The child carries within himself an inner wisdom and perceives the world around him in a very different way from the adult. The child is very open to all external stimuli and demonstrates unlimited confidence, accomplishing much of his learning through modelling/imitation.
The child development embraces the prenatal period up to adolescence and is defined by experiences and learning and may be organized in early childhood (from pre-school age to six years) and second childhood (school age from six to twelve).
Health and well being are associated with the absence of disease, and there are already many evidences that yoga, especially in children, has a preventive role and is considered a promoter of a healthy life practice. The word "yoga" derives from Sanskrit joug or yuj, meaning "yoke" or "union." Yoga is the union, union between the various layers of the human being, merging mind, body and soul.
The physical and mental benefits of practicing yoga at a young age are diverse, among them I highlight:
Self-regulation refers to our ability to manage stress, emotions and behaviours. Yoga practice can help children to control their emotional states and thus, behave in a more adjusted and controlled way, developing both body and mental awareness.
Increase of individual skills.
Such as self-esteem, self-confidence and self-awareness. These are fundamental skills and should be developed throughout childhood in order to "build" a resilient, assertive and calm adult.
Stability of the body in general.
The balance of systems (muscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, immune, endocrine), which promotes the health and well-being of the child.
Growth of concentration and mindfulness abilities.
The practice of yoga exercises these cognitive aptitudes, which are essential for the assimilation of contents in a school context.
Ability to cope with stress and anxiety.
In yoga classes at a young age, we perform exercises or dynamics that allow us to work on the management of these two elements more efficiently and serenely, with tranquillity. In a calm body and mind, the learning occurs in a more satisfactorily method.
Development of team work and cooperation skills.
In the relationship amongst colleagues / friends, connections are established, which will then encourage social values, such as respect, friendship, solidarity.
Encouragement of creative expression.
In class, during yoga practice, children are often allowed to express their ideas, thoughts and activities. This sense of freedom (with rules) empowers the true expression of their inner being.
Development of strong and healthy bodies.
Regular and disciplined practice promotes strong bodies, manifesting physical and psychological well-being.
Relaxation and peaceful sleep.
This benefit is a positive consequence of the practice of yoga in childhood, which is then reflected in a better performance in school. It is through stories, songs, games, relaxation, that we inspire all these elements, and others as important as nonviolence, truth, joy. Postures prepare the body for the development of intelligence and emotions.
We should allow children to experience new things, that make them feel good, and make them grow into a calm, sensible and peaceful adult. Through the practice of yoga we allow our children to grow in harmony and peace.
By Filipa Maria
Coach of YogaKids
School Sunshine Yoga