Yoga for Children and Young People
Over the past few years, yoga has become more popular and available to all people, including children and young people. It has been shown to help them with their mental health and their well-being.
The practice of yoga is one that has been cultivated, changed, and perfected over the last few centuries. Over the past few years, yoga has become more popular and available to all people, including children and young people. It has been shown to help them with their mental health and their well-being. Here, we will discuss a bit about how yoga can help children and young people’s mental health and well-being, as well as some tips and tricks for children practicing yoga.
The strong grounding and intense connection of mind and body that can come from a yoga practice have several benefits for everyone. This includes the mental health and well-being of those who practice. So why is this practice beneficial for children? How can it help their mental health and well-being? Let’s take a look at several reasons why yoga is good for children and young people to practice.
Yoga for children and young people’s mental health and well-being
It may come as a surprise that yoga can be practiced by pretty much anyone. This includes children as young as 2 or 3 years old and goes all the way up to people in their 80s, 90s, even 100s if they are still active! However, we are going to focus on the younger generations and why yoga can help support mental health and well-being. Let’s take a look at just some of the ways it can do this.
- Yoga can help children cope with emotions (Related: Permission to unplug: The health benefits of yoga for kids). Several studies have been conducted on the effects that yoga has on children’s coping abilities, and time and time again it has shown to have a positive impact on how children deal with their emotions – especially negative ones. A study published by The American Journal of Occupational Therapy (Related: Efficacy of the get ready to learn yoga program among children with autism spectrum disorders) showed that students on the autism spectrum that received daily yoga practice “showed significant decreases (p < .05) in teacher ratings of maladaptive behavior…”. Because many children do not understand how to cope with the different emotions that will inevitably come up, they don’t know where to channel it. However, yoga can help by giving them an outlet and a way to calm down through breath and movement.
- Yoga can help improve core symptoms of ADHD (Related: Yoga for school-age children). Recent studies have shown that practicing yoga regularly can help children and young people who suffer from ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – by lessening certain symptoms including inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It also helps to improve performance in school. Because yoga is tangible and involves movement and connection with the mind and body, it can be extremely effective in helping children concentrate and control their minds during the school day, which is extremely difficult for children and young people with ADHD. Yoga can really be a way for children and young people to use their energy in a positive way, lessening the distractions and impulsivity that they may normally feel throughout the rest of their day.
- Yoga helps foster motivation and higher self-esteem (Related: 7 ways yoga helps children and teens). Yoga can encourage acceptance amongst peers. By creating a safe environment and focusing on the principle of non-judgement, yoga is a wonderful tool to teach children and young people to be accepting and not to judge others. It also motivates children to continue with their practice and to improve in many different aspects of their lives. Once they begin their practice, they will oftentimes want to continue and get better each day. It is also easy to boost self-esteem when they are working toward a goal. Achieving goals brings with it higher self-esteem and more motivation to continue pushing and doing better.
- Yoga reduces stress and anxiety, as well as improving optimism. Yoga has proven over the years to be an incredible tool in reducing and even relieving stress and anxiety for most people. This includes young people and children. Yes, children experience stress and anxiety as well, and having an outlet such as yoga can be incredibly helpful for them to release that stress in a healthy way. Yoga has also been shown to increase optimism and help young people and children build a more optimistic outlook for their future.
Tips for yoga for children and young people’s health and well-being
Here are a few ways to ensure that children and young people are getting the most out of their yoga practice.
- Consistency is key. As with any yoga practice, consistency will draw better results. This is especially true for young people as they are growing and learning consistency in their lives.
- Get them their own equipment. By investing in their yoga practice – for example, buying them their own natural cork yoga mat and perhaps some yoga blocks, they are more likely to feel like the practice is their own and want to continue. Having a sense of ownership is important for encouraging children to stick with something.
- Incorporate play. Yoga does not always have to be serious. For young children, playing games and incorporating fun into a yoga practice is important. This will keep their attention for longer and encourage their creativity.
- Encourage self-appreciation. While it is wonderful to praise your child, encouraging them to praise themselves is just as important if not more important. Instead of saying “I’m proud of you.” try “You must be so proud of yourself.”. This gives them a sense of accomplishment in their own minds and builds their self-esteem. Encourage positive self-talk.
Yoga is for anyone and everyone. Starting children out early can truly be a game changer, and will certainly aid children with their mental health and well-being. Children can begin as young as 2 years old with a yoga practice. In our opinion, the younger the better. That way, they can develop healthy habits early in life and will hopefully carry them with them throughout the rest of their lives. Encourage your children to participate in yoga and see what amazing things it does. Everyone involved will be happy with the results. We guarantee it. Happy practicing, yogis!
Guest Writer Bio
Sarah Mercey is a world traveler, hiker, and nature lover. She is a journalist, yoga teacher, and lover of life who is passionate about sharing wellness tips with people around her. She has experience in small editions and often writes articles on the topic of mindfulness and yoga.