Over the past 30 years, advances in technology have greatly changed the way American children use their free time. As entertaining as video games and the Internet can be, however, theyve contributed to the obesity epidemic by taking up the time children used to spend on more physically active play. According to the American Obesity Association, 30.3 percent of children and adolescents are overweight, while 15.5 percent of adolescents and 15.3 percent of children are obese. This is a stark contrast with the statistics of 30 years ago, when only 5 percent of children and adolescents were overweight and 7 percent were obese. If youre a teacher seeking to direct your classmates toward pursuing a more active lifestyle, consider using yoga in the classroom.
If youre not familiar with how to get started introducing yoga for children, consider purchasing a kids yoga DVD. YogaKids DVDs, for example, are led by founder and yoga for children expert Marsha Wenig. After you pop in the DVD, kids can begin practicing yoga formatted specifically for them. Along with the lively children on the screen, they can practice standing gracefully like a flamingo and stretching like a dog waking up from a nap in upward dog. Theyre even encouraged to sing along to the vibrant, original songs. Without realizing it, theyre getting exercise, strengthening and lengthening their muscles, and improving coordination. Theyll have more respect for nature and their own bodies, as they become more self-aware and aware of the world around them.
Using yoga in the classroom as part of your curriculum is a proactive way to encourage healthy lifestyles for your students. For many children, the kids yoga DVD or the yoga poses you lead them through during the school day may be the only intentional exercise they get in the day. Many kids go from school to home, where they sit with eyes glazed over in front of a TV or a computer, eat dinner, do homework, and then go to bed. Even if they participate in a sport, the once-weekly practices often arent enough. The US Surgeon General recommends at least an hour of physical activity each day, but sadly many schools are cutting back on recess time or eliminating it completely in favor of spending the time on other aspects of the curriculum. These cutbacks are detrimental in fighting the obesity epidemic and reduce the amount of valuable creativity, imagination, relaxation, and stress relief children used to enjoy during recess time.
Children like the way yoga makes them feel. It empowers their bodies and their minds, and children often practice the poses outside the context of the classroom. Yoga for children is a valuable asset to any curriculum. Even a ten or fifteen minute practice each day can greatly improve the environment of your classroom; childrens minds will be sharper, theyll expend excess energy, and be refreshed and rejuvenated.
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Written by Kacy Suther. Learn more about yoga for children with a kids yoga dvd. Offers yoga in the classroom, yoga poses for kids, more at www.yogakids.com
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