Promoting healthy body image and wellness with YogaBugs!

YUP - Down Dog

In recent news there has been a lot of talk about promoting a healthy body image and wellness of the mind in children. There are many influences in social media as children have more access to images of unhealthy body types that may pressure them into thinking that they need to look a certain way to be accepted as ‘normal’ in society. Girls who are in transition into teenage years seem to be particularly affected by such pressures, so it is important that we support these children during these difficult times. There is also the added pressure of the looming SATS, which means rising levels of stress and anxiety for these girls.

There are ways that YogaBugs classes can help alleviate tensions and worries of the modern world. The activities that we have created reduces stress, creates ‘mindfulness’, promotes relaxation and boosts self-confidence.

Our Yoga’d up classes for 8 – 12 year olds are structured to appeal to an age group who want to be physically challenged, mentally stimulated and entertained. Classes include a variety of postures, partner poses and fun Yoga’d Up games. Children end the class with relaxation and visualisation techniques. The combination of all these ingredients help and support them through a time of pre-teen change and beyond to adolescence.

This concern follows a BBC article ‘Under-18 models may be banned from catwalk.’ This article strongly highlights how young girls are pushed by top modelling agencies to lose weight so they are “down to the bone”. We recognise how unhealthy this is and how damaging it can be for a young girl’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

Here at YogaBugs we are committed to ensuring children and young people achieve their full potential and enjoy a healthy, safe, and happy life. YogaBugs allows children of all abilities excel and children can work towards improving their personal best without the pressure of competition.

As well as being a great form of physical exercise, YogaBugs promotes a wide range of emotional benefits such as

  • Improved self-confidence
  • Release of day to day anxieties
  • Improved concentration & memory retention
  • Increased ability for children to learn more easily
  • Developed creativity
  • Improves healthy sleep patterns
  • Allows children to express their emotions physically

Not to mention a wealth of Physical benefits such as

  • Strengthened muscles
  • Balanced energy levels
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Improved respiratory and circulation
  • Improved digestive systems
  • Supported joint mobility
  • Developed posture
  • Improved flexibility

YogaBugs run classes in local schools and nurseries as well throughout the community.

CLICK HERE to find out more about how your child can develop a sense of well-being through our YogaBugs classes.

Alternatively contact us at 0121 777 7792 /


New Research Shows That Yoga Helps Adolescents Deal With Asthma

Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. In the UK, over 1.1 million children have asthma; that’s about 1 in 10 children. The good news is that up to three-quarters of children with asthma will grow out of it. Now researchers at the University of Cincinnati say that their findings on the benefits of yoga could help physicians and other health care providers find other ways of help children and adults self-manage this condition.

The University of Cincinnati study, led by Sian Cotton, Assistant Professor at the Department of Family & Community Medicine, looked at how adolescents deal with their asthma and  which coping methods best affected their mental and physical health outcomes. As part of their study, the team analysed 10 forms of complementary and alternative medicine used for the management of asthma symptoms – including meditation, yoga, massage, herbs and dietary changes. Researchers found that these methods proved helpful, improving both mental and physical health outcomes.

These results came as no surprise to Fenella Lindsell, founder of YogaBugs.

“Children nowadays, especially teenagers are under a lot of stress. We tend to hold our breath and breathe more shallowly when we are under stress. Breathing correctly is important as we tend to use as little as a third of our lungs; capacity. In yoga, we learn how to breathe deeply and evenly. Abdominal breathing is an easy way to increase the supply of oxygen to the lungs. You simply sit up straight and then breathe in and out steadily through the nose.”

Downward facing dog is a great posture to practice as it helps to get more oxygen into the lungs, increasing blood flow and improving circulation. This also has the benefit of rejuvenating the brain cells and invigorating the brain. Simple backbends such as Cow, Cobra and Bridge are great for opening up the chest area and strengthening the immune system. It’s important to bear in mind that children’s bodies are forming so any yoga postures and breathing exercises should be practised with care.”

Space breathing, using the Butyko Method, has been proven in clinical trials to help people with respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis and COPD. It consists of a series of safe, simple and effective breathing exercises, which restore natural patterns in the body systems and decreases symptoms so reducing the need for medication.


Breathing Exercises You Can Do With Your Child

On 7 October, we looked at the value of mindful (or deep) breathing for adults and the mind-body benefits this brings. We don’t recommend Pranayama for children under 16 because their respiratory system is not yet sufficiently developed. However there are a number of simple breathing exercises that you can practice at home with your child which have energising, calming and balancing effects.

Elephant Breath – This exercise is great for waking up and energising. Elephants love to shower themselves with their own trunks. Get your child to choose something to shower with – sparkles, love or laughter for example.

Standing with your feet wide apart, link your hands and dangle your arms in front of you like an elephant trunk. Breathe in through your nose as you raise your arms high above your head. Breathe out through your mouth as you swing your arms down through your legs. Repeat for three rounds; on the fourth round, stay their, arch your back and shower yourself!

Snake Breath – This is a great calming exercise. When they are coiled up and resting, snakes look around calming. They move slowly and calmly.

Sit up tall. Take a big breath in, filling up the whole body. Pause and breathe out slowly and smoothly making a steady hissing sound for as long as you can. Repeat for three to five rounds, feeling yourself slow down and become calmer.

Bunny Breath – This cleansing breath keeps you awake and alert. Bunnies are very alert!

Sit on your shins with your back straight, shoulders wide and chest lifted. Keeping your chin down, take three big sniffs, one straight after the other. Exhale in a long release, as if you are sighing out through your nostrils. Repeat for five to seven rounds.

Bumblebee Breath – This breath is great for relaxing and soothing. Bees hum their days away, visiting flowers and making honey. As you hum, think about what makes you happy!

Close your eyes and take a big breath in. As you breathe out, hum like a bee. Make sure that your face and lips feel soft that you can feel the vibration. Repeat this for five to seven rounds. Experiment with humming from high to low and notice the difference.

….Finally For Toddlers – Lay down and place a rubber duck or small soft toy on your tummy. As you breathe steadily in and out, watch your tummy move up and down. Keep the breath as even as you can so that the rubber duck or soft toy does not fall off!

Mindful (Or Deep) Breathing For Parents!

You’ve probably heard that it’s good to take deep breaths if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Did you know that you could also see improvements in clarity and attention, as well as in circulation, heart and blood pressure? A key aspect of living with awareness is developing the practice of mindful breathing, also known as diaphragmatic or deep breathing. In reality, deep breathing is a form of meditation.

Deep breathing is vital to our physical and emotional well-being and has a number of proven benefits. Our mental, emotional and physical health are linked to the quality of oxygen flow in the body. As the brain needs a lot of oxygen to function optimally (around 80% of the oxygen present in the body) how we breathe has a huge impact on your mental health and physical well-being.

Tension depletes the body’s oxygen supply because it inhibits the diaphragm, a powerful muscle that supports the lungs, from sending oxygen to the lower part of the lungs. At a physical level, deep breathing expands the lower part of the lungs in ways that enable more oxygen to circulate throughout the body. Mindful breathing corrects the tendency we have to tense our body, especially around the abdominal muscles.

When we’re depressed or anxious, our breath becomes shallow, our shoulders slump and our lungs collapse.  We don’t get enough oxygen rich blood to feed our brain. Deep breathing, along with some adjustments in our posture, enables the lungs to expand to their full capacity so that the body and mind receive more oxygen. Studies have shown that deep breathing helps to alleviate depression and anxiety by restoring the body’s biochemistry. This is because deep breathing raises the levels of feel-good hormones oxytocin, dopamine and prolactin and lowers cortisol levels, the stress hormone.

The practice of deep breathing, alongside other activities that naturally circulate oxygen, such as exercise, singing, dancing and laughter, has been shown to have tremendous healing effects on the body and mind. As a consequence there are many physical and emotional benefits. With deep breathing we can expect to see improvements in mental clarity and focus, as well as physical improvements in blood circulation and blood pressure, benefiting the heart. Deep breathing is an important component in managing panic attacks and feelings of anxiety, as well as other emotionally overwhelming conditions.

Conscious breath work can unlock doors to self-healing, self-awareness, acceptance, self-discipline and peace of mind – all qualities we need to increase our happiness, improve our relationships and live life to the full. Yoga Journal has a number of articles that will help you to develop a deep breathing practice. In the meanwhile, engage in as many activities as possible that replenish the oxygen supply to your body and brain – exercise, sing, dance, laugh!