Why Safe Harbor?
A certified Imagination Yoga teacher uses an original story to guide student's ages 2-12 through a kids yoga class. Each adventure incorporates the physical benefits of yoga, calming and concentration techniques and kindness exercises. The National Association for Sports and Physical Education recommends 60 minutes of structured physical activity per day. Our program helps kids get to that goal while integrating the wonderful mind, body and heart benefits of yoga.
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Aids Ability to Self-Soothe
School expectations are escalated today more than in recent years through standardized tests and busy after school schedules. Yoga provides a little peace in children's days and teaches them how to self-soothe through calming techniques.
Busy schedules and stimulation of electronic devices are leading us to a new generation that doesn’t know how to disconnect and just be. Yoga teaches a child how to turn down the noise if just for a moment.
Simply learning when and how to take a meaningful deep breath can be invaluable to a child today. Breathing is a life long tool for managing stress and cultivating inner peace. If learned early, the child can tap into this tool all the days of his/her life.
The noncompetitive aspect of yoga requires the practitioner, no matter how small, to work with his or her own body and not compare. The awareness of their own unique strengths helps to cultivate self-love, acceptance and respect.
Kids learn to connect more deeply with their inner self, and they become able to develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. Yoga provides a healthy space for their young minds to prosper.
What child doesn’t need a little extra dose of patience? Yoga takes practice and therefore fosters patient persistency.
Fosters Mental Clarity
Concentration and focus are paramount in yoga. “The Importance of Focus” (10/23/13) reported that kids learn best when they can maintain sustained attention. The more youngsters can practice keeping their focus and resisting distraction, the stronger and more richly connected their ability to focus will become. Like a muscle, use attention poorly and it withers; work it in the right way and it strengthens.
Improves Grades / School Performance
Whether it’s the ability to focus more in class, sleep better at night, or any of the combinations of the above benefits, studies show an improvement in classroom performance when kids participate in yoga. In a study of kindergarten through 8th-grade students in an inner-city school, researchers from California State University proved a “statistically significant” link between yoga participation and better grades.
Creates Opportunities for Kindness
Yoga can be the bullying antidote by teaching kindness and compassion: how our kind words affect others and how it feeds our kind hearts and fuels our kind thoughts. Other activities teach sportsmanship but yoga intentionally practices compassion before conflict.
Teaches Emotional Literacy
Children need an opportunity to associate how they are feeling with an actual word in order to seek help when they need it and have meaningful conversations with adults. The ability to communicate dramatically increases their understanding of their emotions as they learn to manage and self-regulate.
The following articles by national publications and clinical studies conducted by major universities support and prove the numerous benefits of yoga for children in more than the obvious ways.
An article in Forbes Magazine of 24 July 2013, identifies how yoga increases school rentention rates by teaching healthy copying mechanisms against stress. Imagine the different trajectory of life for a student who finishes school with the ability to manage stress versus a drop-out who cannot self-regulate. The article also mentions the popular 2011 Harvard study proving mindfulness is linked to increasing gray matter density.
Getting mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation into schools could save lives. And a few trillion dollars. Read more...
Wall Street Journal published an article on 28 March 2011 about the benefits of yoga in schools. Two studies were mentioned:
1) A 2003 study by California State University, Los Angeles found that yoga improved students' behavior, physical health and academic performance, as well as attitudes toward themselves.
2) That same year, Leipzig University reported that yoga reduces feelings of helplessness and aggression, and in the long term helps emotional balance.
Yoga classes for kids are taking off, as advocates say it's especially helpful for those with focusing problems. Read more...
A study conducted by Indiana University and Purdue University titled "Factors Affecting Student Achievement and Related Behaviors" in January 2007 concluded that "yoga has a significant positive effect on the academic achievement, general health, personal attributes and relationships of students in Kindergarten through 5th grade."