8 Yoga Benefits for Kids

8 Yoga Benefits for Kids

Yoga has become main stream for adults in recent years, but have we ever considered sharing the practice with our children? Yoga can benefit kids significantly, and in some ways, possibly even more so than it nourishes adults. Here are just some of these benefits:

(1) Yoga is non-competitive.
In today’s world, we hear so much about being the best and achieving the most. Yoga teaches kids that their bodies are different; different bodies do different things and all of them are okay. There is no one better or worse at yoga than anyone else; we are all just exploring our bodies and learning from them in our own way. Yoga is truly for everybody.

(2) Yoga teaches self-acceptance.
In the same way that it provides children an opportunity to learn something that is non-competitive, it also teaches kids to accept and cherish themselves as they are. Again, with society sending so many messages of inadequacy, yoga teaches kids to love themselves.
Learned young, this incredibly valuable lesson arms kids with the tools to fight off the increasing feelings of self-doubt that come during the teen years and beyond.

(3) Namaste: The light in me sees the light in you.
Yoga teaches acceptance and tolerance of others. In practicing yoga, kids learn early in life that all living beings are to be cherished and respected as they are, thus helping to create more peaceful local communities and a more peaceful world in our future.

(4) Yoga encourages healthy habits.
Any exercise program begun in childhood helps kids to remain physically active and healthy as a lifestyle. However, yoga takes that further by teaching not only the healthy habits mentioned above, but also a healthy approach to eating and the ability to calm oneself and focus the mind.

(5) Focus. Focus. Focus.
We live in a world of distractions. More and more these days, kids seem unable to focus on anything for any decent length of time. Yoga can help with that. It teaches kids to be present, and to concentrate and focus on their breathing. They learn how the breath can help them throughout the day, in any situation. They learn to focus on the pose by learning correct body alignment, and in so doing, learn to focus on their bodies and how they function – guiding each limb or part of the body through the nuances of the pose.

(6) Yoga teaches calming techniques.
Young kids deal with frustration most typically by crying and throwing tantrums. When they learn proper, healthy breathing techniques and tools to focus the mind, they begin to learn how to apply those tools in their everyday lives and to react appropriately to any situation. I know as an adult, I see improvements in this area in myself. Just imagine if I had learned more of these techniques as a child!

(7) Children learn self-awareness through yoga.
Again, in guiding their bodies through the poses, children learn more about their bodies and what they are capable of. They learn more about their minds, and how they can affect not only their own attitudes and approaches to life, but also the attitudes of others.

They learn that they can achieve this through their own thoughts and how they choose to react to any given situation. This awareness of the body, mind and spirit, and of what can be achieved when all three work together, helps children develop into more confident, kind, responsible adults.

(8) Yoga supports positive mental health in children.
All of the above benefits tie together. When children learn to accept and love themselves for who they are, to see the good in others, to focus and calm their minds, and to be aware of their innate capabilities, they learn tools for resilience.

They are more likely to be positive and optimistic about life and their abilities, and will hopefully be less likely to succumb to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that are so prevalent today.

Maybe most importantly, yoga teaches children that relaxation is not only allowed; it is encouraged. Relaxing is not easy and learning to relax takes practice. Yoga provides space for the mind to slow down and settle.

Children are always told that they need to be engaged and productive. Their little minds are leaping from one activity to another all day long, often right up until they crash at bedtime. Yoga teaches kids that it doesn’t have to always be like that.

If children can learn how to relax and be still, they will be able to handle better the stressors and pressures that will begin to hit them as they get older.

Children are actually natural yogis. Their innate trust in others, combined with their lack of inhibitions, allows them to receive the teachings of yoga and grow from them in inspiring ways. Adults have a lot to learn from the way children receive yoga! If we can lead them there, they will not only benefit, but they will enjoy it immensely.

Reprinted from Do You Yoga website.

Summer Hiking Tips

Summer is here and if you prefer to stay local here are a few fitness tips that you can use out on the trail while hiking. Following these will help keep you active and pain free.

Listen to your thirst. Starting to feel thirsty is the first sign of dehydration. Be sure to pack a water bottle or hydration pack regardless of the hike length.

Choose your shoes wisely. Hiking trails often include uneven terrain. This can be very fatiguing on the muscles and fascia of your foot if you lack proper footwear. During long hikes, I recommend having a shoe that provides ankle support and a rigid bottom.

Keep your skin dry. Moisture wicking clothing can be helpful while exercising outside. This is especially imperative for your feet. I recommend a wool or synthetic blend sock. At times it can be helpful to have a change of clothes just in case.

Protect your shoulders. While carrying a backpack hiking you want to keep the weight off your shoulders and on your back. This can be done by choosing a backpack that fits properly and includes a waist strap. To fit the straps properly you will want the lower straps resting on your hips and 90% of the weight sitting on your hips. Always make sure the backpack doesn’t place any weight on your neck and will not slide as you move.

If you have further questions please reach out and I look forward to seeing you on the trails!

joshuav@columbiaathletic.com

The Family that Plays Together Stays Together!

With winter coming to an end, spring is the perfect time to start getting outside with the kiddos to start a new family adventure. To some, the idea of packing up the entire family to go in search of a good time can be a little overwhelming; we have narrowed it down to (what we think) are some pretty awesome escapes sure to please everyone in your family! Lucky for us, the greater Seattle area has countless outdoor recreation activities for all ages and levels of fitness. Whether you are looking for parks, hiking, trails, water play, or anything in between, the Puget Sound has it!

For the water lovers…

This one is for you Silver Lakers! Willis Tucker Park in Everett features a totally fun and interactive splash pad. Water domes, ‘aqua jumpers’, a volcano, and The Silverflow Cannon are just some of the things you can expect to enjoy! Do note that from 2:30 to 3:30pm, the water is shut off for daily maintenance – just in time for a nap!

If you’re in search of a great spot for younger kiddos, the Sammamish Commons Park has an awesome button-operated splash park in the lower commons area. It also has a playground, swings, and a sand pit! Venture up to the upper commons area and there is a popular skate park for the older kids and teens. Added bonus – if you hit this park on a Wednesday, you can catch the farmers market that runs from 4 to 8pm!

Crossroads Spray Park in Bellevue is an easy place to love! This spray park is a celebration of aquatic wonders, complete with a life-sized orca to climb on, sea anemones who squirt water, and spitting frogs. Hang out in the spray park or head off to the awesome playground for even more summer fun. Try hitting this place on a weekday as this beloved park gets busy on the weekends.

For the outdoorsy types…

For a well-manicured park and beach right in the city, try Clyde Beach Park in Bellevue. The sloping lawn ends in a mini-amphitheater where you’ll find a pirate ship-themed playground with the beach just below. With tons of great (and some shaded) picnic spots, this park gets busy quickly, so venture out early!

Discovery Park is a 534 acre natural park in Seattle (Magnolia) that has 11.80 miles of trails, a play area, basketball courts, and tennis courts – there is quite literally something for everyone in the family here. You can enjoy a self-guided Salmon Bay Walking Tour or head over to Daybreak Star Center which is host to beautiful permanent exhibits as well as regularly changing galleries of local Native American artists. Discovery Park is also home to West Point Lighthouse. From the lighthouse you can enjoy stunning views of the Puget Sound, sit on the rocks, and watch the sailboats passing by.

If you think of going to the park as something you can only do during the day, you have not been to Golden Gardens Park in Seattle (Ballard)! This public park comes alive in the evenings and is a great way to end the day. Start your afternoon off on the sandy beaches or play a family game of volleyball or basketball. Getting exhausted? Head over to the to the designated fire pit areas where you can spend the night roasting hotdogs and making gooey s’mores.

For the adventurers…

Looking for something different to do with the kids but don’t want to spend a lot of money? Go climb the REI Rock Climbing Pinnacle (Seattle). This 65 foot tall rock has a variety of different routes one can take based on their own ability. Whether this is your first time climbing or you are a climbing guru, Pinnacle has got a route for you! Starting at $15 you can make a single climb reservation in 15-minute or 30-minute increments. Times are Fridays 1:30 to 6:30pm (walk-ins only), Saturdays 11am to 7pm, and Sundays 11am to 7pm.

One of the best kept secrets is the Center for Wooden Boats (South Lake Union) which offers free boat rides on Sundays! There is no better way to spend your Sunday afternoon taking a nice leisurely sail around Lake Union. In the spring and summer spots do fill up so get there a little bit early because it is based on first-come, first-serve basis starting at 10am.

There’s no cheaper way to cruise Elliott Bay than the Seattle Water Taxi! $4.75 buys you a 15-minute ride from Pier 50 on the downtown waterfront to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. From there, take one of two free shuttle buses offered. Either head up the hill to check out the shops and restaurants at the West Seattle Junction, or over to explore West Seattle’s beautiful Alki Beach. Once at Alki, you can rent bikes or kayaks at an affordable price. The Water taxi runs all week long from April through October, and on weekdays in the off-season.

We are so fortunate to live in an area that has more adventures to offer than we could ever accomplish, but it is a great time to start checking a few off this list. Always remember that camps at CAC run during school breaks and all summer long which is ideal when parents want to do an adventure of their own or when they need to show up for their 9-to-5 gig.

Looking for some fun and healthy in-club summer activities for your children? We are offering some amazing camps this summer.

Here are some of the benefits of joining a camp.

Camp Kids will:

  • Spend their day being physically active – Children spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move.
  • Experience success and become more confident
  • Gain resiliency
  • Unplug from technology – When kids take a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world— real people, real activities, and real emotions.
  • Develop life-long skills
  • Grow more independent
  • Have free time for unstructured play
  • Learn social skills
  • Reconnect with nature
  • Make true friends – Camp is the place where kids make their very best friends. Free from the social expectations pressuring them at school, camp encourages kids to relax and make friends easily.

To find your club’s camp information, see our summer camp page.