect and confidence …
Yoga teaches kids to love and appreciate themselves, to be nature-aware and to respect themselves and each other. Kids learn to be patient and to persevere as they try to master the movements and the different poses that yoga has to offer. With each little victory, the child achieves a sense of fulfillment, so boosting their self-esteem, making them more confident. They start to respect themselves and in turn, each other.
Yoga for providing a non-competitive and non-judgmental environment …
Yoga is a safe space; it is all accepting and non-competitive. Each child learns at his or her own pace and that’s ok. I encourage each child to be different and creative and I accept different ideas the kids may want to share. We are all on a journey to better ourselves and our bodies, together as a team ….
Christina teaches yoga to kids aged between 5 and 9 years at freemyme in Sliema on Monday’s at 5pm. She treats students as the most important people in the world, giving them the opportunity to be their extraordinary, unique selves. She looks forward to every mini yoga lesson and simply hopes they learn and enjoy it as much as she does!