In today’s busy and connected world, we all need to learn skills to remain calm under pressure and to switch off from our ‘always on’ culture. Yoga, as part of a belief or a lifestyle choice, offers several ways in which we can learn about ourselves, our bodies, our reactions to stress and discover new ways to deal with them.
Children are no different, and in many ways are luckier, in that their brains and bodies are in a more ‘elastic’ state. Reports from CAMHS services up and down the country point to a sharply-increased need for mental health services for children and young people. Whilst yoga and mindfulness are not a cure for serious mental illness, mindfulness and exercise are now recognised as effective treatments for stress, anxiety and depression. They both offer ways that the brain can learn to ‘switch off’ from mental chatter – and both yoga and mindfulness are basically ways of exercising our ability to pay attention.
Yoga is a whole body activity – it’s important to focus in on what you’re doing otherwise you fall over! Breath control and being ‘in the moment’ is a big part of this. The best way of getting children active, stretching safely and enjoying movement and mindfulness is via storytelling: Annabel delivers interactive and entertaining yoga classes for children of all ages which gives them body confidence, flexibility, strength and teaches them valuable mindfulness techniques to manage stress. By happy coincidence, it also teaches listening, teamwork, coordination and tactical skills too!
Yoga is also a fantastic complementary exercise for other sports, especially running, football, rugby, cycling, gymnastics and dance.
It’s worth noting that:
- 24% of Wiltshire pupils do less than 2 hours of physical activity a week
- 1 in 5 KS2 pupils is classed as overweight/obese which rises to 1 in 3 by Year 6.
- 10% of school age boys and 5% of girls nationally have a mental health problem
- The UK Government has recognised the importance of physical and mental health (and the link between) and has launched the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.
For Wiltshire schools, Annabel (with guidance from in-school PE professionals) follows the Wiltshire HYPE (Healthy Young People Excel) Aspirations, especially 1 – Physical Literacy for Life, and 2 – Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.
Don’t worry, these classes are aimed squarely at children and aren’t full of mumbo-jumbo and Sanskrit words!
The most effective way for children to learn new techniques is via storytelling, song and movement and we make this as fun as possible. Class plans include: We’re Going on a Bee Hunt, Kids in Space!, Jungle Mayhem and Pirates in an Adventure with Animals.
Annabel qualified to teach yoga and mindfulness to children in October 2017, has enhanced DBS clearance and full insurance, and runs in-timetable and after-school clubs across Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
Zen Kids Yoga & Mindfulness for Schools brochure to download or fill in the form:
If you’re interested in finding out more for your child’s school, fill in the form: