Breathe and movement are two physical actions which energize the counter-balancing parasympathetic nervous system to engage the relaxation response.
Dr, Herbert Benson, a Harvard Medical School Cardiologist, discovered that diaphragmatic breathing (full, slow deep inhalations that engage the diaphragm) together with exercise/movement, such as Yoga, can lead to the release of nuerohormones which block adrenaline.
When the fight or flight response is disengaged, the heart rate and blood pressure decrease, the muscles relax, breathing becomes slow and deep and the digestive and immune systems begin to function normally.
WHAT IS YOGA?
Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning to yoke together. Hatha Yoga is a series of asanas which combine breath and movement to bring the mind and body together. Kids live, experience and learn through their bodies and when they are stressed, they lose their ability to self regulate and stay balanced. Yoga is a means to help children restore their inner balance.
Studies show that when yoga is a regular part of a school curriculum, children show improvement in concentration* and spatial memory**. Greater flexibility, upper body strength and aerobic capacity enhances a child’s self esteem and improves his ability to deal with stress*** while at the same time improving emotional balance, reducing fear and feelings of helplessness.****
Stress happens to adults and children alike. Studies show that conscious breathing connected with movement, like Yoga, helps bring the body from flight and fight, to calmness and self regulation. We also know that this is true based on studies that show school children have positive, physical and emotional benefits when participating in structured Yoga classes as part of their learning curriculum.
I truly believe that yoga is an important, physical tool for kids to know and use when they need to stay balanced. That is why I created YOGA KIDS as a space for kids 3-10 years to learn body awareness and reduce their stress thru kid friendly Hatha Yoga Asanas that engage their imagination. I also have this space for little ones 18mos-3yrs to connect with their bodies and strengthen the mom/child relationship, thru Asanas partnering with Mom in my MOMMY and ME classes.
*S. Telles, B. Hanumanthaih, R. Nagarathna & H.R. Nagendrac, 1993; ** Manjunath, N.K. & S. Telles, 2003; ***S, Slovacek, PHD, S. Tucher PHD & L. Pantoja, 2003; ****Stuck & N. Gloechner, 2003