Yoga is a psychophysical discipline with which we can achieve optimal conditions of well-being for our body. Its practice is not only for adults, but also children can enjoy it and its advantages for the body and mind.
How to explain to a child what yoga is
This depends in part on their age, but here are some general tips or guidelines on which they can turn their explanations.
- Yoga is a way of exercising our bodies, our breathing and our minds, all at the same time. In addition, yoga makes us feel very good!
- Yoga is a very ancient science that helps us develop flexibility and strength in our bodies, and happiness and peace in our mind.
- In yoga, there is a pose for everything in the world, be it an animal, a tree or an airplane, and we can do it with our body.
- Thousands of years ago, ancient yogis lived in the forest, mountains and caves of India. They observed their surroundings and saw how animals and nature moved in perfect harmony. They imitated the movements of animals, trees, mountains and even the movements of the stars, and created a wonderful technique called yoga.
- Yoga is a practice that teaches that happiness is our natural state. When the body and mind are unbalanced, we do not feel this happiness. With the help of yoga postures, breathing exercises and concentration inside, we return this harmony to our body and mind, and return to this natural state of happiness.
Yoga and its benefits in children
Yoga can benefit children significantly, and somehow, possibly even more than it helps adults. These are just some of its benefits:
1. Yoga is not competitive
In today's world, we hear a lot about being the best and achieving the maximum. Yoga teaches children that their bodies are different; Different bodies do different things and everyone is fine. There is no one better or worse in yoga than any other person; We all explore our bodies and learn from them in our own way. Yoga is really for every body.
2. Teach self-acceptance
In the same way that it gives children the opportunity to learn something that is not competitive, it also teaches children to accept and value yourself as they are. Again, with society sending so many messages of inadequacy, yoga teaches children to love themselves.
Learned as children, this incredibly valuable lesson offers children the tools to fight the growing feelings of doubt that arise during adolescence and beyond.
3. Teach acceptance to others
Yoga teaches acceptance and tolerance of others. By practicing yoga, children learn early in life that all living beings must be appreciated and respected as they are, which helps create more peaceful local communities and a more tolerant world for our future.
4. Promote healthy habits
Any exercise program initiated in childhood helps children stay physically active and healthy as a lifestyle. However, yoga takes it further by teaching not only healthy habits, but also offers a healthy food style, the ability to calm down and focus the mind.
5. Focus. Concentration. Attention
We live in a world full of distractions. Increasingly, children seem unable to concentrate on anything for a decent time. Yoga can help with that. It teaches children to be present and to focus on their breathing.
They learn how breathing can help them throughout the day, in any situation. They learn to focus on the pose by learning the correct alignment of the body, and in doing so, they learn to focus on their bodies and how they work, guiding each member or part of the body through the nuances of the posture.
6. Teach relaxing techniques
Young children deal with frustration continuously and usually do so by crying and making lollipops. When they learn proper and healthy breathing techniques and tools to focus the mind, they know how to apply those tools in their daily lives and react more appropriately to any situation.
7. Children learn self-knowledge through yoga
Again, by guiding their bodies through postures, children learn more about their bodies and what they are capable of doing. They learn more about their minds and how they can affect not only their own attitudes and approaches to life, but also the attitudes of others.
They learn that they can achieve this through their own thoughts and how they choose to react to any given situation. This awareness of the body, mind and spirit, and of what can be achieved when the three work together, helps children become safer, kind and responsible adults.
8. Promotes positive mental health
When children learn to accept and love themselves for what they are, to see the good in others, to focus and calm their minds, and to be aware of their innate abilities, they learn tools for resilience.
They are more likely to be positive and optimistic about life and their abilities, and hopefully they are less likely to succumb to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems that prevail today.
Perhaps the most important thing is that yoga teaches children that relaxation is not only allowed, but that relaxation is good, although it is not easy and learning to relax requires practice. Yoga provides space for the mind to slow down and establish itself.
You may be interested: Relaxation technique for children: Koeppen muscle relaxation
Children are always told that they need to be committed and productive. Their little minds are jumping from one activity to another throughout the day, often until they fall asleep at bedtime. Yoga teaches children that it doesn't always have to be that way.
If the kids they can learn how to relax and be still, they can better manage stressors and the pressures that will start hitting them as they age.
Children are actually natural yogis. Their innate trust in others, combined with their lack of inhibitions, allows them to receive the teachings of yoga and grow in an inspiring way. We adults have a lot to learn from the way children receive yoga! If we can make them enjoy this ancient discipline, they will not only benefit, but they will enjoy it immensely.