Yoga VS. Obesity
Yoga is helping children out when it comes to health and preventing obesity. It seems like the two things that people are talking about in the United States today are yoga and obesity. Actually, it shouldn’t surprise us that even people in other countries are talking about our obesity epidemic. That’s right, when I was living in a rural part of Taiwan, people were talking about how fat Americans are. Well, I’m here to say that yoga is here to stay and pretty soon, that’s what people will be talking about all over the world pretty soon. So, why is yoga the perfect opponent to childhood obesity? Here are 8 healthy reasons why yoga is a winner for obesity prevention:
- Stress-Management: When children participate in yoga, they not only learn about yoga poses, but they learn various breathing exercises and meditation. These skills can be coping skills when children are hurt, upset, or stressed. As we are learning, stress can be harmful to the body in many ways, and children need outlets besides going to food or the television to de-stress.
- Healthy Eating Habits: Kids yoga incorporates the discussion of healthy eating habits in yoga. By talking about healthy eating, the children learn about which foods we should eat more of, which foods to avoid and little tips such as foods which can boost energy or help with digestion. Yoga provides a safe place to talk about eating habits.
- T.V. Alternative: Sometimes children have a tough time finding something to do, and they often times turn to television or other technology. Yoga is a great alternative, especially because it can be done anywhere and at any time. Children learn that yoga feels great and they soon associate yoga with relaxation and fun.
- Easy on the body: Unlike some sports and activities which are tough on joints and the body, yoga is a safe and effective activity. Yoga is a whole body and mind adventure. The slow movements are easy on joints, while strength and stability increases while doing the low impact poses. Obese children can participate in all of the poses, with a few slight variations when necessary.
- Builds self-confidence: Who doesn’t need a confidence boost every now and then? Yoga does the trick in more ways than one. When children succeed in yoga poses, especially challenging ones, they feel great about themselves. Yoga also helps with posture which also increases self-esteem. People with more self-confidence tend to be happier and take care of themselves better.
- Reduces high blood pressure: Yoga, along with deep breathing and meditation can help reduce high blood pressure. Blood pressure changes every minute and is related to stress, diet, body temperature, activity, rest, and posture. Inversion poses are said to help relieve or reduce blood pressure. Examples of inversion poses include downward dog, bridge pose, corpse pose (savasana), forward bend, and fish pose.
- Focus and Coordination: Obesity affects cognitive development. Researchers have discovered that children who are obese have slower cognitive function. Yoga on the other hand, increases focus and coordination.
- Sleep-Problems: Obesity often causes sleep problems for a variety of reasons. There are many yoga poses and deep breathing exercises that children learn which can have a calming effect on the body and mind, thus helping in going to sleep. We often sleep better when we have had enough exercise in the day, and yoga is a great low-impact exercise.