They can touch their toes?
And aren’t they experts at staying in the moment?
Why would kids need yoga?
And where is yoga going to get them?
It’s not going to improve their chances of becoming a professional athlete or computer whizz or improve their grades….. so what is the point?
The point is that they kinda have to deal with questions like this. They kinda have to deal with the pressure of the adults making everything about the future.
Dr Shefali Tsabary, Child psychologist and author of the book, The Awakened Family, says that the biggest disconnect she sees between children and their parents is the fact they are living in different time zones. Adults are future orientated, always thinking that some point in the future is better than this moment, now. And kids are the opposite. You can’t pull them away from their play, or their friends, or their show, or their book without them complaining. They were wholly absorbed in what they were doing, in this moment, now.
She also says that every child wants to know three things:
Am I seen?
Am I worthy?
Do I matter?
When children feel seen, believe they are worthy and discern that they matter for who they are as a person and not just because of what they accomplish, they are able to enjoy their own sense of empowerment. This then translates into genuine enthusiasm for whatever holds their attention and focus. They natural love for themselves manifests as a love of life.
Yoga is the only activity I know that intimately addresses our need to be in the now. To focus on the present. To understand that everything that we have ever wanted is in this moment.
As parents, in this culture, we also have a really hard time allowing our children to be who they are. And we might be making them a teensy bit anxious about it all.
What you say? I am all about celebrating my child and their personality.
Yes I thought that too, until i started to examine some things…. like the fact Leo has complained every single karate lesson that he didn’t want to go but I took him anyway. That I was so resentful of the fact that he didn’t want to do swimming lessons with his brothers this term that I made him sit with me (with nothing to do) for half an hour as a silent punishment…instead of letting him have a free swim by himself. That I am constantly suggesting activities to Julian and quite panicked about the fact he hasn’t seemed to pick anything in particular yet. That I am a tiny bit stressed that Elijah hasn’t gotten into riding or scooting yet and just wants to roll his way, in the pram….
Unconsciously or consciously we try to shape our children into who we think they should be.
Yoga gives them back a little bit of themselves, the control over their own body and the freedom to be who they are in their mind. It teaches them to honour their uniqueness and celebrate it.
We get to do splits and handstands and make funny faces….just for the fun of it. Removing the need for an end goal.
Yoga teaches them how to live life the way they want it and that it is more than ok to focus on the present moment and stay there.
Yoga teaches them to control their breath, which in turn controls their body and then slows the thoughts in their mind.
Yoga gives them the tools to move forward into stressful situations and cope better.
My kids yoga class starts back for the year next Tuesday 13th February 4:00pm at Tamara Yoga Claremont. Its for 7-11 year olds.