Kid’s today face daily stresses on the mind and body. Summer camps are a great way for kids to unplug from technology, reduce stress and enhance physical and mental health. Way to go summer camps!
Here are some of the recognized benefits that our yoga + mindfulness summer camps can provide your child:
Boosts Brain Power! Science tells us yoga and mindfulness can promote healthy brain development and boost resilience.
Builds Life Skills. Yoga and mindfulness helps children learn self-control, kindness, gratitude, patience, and other important life skills.
Cultivates Learning. Children need to move to learn. Cross-lateral movements integrate both sides of the brain, which enhances learning.
Reduces Stress. Mindfulness teaches kids to be less reactive to daily stressors. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is quick way to calm the nervous system. The best part is kids can do it anytime and anywhere.
Promotes Strength and Flexibility. All of your child’s bodily systems are supported by movement. Yoga strengthens and stretches your child’s entire body.
Inspires Happiness. Research tells us a consistent yoga and mindfulness practice produces GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that plays in an important part in your child’s mental health. Increased GABA leads to feelings of relaxation and happiness. Yay GABA!
This blog focuses on the benefits of our Mindful Child camps, but camps, in general, are a wonderful way to promote health and reduce screen time. Regardless of the camp you choose, most summer camps have many character building experiences and offer exercises that build confidence and self-esteem. They are also a great way to explore different hobbies without a long term commitment.
The basis of educational theory describes intelligence, creativity, and learning being housed in the brain. However, this theory missed an important aspect of learning. Learning does not all occur in the brain, it occurs in the whole body. Movements, emotions and sensations are grounded in the body. It is our body’s senses that provide the brain with environmental information to give us a better understanding of our environment. Movement facilitates enhanced cognitive processing and grows the neural networks in the brain. This means movement enhances brain functioning.
Cross-lateral movement is crucial for learning. Cross lateral movements are those in which arms and legs cross over the midline (imaginary line that divides the body into right and left sides) of the body. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side. When arms and legs cross the body’s midline, the two sides have to communicate. This integration of both sides of the brain facilitates learning
These are some of my favorite cross-lateral moves that I incorporate into my yoga classes.
Children’s Version. Start in mountain pose. Extend your right arm out and cross it over the left grabbing opposite shoulders. Shift your weight to your right foot and bring your left leg over your right.
Teen Version. Start in mountain pose. Take the left leg back to form a mini lunge. Extend out your arms. Take the left arm underneath the right arm and and bring palms together. Bring the left leg forward and wrap it around the right leg. Take in a deep inhale as you raise your arms to shoulder height. On the exhale sink the hips back as if sitting in a one legged chair.
Start in Mountain Pose. Alternate lifting and an arm and the opposite knee. Pretend you are climbing a ladder or hiking through the jungle.
Lie on your back. Lift up the arms and legs. Let them flow back and forth in big “x’s”. A fun variation is to start is lotus pose and pretend a bug lands on your lotus flower. Roll onto your back and begin flowing the arms and legs.
Figure eights can be drawn in the air with glow sticks. Begin in mountain pose. Lift the right arm and make ten sideways 8’s also known as the infinity sign. Shift the glow stick to the left hand. Raise the left arm and make ten sideways 8’s. Finally, lift both arms and grasp the glow stick with both hands making sideways 8’s. Another fun variation is to use a dry erase board and make butterfly wings. After you’ve made 10, with the right, 10 with the left, and 10 with both hands fill in the rest of the butterfly.
Try these fun moves at home and watch your child soar to new academic heights!
It s odorless, tasteless, and colorless, but makes up eighty percent of our body weight at birth. Need more hints? The brain has more of it than any other organ in the body with estimates as high as ninety percent. Last hint. It is essential to life. Yep, you guessed it, the secret elixir is water.
Okay, we know it is an essential substance for life, but why learning? Our bodies are electrical systems. Water is essential for electrical transmissions, which distribute oxygen and nutrition (Hannaford, 2005). Electrical transmissions in the nervous system help children use their senses, learn, focus, and act.
Water is emphasized in Brain Gym, simple exercises that increase blood flow and aide in learning. Drinking water during school will help with learning and keep dehydration at bay during stressful situations such as presentations and tests.
Children should drink water and avoid drinks such as soda, fruit juice, and milk. These drinks have sugar and salt in them, which binds water in the body, leaving less available for electrolyte levels in the nerves.
It is advised to start the day with a glass of water for digestive and liver support. Efforts should be made to keep children hydrated with at least 2 quarts of filtered water daily and more if they are in sports or very active. Try water with lemon or orange slices to give it a bit of flavor. Most importantly drink it yourself, children learn through modeling.
Hannaford, C. (2005). Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head. Salt Lake City, Utah: Great River Books
Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children