It is winter, and there are viruses in the air, dripping noses, and fever all around. Where should the focus be placed to create the best balance in a child’s immune system and also strengthen it?
Exercise is the right and obvious answer, but exercise alone will not give the wanted effect without the right amount of rest and recovery. Today, children live very hectic and changing lives where many things are not going to be predictable, so it is not solely about using more energy, which will drain the body’s immune system. That is not the purpose of being active.
A stressed body, as well as a not active body, is in imbalance and cannot optimally fight the viruses to which the child is exposed to. However, yoga for kids can make a massive difference in combating the bacteria that our bodies do not like. By allowing our body and mind not to force anything, perform, or achieve medals and glory, we will make it easier to feel the yoga’s impact in the present and certainly also long term.
Yoga has been proven to reduce the body’s stress hormones. These hormones compromise the child’s immune system.
In addition to lowering adrenaline and cortisol levels in the child’s body, the immune system is optimized on several other parameters if we promote children’s curiosity and play on the yoga mats. When we stretch and bend with a higher level of consciousness and control, we give our connective tissue the necessary time to be stretched so that the oxygenated blood passes more freely to our muscles and organs to ensure optimal function. Conscious breathing will strengthen the child’s respiratory ability and oxygenates the lungs with control and not by being out of breath. The lymphatic system is activated, and toxins are excreted from the body. These are all the right functions to put into play when building a more robust immune system. But the body’s stress level is far from the only factor that matters; the stressed mind of a child is pure poison of the immune system.
Yoga for kids guides children toward a less stressed mind
During a usual yoga flow for adults, there will be approx. 4-5 minutes at the end where you lie in the yoga rest pose called savasana. This offers time to feel the full effect of the flow you have just gone through. When we as adults invite children to join us on the mats, we can greatly benefit from participating in a shared activity and being in a therapeutic space for contemplation, presence, and consideration to give the children a different opportunity to dive into themselves. Sound therapy and adventure are a sublime pedagogical instrument for creating “savasana for kids”, as lots of senses are still stimulated and indulged while the body is allowed to feel the energies flowing around. To “just” lie completely still and to feel what is going on in your mind is not effective enough for a child. Instead, you can bring them along on an adventure with guided meditations that let the right hertz reach their ears. Suddenly we have the opportunity to create a greater awareness of their own bodies among them and a holistic self-image that shows them that soul, mind, and body can be taken care of in a harmonious and calm way.
To “unite” soul, mind, and body with yoga for kids is a soft but powerful tool for families and teachers in many respects. We can reach out to our kids in a more powerful way and promote so many aspects that give them the strength to handle the challenges that life brings us both physically and mentally. We can open up emotionally charged issues and touch on things that otherwise would result in conflict or avoidance on an ordinary day. Parents and staff who daily guide the children on how to master life will gain plenty of benefits by including yoga for kids in the household or in the institution. Let us further strengthen the children’s physical and mental immune systems and give them the gift of yoga.