By Michelle Preble
When I tell people that I love teaching yoga and mindfulness to kids, I typically get
responses along the lines of “why though? They don’t retain anything you teach them.” I smile
and say “yes, they absolutely do.” They may not retain anything after the first lesson, or even
the second, heck..they may not even retain it for weeks. Then one day you will see the fruit of
the labor and one of the kids will take a deep breath or drop into downward facing dog in the
middle of a conversation and be SO proud that they did it! In return, you will feel overwhelmed
with love and a feeling of “YES!”.
The goal is to introduce them to skills that they can use throughout their lives, to empower and encourage children to really understand that it is ok to feel emotions and that it is ok to need to take a five minute reset sometime.
Truth be told, if I had been taught these skills at a young age, I truly believe that I would not have had to learn how to sit with my anxiety, which was incredibly scary, or perhaps I wouldn’t have been so stubborn about actually dealing with and listening to my feelings. There might have been a little bit more acceptance when it came to growing into my adulthood, more compassion for myself during those hard years, more grace during the building years, and more beauty during the sad years.
Yoga is not just about the poses with the kids (it isn’t with adults either), it is about making it available for them to grow, to accept, to learn how to focus, to learn how to self regulate.
Yoga and mindfulness for children can improve flexibility, adaptability, it encourages bonding time, increases body awareness (in reference to “minding their bubble”), it can also increase confidence and grow their self love.
So when I tell people that I love to teach children yoga…what I really mean, is that I LOVE to teach our youth how to deal with big, scary emotions. I teach them to love themselves in all their forms and let them know that it is ok to feel sad or upset or scared. I give them the tools to go to a safe space when the world just feels so big. The growth from learning mindfulness and yoga at a young age is so beautiful, why not teach yoga to kids?
Michelle is the newest member of Peaceful Warriors. Welcome! Her instagram is @omshantiyoga_msyoga and her FB business page is Om Shanti Yoga.