Yoga is a spiritual act between one’s physical existence and spiritual conscience. The easiest way to explain yoga is – a series of movements connected to breathing.
Yoga plays a vital role in improving both physical and mental health.
Yoga is not just for adults. It can be of extensive help to people of various age groups- from young children to teenagers, inactive kids to serious athletes.
Yoga enhances balance, endurance, aerobic capacity in children. It is important for the children to practice yoga routinely, as then it will improve their focus, memory, self-esteem, self-control, classroom behaviour and academic performance. Yoga has a major contribution in reducing anxiety in children. It also improves the connection between the mind and body. It can help children to imbibe important life skills that can help them to succeed and broaden their perspective in today’s competitive world.
Today, children live in a modern , perhaps a “ hurry-up” world of immense school pressure, incessant lessons, video games and competitive sports. It is beyond doubt that these activities can prove to be stressful for them. Such hectic pace of the children’s lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy.
Yoga can help counter these pressures.
When children learn the different techniques or postures of yoga , they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that’s non-competitive. The various breathing and relaxation techniques in yoga can help children manage stress. It is an important life skill that will therefore benefit them both as children and adults. Yoga helps children to gain a peaceful state of mind, ultimately improving their emotional regulation. The different “asanas” in yoga, require children to focus and work on their memorization power which can be fruitful to them in their academic sphere.
Yoga has a major contribution in teaching discipline to children, as they work on clearing their minds and perfecting the various postures.
Yoga enables the children to connect deeply with their inner self and develop an intimate relationship with the surrounding world .
During the various yoga postures or “asanas”, when children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they acquire a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on its qualities. Likewise , when they assume the pose of the lion (Simhasana), they experience not only the power and behaviour of the lion, but also their own sense of power- when to be aggressive and when to retreat.
Research has also stated that yoga is beneficial for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by improving the inattentiveness , hyperactivity and impulsivity.
In Lisa Flynn’s book, she explains how yoga can really help in children’s development and how they can become more present in the moment.
She states: “ More and more American children from all walks of life are overweight , have stress and anger issues and have attention and learning problems, There is a real separation of mind and body.”
By practicing yoga on a regular basis, children can derive enormous benefits. It enhances their flexibility , strength, body awareness , sense of calmness , relaxation and concentration. Researchers from across the world have concluded that regular yoga practice could improve a child’s overall mental wellbeing and boost the immunity. It can help children deal with depression and stresses created due to excessive media consumption.
It has been seen that after a hectic day, children prefer to scroll through social media at night and tend to be awake for long. Yoga can therefore be helpful in getting a better sleep, thus improving the sleep cycle.
Classroom based research demonstrates that children who enjoy yoga as part of their curriculum show notable improvement in behaviour.
Adolescents, aged between 11 and 18 years have been seen struggling with bowel problems. Regular practicing of yoga can bring about significant improvements in the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal system.
Yoga can be advantageous for asthmatic children. It greatly reduces drug dependency and improves asthma control in such children.
Western countries have readily adopted yoga for the innumerable health benefits it offers. There are thousands of yoga schools in the USA that teach the art of yoga. In India , a number of schools have integrated yoga into physical education programs . Many yoga studios have also opened to offer yoga classes for the school- age children. YouTube has a number of 15-20 minute videos on Yoga , from where children can easily watch , learn and practice.
Hence, Yoga is referred as a special science which teaches us how to live a healthy life and how to remain satisfied with our life decisions. The main aim of yoga is to eliminate any negative energy in the body and to attain a state of divine peace and harmony . Practicing yoga regularly can prevent numerous diseases and reduce stress and unfounded fears. It helps to regulate the normal functioning of the main body organs. It enables people to take control of emotional , mental and spiritual thoughts. Yoga is a great way to improve one’s health, body flexibility and muscle strength at any age.