Did you know that September is National Yoga Awareness Month?
When a child is under stress, the body activates the “flight or fight” response. In a matter of seconds, most of the blood in the body gets shunted out from the digestive system and into the major muscle groups. This has a negative impact on the contractions of the digestive muscles that help move food through the body as well as the fluids and secretions that are needed for healthy digestion. Unfortunately, with our busy lifestyles, more and more children live in a constant state of stress and do not allow enough time for self-care and relaxation. The body does not know how to distinguish the stress of running from a scary animal, from the stress of a big test, a difficult family situation, or even watching a scary movie – it all has the same impact on the body and digestive system.
Yoga is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years. There are two main aspects of yoga.
- Yoga is a system of physical exercises and postures that build strength, flexibility, and confidence.
Yoga postures work gently on the soft tissues of the body. When the organs of the digestive system are stretched and compressed in poses, this stimulates the digestive muscles and increases the wave like movements in the body that are known as peristalsis.
- Yoga is about breathing, which helps calm and refresh the body and mind.
Abdominal breathing stimulates peristalsis and relaxes the abdomen. Abdominal breathing can be performed seated, laying down or standing. Children learn to close the mouth with the inhalation, slow down the intake of breath and direct it down into the abdomen, expanding the belly out like a balloon. With an exhalation, children prolong the release of air through the nose and relax the belly back towards the spine.
The Health Benefits of Yoga for Kids:
- Yoga teaches children about their bodies.
When children practice the physical postures or exercises of yoga, they learn how to move more freely and with greater ease and awareness. These postures help their bodies become strong and flexible.
- Yoga teaches children how to breathe better.
When children breathe deeply and fully they become more aware and can bring peacefulness and energy to their bodies.
- Yoga teaches children how to use energy more efficiently.
When children practice yoga, they learn how to feel more relaxed, focused, and motivated.
- Yoga teaches children how to quiet the mind.
When children practice yoga, they learn how to be still. This helps children to listen with attention.
- Yoga teaches children about balance.
When children practice yoga, they learn to be more aware of the need for balance in our lives. This could mean equal stretching on the left and right sides of their bodies as well as making sure they balance their busy time with equal quiet time and relaxation.
- Yoga teaches children about taking care of ourselves.
Yoga is a great way for children to move their bodies and feel healthy.
Teaching children how to take care of themselves is one way a parent can show their love. The beauty of yoga is that children can practice alone or with parents, friends, and family. Everyone can enjoy the benefits of yoga! Celebrate National Yoga Awareness Month by joining a free class near you. Visit here for more information: http://dfwfreedayofyoga.com/.