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Kids Reap Yoga Benefits Too

Saturday, October 02, 2010 by: Deanna Dean
Tags: yoga, kids, health news

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(NewsTarget) Just like their parents, kids today are learning to relax with yoga.
Stress is not the province of adults only. Children today encounter many stressful life events at earlier ages from homework, competition with other children, tight schedules, and extra-curricular activities.

Yoga combines several techniques for stress reduction using breathing exercises, meditation practice, and guided imagery: clearly preferable options than giving your child Ritalin. Long term use of Ritalin, by the way, can slow a child's growth, among other nefarious side effects that should cause any loving parent deep concern.

"It's been shown that children who are hyperactive or struggle with attention-deficit disorder crave movement and sensory/motor stimulus. When these impulses are channeled in a positive way, they help instill confidence and calmness." Yoga can provide a myriad of benefits toward this end.

If you can't introduce your children to yoga with a qualified yoga class, then make yoga a fun, creative part of your home life.

Kate Holcombe, founder and president of the Healing Yoga Foundation in San Francisco, says her children love practicing yoga with her in their living room.
She never makes it a requirement, just an open invitation to join her as part of their lifestyle. "Adapt your practice to your lifestyle and your children's needs."

If your child is prone to anxiety or has trouble falling asleep, Kate Holcombe recommends this breathing/meditation practice for six to ten year-olds. It's one form of Pranayama breathing which is the way a baby breathes naturally. With stress over time we forget how to do this.

Holcombe explains, "Once children become familiar with the practice they can do it anywhere. Sit comfortably and ask your children to place a palm on their belly and begin breathing through their nostrils. Then ask them to feel their belly expand under their hands as they inhale, and feel the belly gently sink as they exhale. Start with six to twelve breaths and continue for up to five minutes." As they become more experienced, "the exhalation can be bit longer than the inhalation to further activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which triggers the relaxation response." This breathing technique helps them stay centered and calm in difficult situations throughout the day.

Lisa Orkin, a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor, Yoga Therapist and occupational therapist who has studied Yoga Therapy at the Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation in Bangalore, India says, "One technique that encourages relaxation is visualization. At first I may have them focus on belly breathing and listen to relaxing music. Then I may ask them to imagine they are at the beach, playing their favorite sport, or doing some other activity they like. At the end of the relaxation exercise, I encourage the children to share their own experiences.

"Another approach is to create a guided visualization or story with a calming theme of some kind. The idea is to instill a sense of peace and feeling of oneness with nature."

Rajmani Tigunait, spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania says it is important to teach only what you practice. "Let your children see that your practice makes you happy and let them follow you."

Yoga is not about touching your toes or competing with the person next to you in class. It teaches acceptance of ourselves and patience. In the practice of yoga we learn to be still, quiet our mind, and accept our limited abilities.

What wonderful lessons we can offer our children with the practice of yoga.

Your healthmate,
Deanna Dean

http://www.yogasite.com/yoga%20kids.htm/ Lisa Orkin
yoga journal/October 2010/Shannon Sexton




About the author

Deanna Dean is the Wellness Director for Your Health Coach, a company dedicated to health and wellness education.
website: yourhealthcoachdee.com
Dee is a Wellness & Weight Loss Coach, a Certified Natural Health Professional, is pursuing an ND degree-Naturopathic Doctor, is a certified Raw Chef, certified in Dietary Guidelines from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, former Personal Trainer, Yoga and Fitness Studio Owner, TV and Radio Guest, Health Columnist.
Deanna develops customized programs to enhance the health of her clients, educates, and coaches dieters for safe weight loss.

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