Benefits of Yoga
Although children today have many luxuries that previous generations could have only dreamed of, their lives are also much more difficult in many ways.
Technological advances have made children smarter in some way...
But they have also caused many downsides, like decreasing mobility. Since kids are glued to their couches hours on end, children around the world are less fit than their parent’s generation. In fact, “children's aerobic fitness has declined by 5 percent since 1975,” and “it takes them 90 seconds longer to run a mile than kids did 30 years ago,” according to npr.org.
Due to budget deficits, many schools around the country are eliminating physical education (PE) programs, which results in kids not being active at home or at school. That, coupled with poor food choices, have created an obesity epidemic in American youth. One in three children are now identified as obese, a number that tripled between 1975 and 2011.
While some parents are preventing childhood obesity by enrolling their children in sports clubs and activities, not every parent can afford to pay for extracurricular activities. However, there is one activity that can help parents raise healthy kids, one that requires very little investment and is something the whole family can do together - it is yoga!
A Kids Yoga Toy
Meddy Teddy is a fun way to teach yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. He is a role model and cOMpassionate buddy for young ones, helping them lead healthier, more mindful lives. Meddy has an internal frame allowing him to bend into lots of yoga positions.
Asanas are practiced to promote strength training and flexibility through stretching. Each of the yoga positions has a specific health benefit.
What is Yoga?
Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years; the actual term yoga originates from an ancient Indian language called Sanskrit. This activity’s purpose is to unite the body, mind and spirit. The physical part of yoga is conducted through a series of asanas, or yoga postures or poses. Asanas are practiced to promote strength training and flexibility through stretching. Each of the yoga positions has a specific health benefit.
What are Yoga Benefits for Kids?
There are important and numerous benefits of yoga for kids. Unlike most other physical activities for kids, yoga doesn’t only promote healthy kids through physical exercise, but also focuses on improving and helping to grow children’s minds, spirits, emotions and thoughts.
Many kids today are incredibly stressed out; school and peer pressure, body image issues, world events and other factors cause little children and teenagers to worry. In fact, a survey reports that 20 percent of kids say that they worry a lot.
Yoga is a great kids activity to combat stress; because yoga focuses on breathing and meditation, it is a natural stress reliever. This mind-body practice has been proven to reduce everyday stress and anxiety, as well as promote a general good mood and outlook on life. A Harvard Medical School article explains that yoga can reduce heart rate, decrease blood pressure and help to ease respiration, all of which are the body’s natural stress busters.
A German study quoted in the article observed 24 women who said they were “emotionally distressed,” and found that those that took two yoga classes two times per week for the duration of three months, “reported improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being. Depression scores improved by 50%, anxiety scores by 30%, and overall well-being scores by 65%.”
In addition to balance, mobility and flexibility, yoga poses for kids promote strength training as children have to engage their muscles while doing isometric contractions (a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction) and controlled breathing. Yoga is one of the best physical activities for kids, as it promotes strength training without using dumbbells or other machinery, reducing the chance of injury and eliminating gym and class costs. Strength training of any kind has obvious benefits, such as “building muscular strength, fat loss, improved metabolism, and increased bone density,” according to mindmuscle.com.
Focus and Awareness
Kids yoga poses require them to hold a position while controlling their breathing, which teaches them to learn to focus; “with increased focus, you can increase attention naturally, even in kids who struggle with different attention challenges,” explains mindbodygreen.com.
Kids yoga allows children to become more in tuned with their bodies; when they learn that they can control their bodies, and realize that they are building strength and focus, they will have a healthier body awareness and image. These kids will be more confident in themselves and their inner and outer strength.
Tips on Teaching Kids Yoga?
Teaching kids yoga is not difficult, even for newbies. There are many yoga poses for beginners that kids can master. Research local kids yoga classes to find a teacher who specializes in working with children. Or, simply find kids yoga videos online or at a store to show your little ones yoga positions for kids.
Kids don’t often like to be told what to do, but they do love to emulate what their parents are doing. Set up family yoga time where you practice yoga poses outside (weather permitting) or inside as a whole family. Be mindful of what poses are appropriate and safe for kids, depending on their age group.
Make yoga fun by incorporating toys into the mix! Purchase a small bear with a big message, Meddy Teddy, whose slogan is: “Teach Kids, Reach Kids.” This adorable yoga teddy bear is bendable, loveable, huggable and washable! He can demonstrate a variety of kids yoga poses, such as headstands and downward dog. Parents and teachers can use this yoga and meddytation bear to broach important subjects about kids health, awareness, body image, focus, etc.
Teach Kids Yoga, Reach Kids with Meddy Teddy. A great yoga and meditation toy for kids