Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Yogi Kids

As an ND, I recommend yoga a lot. It's a great activity that is low impact, easy on joints, wonderful for tight muscles and stretching and will improve flexibility. However, it's positive effects don't just end there, it doesn't just improve physical health parameters, it has also been shown to improve mental health parameters. This is especially true in children. Recent studies have shown yoga can benefit a child's mood, tension, stress, anxiety, self-esteem and memory!

There are even some preliminary studies that suggest benefit with ADD/ADHD. Here are some examples:

Even though yoga is a relatively safe exercise, there are still some things to be mindful of while practicing. Here are some tips from Elena of Fearless Heart Yoga who teaches the children's class:

Many people come to yoga with the impression that the practice itself is inherently safe, but as with all physical exercise there is always a risk of injury. Injuries can be both sudden or chronic and practicing with a teacher, especially when you are new to the practice, is the best way to help you understand how to keep your practice safe. 

If you're practicing with your kids at home, you can make the practice as safe as possible a few ways:

1) Make sure they aren't putting pressure on their neck or on the crown of the head.

2) Make sure they are not hyper-extending their joints  commonly the elbows) or putting lateral (side-to-side) pressure on the joints, especially the knees.

3) Check in. Try asking open ended questions like "What do you feel?" and if they're feeling pain, "Where does it hurt?" rather than asking yes or no questions like "Does your knee hurt?" since they might be inclined to give you the answer they think you want. This will also help them develop a stronger sense of awareness of their own body and feelings.

4) Make the practice relaxing, fun and informal. If you go into a yoga practice with your child with the expectation that they will be able to touch their toes/do the splits/learn to meditate in X amount of time, this will likely only stress them out and make both you and them frustrated. Instead of setting time driven goals, use the practice as a way to engage with them and help them cultivate a sense of confidence and awareness of themselves in and outside their practice.

5) If you are unsure how to make a pose safe or more accessible for your child, seek out help from a professional. Every body is different and children are no exception.

The next session of Kids Yoga being held at Fearless Heart Yoga is starting Thursday, January 12th at 4:30 pm and will run for 6 weeks. Classes are 30 minutes long and taught by Elena. For more information check out Fearless Heart Yoga

~The Coach House Team~

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