5 Tips For

Starting Young: 5 Reasons Why Kids Should Be Doing Yoga

I was an active kid. I grew up playing a lot of sports that I adored, but what has stuck with me the most, are the vivid memories I have of my dad taking me to his favorite yoga class, led by a local Swami. I didn't really know what yoga was, but I loved how easy it came to me, how quiet the practice was, and how calm I felt after savasana, or in my kid brain, "glorified nap time." There was a general ease and peace that I didn't have words for at the time, but after years of teaching and studying yoga, I have a much better understanding of what was happening in that room. I was gaining lifelong tools that promoted confidence, self-care, self-inquiry, and a general sense of inner peace.

I often see students come to their mat for the first-time, later in life, due to a suggestion from a medical professional, usually for an injury. It is never too late to pick up your yoga mat, but I often find myself wondering how incredible it would be to be able to share yoga with kids, as a way to instill healthy breathing, movement, and thought patterns for a life of happiness and balance.

 

Here are the 5 reasons I think all kids should be doing yoga.

  1. 1. Healthy Breath. Children naturally breathe using their diaphragms. Unfortunately, the stress of adult life shifts us into unhealthy shallow chest breath. Teaching kids the importance of maintaining healthy breath patterns can have a lasting lifelong effect of less stress, healthier bodies, and more alert minds. There is a saying that goes, "Where the mind goes, energy flows." When we are breathing with ease, our bodies naturally relax.

 

  1. 2. Healthy Body. A body in motion stays in motion. Teaching kids at a young age how important the balance of movement, flexibility, and strength are can have a lasting impact on their lives. One of the things I love most about yoga is that you see people of all ages and backgrounds practicing. This is a sustainable practice that is gentle on the joints and can be adapted for the rest of one's life.

 

  1. 3. Connection and Community. One of the original tenets of yoga is "ahimsa," which means "do no harm to yourself or others." Yoga is a nonviolent practice, that gives a child inner resources and tools to lessen stress, but also encourages connecting with others in a positive, nonviolent way. The word "yoga" means "union" and the practice encourages us to see ourselves in others and seek ways to make the world a better place.

 

  1. 4. Self-care. Understanding the importance of taking care of oneself at a young age is crucial for a balanced life. One of my former students takes it upon herself to go to her room when she gets stressed out and meditates until her breath normalizes. She's 12 and already has tools to deal with the stressors in her life. When a child has tools to handle his or her daily stressors or frustrations, empowerment and confidence build.

 

  1. 5. Inner Resources. Childhood, especially adolescence, can be a time of shifting identities, with a lot of influence from peers. Yoga has taught me so much about myself and has instilled a sense of inner confidence. As a child, yoga gave me the time and space to explore who I am, what I like, where my limitations are, etc. Because of the reflective nature of yoga, kids have the opportunity to turn inward and learn about themselves, creating more confident, self-assured adults in the long run.

Join Meghan Foley for our "Becoming a Yogi" Series beginning January 7th. It is a great way for kids ages 9-12 to explore yoga and its benefits. Learn more here.

Meghan Foley is a 500 hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga, with extensive training in Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Power Yoga. She loves sharing yoga with kids, particularly teenagers, because she believes this to be a crucial time in children's lives that can be impacted positively with yoga tools.

Five Tips for Staying Healthy Through Your Pregnancy

When most women find out they're pregnant, first comes excitement, then comes the sometimes overwhelming reality of all the changes that are to come. We want to take care of ourselves and our changing body to promote the best health for ourselves and our babies, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. There’s advice everywhere, and it’s often contradictory. As someone who’s delivered babies for over 20 years, here are my top 5 behaviors for keeping you (and baby) healthy through your pregnancy:

1) Eat well – We all know that pregnancy is a time when we need more calories for the development of the growing baby.  Mamas need an extra 300 calories a day. An average apple has 95 calories, a banana 105, and a ½ cup of cucumber only 8.  We also need a lot more protein than most of us usually get.  You need 2-3 servings of meat and/or legumes a day to get the recommended amount.  Eggs and peanut butter are also good sources of protein.

2)Move Your Body– Exercise is always important. It’s also a lot easier to say, than do. During pregnancy, exercise helps keep your weight healthy and safe for you and baby.  It has also been shown that women who exercise during pregnancy tend to have an easier time with labor.  Yoga can be particularly helpful, especially to maintain flexibility while building strength.  Some studies even show that women who exercise during pregnancy have babies who are healthier during their first year of life, compared to babies of women who don’t exercise.

3) Sleep – Over the course of pregnancy, this only gets harder, both because of body discomfort and the need to empty your bladder in the middle of the night.  Sleep is when our bodies rejuvenate themselves.  Things are much more tolerable when we have had plenty of sleep.

4) Find a community – It’s easy to start to feel isolated. Finding support with people going through the same thing gives you a place to get questions answered about the changes that go with pregnancy. Find a community of other mothers or mothers to be (Blooma is a great place to do this!)

5) Communicate with your partner – Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body and mind, and it’s easy to internalize a lot of those changes and the thoughts that go with them.  Remember that your partner wants to know what’s happening.  Together you are the base for your family, so make sure to carve out time to maintain the relationship that existed before pregnancy.

We encourage you to move your body, relax your mind, and connect with other mamas at Blooma. Learn more about our offerings here.

 

Written by Laura France, MD, FACOG, obstetrician/gynecologist, Senior Medical Director – Women and
Children’s Service Line at HealthEast. Learn more at www.healtheast.org/maternity.