Side-pic-educationYoga is truly a life preserver we can toss to our kids!

We would like to share this great, succinct article, originally posted by Amy Taylor on www.jconline.com, highlighting the most important benefit of yoga for kids – stress relief and the capacity for self-regulation.

By Amy Taylor

This year, it’s not just the boys headed back to school. I’m returning to work in my original field of school psychology.

One of my favorite aspects of the job is trying to help solve the puzzle of why a student isn’t learning or behaving to expectations. Every child is unique, but scientific research helps us discern which interventions are most likely to work.

Of course, my new hat won’t change my old head. I’ll always believe that yoga is the golden key to health, happiness and success.

Mounting evidence reveals why. A recent study out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that students’ working memory and inhibitory control increased significantly after a 20-minute session of Hatha yoga. These effects were not observed after 20 minutes of aerobic activity. Memory and ability to inhibit responses are among the “executive functions” of the human brain. Deficits in these areas help explain why some students struggle to exhibit good thinking skills, monitor their emotions and establish positive social relationships. They live in emotional overdrive without the steering skills to stay on the road.

As a friend reminded me recently, our anxiety served a vital function in the past. The fight-or-flight response helped us survive.Side-pic-about

Today, many of us feel that same primitive arousal at work, in traffic or at the state fair (maybe that’s just me). The tools of breath, mindfulness and motion can help discharge tension and keep us on track.

Children are in the same boat but with nervous systems still under construction. They pick up on the pressure teachers feel and well-meaning parents often multiply. Many feel like they are drowning in fear and anxiety.

Yoga is a life preserver we could toss to them.

Yoga improves thinking, attention and emotional control. It helps kids tune into their breath and body and learn to self-regulate. I know how often these concerns are cited in schools.

We can tweak the environment and sometimes that works. But what if we could tweak the brain of each child to a setting more conducive to productivity and peace?

It’s exciting to watch what I know in my heart become an established part of the scientific literature. It’s almost as good as watching scattered kids grow focused and serene.

Reposted with permissions of the author. Originally published on http://www.jconline.com. Author can be reached at ataylor@journalandcourier.com.

For more on yoga in schools research, visit Yoga 4 Classrooms research webpage.

Interested in learning more about kids yoga teacher training? Check out our ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms training opportunities to find the best fit for you.