People of all ages have recognized the health benefits of yoga, an ancient spiritual practice that has seized the public’s imagination in these stressful times. Grandmothers and octogenarians are frequently shown in pretzel-like poses, praising the practice for improving their flexibility and overall wellness. There are no age limits for this form of exercise, either: more and more parents are embracing yoga for kids as well!

Here are seven reasons why yoga for kids is a great idea for them and for you.

1. Learn to Achieve Calmness

Besides its physical benefits, yoga aficionados advocate this practice as a proven way to achieve serenity. Many of its exercises focus on the breath as a way to center one’s thoughts and calm the nervous system.

The calming qualities of a yoga practice are needed by children these days as much as they are by their parents. Kids’ lives are scheduled to the max, with after-school activities, sports, and homework taking time away from playing, reading and just hanging out.

Some teachers have even found that yoga can have a positive effect on kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The poses and breathing provide self-soothing techniques that kids with these conditions can utilize to calm down.

2. Greater Flexibility

The physical benefits of yoga for the bodies of growing youngsters are numerous. Stretching helps prevent injuries, lengthens muscles and improves mobility in the joints. The more children learn to stretch while they are young, the more likely they will be to maintain these good habits and qualities later in life.

Student-athletes and most kids with lots of energy tend to run, jump and move around a lot! However, they do not always take the time to warm up their bodies. Yoga for kids promotes healthy habits by requiring them to slow down, take their time and let their bodies flow into poses which facilitate flexibility and endurance.

3. Maximize Body Awareness

Kids grow, often very quickly- and their changing bodies often make them clumsy and uncoordinated. When your body gains three inches in height over the period of a few months, it can be hard to realize where you are in relation to other objects!

Kids can also be hyper-aware of their bodies – and not in a good way. Peer pressure and media images create unrealistic expectations: kids expect to be thin and beautiful like famous celebrities and can get depressed if they do not measure up.

Yoga for kids encourages acceptance of one’s body for what it is, what it can do and its potential.

4. Boost in Confidence

Yoga for kids has been found by experts to increase confidence. By providing a safe place where kids can relax and stay in the moment, yoga has been found to help children in all walks of life.

Experts at organizations like Healthy Focus have found that bringing yoga to inner city schools has had a positive impact on reducing suspensions and disciplinary issues and improving grades. When children are given a place to practice mindfulness, their confidence in themselves grows and manifests in less destructive behaviors.

Instead of comparing themselves to others, yoga encourages children to grow at their own pace and take pride in their individual accomplishments. Even a simple exercise like getting better at touching their toes each week creates a feeling of achievement, something they can be proud of.

5. Increased Focus

Many kids get easily distracted and need guidance in focusing on their schoolwork, keeping track of their belongings or even their bodies. How often do you hear a mom yelling, “Pay attention!”

Yoga for kids provides a safe, gentle space for young ones to practice their focus. Of course, being told to focus doesn’t always help: yoga solves this by giving kids concrete tasks to focus on.

For example, if they are given a pose that requires balance, they must focus on staying upright.

If they are told to focus on breathing in one nostril and out the other, they are prevented from focusing on what their friends are doing or what is going on outside the classroom.

These exercises come in handy for teaching children how to focus on other things in their lives…like homework! Plus, yoga for kids often includes fun props to focus on, like bouncy balls, bricks, and ropes.

6. Time Out from Screens

In today’s plugged-in world, many parents are concerned about the amount of time their kids spend on screens, looking at phones, iPads, and other devices.

Experts reveal that the overstimulation of constant electronic bombardment can have negative effects on children’s brains.

Exercise like yoga has many benefits to counteract the effects of too much screen time. It can help to improve memory, concentration, and serenity. It brings kids back into their bodies and into the present, taking them out of the cybersphere at least for a little while.

7. Starting the Work-Out Habit Early

Another benefit to enrolling your children in a yoga class at a young age is that it will instill in them healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Kids who associate movement and meditation with fun are more likely to continue these behaviors. On the other hand, adults who try to start these habits later in life- on the advice of a doctor or to lose weight- often face far more challenges to get started and stay engaged.

By creating these ingrained habits at an early age, children will reap benefits their entire lives. Researchers have found that yoga literally changes one’s brain, creating more grey matter.

Not only will yoga give your kids the gifts of mindfulness and calmness which will help them throughout their lives, it may even make them smarter!

8. Yoga for Kids: Happy Children, Happy Parents

Parents want to give their children the tools they need to succeed in life. Yoga for kids is a gift you can give your offspring which will pay off in many ways. By learning this ancient practice at a young age, they will be better prepared to go out into the world equipped for many of its challenges.

For more tips on health and wellness for your entire family, check out our blogs.

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Here is Why It’s Never Too Late for You to Achieve Something Worthwhile 2 - Florida Independent
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Here is Why It’s Never Too Late for You to Achieve Something Worthwhile

Have you ever asked yourself if it’s too late to achieve something worthwhile in life. These two most upvoted responses by Marcus and Jim respectively on Quora will help you if you still have doubts about what you can do at any stage of your career.

1. Marcus Geduld, Shakespearean director, computer programmer, teacher, writer, likes dinosaurs.

Too late for what?

If you slept through your 26th birthday, it’s too late for you to experience that. It’s too late for you to watch “LOST” in its premiere broadcast. (Though, honestly, you didn’t miss much.) It’s too late for you to fight in the Vietnam War.

It’s too late for you to go through puberty or attend nursery school. It’s too late for you to learn a second language as proficiently as a native speaker*. It’s probably too late for you to be breastfed.

It’s not too late for you to fall in love.

It’s not too late for you to have kids.

It’s not too late for you to embark on an exciting career or series of careers.

It’s not too late for you to read the complete works of Shakespeare; learn how to program computers; learn to dance; travel around the world; go to therapy; become an accomplished cook; sky dive; develop an appreciation for jazz; write a novel; get an advanced degree; save for your old age; read “In Search of Lost Time”; become a Christian, then an atheist, then a Scientologist; break a few bones; learn how to fix a toilet; develop a six-pack …

Honestly, I’m 47, and I’ll say this to you, whippersnapper: you’re a fucking kid, so get over yourself. I’m a fucking kid, too. I’m almost twice your age, and I’m just getting started! My dad is in his 80s, and he wrote two books last year.

You don’t get to use age as an excuse. Get off your ass!

Also, learn about what economists call “sunk costs.” If I give someone $100 on Monday, and he spends $50 on candy, he’ll probably regret that purchase on Tuesday. In a way, he’ll still think of himself as a guy with $100—half of which is wasted.

What he really is is a guy with $50, just as he would be if I’d handed him a fifty-dollar bill. A sunk cost from yesterday should not be part of today’s equation. What he should be thinking is this: “What should I do with my $50?”

What you are isn’t a person who has wasted 27 years. You are a person who has X number of years ahead of you. What are you going to do with them?

* What I’d intended as a throwaway comment, about the difficulty of second-language acquisition after childhood, has generated interest and disagreement. I will admit upfront I am not an expert on the matter, and was mostly informed by research I’d read about.

It claimed there’s a window of childhood, after which the brain stops being able to hear certain sounds—one’s not used by a child’s native language—which is why it’s so hard to learn to speak a second language without an accent.

Some people may master it, but not many. (How many people do you know, after 25, learned a foreign language and can speak it so well, natives have no idea they’re listening to a foreigner?) It’s also challenging to learn all the idiomatic expressions that native speakers have known since they were small children.

However, since having written this answer, I’ve learned that the Science behind this is very controversial. As I’m not an expert, let me refer you to the wikipedia article (and it’s linked resources).

“In second-language acquisition, the strongest evidence for the critical period hypothesis is in the study of accent, where most older learners do not reach a native-like level.

However, under certain conditions, native-like accent has been observed, suggesting that accent is affected by multiple factors, such as identity and motivation, rather than a critical period biological constraint (Moyer, 1999; Bongaerts et al., 1995; Young-Scholten, 2002).”

2. Jim Lawrenson, Still driving…

Unfortunately for ‘real’ people, the media is obsessed with the tiny minority who succeed early and display this very publicly.

This is then amplified by the high profile ‘subject’,  for PR purposes, to perpetuate their success.

Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, River Phoenix, Justin Timberlake, Bill Gates, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jobs, James Dean, Richard Branson, Whitney Houston, One Direction, Amy Winehouse, Mark Zuckerburg. Need I go on.

Notice a trend in there somewhere?

You are probably being influenced, (like all of us), in how you assess your own progress, compared to these people. It can be a dangerous game to play.

It takes a tremendous amount of luck, as well as talent, to get into the right position at the right time. Not many people who make it will tell you that, often preferring to put it down to their hard work.

That is because they believe that this is the case, not because they are intentionally misleading you. I know that because, to an extent, I’ve done it.

You also may not have considered that even if you were on the list of young successes. It is very hard to follow that early success later in life. Your expectations of yourself are higher and based on that youthful virtual reality you experienced once, you can never improve on your past.

That can be a tough pill to swallow and despite all the money in the world, many struggle with that.

Look at any list of young successes from just 10 years ago and count the number who have disappeared, died or been in rehab. Lots.

Half the list of super successful people above are dead for a start off.

This is not an excuse for you to give up trying however. 

Try to think of life as a long road journey.

The journey can be as exciting or as boring as you choose to make it.

Wherever you are on the journey, there are new experiences, as long as you welcome them and seek them out. Some you can plan in advance.

Often, you need to get out of the car to experience them. Otherwise, you will see them flash past the window and feel like it is too late to stop.

  • Do something every day which contributes to your progress on the journey and always be learning and experiencing new things.
  • Don’t put off experiences which can be done today by getting out of the car, for a tomorrow which may never arrive.
  • Build a vision of where you want to get to in 1, 5 and 10 years and then think about the steps you need to complete in the next 30 days to move towards it, but don’t set deadlines that are too harsh. Do the first step on the list today.
  • Like any long journey, you will hit diversions, obstacles, traffic lights, speed bumps, closed roads and all manner of other problems. There will be crashes – you might be involved in them. Like any long road journey, if you want to get the destination enough, you won’t turn back, you will reroute. The car might break down or need repairing. Just accept it will happen now, and carry on.

Most importantly, don’t wait for all the traffic lights between your house and your destination, to turn green at the same time, before you set off.

They won’t!

Get in the car and start driving.

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