Is your school looking to support Mental Health for Youth? Have you thought about Yoga and Mindfulness?

Modern life puts a great deal of pressure on kids. They have to deal with the ever-increasing stress of keeping their grades up at school and doing their best at competitive sports and extracurricular activities. In Australia, one in 14 children and young people (4 -17 years) experience an anxiety disorder. And that was BEFORE COVID-19!

Across much of the world, schools are closed and families are largely restricted to their homes due to COVID-19. The associated uncertainty and anxiety is a real concern, with disruptions to children’s education as well as to their time with friends, for exploration and play. Parents might be facing challenges too. Whether it’s job losses, isolation, working from home arrangements, financial insecurity and much more.

And we’re all in it together.

It is no news that Yoga and Mindfulness has an impact in combating Anxiety – and it is also known that physical exercise and meditation practices are beneficial to calm the mind and boost neurotransmitters to release all these beautiful happy-hormones.

Whether you’re brand new to Yoga and Mindfulness or a regular practitioner. Yoga and Mindfulness are a great way to counter these pressures of the current world. Take a look at the Infographic below to learn about the numerous ways Yoga and Mindfulness can improve your children’s (and your) life!

Yogazeit Ltd. Infographic

TIME FOR YOGA – LIVE ONLINE CLASSES FOR SCHOOL COMMUNITIES

Yogazeit Ltd. offers programs for ‘Home Schoolers’ as well as for School Communities who’d like to support their students with a customised Yoga Program online. Our classes are held with safe social distancing in mind during times of COVID-19 and are run either via Zoom Online or Microsoft Teams. Should social distancing rules ease – classes resume back to normal hosted onsite at school.

Yogazeit’s current class schedule consists during April School Holidays of the KIDS Yoga Classes focused on Primary School aged children, TEENS Classes for High Schoolers with a strong focus on mindfulness and meditation practices and CHAIR YOGA for older adults or people with limited mobility. From Term 2 we’ll support Western Australia’s Primary and High Schools with LIVE ONLINE class packages which consist of live online classes targeted to year groups (e.g. Early Childhood, Year 3-6, Year 7-9, Year 10 – 12) and customised to meet the schools objective as well as access to pre-recorded short meditations to help youth with online learning and essential life skills.

School Programs start from $100 per 45min session inclusive access to the Audio-Meditations, which are especially recorded for Aussie Kids in times of stress and anxiety.

“We know that kids are overwhelmed. And so are adults. COVID-19 came really fast and caused a rapid change for all of us. The practice of Yoga and Mindfulness allows us to take a breath and re-connect to our inner self. Recent surveys showed that the kids really love the meditation and mindfulness aspect of the class, so we prepared Term 2 with prerecorded sessions which are accessible to all schools who secure one of our School Programs. The kids can access the audio-links at any time they like and favourites include Loving Kindness Meditations, Body Scans and Mindful Breathing. Some kids might want them early in the morning, some in the afternoon or evening before they get ready for bed. With access to the audio-recording we’re giving kids a choice. A choice to take a breath when they feel they need it most. A breath to take care of themselves. A breath to be…. “

states Regina from Yogazeit Ltd. – who’s also a mum of 3.

Supporting physical and mental Health and Wellbeing with Yoga

Over the past decade we have seen a massive increase in the number of Early Learning Providers, Primary and Secondary Schools offering yoga. Not only as an after-school club activity, but as an important part of the school the curriculum. More and more people are seeing first hand how yoga benefits children. Mental health professionals, medical doctors, neurologists, teachers and even the Government is beginning to recognise how yoga benefits children’s mental health and physical wellbeing.

Children exploring physical poses
Exploring strong Yoga poses supports self-esteem and confidence

Yoga and mindfulness provides so many benefits including supporting learning, healing, stress release and everyday life.  The practice of yoga has been explored for thousands of years.  The benefits to body and mind, that have been noticed and recorded, are vast. When sharing children’s yoga, we focus not only on the asana/postures but also on bringing other elements of the 8-fold path into our sessions. Mental and physical wellbeing is carefully nurtured. This is achieved through noticing and controlling the breath; moving and resting the body; and developing an awareness of the mind’s chitter chatter through meditation and mindful practices.  

Supporting children’s physical wellbeing

The movements practiced in a yoga class (called poses or shapes) are much more than just stretching. They increase flexibility of the spine, strengthening bones and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems. Along with proper breathing, these poses or shapes also calm the mind and reduce stress.

“Research confirms that a regular yoga practice helps with overall physical and mental health. Therefore contributing to the possible prevention of diseases such as diabetes, acute anxiety, low bone density, asthma and obesity. All problems that pose an increasing threat to the development of our children today. Performing the poses slowly and with mindful control also acts as a mental exercise in concentration and meditation.”

Says Regina Cruickshank, Executive Director of Yogazeit Ltd.

Breathing, emotional development and awareness

Yogic breathing increases lung capacity, as well as strengthening and toning the entire respiratory and nervous systems. Deepening the breath brings more oxygen to the body through the blood stream. We may take it for granted, but breathing is one of the most important foundations of our wellbeing. If you can teach a child to be aware of their breath they will ultimately become more in control of their emotions and overall wellbeing. These are everyday tools for calming and energising the child to help develop a state of relaxed awareness, which is crucial for learning. 

Mindfulness and mental health

Mindfulness helps children develop healthy responses to the chaotic world around them. It also helps them deal with their own emotional responses to the world. The idea is to encourage children to use these techniques whenever they need to find calm, refocus their energy, and concentrate on specific tasks. Mindfulness has been seen to decrease stress and attention deficit issues, depression, anxiety, and even hostility in children. Research over the past few decades has shown that mindfulness training also develops social-emotional awareness, memory and learning, body awareness and coordination, and interpersonal skills.

Skills for life

By taking part in yoga classes, children develop important inter and intrapersonal skills. A regular yoga practice offers effective help for learning disorders, hyperactivity, stress and lack of exercise.

Yoga also increases self-confidence and most importantly …. its great FUN!!

It’s easy to see why more and more schools are embracing the need for yoga in their classrooms. Children who learn yoga at an early age have a healthy head start in life. This is especially important in our fast-paced and stressful world. Through bringing increased awareness to the external environment and to the internal experience of the body and the mind, children will benefit psychologically and emotionally. Children can easily learn these techniques, and when learned young, they become lifelong tools.

If your school or community is interested in supporting your children and teachers with Yoga and Mindfulness, please don’t hesitate any longer and get in touch. Yogazeit Ltd. is a registered Not for Profit and Charity organisation based in Fremantle. We’re hoping and actively advocate that the Government releases funds to support the Mental Health of Youth especially in times of COVID-19 – with an opportunity to provide the benefits of Yoga and Mindfulness to ALL school communities across Australia!

Get in touch: https://www.yogazeit.com.au/contact

Copyright: Yogazeit Ltd.

Additional great resources related to this topic:

Yoga for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being:

Research Review and Reflections on the Mental Health Potentials of Yoga https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3980104/

Coronavirus (COVID-19) mental health support

https://lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/support-for-those-impacted-by-adverse-events/mental-health-support-for-covid-19