Being a kid these days isn’t all fun and games. Between sports, homework, after-school activities and household chores, it’s easy for anyone — regardless of their age — to feel overwhelmed by the hectic pace of modern life. So, rather than schedule every moment of your child’s summer break, why not teach them to stay present with yoga camp instead?
“Yoga has the magic of calming you down,” says Mandy Grant, owner of Juluka Yoga Studio in Hillsdale. “Any adult will tell you when they come into a yoga class – even if they’re in a negative mood – they will leave feeling 90 percent better. It’s really no different with children. They walk out of here feeling calmer, more joyful.”
Each summer, Grant runs a kids’ camp at her yoga studio, where aspiring yogis, aged 5 to 14, come to take yoga-themed arts and crafts, learn guided meditation and, of course, practice yoga. “One day they make an eye pillow,” says Grant. “Another they’ll make a beautiful string of mala beads or blend their own essential oils. And we always remind them if their mind is getting too busy just to come back to their breath.”
Here are 5 ways Grant says doing Downward-Facing Dog and other positions can help your mini yogi on — and off — the mat:
It Creates a Routine
“In yoga class, we always follow a routine so the kids know what is coming next. I think that routine is really important for children. Having a routine outside of class too is also very calming.”
Breathing is Calming
“Kids can bring the skill of breathing they learn on the mat to any situation. If they’re having a fight with a friend, we tell them to breathe before they react. We always say, ‘Take five deep breaths because you know it will make you calmer.'”
The Golden Rule Applies in Yoga, Too
“We also teach the Five Yamas, which are like the golden rules of yoga. We tell them, ‘Be kind to your friends,’ to help them with decisions like, ‘I’ll let my brother eat an extra slice of pizza’ or, ‘I’ll let my sister play my iPad.'”
Practice Makes Perfect
“Sometimes kids have a little frustration because they can’t do a pose. But we teach them that you need to practice everything in life. You aren’t just going to know how to do Crow Pose overnight, so they learn discipline. But they also learn, if you work at something, you can absolutely accomplish anything.”
They Learn to Love Their Body
“Kids, especially the young ones, have no bodily inhibitions. By the time they’re 11 years old, that all changes. So we teach them to learn to love their bodies in every shape and size, but also to respect their bodies through yoga.”
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Additional Images Courtesy: Jaclin Lugo