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Childhood is a time of growth, investigation and learning that will set your personality for the rest of your life. Of course, it comes with its own trials that can be difficult to overcome. Few of us would want to repeat the turmoil of puberty, for example! A good education will guide children through the early struggles of life, not neglecting the spiritual aspects. For children, an early introduction to yoga can pay dividends in terms of emotional and spiritual education; and give them the tools they need to grow into compassionate adults. Yoga teaches the virtues of self-awareness, self-discipline and self-esteem that are likely to become lifelong habits when assimilated at a young age.
Children have a lot of excess energy and an early training in how to direct it can help them enormously in their future life. At its worst, some children suffer from restlessness, which can cause serious behavioural problems if not directed constructively. Kids with developmental problems or ADHD can benefit greatly from chanting, since it’s a channelled outlet for their energy. ‘Om’ chanting, for example, is a valuable form of yoga therapy for kids and adults alike, and kids are usually the quickest to give it their all! Breathing exercises can also provide an indispensable means for restless kids to achieve a sense of calm and wellbeing, from the cellular level upwards.
Deeper personality changes can occur through the practice of Yoga Nidra. This is a deep and conscious relaxation process akin to hypnotherapy which helps the patient decide how they want to make changes to their life. It is a successful complementary therapy that has been credited with many successes. One Indian yoga guru claims he taught his junior patient four languages by using this technique!
Yoga is an excellent means with which to guide your child’s emotional development. Simple visualisations encourage them to look inwards, feel their heart and express love for others. Group yoga sessions foster a sense of teamwork and joint celebration of life, since it is pure fun and relaxation, without competition. It is a perfect arena in which to cultivate your child’s social wellness.
It is clear that the emotional benefits of a childhood yoga practice are numerous, and that’s before we’ve even touched on the physical benefits! When practicing yoga young, kids are assured good posture, flexibility and ongoing development. The deep, measured breathing exercises help to expand their developing lung capacity and minimise the risk of asthma, coughs and colds. There are multiple benefits in terms of metabolism, immunity and digestion too, as yoga maintains the whole system. If you want to guide your child’s development and introduce him to a method of wellbeing that will last a lifetime, you can do no better than introducing him to yoga!