The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Children

Yoga and meditation are excellent for the mind, body, and soul.

In today’s world, children have become more stressed. There has been a huge increase in ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in the last decade where most of the diagnoses started before the age of six.

Statistics also show a dramatic rise in Childhood depression and mental illness. This has risen in the course of a generation which is extremely worrying.

There are so many different factors that contribute to these statistics but I believe the three main ones are:

• Academic Pressure – For a lot of children, there is the pressure at school to do well and pressure at home for the same reasons. The workload has increased from our previous generation. There is an underlying fear in a lot of children where they believe “I MUST SUCCEED”.

• Technology – For so many children, they come back from school and hit the Phone, iPad, Computer, or T.V. Their brains do not have a break from morning to evening. They are constantly being zapped with information yet lack the ability to concentrate on one thing for a lengthy period of time.

• Lack of free play – If you ask your parents how their childhood differs from children these days, most of them will reminisce about the games they played, the long hours they spent outside enjoying nature and being free. These days, a lot of children don’t have the freedom to play, explore, and make mistakes.

“Children are becoming less like children each day. They are fighting in the rat race to succeed and not taking time out for themselves”

As adults, we reap the benefits of yoga and meditation. It helps both our mind and body. children also reap the same benefits as we do. Exposing our children to these ancient, yet practical techniques improve their health, both mentally and physically.

It is beneficial for our children to take a “Time Out” now and then. Yoga and meditation is another form of clearing the clutter from our Children’s beautiful minds and re-charging their batteries.

At its most simple, meditation gives young children the feeling of being quiet and still. It gives them time to breathe and imagine and lets them explore their feelings. In fact, through meditation children learn that it is okay to be whoever they are and feel whatever they feel.

Meditation strengthens the child’s relationship with their inner selves, their mind/body connection, and the development of their own personality, all of which make them better able to lead more positive lives and make positive choices for themselves.

Meditation helps children eliminate negative thoughts, worries, anxiety – all factors that can prevent them from feeling happy. It has been proved that the practice of meditation, carried out on a regular basis, will mitigate the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Meditation combined with Yoga is great. Yoga, like meditation, teaches children to accept and cherish themselves as they are. It is non-competitive so they have a chance to explore their body as well as their feelings. It develops focus and concentration. The act of practicing poses encourages children to clear their minds and focus on the effort. It also enhances physical flexibility and strength and is a great form of exercise.

All of the above benefits tie together. When children learn to accept and love themselves for who they are, to see the good in others, to focus and calm their minds, and to be aware of their innate capabilities, they learn tools for resilience.

They are more likely to be positive and optimistic about life and their abilities, and will hopefully be less likely to succumb to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that are so prevalent today.

Maybe most importantly, yoga teaches children that relaxation is not only allowed; it is encouraged. Relaxing is not easy and learning to relax takes practice. Meditation and Yoga provide space for the mind to slow down and settle.

Children are always told that they need to be engaged and productive. Their little minds are leaping from one activity to another all day long, often right up until they crash at bedtime. Yoga teaches children that it doesn’t have to always be like that.

If children can learn how to relax and be still, they will be able to handle the stress and pressures that will increase as they get older.