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Kids’ Brains On Yoga

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A Child Enjoys Her Happy Brain during a Young Yoga Masters Kids Yoga Class

For decades scientists have been studying human brain development to find out what helps in forming healthy brains and what doesn’t. Recently they’ve turned their attention to kids’ brains.

Psychologists, doctors and neuroscientists have discovered when children are not engaged with good learning activities, especially in their earliest years, brain development suffers. While adults might damage their brains by what they do, such as using drugs and intoxicants, kids’ brains can be damaged by what they don’t do. It turns out talking, moving, and playing are all vital activities that help develop kids’ brains.

Kids Yoga Is Brain Friendly

This is all great news for kids yoga teachers because so many of the things they do are brain friendly. In this series of articles over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at how kids yoga teachers can apply the findings of modern science to develop healthy kids brains.

The most important aspect of a kids yoga class is you the teacher who is there as a live person interacting with the kids and responding to them in real time. This is significant because a few years ago there was an explosion of baby genius videos which encouraged caregivers to plop toddlers down in front of televisions. Subsequent research showed this was not the best brain developing strategy.

Alice Park in a Time magazine article writes,

The claim always seemed too good to be true: park your infant in front of a video and, in no time, he or she will be talking and getting smarter than the neighbor’s kid. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the “Baby Einstein” and “Brainy Baby” series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers.

She goes on to report that the best activity for toddlers is face time with real human beings.

Kids Need A Real Teacher

In this video, one of the world’s leading kids brain development scientists Patricia Kuhl sums it up in five words, “People need people to learn.”

3 Keys to Good Brain Development In Kids

Different researchers categorize healthy brain development activities in different ways. We can organize them generally into the three E’s:

  • Exploring -moving around, getting to know their bodies, using imagination
  • Energizing – stretching poses, balancing poses, poses that develop motor skills
  • Engaging – conversation, problem solving, music and play

Kids yoga teachers have a giant supply of imaginative games, fun yoga poses and cheerful music that gets kids moving, thinking, and feeling. So the next time you are leading a kids yoga class remember the most important aspect is you as a real live person interacting with the kids. You may be having fun, inspiring character and playing games but that’s not the only thing you’re doing. You’re also building beautiful brains.


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