Monday, July 2, 2012

Yoga = Less Stressed Out Children & Adults

Guest Blog by Nicole DeAvilla

We hear a lot these days about the toll stress takes on our children and ourselves.  Many of the leading diseases that plague our culture today are related to stress: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression and more.  On the other hand there is a growing amount of scientific evidence that shows how yoga reverses the negative effects of stress and can   mitigate many of the effects of stress related illnesses.

You might be thinking… sounds good but how could I ever get my tween or teen to slow down and do some yoga – my child has ADHD, my child has no time for anything else in her schedule… is it “cool” enough?  I think Yoga would be too difficult for me even if I had the time to practice it…

Let’s look at the science.  While exercise can also help to reduce stress, yoga additionally incorporates breathing exercises, positive attitudes and concentration skills that apparently add up to additional benefits.

Yoga literally increases grey matter in the brain, especially in the prefrontal lobes (executive function, concentration, will power, happy moods etc.) and in the part of the brain that makes us feel connected (feeling connected to the world around you – the environment, friends, family etc.).  It decreases the activity in the back part of the brain, which is associated with impulsive behavior, worry, fear, addiction etc.

Yoga helps with managing emotions, feeling more connected and focused and with ADHD.  And what’s the side effect?  - Increased levels of dopamine, a hormone, which makes us feel happy.  That’s a side effect I can live with!

If you or your child had more executive function skills, focus and felt happier, less worried, distracted and impulsive – would there be more time left over in the day after work, school, home work, chores and family time to practice a few minutes of yoga daily – either together, with a YouTube video or on your own? 

And as for the cool factor – many professional athletes and movie stars now practice yoga, the girls love yoga clothing, a top bay area high school football team practices yoga and the list goes on – yoga is now cool.

In the meantime, guess what kids tell me is a cause of stress in their lives?  Stressed out adults!   Stressed adults=stressed kids.  If we, as parents, can reduce or eliminate the negative effects of stress in our own lives, we will automatically be getting rid of a negative stress in the lives of our children.  We can set a healthy example of how to deal with stress.

Fortunately some of the most effective yoga techniques that have been studied by scientists are simple and easy to do.  A simple way to think of it, is that if we move our body (a few yoga postures) then do some deep diaphragmatic belly breathing followed by a pleasant concentration technique, such as watching our breath (and not being judgmental when our mind wanders as it will inevitably do) or thinking about what we feel grateful for we can reverse the negative effects of stress in just minutes!

So instead of caving into the stresses of modern life, strike a pose, breathe deeply and sit and focus inwardly for a bit and feel the gratitude – It will do your body and mind good as well as your child’s.

Nicole DeAvilla E-RYT 500, Yoga Professor
Bestseller author of  “The 2 Minute Yoga Solution”
Creator of the 2 Minute Yoga Club

Upcoming events:

Friends of Ricki Parenting MeetUp: Nicole is the featured guest and will talk about parenting, drugs and alcohol and will lead participants in some fun 2 Minute Yoga.

Look, Feel and Be Your Best! Teleseminar July 20, 2012


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Well said! -- namaste

  3. Very truly said.Meditation and yoga helps a lot to keep you stress-free.Children often used to get tensed very soon and if they do yoga daily,it will surely help them.

  4. Thank you everyone for your comments!

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