Hi! My name is Claudy and I am a proud AIMS Global Therapist! Let me share some insights first about what YOGA can do for your child ☺ While YOGA is originally meant to increase awareness and decrease illnesses and sicknesses, I tried to come up with my own definition (acronym) for it as I use this with my student whom I usually call “my angel”.
You will understand my own-made acronym deeper as I share more about my experience doing YOGA with my angel.
Our body is our temple so we must protect it from any sickness. The more the body moves, the more it has a potential to benefit us. While there are “active” ways to keep our bodies strong and healthy, there are some subtle ways where we can still retain our wellness without consuming too much energy out of our bodies. Yoga is a perfect example of this!
YOUTHFUL OPPORTUNITY. We commonly see adults doing Yoga because it is also very helpful in alleviating stress and increasing focus and mindfulness. However, this activity is not only meant to be done by adults! These days, yoga is also recommended for kids because of its numerous benefits particularly for them. Not to mention how they enjoy the different poses, it also helps them calm down their minds. This also increases their strength and flexibility. With all of these as well as the breath work, kids develop better cognitive skills and concentration. Thus, yoga serves as a youthful opportunity for all ages! The common denominator is the feeling of being youthful and radiant from within!
GAIN. A lot has already been said about the benefits of yoga but a great improvement from doing this is gaining body awareness. This includes postural skills which can support our children in learning to sit up or stand up straight. This does not only let the doer gain awareness of himself/herself, but also serves as means of communication.
Just like my angel, if she cannot speak what she really feels, I use the Yoga chart to help her visualize the pose she feels like doing. Through this visualization, it is easy for me to understand her more what she really wants for that specific time or for the rest of the day. My angel and I used to have yoga sessions regularly until I eventually saw a lot of improvement on her motor planning skills from Morning routine up to the end of our activity in the afternoon.
ACTIONS. My angel loves to sing so I also come up with the combination of singing while doing the Yoga activity. Happiness Hand by Bari Coral gives me the opportunity to increase her motivation to talk more and express what she feels inside while doing the Yoga poses. Obviously, Yoga gave her the drive and motivation to IMPROVE in many aspects of her life effortlessly because we just have so much fun doing this activity. My angel’s bright smile gives me more energy every day. She is my HAPPY PILL. Her drive to become BETTER also gave me the drive to produce more results. She inspires me in every way possible.
“I think that one of the ways to change the culture is to start with the children. We have a terrible problem with bullying and mindfulness activities that incorporate breath, like yoga, are perfect ways to create community which is more compassionate, less competitive, and more self-aware,” – Goldberg.
I always look at my Angels eyes every time I have new ideas for her. It makes me inspired to do a lot of things for her improvement. Every morning, we walk together as our skin becomes sun-kissed. She really loves it! When I ask her, “Are you happy?” She excitedly replies “Yes!” with a big smile on her face ☺ and sways her hands while walking. Because of that SIGNIFICANT MOMENT, I think about the movement activity for her, did some research and tried the yoga activity for kids. We started some animal poses like butterfly, cow, dog, bear etc.
As time goes, I noticed her interest in dragon hunt pose, happiness hand pose and give-a-hug pose (combination of song and movement makes her happier and builds her confidence).
Honestly, I saw a great change in her flexibility, strength, body awareness, balance and coordination, attention and behavioural regulation, cognitive skills and language development and social skills.
Her back is always bent so I thought of showing her healthy spine yoga with teacher Kim and Sammy to improve her posture even more. My angel really loves the rainbow pose ☺Here is a link to Kim & Sammy’s yoga series
Let’s not forget the calm down yoga poses!
I am strong. (Surfing pose)
I am kind. (Tree pose)
I am brave. (Ski pose)
I am friendly. (Dog pose)
I am wise. (Owl pose/ Child pose)
It can be good to take this step further by child visualizing something they find soothing. It is important to find something that your child finds comforting and soothing for this visualization, as some children might find clouds scary or disorienting.
Visualization- or meditation can be a very powerful tool for self-regulation. Visual aids are used to keep reputation within a session along with guided imagery.
After these poses, follow through with some Oro-Motor Exercise with the beat of the drum (counting) to increase her motivation while sustaining the mouth movement.
Few weeks after, her concentration and balance improved. Confidence observed. Yoga created a positive sense of self. The fun and powerful poses can make them feel successful.
For now, she really enjoys yoga. I can see in her eyes the absolute pleasure while we do the yoga poses together. It helps her to be in the present moment while relaxing and gaining a peaceful state of mind.
It also teaches her about the discipline as her work on clearing her mind and perfecting her pose.
As a therapist, I really recommend children’s yoga. It has been known to help cognitive skills and communication. An improvement in eye contact, sitting tolerance, non-verbal communication and receptive communication skills are all seen with children’s yoga. For my angel’s emotional expression, I see more awareness of social cues such as facial expressions, actions, and social behaviours. This also encourages children to be more aware of their emotions during the session.
Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.
May the long-time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light that’s within you guide your way on. Namaste.
“Yoga doesn’t take time, it gives time.” – Ganga White.
-Claudy, an AIMS Global therapist