The news reports are filled with the pros and cons of medicating children for anything from a failure to sit down quietly during class to being overweight and unwilling or unable to participate in a variety of sports activities. While it is tempting to rely on the quick fix that prescription drugs and even over the counter medicines offer, it is noteworthy that the side effects of many such substances are insufficiently studied with respect to their long term use, and when it comes down to choosing a healthier way of dealing with a child’s hyperactivity or seeming unwillingness to get out and get physical, there are healthier and safer alternatives.
Do not try to calm and slim your kids with drugs before trying yoga! No, yoga for kids is radically different than it is for adults – one of the reasons why you should not try to take junior to your yoga class! Children are able to twist and turn in more ways than adults and thus some postures have been modified to inspire those who are physically fit and need a bit more of a challenge. In the same vein, some postures should not be held by children – even if they are able – and once again those who spent their professional lives creating age appropriate yoga exercises know how to help children exercise without causing any bodily harm.
It is sad that the number of studios offering yoga classes specifically for children is only small, but if there is one in your neck of the woods, your child will benefit from attending! Those parents who are still wondering if this is a wise idea and perhaps are concerned that medication in the end may hold greater promise will do well to note the following:
* Instructors teaching classes set up for children are specifically trained in this discipline and know how to motivate a reluctant or frustrated participant, and also how to challenge one who can maneuver in and hold onto the positions with ease. Seek out a class led by such an instructor whenever possible!
* Yoga for children is designed to take into account kids’ limitations and abilities, and the postures differ greatly from those in your own class. Holding a pose is done for shorter periods of time and great care is taken that no part of the body is overstressed.
* Learning to gain control over the body and the mind will be of great benefit to a child who is anxious because of school frustrations, who might seek to relieve that anxiety with food, or who may try to relax by spending endless hours in front of the television set. In addition to the foregoing, the ability to become aware of breathing patterns and bodily relaxation is vital for those known to be hyperactive and in need of calming.
It is vital to understand that just like prescription drugs, yoga is not a magic bullet and it might take some time before you see the benefits of these exercises. At the same time, understanding that there are benefits to be had without needing drugs may be well worth the time!