Stress Awareness Month has occurred every April since 1992 in order to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress pandemic.
Stress is defined as a feeling of emotional or physical tension, and can affect anyone who feels overwhelmed, including kids.
We underestimate the amount of stress kids have in their lives. For example, in preschoolers separation from parents can cause anxiety.
As children get older, academic and social pressures can create stress as kids are under a tremendous pressure to achieve.
In addition, children today are faced with pressure and stress from other sources such as over programming with after school and school activities, stimulation from TV and technology, and being bullied at school.
A number of studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety in kids and can also enhance their mood and sense of well-being.
Stress can result in physical tension in the body. The stretches and twists which kids practice in yoga, combined with deep breathing, can loosen up tight muscles, stretch the spine, and relieve stress on the discs and joints.
Breathing deeply in and through the nose can also reduce stress. Nasal breathing, as opposed to mouth breathing, gets more oxygen into the lungs and can help to prevent hyperventilation and the fight or flight response.
By focusing on their breath, kids can learn how to calm themselves. The Inhale pose, adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids, written by Teresa Power, illustrated by Kathleen Rietz, and published in Pacific Palisades, California by Stafford House Books, Inc., is a great pose to practice with kids to relieve stress.
"One of the most important parts of any yoga pose is remembering to breathe deeply by inhaling through the nose."
In addition, a child's attitude can influence whether a situation or emotion is stressful or not. Yoga for kids helps to build a positive mental outlook which can aid in how children handle stress.
Kids who practice yoga can release stress and tension and keep their bodies healthy and fit at the same time. The mind-body connection which children achieve through yoga helps them to stay centered while coping with anything from tests to peer pressure.