The UP side of being Upside Down in Aerial Yoga.
Children love to hang upside down! If you go to a playground you will see children hanging precariously from the monkey bars. But did you know that being upside down is actually good for your child’s brain? In aerial yoga, going upside down is called an inversion. Inversions, which get your feet above your head have healing and mood benefits. These happy faces definitely show Mindful Child Aerial Yoga inversions are a mood changer!
Here are a few of the recognized benefits that aerial yoga inversions can provide for your child’s health:
- Going upside down, gives your heart and mind a break, which keeps your child in the present moment. This allows them to see life from a new perspective. Perspective taking is an important social emotional skill that we teach in our kid’s yoga classes.
- Inversions such as inverted lotus pose (pictured here) promote calm and relaxation. At Mindful Child Aerial Yoga we encourage kids to calm their breath and relax their minds to reap the rewards of being upside down.
- Handstands and headstands even when supported by a yoga hammock or wall require core strength, focus, and resilience. All of which are needed to successfully navigate life.
- Children as young as two-years-old naturally go into Down Dog Pose. This innate desire to be upside down is your child learning to regulate their central nervous system. Being upside down provides the sensory integration children need to help regulate their behavior and bodies.
- Being upside down increases blood flow to the brain. More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Healthy brains are important for learning and self-regulation.
The UP side of purposefully hanging upside in aerial yoga is that it is beneficial to your child’s overall health. Inversions improve posture, circulation, strength and flexibility. Being upside down can enhance mood, teach perspective taking, and build self-regulation skills.
Always use props such as a wall and spot your child if he is attempting headstand and handstand on the ground. Simple poses such as Down Dog Pose also invert the head. Down Dog Pose is fun and can be done almost anywhere! What are you waiting for? Have your child take a deep breath, plant their hands, lift their feet, and gain a new perspective! Ah…
AERIAL YOGA BENEFITS ALL CHILDREN
Aerial yoga has the same benefits of typical yoga, but there are also additional sensory, cognitive, and health benefits. Aerial yoga gives the body more room to stretch. Since gravity isn’t an issue the spine is decompressed, muscle tension is released and blood circulation is enhanced.
WHAT IS AERIAL YOGA?
Aerial yoga uses a yoga hammock that is suspended from the ceiling. The material is super stretchy and strong. The instructor helps the student move into different poses much like a typical yoga session only the student is suspended in the air.
HOW IS IT THERAPEUTIC?
Aerial yoga provides a calming sensory experience for children. The therapeutic poses are designed with an emphasis on the central nervous system, which promotes sensory integration and self-regulation.
WHAT ARE THE SENSORY BENEFITS?
- Self-Regulation. Inversion is a great tool for self-regulation.
- Deep Pressure. The suspended yoga hammock provides deep pressure, which is instantly calming to the central nervous system.
- Body Awareness. The hammock promotes motor planning and working memory while engaging in the poses.
- Sensory Integration. The hammock provides sensory input in a tranquil, fun, therapeutic environment.
WHAT ARE THE COGNITIVE BENEFITS?
- Attention and Focus. Aerial poses require more steps than land-based yoga. Children have to focus, otherwise they fall out of the hammock.
- Executive Function. The complex poses require working memory, motor planning and awareness, which are higher level cognitive skills needed to self-regulate behavior.
- Aerial yoga improves the ability to be less reactive and more mindful of thoughts and speech.
- Reduced academic problems. We are building neuropathways every time we practice a new skill. Thus, in each class, when we practice social emotional learning, mindfulness, and aerial skills we are literally building networks in the brain!
There are a multitude of benefits associated with our style of aerial yoga, so many in fact it will take several blog posts to list them all. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on physical and social emotional benefits.
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Heavy Work = Self-Regulate
Proprioceptive receptors are located in the muscles, tendons, and joints. These receptors respond to active movement and gravity. Proprioceptive exercises involve deep pressure. These exercises are a powerful tool to help children self-regulate. Here are five simple exercises that can be incorporated into their school day.
- Wall Push-Ups. Place palms on the wall, bend elbows, and plant feet firmly on the floor. Push against the wall for ten second. Wall push-ups provide proprioceptive input into the arms, hands, and legs.
- Seated Push-Ups. Sit on the floor (with legs crossed) or chair (with feet flat). Push on the floor or chair with flat palms trying to slightly lift up the bottom. Hold for ten seconds.
- Palm Push. Press palms together and hold for ten seconds. Palm push provides proprioceptive input to the hands and helps balance the brain.
- Squeezes. Cross wrists and squeeze up from the wrists to your shoulders then squeeze down the arms again from the shoulders to the wrists. Go up and down the arms ten times. Squeezes improve attention, develop the brain, and provide proprioceptive input.
- Down Dog. Begin on hand and knees. Spread the fingers wide and press the hands firmly into the mat. Tuck the toes and bring the hips high while trying to push the heels toward the floor. Keep a slight bend in the knees and relax the head. Make it fun by wagging your tail. Down Dog requires heavy work, which is movement that provides resistance to the muscles and joints. Heavy work develops the brain and helps children self-regulate.
So what is Yoga Dog? Yoga Dog is going to be an amazing television show that incorporates yoga along with life lessons. Shakta Khalsa, world-renowned yoga instructor and author, is the creative collaborator and special matter expert behind Yoga Dog. Shakta has taught more than 20,000 people yoga. She is one of the most amazing people I have ever met and had the privilege to train under. She is donating Yoga Dog to every U.S. military base and school, which is so needed with the current rise in pediatric mental health problems and obesity.
In less than a month $300K is needed to make the pilot. Yoga Dog is for children of all abilities. Yoga Dog encourages self-awareness, self-regulation, nutrition, and hydration. What more could you want in a children’s television series? Please help Yoga Dog become a reality by donating so that he can help children be healthy and happy.