THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR KIDS
Yoga in recent years has been practiced more and more by millions of people around the world who have become passionate about this discipline and interest in Yoga and Mindfulness-based practices dedicated to childhood and adolescence has exploded.
But why also for children and adolescents?
It started with the publication of data regarding the use of specific meditation and yoga protocols in the clinical setting on adults, and which attest to the benefits of the practices in reducing anxiety and stress, strengthen the immune system and are useful as adjuvants in the treatment of numerous physical and mental pathologies.
In the case of children and adolescents, the international scientific community has sought solutions, so to speak, that would reduce the use of drugs.
Not only that, but since the experiences lived in childhood and adolescence are able to condition the behaviour and psychophysical state of adults in the most diverse fields, we look at Yoga and Mindfulness as almost tools of prevention.
Just reflect or look around and bullying, cyberbullying, competitiveness, lack of certainty, excess of responsibility and commitment, unattainable aesthetic models, less space and time for sharing and more, and the need to develop greater resilience and strength emerges clear. To survive in this jungle of emotions and reactions.
Through studies and research we know that every cell in the body actively responds to emotional contact.
“Breath and movement, as well as touch, allow those who experience them to access the external and internal body spaces up to the brain, which programs and reprograms its neuronal structures (Ayres, 1979; Gaynor 1999; Bainbridge Cohen, 2012) ”
And in fact the importance of a correct relationship between one’s own body and mind and of others is considered fundamental in the growth of a healthy but above all happy child.
To understand more simply, just look at the calming power of a mother’s hugs and kisses on the face and hands of a child with a fever or on a skinned knee after a fall?
Or how many times do we walk to calm our anger or breathe more deeply to find peace and let off some steam?
The benefits of yoga for kids have been reported since studies conducted in the 1980s.
In Yoga, great attention is paid to breathing and asanas and the first researches were carried out on children with respiratory diseases undergoing Yoga practices, both Hatha and Ashtanga
(Greenberg et al., 2003; Shonkoff, Boyce, McEwen, 2009; Kaley-Isley et al., 2010)
Furthermore, research was subsequently produced on children suffering from anxiety disorders, DSA and ADHD, syndromes, obesity and eating disorders, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic, degenerative and terminal illnesses.
The researches therefore tried to analyze various situations considering both hatha, ashtanga and other styles up to the point of yoga for kids (therefore with a different technique and modality)
RESULTS OF THE STUDIES
In the case of children with medical conditions, research has shown improvements and benefits due to the interaction between mind and body, for example research on asthmatics, attesting improvements in lung capacity and function, combined with a general sense of greater acceptance of the illness, crisis management skills, and a noticeable decrease in anxiety
(Broderick, Metz, 2009; Berger, Silver, Stein, 2009).
But it does not end there: children with irritable bowel syndrome and chronic and degenerative diseases show a greater ability to come into contact and verbalize the emotions that grip them and control stress; moreover, functional disability appears to have decreased significantly
(Tsao, Meldrum, Bursch et al., 2005).
Children suffering from obesity and food-related diseases have achieved a reduction in anxiety and concern about food and a healthier relationship with their body, as well as a decrease in the condition of dissatisfaction linked to physical appearance
(Mitchell, Mazzeo, Rausch, Cooke, 2007; Scime, Cook-Cottone, 2008;).
Sample studies were then carried out on children considered to be at risk of obesity and on children with diabetes who attested a significant decrease in the body weight of the participants and a more responsible attitude towards nutrition and movement.
(Sahay, 2007; Amita, Prabhakar, Manoj et al., 2009; Benavides, Caballero, 2009).
Kids with attention and learning deficit syndrome achieved greater self-control, while increasing attention span and memory exercise, reducing performance anxiety and feelings of inadequacy
(Jensen, Kenny, 2004; Abadi, Madgaonkar, Venkatesan, 2008).
In general, therefore, and based on all these data, children who practice Yoga develop their proprioception more correctly, proving to be more skilled in managing programmatic movements and finalized actions, amplifying the sense of stability, spatial comfort and full mastery of self, of gestures and global expressiveness
(Kirkwood, Rampes, Tuffrey et al., 2005; Galantino, McCall, 2007; Galbavy, Quinn, 2008).
YOGA FOR KIDS
Amazing data then but how does all this happen?
This happens because children who practice Yoga (just like adults) develop a deeper relationship with their body, based on an awareness that is rooted in the living experience of movement and breath. At the same time, careful observation and non-judgmental of what one does while doing it, it induces the little ones to cultivate concentration, care and listening to themselves.
Yoga helps children to re-establish a dialogue with their body and with their heart:
A child who practices YOGA builds a more intense and incisive perception of himself with tenderness and fun, improves the experience of the others and of the world around.
Develop an attitude that is useful for him to deepen each experience and face difficulties.
Practicing yoga therefore helps to reduce stress and educate children to resilience (the ability to “fight and not give up”), which accompanies them to discover the world and our children are the future so why not prepare a better world thanks to yoga?