Let's be honest: Being a kid these days kinda sucks. And why's that? Well, from the ever- growing list of activities they have to participate in to the dozens of hours they spend in front of a screen, our mini-mes are often forced to live in a hurry-up world that nips their innate enthusiasm right in the bud. That's actually why childhood stress and anxiety (1) are becoming the new norm (yup, those rates are climbing like crazy).
Luckily, there is a way to keep your little one from getting sucked into this whole adult-ish mess, and that's by engaging her into activities that increase mindfulness such as kids yoga. Sure, having her practice the Eagle pose may seem odd at first, but note that this combo has science's stamp of approval (2) . So, if you're tempted to see how a few hours on a children's yoga mat can benefit your little bundle of joy, these six science-backed reasons prove why kids yoga is definitely worth the try.
Yoga for Kids and Mental Health
Even though we live in a body-positive era, there's no denying that certain physical ideals are still alive and present. Now, throw a child's insecurities and peer (or better yet, media-fueled) pressure into the mix, and you see why eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, and orthorexia are that common. So, here's where kids yoga steps in.
According to a recent study conducted on 144 fifth-grade girls (3) , the practice increased their body awareness and appreciation by making them focus on their positive attributes (e.g., increased strength and flexibility). More than that, the use of positive mantras, which is commonplace in kids yoga, boosted their sense of self-worth, and left little room for brewing insecurities.
"A recent study conducted on fifth-grade girls, the practice increased their body awareness and appreciation."
ADD & ADHD
Another issue which seems to have gone mainstream over the years is children's short attention span. From a simple attention deficit (ADD) to a hyperactive streak (ADHD), such behaviors become more common by the day. The sad part? If they're not treated early on, they can result in a life full of impulsive decisions.
That occurs because the yoga practice teaches children how to focus their attention on the world around them instead of giving in to their urges. As a result, they learn how to manipulate and direct their energy whichever way they want, and thus, manage their own emotions.
"Experts found that yoga can be an easy (and most importantly, drug-free) way to minimize attention-deficit symptoms in kids with ADHD."
Stress & Anxiety
There was a time when being a kid meant being carefree. But, it turns out those days are way behind us as more and more children jump on the anxiety bandwagon. Luckily, checking in with a specialist isn't the only way to deal with this issue as yoga for kids is here to save the day. Experts (6) conclude that this form of exercise can positively influence a kid's emotional well-being just by regulating certain parts of his/her brain. Talk about a fun way to alleviate stress, huh?
Yoga for Kids and Physical Health
Even though experts don't recommend it as a solid way to treat the condition, yoga (7) can have a positive effect on childhood asthma. That's mainly because the children’s yoga emphasizes on smooth inhaling/exhaling, which allows the kids to gain control of their belly breathing. As a result, they become more aware of the changes in their breath and are capable of regulating them in moments of stress, i.e., when they feel constricted or erratic. Yoga can have a positive effect on childhood asthma.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Sworn enemy of a happy gut and regular bathroom visits, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (or IBS, for short) is no BS. The group of symptoms, which range anywhere from abdominal pain to bloating, may also affect kids and can be quite debilitating, especially during school hours.
Since there's no official cure for the condition, one way to minimize its effects is to hook your little one up with a kids yoga mat and sign them up for a children yoga class. According to one study (8), just four weeks of regular yoga posing can significantly reduce IBS symptoms and make their life a tad more bearable.
"Just four weeks of regular yoga posing can significantly reduce IBS symptoms."
As video game consoles and smart phones kick bicycles and playgrounds to the curb, childhood obesity (9) has become the fastest-growing health threat for kids worldwide. Of course, urging your little one to spend time outside may not be as easy as it seems, especially if you live in a big city. That's why experts (10) recommend kids yoga as fun indoors alternative.
The practice calls for mild physical activity which, along with yoga's unique breathing techniques, can rev up a sluggish metabolism, and give your child the healthy boost she needs. Plus, as mentioned above, yoga increases the sense of one's self-awareness, which means it could help your little one eat more mindfully and cut back on binge eating.
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