The Importance of Early Childhood Yoga
April 21, 2015
April 21, 2015
As yoga becomes more popular in schools through physical education classes and after-school programs, controversy arises. Especially in Christian organizations. Although many adults like the benefits of yoga, some parents feel that the practice might have a religious association and, like prayer, shouldn’t be allowed in a public or Christian environment. Some argue that yoga is a form or piece of Hinduism and that it disseminates religious and meditation principles with its use of “om” and “namaste” verbiage. Some also believe that the asanas, or postures, such as the sun salutation, are a form of Hindu religious worship, or worshiping the sun. To avoid these false assumptions, some teachers focus on the benefits of the exercises and use generic, English terms, instead of Sanskrit, for the poses, renaming them cat, tree, frog and downward dog. Yoga Athletex is founded by two Christian, Houstonians who were brought up in private schools and have a solid faith in the the Grace of our Lord. We like to use yoga as a soft platform for worship, self healing, acceptance and growth.
Yoga is becoming more and more popular in western civilization to off set the daily stressors of this fast growing community. Not only do adults suffer from stress and depression, our children are inevitably experiencing this stress. Yoga is a great, safe outlet for our children. Yoga offers an opportunity of story telling, breathing techniques, self awareness and personal space. Yoga teaches our children to be mindful of their bodies, mind and spirit. It gives them a platform to build a solid faith and personal journey. Yoga is a practice our children can practice anywhere and anytime. Yoga teaches our children how to act or react to situations in a positive and mindful manner. Yoga leads to self discovery and creativity. Yoga builds a healthy body image for our children which is constantly viewed as negative in today’s society. Yoga builds self-esteem and gives our children the lesson of accomplishment and failure. Although these benefits may seem too “deep” for early childhood, these benefits are a bonus of the playful environment yoga offers.
The list of benefits goes on. Yoga enhances physical strength and flexibility. It will also prepare our children for future athletics, teaching them to use their muscles and balance. Through each asana, Yoga Athletex teaches anatomy, muscles and their benefits, or function. For example, balance is a key element of yoga practice. Balance promotes mental clarity and physical poise. It develops fine and gross motor skills. It teaches our children to stay calm when unstable. The physical practice of balancing, however simple, can be applied to any school or home activity.
Yoga develops focus and concentration The act of practicing poses encourages children to clear their mind and focus on the effort or task at hand. As a result of this single focus to achieve a particular pose or stay balanced, yoga helps children to focus and concentrate in school and get better grades, according to several studies. Yoga teaches perseverance, patience and determination.
Yoga is beneficial to children of all ages, but it has been found to be particularly so for kids with special needs. Studies have shown that yoga programs reduce aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity. Autism Key, an autism support website, says that yoga helps address heightened anxiety, poor motor coordination, and weak self-regulation.
Parents may notice how yoga benefits their kids, but the best judges are the kids themselves. Children who have practiced yoga tell teachers and parents that they are able to concentrate better during the day, focus better on their activities, and pay attention to their tasks. But, most of all, kids love yoga because it’s fun! Simple as that.