‘Yoga is transformational for children and calms the senses, emotions and mind.’
Children have fun doing yoga – either 1:1 or in a group class with other children or with parents and the benefits are the same for any child, whatever their age or physical, emotional or mental health. As a children’s yoga teacher, I have observed how ‘exceptional children – children with physical, developmental or other behavioural needs’ bring their own uniqueness, joy and innocence to yoga classes. They have so much to share and create a sense of belonging, that is very important for them.
Yoga helps them experience increased: behavioural self-regulation, increased physical flexibility and coordination within their range of ability as well as having increased confidence, self-esteem and relaxation. Simple breathing techniques (pranayamas) bring energy and balance to their whole body, mind and spirit. A multi-layered, creative class engages a child to be present, happy and mindful in a class. Their creative juices and natural abilities come forward with yoga games, asanas, story telling, art, songs and meditation, all weaved together in a class.
So yoga and meditation support healthy emotional development, reduces stress and anxiety, so prevalent in our society, and give children the tools to manage themselves – inside and out. Children have the natural ability to tap into their own innocence and silence within a structured class and alone in their own quiet time.
Children’s five senses are bombarded continually by a complex and fast paced world and exceptional children are especially affected – their subtle nervous system already sensitive by nature. Over the years, as a yoga teacher, I have observed how children co-create a class with their own unique expression and transform – something is healed, born and shared.
Here is an easy pranayama (breathing technique), the ‘two-in, two-out breath’, that can support your child and you in any given moment. It is good to do first thing in the morning to balance emotions and mind. You can start with doing it for 1-minute and gradually increase the length to 3-minutes and for older children 5-minutes. Try this for a few days with your child and notice the results. You will not be disappointed!
You can do it sitting, walking the dog or lying down. Inhale in two equal parts and exhale in two equal parts, a bit like sniffing with the inhale. Complete it by inhaling and exhaling through both nostrils.