Yoga Therapy for Children and young Adults
Does your child find it difficult to find calm and stay focused?
Yoga Therapy could be a good option for you if you wish to encourage emotional resilience and stress management from a young age.
Yoga helps children who struggle with anxiety, restlessness, sleeping difficulties and poor concentration.
I’ve been studying and practicing yoga and its philosophies for 20 years and have been working as a yoga teacher since 2016.
Mental health statistics have shown that common issues like depression and anxiety have their roots in childhood development and can be prevented with early intervention. The rise of mental health problems in young children made me investigate yoga as a tool for preventing and treating emotional and behavioural problems. This is why I studied yoga therapy for children and young people. My training gave me an understanding of the power of movement and breath practices when applied within the field of childhood development and pedagogy.
What is Yoga Therapy?
Yoga Therapy is a holistic mind-body therapy that engages the child in a playful yet structured manner. Yoga Therapy's efficacy lies in its multilayered approach. A health assessment takes into consideration the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and spiritual needs of children. We primarily work with the body through physical movement and expression and use our voice to influence the way we breathe. Children's minds are fountains of imagination and it is usually a good idea to tap into their well of creative expression to attune to their needs and concerns. Once I understand a child's individual needs, I employ traditional Eastern methods of Movement and Breath Therapy with contemporary Western Psychology. This fusion gives me a range of tools to work with. Children combine movement and breath awareness with creative self -expression. The overall aim is to teach children methods for self-regulation.
What is self-regulation?
Self-regulation is the ability to manage your emotions and behaviour in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes being able to resist highly emotional reactions to upsetting stimuli, to calm yourself down when you get upset, to adjust to a change in expectations, and to handle frustration without an outburst. It is a set of skills that enables children, as they mature, to direct their own behaviour towards a goal, despite the unpredictability of the world and our own feelings.
Self awareness empowers children to see their thought processes and behavioural patterns and from this vantage point they can make an informed decision which yoga therapy tool to choose to find their place of balance and focus. In my experience, working with the breath is the most potent of all tools as it facilitates an instant relaxation response that calms the nervous system. It is also the most subtle tool and the most practical one as children can employ breathing practices whenever and wherever needed regardless of which situation they are in.
Each child is unique and Yoga Therapy honours a highly personal approach. The relationship between therapist and child is very important and is therefore more fruitful to allow enough time to establish trust, openness and acceptance.