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Yoga for kids: stimulate the mind and body for better performance

Kids who practice yog are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves
Kids who practice yog are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves

Back to school time means more reading, writing and concentrating on good grades and competitive extra-curricular activities.

Outside of school and sports, there is also the pressure for keeping up socially – and most likely using social media and electronic devices that are the culprits of distraction from focusing on daily life, and connecting with people and the world around them.

On top of the electronic distractions, students are required to be top of their class to ensure future success. However, we see kids increasingly complain about stress, sleeping problems, physical fatigue, and posture issues – not to mention poor eating habits.

So how can kids, tweens and teens cope with these pressures without stressing out or burning out?

One word: Yoga.

While you might think of kids as naturally flexible, many are working hard to keep up with a busy schedule, causing unusually stressful conditions which are transferred to their minds and bodies. So, it’s not unusual to hear kids complaining about “crackly bones,” “sore knees,” or “feeling old” or tired. Well, looking at the busy lives they’re leading these days, they should be tired!

According to Yoga 4 Clasrooms, research has shown that children who practice yoga-based movement, conscious breathing, and mindfulness activities are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves. They may also choose better foods to eat and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Studies made by Yoga 4 Clasrooms also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.

School teachers can bring yoga to the classroom.

Yoga 4 Classrooms has developed training opportunities for teachers and school counselors to be able to teach yoga to students.

These teachers involved with the Yoga 4 Classrooms programs are recognizing that yoga, breath awareness and mindfulness activities as being beneficial to their students' (and their own!) mental health and well-being, and to the learning environment in general.

The Yoga 4 Classrooms Professional Development Workshop is appropriate for all K-12 classroom teachers, administrators, school counselors, phys-ed teachers, health educators, therapists, paraprofessionals and other school professionals seeking to bring simple yoga and mindfulness techniques into the classroom or similar setting for a more peaceful, productive class day. Absolutely no yoga experience is required.

According to one principal at a participating Yoga 4 Classrooms school, “Our goal is to create opportunities for kids to be successful. This program teaches kids to let go of things — stress, anxiety — and move on. Math and reading are important, but students need these life skills as well,”

Yoga practice can help kids. Period.

According to YoKids, which provides teacher training and classes for kids in the DC, Maryland and Virginia areas, states that nationally, DC has the 9th highest amount of overweight kids at 35.4%, Maryland at 28.8%, and Virginia with 31.0%. However, 70% of YoKid kids and teens surveyed, report that yoga helped them with school work.

Yoga 4 Classrooms list a number of benefits yoga has for kids including:

  • Wakes up sluggish minds and creativity as needed.
  • Enhances organizational and communication skills.
  • Improves posture, assisting students to sit comfortably for long periods.
  • Enhances motor skills and balance.
  • Improves mind/body awareness and connection.
  • Improves confidence and self-esteem.
  • Encourages respect for oneself and others.
  • Creates a calm, harmonious classroom.

All great skills for succeeding in life and the classroom.

Finding or teaching a class for kids.

In addition to yoga in classroom, there are a number of programs for kids and teens, as well as for both parents and child, currently offered in a number of Baltimore area studios.

Help your child be focused, strong and calm throughout the the school year with the gift of learning yoga.

Baltimore Yoga Village is offering a special Teen Girl Yoga Squad session with Maura Roth-Gormley, starting September 9 through October 14.

Yoga on York is offering two, 4-week Yoga for Kids workshop, Saturdays, starting September 6, for ages 5-8 and 9-12.

Rolling Brook Yoga is offering Yoga for Teens on Sunday afternoons, 3:00 – 4:00 pm.

YoKid offers training for both adults and trained yoga instructors interested in learning about the art of teaching children in the Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia areas. Check their schedules for a class near you.

Yoga 4 Classrooms has opportunities for trained RYT yoga teachers, as well as classroom teachers to learn in areas around the Mid-Atlantic. Check their web site for a location near you.

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