International Day of Yoga is coming up on 21 June, 2019, which is a day intended to raise awareness of the many benefits of yoga practice across the world. Yoga is a valued element of our Bonkers Beat programs. We continually see the incredible benefits of children and adults practicing yoga every day in many childcare services and homes.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a combination of movement, stretching and breathing that is intended to improve health as well as happiness. The United Nations recognises the value of yoga and offers this definition of the practice: “Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derived from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolising the union of body and consciousness.”
How yoga can enhance children’s lives (and adults!)
Yoga is an excellent way to do a lot of things. Let’s explore all the benefits you could find from practicing yoga with children or as an adult.
- Awareness of our bodies
When we practice the physical postures of yoga or feel the rise and fall of our tummies during meditation, we become more aware of the connection between our physical and emotional states.
- Improve memory and concentration
Said to be attributed to a combination of deep breathing and the learned ability to focus, yoga and meditation has benefits like improved concentration and memory.
- Better breathing
You would think that we are all quite skilled at breathing, seeing as we do it all day, but mindful deep breaths have a special effect on our bodies such as increased oxygen absorption and even a longer life!
- A self-esteem boost
Accomplishing a new move in yoga or seeing balance improve can go a long way to show children what they are capable of and boost their self-esteem.
- More flexibility and strength
Regular yoga and meditation can enable us and children to move more freely and become strong and flexible.
- Learn to appreciate quiet and stillness
Yoga and meditation in early childhood can be a path to feeling comfortable in silent moments, and mindful when we are still. This helps us to listen with attention and make informed decisions in our lives.
- Better sleep
Most exercise has this impact and yoga is certainly no exception – regular practice can lead to better sleep, and deep breathing or meditation can be useful tools to help children fall asleep more easily too.
- Improved overall health
Cardiovascular health, digestive health, the nervous system, regulated hormone levels, improved immunity, better sleep — the list of health benefits of yoga goes on and on!
- Better emotional awareness and control
Deep breathing is an excellent tool to help calm children down when they aren’t able to control their behaviour in an outburst or ‘tantrum’ scenario. Teaching children to use this technique when required can lead to more awareness and control over their emotions.
- Connect with themselves and one another
Yoga and meditation in early childhood settings can be a fun way to get more comfortable with one another and connect over something they enjoy!
Getting started with yoga
There are many ways to get started with using yoga to improve your health and wellbeing of your children.
All you need is 5 minutes to fit in yoga and meditation, a few quiet moments here and there or you can incorporate it as a regular experience in your day. For example, at Bonkers Beat Music Kinder, we start each day with a ‘Welcome a New Day’ session. This involves educators, children and even families participating in a 20 to 25-minute session of mindfulness exercises and a range of other wellbeing routines.
Yoga and meditation are great for children as a transitional tool. It allows them to reset after rest time or outdoor play when heading indoors to focus the mind onto a new experience or just to unwind.
Our Yoga Cards and meditation music can be a fantastic starting point. Children enjoy the fun of the yoga cards while being introduced to the benefits of yoga. You can find them in our store.
The Bonkers Beat programs incorporate daily yoga and meditation that children and adults alike LOVE. To learn more about our programs and the wellbeing initiatives within them, take a look here.