Kids, Stress, and Yoga
Why do kids need Yoga other than the fact that it’s fun and good for you like broccoli ?
One of the foundational components that I focus on when teaching kids Yoga, is emotional intelligence. If children aren’t aware of what they are feeling, or why, and if we don’t give them tools to deal with their feelings appropriately, we are in danger of creating a society of unconscious bullies who prey on those who are more sensitive than they are-more aware of what they are feeling.
In my classes, a part of what I teach is heart-opening and deep belly breathing. This is important for so many reasons!
Do you realize how much of your day you spend breathing straight from your lungs with very quick and shallow breaths? This is actually “fight or flight breathing” and you don’t even know you are doing it! Your body is in “pounce” position-poised for a fight. Can you imagine how this effects your interactions with others?
- picking fights
- fear-based thinking
We have so many unconscious habits as children that we have brought forward into our adult lives that are not helpful!
When we do the ohm at the beginning of our class, it is an invitation to centre ourselves and gather ourselves together consciously. When we do the ohn three times, we are connecting ourselves to the world around us, consciously. This is something that both children and adults can do each morning to start their day by remembering that we are all in this together, and there is nothing to fear.
Deep belly breathing is an antidote to stress and the “fight or flight” response. When we consciously take a deep belly breath, we are sinking our being deeper into our bodies and grounding ourselves in our current reality. In other words, we are getting out of our heads and out of our own way!
If children learn from an early age to breathe deeply and anchor their hearts, they are far less likely to live in fear all the time, waiting to be attacked or pick a fight because they are afraid. Just like with martial arts, this is a discipline that encourages self-inquiry and self-awareness.
As a survivor of child abuse, I know first-hand how mindfulness practices change your thinking and assist you in dealing with life on life’s terms-fully present.
Our kids face all kinds of stressors that we didn’t-media alone is a big one. Children are bombarded by noise both visually and audibly. Mindfulness practices are a perfect tool for allowing a moment of reflection between stimulus and response, cause and effect, push and pull.
We all need a minute.
Love and Light,
Heather M. McCrae, MEd
Consultant and Ambassador to Canada