Over the past few months we’ve all experienced upheaval in our lives due to COVID-19.
For many of us, the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our physical and mental health, living situation, job security or insecurity, or ability to connect with others. To say the least, it’s been tough.
Now, let’s turn the tables and think about it this way: If this health crisis has been difficult on us, imagine how hard it is for children, many of whom are experiencing anxiety yet don’t know how to express their feelings and emotions.
Kids across the world have watched their lives go into a holding pattern. We don’t even know yet if school will resume come August or September. One thing is for sure: Many kids are experiencing anxiety, which can lead to sleep issues, overeating, depression, and other stress-induced disorders.
Luckily, yoga can help children and teens deal with anxiety in the wake of the Coronavirus.
Read on to learn about the benefits of yoga and mindfulness for children.
Yoga has many benefits for kids that can have longterm positive effects, including mindfulness, coping skills and stress management.
Yoga has been defined by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the oldest yogic texts, as the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.
This means that yoga can quiet mind chatter. In children’s yoga classes, kids' yoga poses often incorporate breathing techniques that help kids stay present in their bodies. This helps even toddlers and preschoolers can slow down their racing minds.
Yoga can help children and teens unwind and let go.
And, by incorporating breathing techniques, kids will learn to relax and release pent-up fears and stress. For example, kids can practice theme-based yoga, like “A Trip to the Rainforest.” Here they can make animal sounds when they exhale. Or, if the yoga theme is “Planting a Garden”, the children can make a buzzing bee noise when they exhale. Teaching children about breathing in this way also helps them stay focused. And, this ultimately helps reduce anxiety.
In addition, there’s one pose in particular that helps children relax while calming their minds. That pose is Savasana, also known as Corpse Pose. If you’re not familiar with corpse pose, this entails laying down on your back on your yoga mat, and relaxing every inch of your body.
Kids yoga is often the best way to introduce mindfulness to kids.
If mindfulness is a new concept for you, here’s a great explanation: Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention. It involves awareness of the present moment and a gentle attitude of acceptance and non-judgment with every experience.
To expand upon this, here are some top mindfulness benefits for kids:
This is especially important when kids are experiencing difficult emotions like fear and anger.
When children and teens practice mindfulness, they become more aware of what their minds are up to, and they learn that it’s ok to have different emotions and sensations throughout the day. With consistent mindfulness practice, kids are less likely to be overwhelmed by the more challenging feelings. Ultimately, mindfulness helps children recognize when they need to steady themselves so they can replace impulsive reactions with thoughtful responses.
Empathy, or the ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling, improves children’s awareness of others. This, in turn, helps them build positive relationships through kindness, generosity and compassion.
As kids learn to be kind and compassionate to others, they remember to extend the same positive attitudes to themselves and their bodies.
Kids need yoga in their lives – today, more than ever!
Especially in the age of Coronavirus, children need tools to ease their minds and worries. And, as shown above, yoga can help ease stress and anxiety for children and teens.
With this said, yoga should be available to all children. And, while some parents can certainly practice yoga at home with their kids via videos and online classes, others don’t know where to begin.
Pretzel Kids is on a mission to grow their community of diverse kids yoga instructors and deliver classes to children in low income communities. This is also why beYogi and Pretzel Kids are offering a diversity scholarship program for BIPOC. Applications are open until July 15 and winners will be notified in early August.
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a Pretzel Kids yoga teacher, giving back to kids in underserved communities, and generating income for you and your family, this may be your chance!
Learn more and apply to the Pretzel Kids BIPOC scholarship here!