What use is Yoga really?
For those of us who practice and experience the benefits, the answers are easy - fitter stronger bodies, clearer mindset, less stressed, better sleep...I could go on!!
But what about children?
The value of mindfulness and yoga to a child is just as important as to a stressed out adult. Tips & tools taught young will carry them through their life, tackling adolescence, parental pressure, school pressure and peer pressure. Children are naturally yogic when little and being able to rewire their brain to instill an essence of self and righteousness is priceless for their entire being.
Relaxed children assist relaxed parents and teachers.
Through You tube, online classes and online training alI aim to show that yoga is for everybody but let us focus on our future and next generation.
With Pressure of school and the expectation of academic success, children can easily spiral into feelings of self doubt and the familiar adage of 'not being enough'.
As they get older the 24/7 connection to social media and how many 'likes' or 'views' they are receiving disconnects them to the present moment and honest truth of themselves and their lives.
The ultimate truth is 'THEY ARE ENOUGH' and 'THEY ARE PERFECT IN THEIR OWN WAY'.
The irony is not lost on me that, in this age of 24/7 connectedness - we are at our most disconnected!!
So Why Yoga in Schools??
Because children are spending up to 6 hours a day, in an institution where by learning is the main priority.
Learning to be young adults, learning respect for them selves and each other, learning health & wellness, learning how to pass exams, learning about them selves.
If yoga, the breath control, the body control and the mind control is added to all of this learning it will become normal!!
Normal to stretch when the body is tense, normal to take a deep breath when feeling muddled or stressed, normal to be mindful of each other, normal to recognise when their temper is beginning too boil, normal to understand their anxiety triggers, normal to see the world and their lives in a holistic, caring and kind way.
If children are introduced to yoga in school, they are in a familiar environment where these valuable tools and practices can be learnt, understood and ingrained.
A 5 minute mindful practice prior to a spelling test, will aid all pupils.
A gentle vinyasa yoga class during puberty will ease, growing pains for all pupils.
How do they benefit and how can it help in schools - well here are a few ideas.
1. Children experience a greater sense of the self as they unify body, mind & breath to improve co ordination & balance. Their gross motor skills are improved which can lead to....
2. Greater self confidence. When you feel good, your confidence is improved and this will guide children into having greater self esteem and confidence. With better self confidence comes....
3. An improved sense of willpower and determination, which could inspire children to try harder in subjects that they may have struggled with in the past. Improved ambition and drive to be their best and stretch their limits will encourage and inspire teachers - will it not? I know that when I have a class of enthusiastic willing to learn children, I am more driven to provide them with what they want and need.
And lets look at the greater benefits for the school as a whole. When students are happy, teacher are happy. I calm classroom will undoubtedly lead to consistent learning and sharing.
Often, when i am holding a class, the teacher may sit in the corner planning or marking, and the peaceful energy in the room benefits ALL of us in the space - it is pure bliss.
And so while the government puts targets on academia such as Maths, Science and English and forgets the children for who education is about self expression, the arts and being their individual selves, Yoga provides a space in which all are equal - all can benefit in anyway that their body & mind needs to benefit.
Agreed, there are still many children who are unhappy with sitting with their emotions;and connecting to their breath, but isn't it right that we give them the opportunity to BE there, to find that peace if it is what they require.
Mental Health Illnesses are real and when a child of 4 is suffering with anxiety we do not judge them, we nurture them and remind them how amazing they are, we give them space to work through the upset - WE MUST DO THIS FOR ALL SCHOOL CHILDREN.
They require space, peace and the courage to experience whatever they are experiencing but with no judgement.
For me Yoga in Schools is the way forward.
If you are a parent, teacher, head teacher and you wish to improve the lives, mental and physical well being of children then begin integrating yoga into their lives.
It doesn't have to be a full yoga class, just 10 minutes of movement or mindfulness is enough.
For more information contact me at email@example.com