Yoga is not just for grown ups
Times are really difficult for us all. Many of us are out of work, can’t get through to unemployment, worried about catching the virus and being shut in with nowhere to go can really raise the stress level and anxiety. Well grown ups aren’t the only ones who are feeling the COVID-19 stress and anxiety. Children are feeling it, too. No birthday parties, no school, they can’t see their friends and some just don’t understand what is going on and for those that do, it’s frightening. Well, there is one way to help us cope with all this and that’s Yoga. and believe it or not, Yoga can also help children.
Doreen Foxwell, owner of The Children’s School of Yoga at 2 Lake Street no. 202 in Monroe for 16 years, teaches Yoga to children from age 5 and under to 18 months old to young adults. There are even classes available for families, high risk youth and special needs children. All classes are done virtually, through Zoom, this time to help children cope.
With the most recent pandemic, the studio’s older students or school-aged students and above have been able to transition well to virtual classes, but the younger students (under age 5) have had a much harder time taking a yoga class over the computer. The staff has also been challenged with trying to reach the population they taught directly in their public schools as so many students do not have wifi access, computers, or the ability to connect with the staff directly since schools closed mid March.
Foxwell travels and teaches thousands of children in schools, childcare facilities and camps there are even after school programs.
How do children benefit from yoga?
Children can benefit from Yoga in so many ways because each child is unique in what they will receive from participating in yoga.
•Athletic children can gain flexibility, endurance and strength.
•Asthmatic children or children who suffer from allergies can improve their lung capacity.
•Children who have ADD/ADHD can learn mindfulness techniques to help them self regulate and be in charge of their behaviors or reactions.
•Everyday children can learn poses to improve balance, breaths and meditations to help them when dealing with stress.
•Yoga helps children with the Fight-or-Flight response which is worsening with this pandemic. Fight-or-Flight response, also called hyperarousal, the Crumbles, or the acute stress response, is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.
Do children have stress? YES
“From a very young age, we see the effects of stress on children in their behaviors.” aid Foxwell. “Many children do not have the ability to express what they are feeling or even understand that it is stress that can come from their home and family life, their peers in their school life, or for reasons we are not aware of.”
How does a child do yoga?
Foxwell teaches children from 18 mos through young adult directly in their childcares/preschools, after school programs, camps, yoga studios, community centers, fitness centers and more...by using a thematic curriculum that changes each week.
Each week she introduces the children to poses/postures (asanas), breaths (pranayama), mindfulness and meditations, yoga concepts and more, in a fun and age appropriate way. Foxwell has 3 different curriculums divided by different age groups that she can use each week when teaching classes.
How many styles of yoga are there?
Several. Here are a few:
•Hatha: Is a general term given to all yoga or is a basic yoga. It is a beginner yoga style.
•Iyengar Yoga: Focuses on proper alignment in poses/postures
•Kundalini Yoga: Known as the fire yoga. Great for teens and adults looking to lose weight.
Hot Yoga: Not recommended for children! Great for adults to release toxins and lose weight. Cannot have medical conditions that are exacerbated by heat.
•Sivananda Yoga: Holistic teachings of how to practice yoga which were brought to the US in the 1930's and have stayed true to their nature.
•Kids Yoga: Newest form of yoga. Many made up poses, and poses renamed for relating to kids themes.
Children's health, wellness and mental well being is one of The Children’s School of Yoga’s biggest concerns and Foxwell hopes to continue to be able to teach them Yoga techniques in their home environments virtually until they can reopen their doors.