Yoga is not necessarily considered a children’s activity. However, over recent years more and more studios have begun to offer yoga classes specially tailored to younger students. The main reason for this is that yoga is being found to have a very positive influence on children. A number of studies regarding yoga for children have proven beyond any doubt that the techniques and values introduced to children through yoga lead to better grades in school and a reduction in behavioral problems.
So why does Yoga have such a positive influence on young people? The simple answer is that Yoga not only directly benefits the physical body, but it also helps to balance children on a mental and an emotional level. One reason for the recent surge in popularity for children’s yoga is the increasing number of children being diagnosed with ADHD and other types of anxiety or behavioral disorders. For many children, yoga provides a way to expel excess energy in a safe and nurturing environment. Children who practice yoga are gradually equipped with the tools and coping mechanisms which can help them to improve their own mental health by reducing stress and anxiety and controlling their own emotions. For many parents, this is a much preferred alternative to treating their child with drugs which can often carry worrying side effects.
The main issue for many children who have emotional or behavioral problems such as ADHD is that they feel disconnected from the rest of the world. There is a great deal of debate over whether this is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, or whether it is simply a result of stress and anxiety. Regardless of the reason behind this disconnect, yoga is able to help alleviate many of the symptoms and can help the child stop feeling so overwhelmed, allowing them the ability to concentrate on whichever task they are engaged in. Regular participation in group yoga sessions can help children to feel less cut off and lonely by offering a chance to bond with their peers and foster a sense of community. It is common for children suffering from a disorder like ADHD to feel adrift from their family and school friends. Yoga offers emotional grounding by nurturing both their physical and mental health.
Like any form of regular exercise, yoga can also help to get rid of some of that extra energy which can stop the child from being able to focus on school or other tasks. Yoga will not only expel this energy, but will teach the child to focus on learning and achieving the various poses. This in turn provides a sense of accomplishment and boosts self esteem. If they can trust in themselves enough to hold a certain pose without falling over, then they are more inclined to believe that they can focus their mind on a homework task.
Of course, yoga is not restricted to children who are suffering from these types of disorders. Any child can benefit from yoga techniques, especially those who are very active or naturally creative. Yoga can help these children to relax, improve mental focus and strengthen the body.