Beth Borowsky - How yoga benefits children
Beth Borowsky - How yoga benefits children
This week we spoke with children's yoga expert and qualified early childhood educator, Beth Borowsky from KarmaKidsYoga and The Karma Class to learn about the benefits of yoga for young children.
How long have you been teaching yoga classes in early childhood centres?
I have been teaching children yoga for 14 years now.
What made you decide to work with young children?
There are so many extraordinary life lessons to teach young children through the experience of yoga. I have a Master's Degree in Early Childhood and I'm a qualified Montessori Preschool teacher. Inspiring and working with children has always been my passion, as has yoga, so combining the two made perfect sense to me.
How many centres do you currently work with?
I work with approximately 30.
What are the benefits of yoga and mindfulness for children?
Everyone benefits from the gifts that yoga, breath, and mindfulness offer, and young children are no different. Our classes introduce children to the magic of their breath and to explore their bodies in fun and creative ways. They learn about balance, focus, and how to become calm. They learn about their bodies, their strong muscles and bones, and how important it is to take care of themselves to be healthy. When they are offered opportunities to experience mindfulness through visualisations and other mindful activities, they learn about calmness and how to enjoy quieter moments.
How do the children find the classes?
The children love the classes. Even those who might start off reluctant to participate, join in within minutes because of the fun they see happening.
What is the response from parents and centre educators?
Yoga is the fastest growing 'sport' in Australia and many parents of young children are experiencing for themselves the life gifts that yoga, breath, and mindfulness offer. They love it when their children come home and show them how to take deeper breaths or teach them yoga poses. It's a healthy and fun activity that they can all do together. The feedback is fantastic. Our Instagram account, @karmakidsyoga_ shares many different activities for parents and children to do together.
Centre managers and teachers see the benefits of offering their young students opportunities to develop these life tools. Educators are inspired to use these tools in their everyday activities. My company offers a NESA accredited workshop for teachers where they learn how to easily and simply weave Yoga, Breath, and Mindfulness into every school day for just minutes at a time. It's the perfect adjunct to our classes.
How long is a session and what kind of activities take place?
Our classes for under threes are 15 minutes and for three to five-year-olds are 30 minutes.
In a typical class, children learn to focus on their breath, and explore their bodies by bending, stretching, twisting, and turning upside down. Towards the end, they'll relax quietly, either listening to a visualisation piece or participating in a meditation. Each class is themed and takes them on a magical journey into their body, mind, and breath.
Can any kindergartens or preschools take part in your program?
Absolutely! Our business model partners with preschools that are keen to offer the program to their entire student body, not just a select few whose parents choose to sign up. This way every child can participate. This model is very important to us as we believe every child should have the opportunity to learn these essential life tools and benefit from these fun experiences.
Do you think more early learning centres in Australia should focus on physical and mental wellbeing programs?
I passionately do. In fact, I recently delivered a keynote speech at a large education conference focussing on the importance of teaching yoga, breath, and mindfulness in every classroom to ensure we create 'Future Fit' classrooms. It's a critical time. Classrooms are veritable stress pools these days.
The rise in stress and anxiety amongst our little ones is growing rapidly. They are absorbing it from their parents – work stress, financial stress, divorce etc… The earlier we offer children these life tools and the knowledge that inside of them lives their magical breath, the better. These tools help them, from an early age, to self regulate their emotions and better manage stressful times. It's essential that a program like ours is offered to both students and teachers
Anything else you'd like to add regarding yoga for children or your business?
Yoga is a science; it is not a religion despite what many people believe. Yoga means union or to yoke. When you learn to yoke your body and mind with your powerful breath, you are better able to regulate your emotions, moods, and impulses.
My company, The Karma Class, has a vision to bring yoga into every preschool, primary school, and high school in Australia, to train every teacher in how to offer short bursts of Yoga, Breath, and Mindfulness into every school day for just minutes at a time. As I've mentioned previously, stress amongst our youth is frighteningly high – the suicide rate of 15 to 24 year olds in Australia is the highest it's been in 10 years. The sooner we bring this wisdom and these tools into children's lives the healthier, more balanced, and content they will be.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 30 December 2019
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