Yoga Boosts Children’s Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
The yoga increased confidence and self-esteem in my pre-adolescent girls.
Yoga to help children’s self-esteem?
My 9-year-old Charl Charlotte and her friend Eleni are laughing on the floor next to me.
My eldest daughter, Lauren, 11, has just shown them a yoga exercise in which they begin crouching, then stretch their legs and lift their pelvis while leaving their hands on the ground.
“It is ridiculous,” said Charlotte, taking a frog’s frog voice. Lauren looks up at the sky and asks Charlotte and Eleni to sit cross-legged in the lotus position.
“OK,” she said, “we are all in the post of the overturned dog, except one of us. This one will crawl under the others. Moreover, while she does, we will take turns saying something nice about her. “Charlotte is the first to crawl. I said, “I love how cuddly you are.” “I am glad you are my little sister,” Lauren said. “I like you never mean that you do not like me,” Eleni said.
I started yoga with my daughters six years ago for several reasons. First, there were studies which praised the salutary effects. Researchers at the University of Leipzig, Germany, found that yoga children were calmer, less impulsive and less aggressive, and more able to cope with stressors. In another study report, published in Pediatric Physical Therapy, the literature was analyzed on the subject and concluded that yoga was physiologically beneficial for children. In fact, teaching yoga to children has become so popular that many schools in North America offer it in their programs.
For me, it is important that my daughters have a healthy image of their bodies; As a teenager, I had problems feeding. A 2008 Canadian study shows that 37% of girls in Secondary III and 40% of girls in Secondary IV are too large, even if they have a healthy weight. The American Association of Anorexia Nervosa states that 95% of people with eating disorders are between 12 and 25 years of age. I am convinced that it is in part thanks to yoga that Lauren, who is at the age of changing form, feels good about herself. She and Charlotte love what they hear at their yoga classes, namely that a robust and confident body can help them achieve their goals. I also like the time spent together with my daughters doing yoga.
Another of my priorities was to make them aware of a strategy they could use in the long term to calm their minds. While the parent-child classes were great when they were small, with the postures of animals and stars, around 8 or 9 years old, they lost interest. They were not interested in adult classes either. “I do not understand what’s going on,” Lauren told me after an introduction to hatha yoga.
I had to find them tailor-made, and I found her with Aruna Kathy Humphrys, a kundalini yogist who develops programs for her Toronto studio, Young Yoga Masters. Kathy Humphrys delivers the yoga philosophy by telling young people wonderful stories from a Zen children’s book, doing meditation and, of course, also teaching yoga postures. It helps pre-teens to become acutely aware of their thoughts. Above all, she encourages them to ask questions. Almost always, my girls’ questions are about bullying in school, their appearance, their friends. They have never asked a single question about yoga.
Professor George Scarlett, Deputy Director of the Department of Educational Studies on Children and Human Development at Tufts University (Boston, USA) (Eliot-Pearson), ranks pre-teens in two groups. Children between the ages of 9 and 11 are concerned about succeeding and measuring their value to others, he explains, while the 11-14-year-olds discover that they have a somewhat hidden inner life that is different Of the image they give of themselves. According to him, this creates in them a kind of solitude and fear of sharing their inner life with others, intimacy becoming a challenge.
“Those in authority should encourage the friendship of these young people for them, be patient, and have an attitude of approval when they show up in their right light.” Boston yoga teacher Susanna Barry Responsible for a wellness program at the MIT Medical Center, adds that letting pre-teens invent yoga postures helps them develop their leadership.
My daughters and I begin our sessions with breathing exercises. My 9-year-old Charlotte describes what this moment represents for her: “I inspire thoughts of what I can do and who I am, and I exhale the words of the children who told me of villains Things and made me feel small. “