By Gopi Rao
As anyone who spends much time around children can tell you, sometimes it is difficult to keep them calm. Sometimes it even seems impossible. This is due to a number of reasons. Kids have a boundless energy, and sometimes they simply don’t know how to channel this energy in a positive direction. Also, kids don’t get the exercise they should, which leaves them worked up. Finally, they are living in a fast-paced world where they are constantly being herded from one activity to another without time to breathe and relax. This can leave them feeling on edge all the time, which also causes them to act up.
Yoga Is the Solution
Fortunately, yoga can be a wonderful solution for adults who need help calming children down. Yoga is a tailor-made activity for calming people of all ages, and kids are no exception. The exercise, meditation and relaxing breathing that make up yoga combine to create a powerful tool that will help to calm even the unruliest kids.
Adding Exercise to Their Days
One of the biggest reasons that kids are acting up more these days is that they don’t get enough exercise and far too many of them are playing video games or watching TV for hours each day instead of playing outside. For these kids, an immediate solution to reduce their acting out is upping their exercise levels. Having kids engage in a daily yoga practice is a wonderful way to up their activity levels and calm them down.
Helping Them Manage Their Emotions
Another common reason kids get worked up is because they do not know how to manage their emotions. When they get upset, angry or afraid, they act out because these big emotions overwhelm them. However, when kids start to do yoga, they learn how to relax and calm themselves down with the power of breathing techniques and focusing the mind. They will take these calming tools off the mat with them, using them to relax and let their emotions pass over them without upsetting them to the point where they act out.
Relaxing Before Bedtime
Nearly all parents know the seemingly eternal struggle to get kids to calm down before bedtime. Many kids seem to all of a sudden swallow a 50-horsepower motor as soon as bedtime is brought up. For parents who are sick to death of dealing with this, adding a nighttime yoga routine can be the perfect tool to calm their children and get them to go to bed gracefully.
Yoga is a wonderful tool for calming kids down in every scenario and parents can utilize it, childcare providers and schools to help reduce the amount of acting out kids do. Try adding a regular yoga practice to your kid’s daily routine to witness the calming wonders for yourself.
Children can benefit from engaging in a regular yoga practice much the same way that adults do. Through yoga, kids can develop physical and mental habits that have positive effects on their long-term health.
It is so easy to go through life moving from one screen to the next. The Siren song of phones, tablets, and video game consoles lures children into inactivity. Studies are linking a stationary lifestyle to a host of health problems. Yoga gets kids into the habit of moving. Since yoga encourages non-judgment, it is a great way for children of all athletic abilities to incorporate movement into their days.
Getting into the habit of scanning the body for what it needs can keep kids safe and healthy. Yoga encourages children to develop proprioceptive senses. Body awareness extends to understanding what the body needs in order to be well. Children with body awareness have a better understanding of their body's cues to rest, eat, or drink.
The education system and social pressure are major stressors. Children are expected to learn more content at a quicker pace than ever. Growing up can be tough work. Besides burning off physical energy through movement, yoga teaches kids how to relax. Developing stress relief habits at an early age enables a child to circumvent the stress cycle that leads to health problems later in life. Breathing techniques can be transferred off the mat and into a variety of stressful situations that a child may encounter.
Self-study is a necessary but often overlooked practice. As one learns to navigate interpersonal relationships, it is easy to lose sight of one’s own values. Giving kids the time to focus inward allows them to hear their authentic voice. By engaging in the physical practice of yoga or through meditation and pranayama, children can access a greater understanding of themselves. Through self-study, a child can learn to be kinder to him or herself and others.
In many yoga classes, we can focus our movement and breath on our intention. Our intention could be in the form of a positive affirmation or a short list of things we need to accomplish with our practice. This laser-like focus allows us to discern meaning from what we are doing. Children who learn this skill of intention setting can easily transfer it from the mat and into their everyday lives.
Yoga is physically and emotionally beneficial for children. Through breath and movement, kids can strengthen their bodies and minds, and they can become better citizens of the world.