“If every eight year old is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” –Dalai Lama
by Teya Johnson
Just think about that for a moment. My first yoga teacher training was for children. It was an extensive year-long program with almost three hundred hours in credit. Time invested in our youth is something worth giving. Yoga provides an outlet for children to practice mindfulness, peace education and look deeper within ones’ self.
Mindfulness practices allow the child to be alert and aware. Benefits of mindfulness include decreased depression and anxiety and increased happiness. Peace education helps the child become an advocate in an environment where there is also hate and misunderstanding. And as a stronger, confident individual at a young age, this develops with maturity and redefines the future. Being thoughtful and mindful of ones’ self and others brings well-being and worldly acceptance into the picture.
Being able to share all of this with children through yoga is such a blessing. In my yoga classes for children, I incorporate these topics in a variety of ways. We touch on the basics of anatomy and meditation. Meditation permits the child to calm their mind and body. It helps them to be okay with turning inward to discover their own answers and acceptance. Yoga coming alive through reading allows the body to move to interpret stories being read aloud. Visual vignettes help children feel the rhythm and flow of music and use different parts of their bodies to create art. Active yoga-inspired games let the children forget who is watching and just be themselves.
There is something to be said of the yin and yang of life in general. I truly believe that yoga and the skills it provides can be the yin to the yang of children’s lifestyles. So many children are overly stimulated with not only all sorts of electronics but so many extracurricular activities including an assortment of different sports as well. Yoga helps children listen with a caring heart. As a lifelong learner, I enjoy sharing my passion of yoga with others because it can bring smiles and a new sense of consciousness to ones’ life. With yoga, children can stretch, relax and breathe in a way they’re not normally accustomed. Yoga is such a great compliment to everyday life.