As the modern world progresses and social media expands, younger generations are increasingly exposed to negative messages about their bodies. They absorb violent responses to hot-button issues. They learn quick fixes for any “shortcoming” society convinces them they have. They scroll and scroll and scroll looking for something external that might fill an internal void. Kids have very few spaces that aren’t flooded with a set of standards they must reach or rules about who they can and can’t be. Even their own minds can become unsafe.
Some might argue that these obstacles are just a sample of what we all face regardless of age. And while the universality of the list above is certainly real, our kids are experiencing these things during a period when they are piecing together who they are for the very first time. As adults, we can see through the malarky most of the time, but when our kids are on their maiden voyage to Self, everything influences them for better or for worse. Everywhere they look there’s an answer, so they grab it all, relieved to have some sort of direction, no matter where it leads.
During a time when they should be skinning their knees and laughing about it, they are spending nights wide awake, their minds submerged in test anxiety. Instead of sneaking out of the house for a late night rendezvous with friends, they are hiding their true selves behind layers and layers of what society tells them they should look like, talk like, act like, love like. Instead of figuring out who they are from the inside out, they are carving themselves from the outside in. It’s not even that they are growing up too fast anymore. They aren’t even given the opportunity to truly explore their youth.
Yoga in the classroom can help kids establish a positive relationship with themselves, their peers, their teachers and their wider school community. Their mat becomes that safe space they are craving where Facebook posts aren’t cutting them down and ads on their Instagram feeds aren’t telling them they are too this or not enough of that. Standing yoga poses help them build strength, balancing poses help them find focus, and restorative poses help them dig past the masks they wear.
Yoga for Kids is a direct path to youth, for our youth.