Childhood is thought of as a care-free time of life, but for many children it can be a time of stress, anxiety, and sadness. As adults, we can help to support the wellness of the children in our lives to ensure appropriate development physically, mentally, and emotionally. According to the national institute of health, childhood anxiety disorders are very common, affecting 1 in 8 children. However, children are extremely resilient, and with the right support we can help our children to thrive. At Mind and Body, one of the ways that we are supporting wellness in children is through Kids Yoga. It is well known in the adult wellness world that Yoga offers many benefits, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yoga also has many benefits for children. Keep reading to hear what MBTC’s Kids Yoga instructor Mary-Elizabeth Thompson has to say about kids Yoga.
Why Kids Yoga?
At Mind and Body, we see Kids Yoga as a way to help children find mindfulness, emotional awareness and regulation, and gratitude for their bodies. Our kids yoga classes give kids the tools to empower their bodies and minds as they grow. Before we dive further into what kids yoga is all about, let's take a minute to introduce our Kids Yoga Instructor:
Mary-Elizabeth Thompson began a regular practice of yoga in 2018, after her son was born, as a way to practice mindfulness and to connect with her body. After the pandemic began in March 2020, yoga quickly became a necessary place of peace and strength, and has continued to be so for her since. She became intrigued with the concept of kids yoga, and its many benefits, when she took her children to a kids yoga class. Plus, she saw how much her children loved it! After much research, Mary-Elizabeth found the Pretzel Kids yoga curriculum and decided to pursue a new path.
"So what, exactly, is Pretzel Kids®? To kids, we're fun, fun, fun! To parents, we are the answer to helping your children stay physically fit and deal more effectively with the pressures of school and peers. We're all that and more..... our proven curriculum and amazingly fun yoga program incorporates traditional yoga postures with imaginative yoga games and relaxation techniques. All told: children laugh, learn, exercise, breathe, and relax. Better yet, they leave our classes with big SMILES on their faces.
For more information on Pretzel Kids®, please go to www.pretzelkids.com/ Pretzel Kids® is a registered trademark of Write Move LLC."
When asked what makes her passionate about teaching yoga to kids, she says, “Over the last couple of years, I have seen many children, including my own, experience some anxieties, often related to school and relationships with other children. Practicing movement of the body and breathing is so great for kids in general and helps them be much more mindful of what is happening within. The goal is for this awareness to kick in when they are feeling stressed, for example. They are far more likely to think "I should take a few deep breaths, that always helps me feel better" if they have practiced that in a non-stressful situation. The more tools we can give our kids that they can use when out in the world, the better off they will be!”
How Does Kids Yoga Differ from Yoga for adults?
According to May Elizabeth, “ Yoga for kids is about children learning to be in their bodies by focusing on things such as breathing, stretching, and moving in a purposeful way. Yoga for adults touches on all of these as well, but is more focused on the poses because those are designed to target certain areas in the body and help us achieve more specific goals.”
How Does Yoga Promote the Physical and Mental Wellbeing of children?
“One of the natural benefits of yoga is learning how to look inward--into our breathing, mind, and body processes,” says Mary-Elizabeth. “If we practice this in a yoga class, it makes it much, much easier to be able to do the same thing in a situation where we feel stressed, upset, or even scared. By being able to focus on ourselves when we are in one of these states, we can calm our bodies and our minds. And of course from a movement standpoint, the benefits of staying active for both children and adults is well-documented, so fostering that through yoga is just one of the many ways that we can encourage our children to move in purposeful, yet fun, ways.”
How Can You Get Kids Interested in Yoga?
According to Mary-Elizabeth, “In general, I think we need to talk more to kids about how fun yoga can be and encourage them to try it out! This often starts with parents so if there are any parents who have questions about kids yoga, please feel free to reach out to me for more information. In my classes, we are always moving and engaging with each other and having fun!”
Overall, yoga is just another tool that can help our kids to live full, healthy lives. If you or your child is unsure about yoga, give it a try! You may find that it is really enjoyable and helpful to your child. If yoga is something that really works for your child, great! If it doesn’t, that’s ok too. There are many ways that our children can lead healthy lives. To learn more about the kids yoga classes offered at Mind and Body, visit our website and sign up here: https://www.mindandbodytc.com/kids-yoga