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Just like adults, in today’s modern world stress can equally be a problem for children and teenagers in the UAE. There are so many reasons why children and teenagers can suffer from stress.
Yoga is a well-known method of stress relief so should be just as beneficial for children in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Question: Although most people think of stress as being adult related, stress among children and teenagers in the UAE is on the rise. Yoga is proven to relieve stress. As a personal yoga trainer in Abu Dhabi do you think Yoga can also be used effectively to reduce stress in children/teenagers?
In today’s modern world we are so loaded with all sorts of distractions and being overstimulated leads to stress involving and impacting adults, we often forget that children are also surrounded and the most affected by these things.
This does not only interfere with their health as a child but also when they grow into adulthood. Parents in the UAE can help and encourage their children to take part in practices to help avoid or reduce stress such as mindfulness, stillness, self-control and breathing, which are all combined in the excellent practice of Yoga.
Question: The best way to deal with stress is to address the underlying cause. For children stress can often be attributed to school (exams preparation etc), peer pressure and even stressful situations at home. When the underlying cause cannot be changed how does yoga help to deal with these stressful events?
Yoga can be an important tool for parenthood, since it teaches us to move with purpose for a purpose. Breathing is the first step to a calm both body and mind and childhood is the perfect stage to start as they’re still in a pure state of mind. Since children breathe faster than adults, giving them fun breathing techniques will allow them to access tools that help to relieve stress, anxiety and even depression.
Question: Yoga can be provided in a one-to-one environment or as part of a group class. For children is one of these better than the other?
For young ones, the most beneficial would be a group Yoga setting, as it teaches them communication, cooperation, empathy, kindness and acceptance in a fun and non-competitive environment.
However, depending on the situation one to one sessions would be recommended for older kids; providing them with a notion of personal space, also giving the teacher time to focus on what is the cause of the kid stress making it easier to tailor a sequence that will provide the student with faster results.
Ultimately teaching the student how to be present, while working with mind fluctuations, and teaching them how to be in control during any stressful situation is the key to a successful Yoga personal training program.
Question: As a personal yoga trainer in Abu Dhabi what advice would you give to parents about using yoga to help their children cope with (or reduce) stress?
Take the time to connect with and observe your child to try to figure out what may be causing the stress. Yoga can be introduced with a variety of things, from playing, coloring mandalas and to then adding an exercise routine.
I would also advise trying some Yoga classes with your children as a form of support and inspiration. But always make sure to add fun elements to it, to keep them interested and motivated to continue the practice.
Question: For kids and teenagers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi who are absolute beginners when it comes to yoga can you provide some examples of breathing exercises and yoga poses that can be performed daily to help?
Kid’s yoga is about fun, so breathing should be presented to them in a way in which they don’t realize they are doing it.
Lay down on the floor, in a comfortable position. Place a small cushion on top of their stomach Advise them to every time that they inhale to inflate their abdomen moving the cushion up.
And deflating and then moving their cushion down as they exhale. You can choose to tell them a story as they practice this. (Stories involving symbolism are mostly advised)
For example, with the eyes closed inhale and exhale to free the butterflies that the little boy is bringing back to the forest after saving them. Give some time for silence.
Keep in mind that Yoga should not feel like a task but like a fun activity. And that with time the benefits of the practicing yoga can easily be noticed by the instructor and parents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai alike.
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