Just as Nutrition and Sports are important for development in these Early Years, Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness are also imperative.
Some of the key benefits are:
- Develop awareness of our thoughts, feelings and physical environments
- Develop body awareness
- Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way
- Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
- Build concentration
- Increase their confidence and positive self-image
- Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group
- Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices
I for one wish that I had been taught these practices as a young child! It wasn’t until I hit my early 30’s that I started to realise I could no longer function at the fast pace I was attempting to in every aspect of my life and I needed to implement these into my daily routine. If I had been taught these at a young age it certainly would have saved many overwhelming moments.
Children often feel frustrated or irritable when they don’t get their own way and things get difficult as they haven’t yet learnt the virtue of patience. It is common through the developmental stages for children to have tantrums and tears, we want them to be able to easily navigate these emotions without too much distress.
Simple things that families can use at home to promote can be breathing, when my son gets worked up over not getting his way, or not wanting to bath or change, we practice breathing. Not only does it distract him from what is causing his frustration it helps balance him back to a calmer state.
Technology, as positive as it can be, is also a factor that has increased the expectation of instant solutions which can increase impatience in children.
Yoga for children is designed to stimulate the physical, mental and emotional abilities of each child; the goal being to help build their self-esteem, discipline, and social development, which will benefit them with some necessary tools for dealing with the future challenges of life. Yoga enhances physical flexibility, refines balance and coordination, develops focus and concentration, and strengthens the mind-body connection.
Meditation allows children to return to their natural rhythm and helps them cope with the emotions of frustration and fear. It helps to balance the whole system by supporting emotional development and gives rest to the mind so that they are not overwhelmed by their strong feelings.
Mindfulness means maintaining awareness of our thoughts, feelings and surrounding environment, with a gentle, nurturing outlook. Practicing Mindfulness helps to show children how to slow down and calm down.
By incorporating Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness into our practices, this provides children with time to reflect on their thoughts and focus on breathing. It gives them the opportunity to learn these practices from a very young age through fun, calm movements.
At Highfields Child Care Centre we run our Yoga Program each Tuesday morning with arise Yoga and the children absolutely love it! We are also starting to run mums and bubs yoga of a Saturday morning too!