Peer pressure, temptations, distractions and competition are what today’s kids are dealing with. They are overwhelmed by an amalgamation of different types of pressures and workloads. According to one survey, 56% of Singaporean parents admitted that their kids are facing too much academic pressure. Another alarming fact is that more Singaporean kids are seeking help for mental health issues like depression, due to problems like relationship issues and bullying. The suicide rate is high within the 10 to 19 age group in Singapore. Moreover, 13% of kids in mainstream schools are overweight, making them vulnerable to health problems like diabetes, heart disease and stroke later in their future.
How can we save our kids from those mental and physical health concerns?
School authorities should encourage yoga programs among children. Several schools and educational institutions across the world have made yoga compulsory for the students to learn and practice. These institutions have noticed that students are enjoying various benefits by practicing yoga. It helps the body relax and keeps the mind calm. Other proven benefits are improved concentration power and memory, minimised stressed, healthy body and boosted confidence.
Here we have explained how yoga can have a positive impact on the students.
Yoga Teaches Self-Acceptance:
Yoga is a non-competitive practice. It teaches kids to accept, appreciate and embrace the way they are. In other words, yoga teaches them to love themselves. This is a valuable lesson equipping kids with the strength to control negative feelings like inferiority complex or self-doubt that is common to occur in the teenage years.
Yoga Improves Concentration:
Today’s kids are living in a world of distractions, collectively caused by smartphones, TV and video games. They are not able to concentrate on anything for a period of time. Or you can say that their concentration level has decreased and their attention span is worsening. Concentration is an essential quality to do well in academics.
Can they study well if their mind is diverted to other things?
Yoga can help! It improves their focus so that they can concentrate on studies to achieve better grades. With yoga, students learn how to be present and to concentrate and focus on their breathing. This way, yoga relaxes their mind and body, and drives away distracting thoughts. Besides, it reduces anxiety and stress while improving their clarity and ability to respond.
Yoga Promotes Self Awareness:
By practicing yoga, students are more aware of their bodies and learn what they are capable of. They understand themselves more, and also realise how they could possibly influence their outlook on and attitudes towards others. They learn how to channel their thoughts into right direction and how to respond in different situations. The awareness of mind and body helps students mould themselves into more responsible and confident individuals.
Yoga boosts Confidence:
The kids master new poses and this requires lots of discipline, patience and hard work, which at the end of the day, creates a feeling of achievement and confidence as well. They would realise that they can achieve what they desire at their own pace.
Yoga Promotes Discipline and Responsibility:
Yoga requires a person to be disciplined and dedicated to master the poses. For example, some yoga poses require a practitioner to imply proper techniques and practice. Doing yoga is not easy and if it is done regularly, determination gets improved in them and becomes a habit that can manifest itself in their academic life. It brings a sense of discipline and responsibility in their life. Improved determination and discipline help them do the difficult tasks like homework and exam preparation.
Yoga Improves Physical Flexibility:
Each yoga pose is aimed at contracting and relaxing specific muscle groups in the body. They are performed standing, sitting and lying down. Even the simplest pose like upward facing dog, helps tone muscles located in the upper and lower body. According to one survey, many people experience a 35 percent increase in their flexibility after doing yoga for eight weeks. Yoga should be encouraged among school students so that they can build a strong,flexible and toned body. It helps them get a right body posture as well as prevents injuries while performing physical activities.
Yoga Reduces Stress:
Yoga is all about mind-body synchronisation which is a combination of breathing (Pranayamam), physical poses (Asanas), meditation (Thyanam), and is the ultimate way to relax. It helps minimize stress, balances blood pressure, and stabilises the heart rate. Many studies have proven that yoga can prevent the onset of stress/anxiety. For example, breathing becomes shallow when you feel anxiety. And yoga can fix this as it teaches you the importance of deep breathing and and about the methods to increase lung capacity for deep breathing, which instantly relaxes you. Breathing deeply will provide more oxygen to heart, brain and lungs, thereby activating the body’s relaxation response which in turn minimises the anxiety and stress. Therefore, yoga is an effective tool to de-stress the body in extreme pressure.
It is very important to pause and relax, especially in today’s day and age when students are facing a lot of competition and feeling pressurised to do well in their studies. Yoga teaches how stress can be reduced effectively.
Yoga Boosts Memory:
Another key benefit of yoga for the students!
With stress, negativity and anxiety removed through mediation, yoga stimulates the brain. Many researches have proved that yoga trains the brain. A 2011 study conducted by Harvard affiliated researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found that doing yoga for eight weeks can make significant changes in brain regions linked to memory, empathy, stress, and sense of self. Meditation works over the thicker cerebral cortex which is the part associated with memory, decision-making, and learning. So yoga helps all the students in enhancing their memory. And we already know that sharp and efficient memory is important for reading and academic success as students are required to show the mastery of their knowledge on a weekly basis. Yoga is beneficial for students with memory problems. They can remember all the important steps and retrieve the information they studied while taking the tests.
And Check out this Yoga Video for kids:
Source: YogaToday – Online Yoga & Meditation- YouTube
Yoga should be encouraged on a large scale as it supports overall health and well being. This is important as we all know how academic environment in Singapore is getting challenging day by day. The ever increasing stress, being restricted to screens and social pressures take toll on both one’s mental and physical health. Yoga is non-competitive and can be easily incorporated into classrooms.
What do you think? Are you in favor of making yoga a part of classroom?
Please share your thoughts with us by commenting below.