Yoga is a powerful, non-competitive practice that strengthens and stretches body and mind. It includes physical postures and movement, breath work and stillness. This practice energizes and calms body and mind, bringing us into a state of balance. What a skill to learn early in life!
Here are specific benefits that are useful for children (and the rest of us, too):
Yoga practice involves breath work, movement and an awareness of what you are doing. Such concentration requires active attention, which can boost brain function, memory capacities and impulse control. Increasing this capacity to focus can help kids in other areas of their lives, especially in school, sports and any time they need to focus.
This system of moving, breathing and building awareness can lead to a calming of the mind and nervous system. Calming the nervous system leads to relaxation and the release of healthy hormones. Entering into a state of relaxation regularly leads to greater emotional and physical resiliency and strength.
After class on Friday (which included standing poses, sun salutations, breathing exercises, both strengthening and calming poses and a final guided relaxation with a singing bowl), I asked students to think of a word that described how they felt. Many of them wanted to share. These are their words: Calm. Peaceful. Happy. Relaxed. Strong. Good.
Knowing that you have the tools to take care of yourself leads to confidence. Feeling strong and capable leads to confidence. Being aware of and in your body leads to confidence. Being strong, relaxed, knowing who you are and feeling good about yourself leads to a quiet confidence that can shine through.