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I have been an avid yoga fan for almost 20 years and I have embraced it along with meditation and mindfulness as regular self-care practise. I find that yoga, meditation and mindfulness ground me, calms any tension, brings my awareness back to the present, and not to mention it helps to limber up my joints.
It’s the one activity that really connects the mind, body, and spirit altogether, particularly when it’s combined with meditation. I still find it challenging and uplifting after all these years.
My 3 children have been fortunate to also experience the same benefits from yoga and meditation. All they need to get started anywhere is a good yoga mat.
My eldest son and daughter were reintroduced to kids yoga and meditation on a daily basis during homeschool. They enjoyed the downtime it brought from the books, experienced quiet time, felt the stretching benefits, and practised mindfulness with the slow and controlled breathing.
The slow and controlled diaphragmatic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system which calms the body down. It’s a great tool for regulating emotions and anxiety.
BENEFITS OF YOGA AND MEDITATION
Yvette Eyles is a yoga and meditation teacher from Yogahum who enjoys teaching kids of all ages from infants through to late teen years. She agrees that it is an exercise that kids can immediately do and benefit from, accommodates for all abilities, and is non-competitive. Meditation and yoga assist in mind-set, self-care, and overall well-being.
MUMS AND BUBS YOGA
I would like to briefly introduce you to the concept of baby yoga and meditation for mums which was discussed previously in my last blog. These activities are used to nurture both mum and bubs wellbeing. A happy mum has an immediate effect and reflects onto bub, creating a contagion for a happy and much calmer relationship with the baby, and at the same time promotes and encourages self-care.
Yvette says that the main focus of mums and bubs yoga isn’t just on mums but also on giving undivided time to the baby. The classes are tailored to be flexible and adaptable as babies’ temperaments and moods are unforeseeable. My daughter used to experience better sleep and digestion on the days following our morning mums and bubs classes. See the benefits that I have previously mentioned here.
YOGA FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
School-aged children can reap the benefits of yoga, meditation and mindfulness in calming them whilst bringing the mind-body connection closer. In some instances, it can help mentally and emotionally by improving their emotional regulation, body awareness, and mindfulness. Yoga cards can be a fun way for kids to do yoga poses and practice mindfulness simultaneously anywhere and at any time, see here.
Some kids can utilise mindfulness, breathing and relaxation techniques to manage their anxiety, enhancing their emotional awareness and regulation. It has many physical benefits with improvements in flexibility and can help strengthen their bodies.
Meditation is a useful tool to calm emotions and manage stress for kids which can have flow-on effects to better sleep and self-esteem. See Yvette’s Youtube for meditation for children.
YOGA FOR TEENS
Yoga and meditation can be a welcome activity and quiet downtime for teenagers who often benefit from outlets to the worries and concerns that come from hormonal changes, school, and friendship concerns. It can set the tone for promoting a physical and healthy lifestyle, enhance mindfulness, and engage the function of the mind which helps as concentration and thought patterns develop fast during these years.
Some teenage boys can be resistant to yoga, possibly due to the fact that they find it challenging to sit still! However, in these instances, it can be helpful to make poses more challenging and they then have to try harder and incorporate the breathing exercises to accomplish the poses.
The quiet time at the end of class is also enjoyed by all as they often don’t make enough time to unwind with their busy school and social lives.
Yoga is also gaining more recognition and being used by elite athletes to help them focus on their goals whilst also gaining the benefits of stretching and strengthening, which in turn can prevent injuries. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness are useful tools that assist in mind-set, self-care, and overall wellbeing, which is particularly useful for athletes.
MINDFULNESS FOR OUR KIDS
Mindfulness is gaining traction at a fast rate as we all become more aware of our environments and events around us. My older kids enjoy the yoga poses, albeit done for a short time, as they know it’s a time to switch off from their busy thoughts and it brings them back to their awareness of body and mind.
Children could benefit from this mindful awareness and exercise and use this as a tool to have an attitude of gratitude and adapt to ever-changing events.