Although we tend to associate stress with adulthood, it is undoubtedly that children also experience it in many different situations. The fast-paced lives of children can have a negative effect on their well-being.
On International Yoga Day, we want to bring you closer to the benefits this practice can have on the little ones. We chatted with Ms. Jodie Baverstock, a Pre-Nursery teacher at WISS, and Ms. Laura Sturm, a Secondary German Teacher at WISS, to learn more about this Zen practice and how WISS students benefit from it.
Any activity that involves children requires an element of fun, encouraging them to explore and awaken wonder, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Ms. Jodie is an expert in making everything enjoyable for children. For some time, Pre-Nursery students have been enjoying Yoga sessions in the classroom.
When Ms. Jodie proposed this activity on a rainy day when the little ones couldn’t play outside, she never imagined that it would become part of their routine. She quickly realized how much Little Tigers enjoyed doing the lion pose, sun salutation, or stretching like a tree… and its benefits for their well-being and maintaining balance while establishing connections with their natural environment.
As Ms. Jodie shared: “Pre-Nursery children can enjoy plenty of benefits from their yoga practice. After our yoga sessions, we notice students feel relaxed, have improved focus, and are ready to continue their day.” Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. They develop motor skills, build flexibility and strength, and improve posture. “Yoga also works as a great social activity– it’s an excellent way to teach students how to follow instructions and helps them gain confidence in trying new things by imitating others. It’s also beneficial for increasing awareness in young, growing minds.” shared Ms. Jodie.
Yoga encourages creativity while introducing breath work, inviting movement, and offering the opportunity to connect with others over a shared positive experience. As Ms. Jodie mentioned: “When practicing yoga for children, we focus on bringing the asanas/postures to life, based on stories and songs. This approach offers a platform for creativity and imagination, plus it makes yoga interesting so students can make their practice personal to them. In developing a positive relationship with yoga, we aim to build a foundation for lifelong well-being.”.
Ms. Laura Sturm is one of the Secondary German Teachers at WISS, but she is also a Yoga instructor and a WISS mum. In this article, she shared some benefits of yoga for children and some ideas for preparing a yoga class for them. “Practicing Yoga for children can help build confidence without a sense of failure and a minimal risk of injury.” To her, it is essential to adapt the class to the children focusing on engaging children’s concentration in a fun way to build their interest and confidence. “As adults, we are very familiar with Yoga classes and relaxation techniques, but when it comes to children, you have to adapt the classes to them. Children’s yoga has to be taught differently from adult classes. The most common way is through storytelling with a different topic/destination each time. It could be a trip to the rainforest, the moon, or dinosaurs. It depends on the interests and age of the children. Sometimes I also use story books, for example, stories from Eric Carle, which can be ideal for younger children.” expressed Ms. Sturm.
Including games in the yoga lessons are ideal. “Every time we include games. Some classics are dancing, and when the music stops, they do the animal pose, yoga in a cave, yoga snake, dog tunnel, or super ears (for mindfulness). There are many choices. Some great songs have proven to be very popular with children, for example, “I am happy, I am good” or “Fly like a butterfly.” While singing, we do certain movements.” shared Ms. Sturm.
From WISS, we invite you to introduce your children to this practice and take advantage of its benefits on International Yoga Day. Doing yoga as a family can be an ideal way to spend quality time together while nurturing body and mind.