BY SARA BUECHLER
Transitioning from elementary school to middle school can be a stressful experience for your tweens. Homework is more tedious, tests are more frequent, and it is at a time where they’re going through hormonal changes. It’s a lot. You want your tween to be happy, healthy, and successful in school without being distracted or succumbing to peer pressure, depression or worse. The practice of yoga and meditation are an extremely beneficial activity that can help have a positive impact on your children and their body, mind, spirit, and overall health.
The benefits of yoga can help your children in school, because with a more focused mind, and decreased stress and anxiety, students can tackle on their assignments with a positive mind space because they are practicing mindfulness. Recent studies have also shown that yoga and meditation help students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by improving their systems such as inattentiveness and hyperactivity, and thus improving school performance as well. Meditation can also aid in traumas and large stressors that your children might have to deal with. The number of tweens who practice yoga is on the rise too. According to the National Health Interview Survey, 3.1 percent of US children – about 1.7 million – practice yoga, which is about 429,000 more than in 2007 (data from 2012). Maggie Rucker, of Flow Space yoga studio says with less stress and anxiety, students can perform better on exams. It also helps with social anxiety and allow students feel comfortable in their own skin and therefore around others. Yoga is a great tool to clear unwanted perspectives and allow in new ones, Rucker said. is is a great asset for pre-teens to use as their brains develop and can apply to the health rituals throughout their lives. Yoga also allows pre-teens to maintain the natural flexibility they often have and then lose over time. Brinn Strange, owner of AUXO Fitness, said yoga could provide mental clarity and focus for pre-teens in school. The three-part breathing techniques practiced in yoga can be used when a student is anxious about a test or in a stressful social situation.
“Being able to lower your heart rate and clear your mind through breathing techniques can be empowering for pre-teens, which helps give them a sense of control during a time in their life when so many rules and decisions seem to be made for them,” Strange said. Yoga teaches one to be accepting of your personal journey and of others, Strange said. It is a judgment- free zone, and this practice of acceptance is something everyone can benefit from.
To ease your teen into a new yoga routine, you can start right in the comforts of their own home. There are multiple YouTube videos/channels catered to beginners who want to learn how
to meditate or do yoga. All they would need is a yoga mat and a quiet area to practice. One channel in particular is, “Yoga Ed,” an educational company dedicated to changing education through the practice of yoga. They have multiple videos catered specifically for pre-teens. SeanVigueFitness is another YouTube channel that has a selection of videos for teens and/or for beginners. The videos from him can be used along a 5 or 6-day period.
There are dozens of different yoga poses and/or meditation strategies out there, and down below are a couple tween friendly techniques:
-Sitting still with your eyes closed and counting slowly from 1 to 10, and if a thought enters your mind, you revert back
-Having a pile of cotton balls, or any small, soundless object in front of you, and for each minute, move the cotton ball to the side whenever a thought enters your mind. After each round, try and have less cotton balls moved over.
-Mountain pose – Stand with your hands to the side, and slowly move them into a salutation (or prayer), and then slowly move your hands to the sky and bend backwards. is pose is great for straightening out the spine and stretching after a long day of hunched over a school desk.
-Standard forward fold – with your feet slightly apart, bend forward from the hips and put your head down. is pose stretches the hamstrings, and the spine. It also relieves anxiety and stress that your student can have before an exam.
Benefits of Yoga
Improve their posture and alignment
Strengthen the immune system
Develop a strong and flexible body and core strength
Promotes better sleep
Increases balance and coordination
Aids in body awareness
Eases stress and tension
Improves focus and attention span
Improves mood and cognitive function
Increases their confidence and positive self-image
Develops self-control and discipline
Improves mind and body connection
Motivates social awareness and self-awareness
Feel included in a non-competitive activity
Detaching from electronic devices while in session