Here’s a copy of an article from YogaBugs published on the “More Than Mummies” website today – http://www.morethanmummies.com/2011/10/the-benefits-of-yoga/.
Interest in yoga has never been greater, with elite sports people such as David Beckham and Rafael Nadal including yoga in their training programmes whilst well-known celebrities from Jennifer Aniston and Jake Gyllenhall through to Davina McCall have established yoga practices. However the huge rewards of yoga – both physical and mental – are increasingly being acknowledged as having a positive effect on children’s fitness, ability to focus and high stress levels.
According to research carried out by Mumsnet (October 2009) pre-school children are one of the most stressed out age groups! At first sight, this seems unlikely but closer examination of the life of many children – with its diet of TV advertising, computer games and poor nutrition – suggests that children’s wellbeing and mental health is being undermined by the pressures of modern life. Sedentary lifestyles now mean that half of all children are not ready for school at the age of five as they’ve not learnt the key physical and communication skills needed to prepare them for learning. All of these skills are learnt through play which is fundamental to children’s learning and development.
As we know, play is how children learn about themselves and the world around them. Children play spontaneously as it’s a natural human instinct to explore the world around us. It’s important that children try out a broad range of play activities, and don’t
just focus on the same one, day after day. That’s why YogaBugs classes have been designed to use dynamic storytelling, acted out through safe yoga postures, to take children on imaginary adventures such as safari expeditions to the African jungle and
intergalactic space missions.
There are few physical activities that small children can actually do better than grown-ups and yoga is certainly one of them! Their natural flexibility and energy mean that they can do yoga postures that many adult yoga practitioners have spent years trying
to achieve, and in some cases can only dream about! Breathing and warm up techniques help children to focus whilst the posture work strengthens and tones their
bodies. Relaxation and visualisation techniques help concentration and improve
sleep patterns. Small children need no incentive to become superheroes, scary
snakes and ferocious lions – their imaginations just kick in. By going on an
adventure with your child, you too get to experience what is so magical about
being a child for an enchanting few minutes.
Finally a few words on the benefits of yoga for exhausted parents. You may be thinking
that yoga is the last thing you want to do as you’re just too tired! When you feel like you’re running on empty and your energy reserves are depleted, either restorative yoga or Yoga Nidra is a great way of calming and rejuvenating your body and mind. This is because both restorative yoga and Yoga Nidra create the conditions needed for the parasympathetic nervous system to switch on and allows the nervous system to unwind. This is essential for the body’s well-being. Here’s a podcast you can try out at home so that you can experience the benefits for yourself!
The YogaBugs blog contains lots of ideas for yoga inspired activities you can do at home with your kids – http://www.yogabugs.com/blog. We publish our blog posts on our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hp#!/YogaBugs.