Yoga, an age-old discipline, may improve mental health by assisting kids and teenagers in managing stress. According to the author of a new book on yoga education in India, "Yoga is a powerful medium for developing the personality of children and making them capable of tackling the present-day challenges and problems". One of the most well-known yoga researchers in the world, Shirley Telles, concludes that yoga enhances children's physical and mental well-being in her review study, "Impact of Yoga on Mental Health in Children". Similarly, yoga in schools enhances children's resilience, mood, and self-regulation abilities related to emotions and stress, according to Harvard professor Sat Bir Khalsa. Yoga is a crucial tool for teaching children and teenagers to manage stress and self-control from a lifetime perspective.
Why Is Yoga Important for Children?
Children and young people around the world are exposed to a variety of new norms and possibilities as a result of globalization. Children today are expected to do well in addition to having access to further resources. In the lives of children and teenagers, various institutions like family, school, and the media continuously offer stimulation and expectations. Young people's lives could become stressful as a result of being exposed to new demands and expectations, particularly when it comes to how their performances are judged.
It is well known that stress can have negative effects on one's health. High levels of stress have the potential to develop into chronic conditions that can lead to a variety of health issues, such as anxiety, insomnia, muscle discomfort, high blood pressure, and a weaker immune system. According to research, stress can even lead to the development of serious illnesses such as heart disease, depression, and obesity, as well as exacerbate current health problems.
Yoga is seen to be a useful tool for young people to manage stress and regulate themselves. Yoga offers physical and mental conditioning to promote emotional balance. Yoga is said to promote harmony and alignment. According to a recent thesis, yoga can help children learn to listen to their hearts. Researchers contend that such support is necessary for helping kids and teenagers learn to listen to their bodies, emotions, and ideas. Hence, yoga may support healthy growth and mental health; health promotion for kids must also increase attention, self-esteem, empowerment, and self-control. Children and teenagers must grow by their individual personalities and learn to balance their strengths with society's expectations. Yoga may help kids grow in healthy ways, become stronger people, and contribute to society.
What Are the Physical Benefits of Yoga on a Child’s Health?
Complete Workout - Yoga increases overall fitness by providing a tough full-body workout rather than focusing on just one body area at a time.
Flexibility - Children are naturally flexible, and by practicing yoga, they can maintain this trait that most adults tend to lose as they get older.
Yoga Promotes Body and Self-Awareness - Yoga asanas assist children in understanding how various body parts coordinate with their breath to bring the entire system together. They learn to respect, care for, and cherish their bodies because of their increased self-awareness.
Boosts Immunity - A child's immune system is extremely important. The foundation for a healthy future is laid in the early years. Yoga is a natural enhancer that boosts immunity by enhancing resistance and aiding in the development of a solid defense system.
Maintains Cardiovascular, Respiratory, and Digestive Health - Yoga focuses on the breath, ensuring that the heart receives adequate blood flow that is rich in oxygen and nutrients. Children frequently experience stomach pain, indigestion, gas, and constipation. Yoga supports the digestive system's strength and combats these problems.
Improves Posture - The sedentary lifestyle that many children nowadays lead contributes to several health problems, including poor posture. Because most kids are addicted to screens, they tend to be overweight and obese. One can greatly enhance their posture by doing yoga.
What Are the Emotional Benefits of Yoga on a Child’s Health?
Creates a Sense of Accomplishment and Confidence - When children practice yoga, endorphins are created that reduce stress and make you feel good, which psychologically increases confidence.
Teaches Self-Respect and Empathy - It is a non-competitive sport. It helps kids to concentrate on themselves and see their flaws. Children become accustomed to overcoming these physical limitations and stop making negative assumptions about the flexibility and health of their peers.
Enhances Emotional Regulation - Yoga teaches kids how to recognize, regulate, and handle their emotions. Yoga helps them develop self-awareness, which aids in the development of a balanced state of mind.
Increases Concentration and Attention Span - Today's kids are irritable and restless. Yoga teaches the importance of paying attention to every breath or action; this helps children become more focused and extend their attention span.
Positive Thinking - Yoga aids in discovering inner happiness. They learn that everything in the cosmos is interconnected and that every day is a fresh opportunity to ride the waves of life. Yoga fosters a good mindset that keeps kids content and joyful.
What Are the Yoga Poses That Can Be Performed by Children?
1) Mountain Pose (Tadasana): This straightforward posture is easy for beginners to pick up by seeing an experienced practitioner, and because it does not need much bending, it is perfect for them. The child only needs to stand up straight, put their big toes together (but their heels and ankles apart somewhat), and raise their arms overhead or to the sides.
The youngster can benefit from the mountain pose by improving their posture and spinal alignment in addition to strengthening their leg, lower back, thigh, knee, and ankle muscles.
2) Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): Due to its balance requirements and enjoyable sensation, this pose is particularly alluring to young children. The child can try the tree pose while lying on their mat, leaning their back against a wall, or keeping their other toes on the ground for support.
The tree stance not only stretches the child's thighs, torso, and shoulders, but it also promotes balance and leg strength in young children.
3) Table Position (Bharmanasana): One of the simplest beginner poses for anyone to grasp, even newborns as young as two months old may perform the table posture with ease. The youngster should be on their hands and knees with their back straight, knees at shoulder width, feet in line with their knees, and palms precisely beneath their shoulders.
Apart from these postures, other poses a child can perform are the child’s pose, warrior two pose, downward facing dog pose, butterfly pose, bridge pose, and so on.
Children of school age who practice yoga have shown improvements in their physical and mental health. Children who practice yoga have better balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity. Children can benefit psychologically from yoga. A growing body of research has already shown the benefits of yoga for children, including how it can boost their focus, memory, self-esteem, academic achievement, and classroom behavior.