Many perceive Yoga to be the art of contorting into strange poses, whilst meditating & making ‘ommming’ sounds. Little do most realise, is that the ancient art of yoga provides so many benefits to us in this modern, ‘hurry up’ world, it’s almost as if it were designed just for today!
Very few people associate yoga with kids, nor even think that it would be possible for a child to be able to be engaged for very long by it. But what if we made yoga fun & engaging? Why not have them pretend to be barking dogs whilst doing the ‘downward dog’ pose, or roar like lions whilst doing the ‘lion’ pose? Whilst making these fun animal sounds, little would they realize that they would actually be practicing some energizing yoga breathing exercises! What if we used upbeat music instead of ambient music and made meditation as simple & effective as concentrating on balancing an object on their forehead whilst lying still & relaxed listening to a favourite song?
When practiced regularly Yoga can:
- improve flexibility whilst building strength
- improve the circulation of blood & oxygen absorption of cells. It also thins the blood which leads to a decrease in risk of heart attack & stroke
- assist in circulation of other fluids around the body, such as those within our bones & cartilage which can prevent arthritis & keep disks supple; as well as assists drainage of lymph which helps you fight infection, destroys cancerous cells & disposes of toxins
- lower the resting heart rate & increases endurance
- lower blood pressure as well as cortisol levels (high levels of cortisol can compromise your immune system as well as are associated with memory loss, major depression, osteoporosis, & insulin resistance)
- lower blood sugar & LDL (bad) cholesterol & boosts HDL (good) cholesterol
- help your brain – it improves co-ordination, reaction time, memory & even IQ scores
- encourage you to relax, is calming, reduces stress & depression
- release tension & can ease pain
- improve sleep / insomnia
- improve the immune system
- ease constipation
- aid in the treatment of asthma, type II diabetes, & obsessive compulsive disorders
- helpcontrol emotions (especially hostile ones such as anger)
We are seeing more & more children in schools (& even pre-schools & early learning centers) with poor flexibility, low fitness levels, & suffering obesity as well as various learning & emotional challenges. Yoga is not only the perfect exercise for us adults living in the 21stcentury, but for children trying to grow up in it. By improving their immune system, assisting them in controlling emotions, helping them increase fitness & flexibility, improving quality of sleep, teaching them the ability to self-calm & relax, giving their brains a work-out to assist in learning, all in a non-competitive fun exercise package, Yoga is the perfect tool to provide them with not only a great start, but what will hopefully be a life-long partner.
Sonja Olsen, Fun-Key Yoga