In conversation with…LAURA DODD
In recent years, there´s been a great deal of research about the benefits of yoga and mindfulness for young kids. In this post we talk to Laura Dodd, professional yoga teacher and founder of digital studio theyogaclass.co.uk, to understand why we should all be practising on a regular basis with our loved ones.
Why is yoga, mindfulness and relaxation so beneficial for kids?
Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation for kids develops discipline, increases focus and concentration, builds balance and flexibility, promotes calmness and eases stress. It also strengthens fine and gross motor coordination, heightens body awareness and self-control.
It has also been shown to increase a child or teen’s ability to regulate emotions as well as feel compassion, empathy and improve self esteem.
Ritual and routine are important elements of a yoga practice, even yoga for kids. It is through a regular practice that the greatest physical, physiological and emotional benefits are discovered, and children especially benefit from the consistency of a regular routine.
Is it true that practising regularly can improve not only their strength and flexibility but also their attention and emotional balance? Will it also help them sleep better?
It is well documented that yoga can help children improve strength and flexibility as well as body awareness. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety and manage their emotional responses to the world by finding a way to concentrate and calm the mind through the breath, whether this be meditation or the combination of breath and movement. This should in turn help aide better sleep.
At what age should kids start practising? And how regularly?
Kids can start at any age, but before 8, it is very much play. This is still a very beneficial release and can also harness many benefits, but after 8 a child can be encouraged to start yoga in a more adult way. This is due to the number of air sacs stabilising in a child’s lungs, their immune system fully developing and their ability to concentrate for longer periods of time increasing. This being said it should always be enjoyable and relaxed and not enforced. Yoga for teens is extremely beneficial as this time can be very stressful with social and school demands.
Time wise, practice for as long as they are engaged, a good guide line is a minute for every year of their life.
Do you encourage parents to practise alongside their kids?
If your child sees their parent practicing then they are more likely to want emulate what you are doing and want to try it themselves. So yes, do!
Could you recommend our readers a good family yoga retreat?
Queen of Retreats has a great selection to choose the right option for your family.
Perhaps I should create a luxury family yoga retreat?
You can follow Laura on www.theyogaclass.co and on Instagram @theyogaclass.co