Why Yoga for Children?
By Judi Thompson
The ancient practice of yoga has been around for more than 10,000 years. Originally from India, Hatha Yoga has become popular today around the world. It alleviates anxiety and stress while simultaneously energizing and relaxing the body and mind. It has become “mainstream.” The very word “yoga” in Sanscrit means “union” or the coming together in harmony of the physical body and the thoughts and feelings of the mind. Most adult practitioners report a general feeling of well-being after their yoga sessions.
If all of this is so, doesn’t it make sense that our children would also benefit from these simple but powerful exercises, perhaps even more during their formative years? Many studies have shown that this is true, and my personal teaching experience dramatically affirms this.
While teaching in Honolulu, Hawaii, as a “trouble shooter” for the Department of Education, I was once called into a Special Education classroom of seventh-grade emotionally disturbed boys. The group was so disruptive that the regular teacher was unable to manage them. (They were throwing tables at each other!) Together, we separated the most unruly in the group. I also instituted a daily morning session of Hatha Yoga for 20 minutes only. All of the postures (asanas) were standing along with two breathing exercises. We continued this program for six weeks. Then the parents began calling to question what was different. The children were changing! They were calmer, able to concentrate, sleeping better. They were actually doing their homework and seemed happier. Their temper tantrums had ceased. Amazing! What was happening? What was different?
The only change in the class was the yoga. We continued the program for three months until the end of school. When I checked a year later, the boys were well adjusted and integrated into regular classrooms. And this is only one of my many personal teaching experiences in which the “magic” of yoga transformed the lives of children.
The Yoga Room offers bilingual Hatha Yoga classes for boys and girls of all ages. Please call 415 111 7030 for more information.