A regular yoga and mindfulness practices can have a positive affect on children today. Studies show that yoga enhances the mind body connection creating more balance in the body, enhances confidence and instills an overall calmness and positivity in children. Yoga and mindfulness not only improves focus, memory, classroom performance but also helps in decreases anxiety and stress the children are facing today because of pressure and competition.
Yoga, derived from the sanskrit word YUJ , which means ‘to add’, or to ‘unite’. I aims at balancing and harmonising the body, mind and emotions. Yoga doesn’t just make kids strong, calm and flexible, it can teach them to identify their emotions and use poses to feel happy and positive, no matter what is going on around them. Here are some quick yoga poses for the kids which can be used and help them feel their very best.
Are you feeling Excausted?
If a child is feeling tired and fatigued, then the best pose to try are backbend, like Bridge (Setu Bandhasana), Camel (Ustrasana), or Cat/Cow (Marjariasana). If your spine is wilted, and you are slumped over, your body can’t get the oxygen and prana it needs to function fully. Backbends make you feel more alert and energised. This is particularly helpful during long hours of sitting at work or at studies.
Are you feeling Anxious?
We tend to let stress creep into our necks and shoulders. So try a few slow neck circles. Imagine wearing a pointed hat and use the tip of the hat to draw circles on the ceiling. Then, picture yourself with a long witch’s nose and draw circles on the wall with the tip of it. Raise your shoulders to your ears and squeeze. Then let them drop. Repeat this a few times.
Are yo feeling Upset?
Anger is exhausting, and often difficult for us to shake off. A twist may help wring out the spine and release some of those bad feelings. Symbolically, a twist allows you to be “in the moment”, as you are facing forward (the future), but also looking behind you (the past). Seated or reclined twists may give kids a chance to see past their momentary anger, especially if paired with a very long, smooth exhale.
Mindfulness, in simple terms, is the state of being conscious of something and focusing your awareness on the present moment. When you’re practicing mindfulness, you’re calmly aware of your thoughts and feelings.
More Mindfulness Activities for kids
Mindfulness, as a practice, isn’t just for adults. Children and teens can benefit from it as well.
- Students can stand or sit for this activity.
- Ask students to put both hands on their belly.
- Students should close their eyes, or look down to their hands.
- Guide students in taking three slow deep breaths in and out to see if they can feel their hands being moved.
- You may like to count “1, 2, 3” for each breath in and “1, 2, 3” for each breath out, pausing slightly at the end of each exhale.
- Encourage students to think about how the breath feels, answering the following questions silently, in their mind.
– What is moving your hands? Is it the air filling your lungs?
– Can you feel the air moving in through your nose?
– Can you feel it moving out through your nose?
– Does the air feel a little colder on the way in and warmer on the way out?
– Can you hear your breath?
– What does it sound like?
1 National Institue of Mental Health. “Prevalence of Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adolescents.” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml
Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005 Jun;62(6):617-27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15939839/
2 National Survey of Children’s Health. “Adverse Childhood Experiences Among US Children.” 2017. https://www.cahmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/aces_fact_sheet.pdf
3 Common Sense Media. “The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Tweens and Teens.” 2015. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/research/census_researchreport.pdf
4 O’Donnell, Jayne. “Teens aren’t socializing in the real world. And that’s making them super lonely.” USA Today. 2019.