6 Ways Kids Yoga Benefits Your Child
by Marije Roede
“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom. Without that it is surely destroyed.”
When you want to prepare a garden to grow flowers and trees, what do you do? Do you just sprinkle seeds over the earth and leave it at that? Many people could attempt this, but then nothing would grow! First, you have to prepare the soil and pull out the weeds. Then once you sow the seeds, they will grow into nice flowers and fruit-bearing trees.
The same law applies to the human mind. The mind has to be prepared to accept the seeds. So the best time to start practising yoga is at a young age, when the mind is still open and free!
Kitaro Nishida, one of the greatest philosophers of Japan in the 20th century said;
“If my heart can become pure and simple like that of a child, I think there probably can be no greater happiness than this”
By doing yoga, children can stay connected to their pure and open hearts. Our children live in a world where being busy is glorified. They experience lots of pressure at school from a very young age. Instead of playing and using their imagination, they are busy playing video games, being on their iPads, doing homework, and playing competitive sports. We usually don't think that these things are stressful for our kids, but sometimes they can be. The fast pace of our lives and our children's lives can have a negative effect on their innate joy.
There are numerous benefits to practising yoga at a young age:
1. It enhances self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that's noncompetitive.
2. It increases cooperation (when practising with siblings or parents and hopefully soon with other children) and helps to develop feelings of compassion with others instead of comparing themselves to others.
3. Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, body awareness, and overall physical health.
4. It helps them to feel their own boundaries: they learn what they can and cannot do and what they like and don’t like to do. They are free to express themselves.
5. It helps them to develop focused attention and concentration and gives them a sense of calm and relaxation.
6. Through doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them.
Yoga brings that marvellous inner light that all children have to the surface.
Movement has always been an integral part of Marije’s life and when she decided to go to university to study psychology instead of continuing with the dance academy she was attending at the time, yoga came into her life and filled the gap that was left behind.