The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that more than 30 percent of adolescents have experienced some kind of anxiety disorder and an estimated 8.3 percent have had severe impairment. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent psychological disorders among children and young adults.
There is growing interest in intervention options for anxiety. Symptoms and signs of anxiety can include fatigue, muscle tension, sadness, restlessness, loss of interest, agitation, tiredness, feeling nervous, disturbance in sleep or appetite, increased breathing rate, excessive worry and restlessness. Causes of anxiety include school demands and frustrations, negative thinking, changes in body, problems with friends, not enough sleep, taking on too many activities, unsafe living environment and past trauma.
In addition, the increased frequency and prevalence of school shooter drills are becoming another source of student trauma. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of public schools which perform “lockdown drills” has doubled between 2003 and 2016, increasing from 46 percent to 94 percent. Some of these drills are outsourced to companies to create elaborate, realistic productions that ultimately terrify the children they are designed to protect.
Recent university studies have shown that yoga and mindfulness, when practiced in the classroom and at home, can help reduce child anxiety. YogaKids, a leading expert in children’s yoga, introduces a trauma sensitive solution and intervention that’s simple for educators and parents. Child-friendly, purposeful poses and mindfulness techniques integrated throughout the day provide children with the tools to process, express and release their anxiety. A few examples include:
This pose helps kids tap into their peaceful nervous system, their rest and digest. Simply sit comfortably, close your eyes, inhale slowly, exhale and whisper the word “peace.”
This position helps kids discharge negative, anxious energy. Stand tall, jump the feet wide apart, squat down with hands to heart, jump up high and spread the arms wide. Imagine you are an exploding volcano.
Column of Courage
This position improves awareness of how thoughts can impact feelings. Simply stand up tall and think of something that makes you feel strong. Feel your body and the strength you have within. Think of something scary and notice how your body becomes weak. Our thoughts effect how our bodies feel.
These techniques and many more will be presented at a two-day workshop on Feb. 1-2 at the Om Sweet Om studio in Port Washington. The event is open to educators, child focused professionals, parents and all adults who have or work with children. No prior experience is required.
For more information about how yoga can help the kids in your life, www.yogakids.com or contact Ann Huber at email@example.com. To register for the event, visit www.yogakids.com/yk-event/2020-east-coast-level-1-training-event.
—Submitted by YogaKids International