It's hard being a kid today. Don’t scoff! We genuinely believe that to be true!
There are so many expectations and demands put on them by peers, society and loved ones. So many opportunities to learn and grow that should not be missed. An ever changing school curriculum, a new academy status and a social calendar that would send even the most seasoned socialite into hiding.
Yet if we were to take a step back and assess the many distractions, temptations and overstimulation that they incur on a daily basis – how would we react?
Kids do not have gyms or spas that they can retreat to nor wellness weekends away. No retail therapy to be had nor a glass of one’s favourite tipple in the evening. So how can we ensure that future generations do not implode?
For many the answer simply lies in yoga.
What is good for the goose is good for the gander and all that.
This may come as surprise for some but many educational institutions have comprehended this and incorporated yoga into their own curriculum. Experts feel that this should be an integral part of the school day involving teachers and students alike.
The beauty of yoga is that it is inclusive of all children irrespective of their needs and abilities. There is also a more playful aspect to it as games are incorporated for the younger learners, even elements of teamwork yet the focus still remains on asana, pranayama, surya namaskara etc with the addition of animal noises!
Now picture this would the Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana - Compass Pose – be any easier if we were all oinking, braying and squawking? Surely the adho mukha shvanasana – downward dog – would be more bearable if one could bark!
As titillating as this may sound the many benefits include; improved behaviour - due to a calmer state of mind, stress management – through breathing, meditation and movement, an increase in confidence and a positive self-image, a non-competitive environment, general well-being – posture and strength as well as increased concentration.
Jo Jeyaratnam – a yoga teacher of both adults and children based in Greenwich/Deptford explains further “ Introducing young children to this….at an early age helps to make it part of a normal life and teaches them good habits in terms of mind and body awareness…yoga poses prevent blockages in prana and balance poses steady the mind and focus – the tree pose being their favourite asana. Yoga for children will lead to improved behaviour and self-confidence….No matter what a child is going through……learning to relax using the breath will make a huge difference…...Savasana – the corpse pose – simply teaches children to just be…..”
Children perform better after returning to lessons and some schools have noted that test performances improved immensely after a session. Of course there will be cynics among us who may underestimate this holistic approach but the proof is in the pudding.
A school in Baltimore has created a “mindful room” that is an alternative to the dreaded detention/principal’s office. There they are encouraged to be still and meditate or practise breathing exercises. This is thought to enable children to develop the tools needed for stressful situations – instead of reacting spontaneously. Since the initiative, suspensions have reduced by 100%.
You can't argue with that!