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By: Lauren McRae
If you’re looking for more ways to encourage your child to live a healthy lifestyle, look no further than yoga. Yoga isn’t just for adults, it’s gaining more popularity with kids and parents with newborns. With today’s society spending an increasing amount of time in front of screens, getting active can seem like a chore, but really it has so many benefits.
Yoga is a great way to get your children moving. When it’s presented at a young age, yoga can teach your child techniques for self-health, relaxation and inner fulfillment. It can also improve self-esteem and body awareness in a physical activity that’s noncompetitive.
Yoga for kids uses slightly different techniques than yoga for adults. Younger children enjoy treating yoga as a game. Yoga for kids can include songs, storytelling, teaching them new words and developing language. By associating songs with different physical movements and discovering new words, it has been shown to aid in the learning process.
Older children like to get a little more creative by learning about anatomy, muscles and inventing their own poses. No matter the age group, yoga has lots of benefits. Here are just a few offered by George Kaliyadan, M.D. Pediatrics at NorthShore:
Yoga can help kids build strength and develop flexibility: Yoga isn’t just about stretching, it’s also about building muscle. Whether doing a pose that’s standing, sitting or lying down, a child is using all different kinds of muscle groups to improve strength. Stronger muscles support joints in a more functional way and aid physical development.
Helps improve focus and concentration: Kids today deal with distractions, overstimulation, temptations and peer pressure. By practicing the act of different poses, better posture and proper breathing, they are cultivating a sense of quiet strength. Yoga can help children learn more about being mindful, and how they are in charge of their own attitudes and approaches to life.
Reduces anxiety in children: Yoga has been found to release chemicals in the brain associated with lowering stress and anxiety, says WebMD. Research also suggests that yoga can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by improving their inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Studies showed that the breathing, meditation and physical exertion of yoga are all effective at calming ADHD children.
Helps children care for their bodies: Through yoga, children can be taught how to pay special attention to pains or how they feel. These strategies for self-care are ones they can use throughout their lifetime. When learned young, understanding how to cherish and accept themselves are tools they can use to fight off self-doubt that comes during the teen years and beyond.
Aids in coordination and balance: Yoga poses work to strengthen a variety of muscles. Through doing these continuous movements they steadily improve their fine motor skills, readiness and nimbleness in physical activity.