Why should your kids do yoga? Because it is healthy? Yes. Because it is the trendy thing kids are doing? Sure. Because it gives you a break for 45 minutes? Of course! These are all valid reasons but what about the long-term effects? What about the mental wellness side of things? Think about why YOU do yoga? Yes, it feels wonderful and its good for you. But what does it do for your brain? For your heart? For your soul? Learning to breathe changed me in my adult life…imagine what it can do for your kids if they learn it now.
Flashback to your younger self (scary to go back to high school…middle school…elementary school)? Growing up, I had my fair share of challenges, like most of us do. Turmoil at home. Trying to get good grades. Finding my place in the world. Being bullied for being too skinny…too shy…too tall…too pretty…not pretty enough…too unapproachable…too whatever. Attempting to navigate all the emotions and anxiety that came with being a kid and experiencing life was tricky. Trying to figure out how to not internalize negativity was nonexistent. I didn’t know how to BREATHE.
Now think about our kids and what they are navigating. Social Media. Sports. Homework. No failure mentality. Everything is videotaped. Body image is still a thing. Being bullied for…well, everything and anything. So much pressure. All the things we dealt with as a child, multiplied by 5000. I WISH I would have known what I know now-what I’ve learned through yoga. How to breathe. How to put things into perspective. How to stop internalizing negative thoughts and just let go. LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF. What would my life and my choices as a kid/teen have been like if I had been practicing yoga back then? I can guarantee things wouldn’t have been worse.
Teaching our kids mindfulness practices has hard data and research backing it. More schools are starting to introduce mindfulness into their curriculum (finally!). I have my kids do yoga so they can take what they want from their practices. They BREATHE to calm down before (or sometimes after) lashing out at their sibling. They breathe to stop those anxious feelings that rise or they breathe to push away the bad dreams that wake them up at night. They breathe to make them stronger while playing sports, while doing tests, and while experiencing something scary. Yoga isn’t just about poses. That part is really fun and beneficial, but one of the main reasons I became a children’s instructor was to help teach self-love and to teach kids they have the power to control their mind, their reactions, and their responses, all through using breath. It takes practice. And any child can do it. Let them practice and explore while they’re young. I promise, it won’t hurt them. And it will likely help them as they conquer being a kid and transition into navigating adulthood.