Yet Another Reason Yoga is Good for Kids
There have been many recent articles about the overall benefits of yoga for children. Benefits from yoga include learning mindfulness, reducing stress, increasing balance, flexibility, strength, focus, and connection. We are becoming more aware of the positive effect of yoga on the overall health of children.
As a Speech Language Pathologist, I have seen firsthand how yoga can be a useful way of teaching language and speech skills to children.
Often when people ask what I do, and I respond with “I’m Speech Language Pathologist,” they will tell me how they couldn’t say their “R” when they were young, or about someone who stuttered. Many times they will say they are not sure what that means. Speech Language Pathologists do help children produce sounds such as “R” and “S” but we also are well educated and versed in understanding what communication encompasses as a whole. Below is a brief overview of how communication can be broken up:
- Receptive: Ability to understand what is spoken, such as story comprehension, following directions, sequencing, answering questions, and auditory processing of information
- Expressive: Ability to communicate with others, express thoughts, vocabulary use, grammar, word order, formulating sentence, and ask/answer questions
- Social Language: Ability to read body language, facial expressions, understanding emotions, gestures, conversational exchanges, topic maintenance, initiating communication, and emotional intelligence
- Friendship Building: Knowing how to make friends, engage in turn taking and perspective taking
- Articulation: Ability to produce sounds, use our voice, oral structures, breathe to create sound, sentences, and conversations to be understood
- Fluency: Fluid speech, breath work, and stuttering
- Voice: Exploring loudness levels, pitch, tone, and breath work
- Alternate modes of communication: sign language, use of technology, written language, and picture systems
Now you ask, “How does this relate to yoga?” There is a direct link between movement and learning in general. Yoga incorporates movement which is a powerful learning tool. Studies have shown that movement in learning enhances social skills, increases emotional intelligence, reading ability, language ability and increases the body’s ability to handle stress.
Bagus Kid’s Yoga Collection is all about incorporating language, learning, and movement through play. As adults, it’s easy to forget the fun factor but it’s important to remember that kids need play.
Recently Lego company funded research finding that “Children should learn mainly through play until the age of 8.” This article points out how important play is in learning and how it has become undervalued in today’s world. The full article can be read here:
A few ways to think about how learning language and communication skills can become more interactive include:
What would you prefer? Sitting behind a desk with a teacher repeating an “S” sound from flash cards over and over.
Or… laying on the ground pretending to be a snake with your friends all saying “SSS” with reminders for tongue placement. Laughing, getting visual cues from your friends, use of movement to slither like a snake.
Would you prefer an adult telling you, “Go ask Sara to play?” When you may not want to.
Or… being a part of fun games and partner work that invites you to join? Making interactions easier to create and facilitate.
Learning Prepositions and Following Directions:
Would you prefer sitting at a table being told to “point to the the boy under the bridge and then point to the boy jumping over the pond”?
Or… would you rather be with friends in a bridge pose being asked “Now crawl UNDER the bridge and then jump OVER the pond to your mat” while seeing pictures. Then talking about what you did.
Would you prefer sitting and looking at flashcards pointing to and naming animals?
Or …making an animal pose, such as a tiger, while crawling like a tiger saying a “grrrr” with a picture. Then talking about what a tiger looks like, sounds like, and pretending.
If you think the second sounds more fun and you are an adult just think how your kids will grow and learn through language, movement, and fun!
Later we will explore more specific ways yoga, movement, and breathing techniques can be incorporated in activities to help all children develop their speech, language, communication, and social skills. Remember that learning is always better when there is movement and fun!
It should be noted that this is not to discredit any discrete trial or clinical work for individual needs but rather a brief overview of the multi-modality approach that can help children learn through movement and play.
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Creative Founder- Bagus LLC
Speech Language Pathologist
Certified Kid’s Yoga Instructor
Bagus /bagoos/- Indonesian word for something that is fantastic and cool at the same time