For the general public, Yoga brings to mind extremely flexible, thin supermodels that drink wheatgrass and believe in chem trails, I know, but yoga has some very practical benefits. Lately, the focus has been on bringing these benefits to kids around the world.
So what are these benefits you say? Here are 3 benefits of yoga for kids (and adults):
Increases Focus: A child focusing on a task helps them get their homework done faster, answer test questions and concentrate on where the ball is during their baseball or soccer game.
Increases Body and Mind Awareness: This gives children the skills to control their emotions so less outbursts in the playground and fewer tantrums for the parents, physical and spatial coordination (great for sports) and they also learn that the more effort they put into something the better they get at it
Increases Attentive Listening Skills: This helps with listening to the teacher and instruction an important skill for achieving better grades. Listening skills also help with social interactions, and social skills, something invaluable when they start work, meet their life partner and have kids of their own.
There have been studies that have shown a regular yoga practice results in these benefits for both adults and children. But why yoga stories? Well, the truth is yoga for adults doesn’t work for children. Children are more flexible, but their attention spans are shorter. I would never recommend having a child just hold downward dog for 30 seconds. However if you add a story into the mix things change fast. I don’t mean that a yoga story will get your child to stay in downward dog for 75 minutes, but telling them a story will give them a reason to get into the pose in the first place.
The Power of Stories
Stories are amazing things. They use both sides of your brain. The left side is activated with language and sequences and the right brain is activated when things are creative with visualizing the story as it takes place.
Stories aren’t just for children even adults can let their imagination “sweep them off their feet” if the story is good enough.
In my many years of teaching, telling a story is a great way to start a discussion about a topic and many different discussions can start with just one good children’s book. Stories also help children remember concepts and ideas, deal with emotions, and become creative thinkers.
But why Yoga stories?
You add the power of stories to the power of yoga and boom! You get something amazing. After I read my book “Jungle Walk” with children, teachers have reported more calm, more playfulness and incorporating the poses into play in their classrooms.
You can find some amazing yoga stories for kids, videos or even get really creative and do actions to one of your child’s favorite picture books! It really will make you and your child feel good.
Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com