Childhood today is filled with challenges, stressors and obstacles that can be overwhelming for parents and children alike. We want to support our kids and keep them safe and healthy, but without overprotecting, over-medicating or stigmatizing them. Yoga offers families an effective tool to address many of the most difficult concerns during the school age and adolescent years. Unlike medication, yoga is a lifelong support system that can alleviate current problems as well as build resilience for facing future challenges. While yoga’s impact on stress reduction and physical health is well known, there is a larger scope of wellness concerns that this safe and effective practice can help your child overcome.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Yoga deliberately teaches focus skills, with an emphasis on helping children recognize when their mind is wandering, and bringing it back to the task at hand. Consistent practice reduces the stress that we know exacerbates ADHD symptoms and contributes to a reduction in impulsive behavior. An often overlooked benefit of yoga is that it gives children movement-based practices that they can do on their own to channel hyperactive tendencies. Instead of being told to “calm down,” kids with ADHD can move in more appropriate, socially acceptable ways that leave them focused, alert and engaged, rather than sedated or frustrated.
Generalized anxiety is a reality for many of our children: They are exposed to so many of the world’s challenges, often well before they’ve developed the perspective to deal with them. Yoga teaches students to notice and identify their feelings and to use movement and breathing practices to calm their sympathetic nervous system, literally reducing the sensations of anxiety in the body. This is an empowering practice that doesn’t require you to even understand why you’re getting anxious!