by Lisa Flynn

Yoga programs for kids encourage children to be children. Imitation of animals, nature and everyday objects, the basis of the physical aspect of a yoga practice, comes naturally to them. Children love opportunities to use their imaginations, create and explore. They get excited, calm down, play and dance. Yoga for kids encourages their natural abilities and interests, while helping them to develop strength, flexibility and an overall sense of well-being. Yoga for children also provides kids with tools they can use to get hold of their active lives and sometimes overactive minds.

Take a look at a sampling of what child development experts, parents and teachers (and finally, actual scientific research) are reporting as the benefits of yoga for children:

• develops/improves strength & flexibility

• improves concentration, focus & attention

• develops/improves balance & coordination

• improves general body awareness

• boosts self-confidence and self-esteem

• improves sleeping patterns

• encourages mind/body connection

• promotes calm and ability to be less reactive

• expands creative expression & imagination

• aids digestion, circulation & elimination

• promotes respect for self & others

• improves immune system function

• teaches environmental awareness, earth care, and an overall sense of connectedness

• promotes self-discipline and self-control

• clears the mind, promotes learning-readiness

• promotes an overall sense of well-being

In an era when children are acquiring conditions and diseases previously unknown in childhood, proper breathing, exercise and deep relaxation are a much needed healing force. Yoga helps children cope with the conflicts and stress of a very hectic world. It helps them to see the beauty and light within themselves, boosting their self-confidence, allowing them to feel more comfortable with their bodies, and helping them get in touch with who they are inside.

Yoga resonates with children. They love the practice and they love how they feel afterwards. And the bonus is that a child who learns yoga and relaxation will be developing beneficial skills they can use throughout their life. Practicing yoga can help a child develop concentration, patience, gentleness, strength, creativity and stability – habits we’d all love to cultivate. These are the building blocks that create the foundation for a happy, healthy life.

Excerpted from the ChildLight Yoga Teacher Training Manual. Copyright 2007, 2008, 2009. Join us for the next training – CLICK HERE.

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