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Giving Kids Yoga in Bali

By Azriel ReShel on Tuesday July 25th, 2017

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The Gift of Outer Strength and Inner Calm

On the lush and beautiful island of Bali, an innovative program is giving hope and skills to Balinese youth, and having a ripple effect on their families. Moving their bodies, learning meditation and breathing practices, local Balinese children are taking part in regular yoga classes with a local master Kundalini yoga teacher based in Ubud.

The yoga classes are a balm for the soul of kids who are having an increasingly tough time being peaceful children in the world today. Children are growing up in a planet where there is a pending sense of doom and ever increasing stress. Each day a new statistic about the state of the environment looms heavy on the horizon. There’s another coal or CSG mine to fight and yet another animal going extinct. Many kids feel pressured to find solutions and save the world they’re inheriting, along with their wounded parents.

Statistics also show that children have more depression, anxiety and struggles with insomnia than ever before. The pressures of our modern day busy lifestyle are coming home to roost in our children. More than ever they need tools to support them to deal with life.

Finding peace for kidsYoga is a balm for the soul of kids to remain peaceful in the world today.

Kelly Moore is the founder of Give Kids Yoga and she has been living as an expat in Bali, Indonesia for a few years now, and has been running the program for over a year. She says the program has had a profound effect on the children on all levels.

Their performance at school has gone up and they demonstrate a better capacity for coping with challenging emotions. They also have a level of focus now that I’ve never seen in kids this age.
Not only have the children shown improved resilience, physical strength and overall balance in their personalities and lives, but Kelly says they are nicer to each other and also get sick a lot less since attending the yoga classes regularly.
The children are taught by Dewa Ramawa, a Kundalini Yoga teacher who has been teaching yoga in his family compound for many years. He was steeped in yoga from a young age, and his mother who is 103 years-old still teaches yoga. The children he teaches are delighting in the practice of yoga and their practice is paying off in all areas of their lives.
The benefits of yogaThe children showed improved resilience, physical strength and overall balance.
Dewa says:
Yoga can develop your skill and also your knowledge. Now that the children learn yoga, they calm down and they have better control of their emotions.

Increasingly, children are overstimulated, bombarded by stress and the pressure to achieve in a world flooded with information. Yoga is an amazing tool for life that teaches them somatic ways to release stress and bring their body back into equilibrium. With the latest research showing that young adults are the most stressed out age group in the USA, learning simple and fun techniques to combat stress at a young age, is a tremendous way to prevent later breakdowns and anxiety disorders or depression. Yoga builds strength, confidence and resilience, and a strong body is able to digest food well, breathe better and withstand stress. The practice of yoga can help children to self-regulate and is a wonderful aid to mental health conditions and attention disorders. Physically, yoga enhances coordination, it has a powerful effect on brain development, and brings heightened focus.

One student, Emma, says she believes all kids should learn yoga, because yoga makes us all healthy.
Yoga improves children's overall health“After two years I feel very healthy and happy. I also getting better at school.” – Dino
Kelly is currently working towards introducing cotton yoga rugs, an ecological alternative to plastic mats, as a way to not add to the already burgeoning issue of plastic on the island of Bali. The beautiful yoga rugs are made by Balinese women in their homes and provide an extra income and Dewa says the new yoga mat is wonderful and the children love it.
Kelly explains:
The focus of our efforts this year have been to develop a yoga mat for these kids that would also be in alignment with our environmental and social obligations. The initial yoga class that has inspired our efforts has had a tremendous impact on these kids lives. We can in no way take credit for this. We provided this class, Dewa’s class, with their uniforms to practice in and we are currently now producing their new yoga mats.
Yoga mats without the plasticThe project involves giving kids cotton yoga rugs made by Balinese women.
At first it was just about getting mats to these kids and supporting Dewa’s efforts but it has since grown into so much more. When we started to look at the environmental impact that buying conventional yoga mats was going to have, we had to explore other options. The environmentally friendly options for mats that were available didn’t have the grip for safety and they just break apart too easily for the needs of kids practicing on concrete and rough surfaces. The kids will go through these mats so fast, so we wanted something more durable that would also not contribute to the already problematic waste disposal issue in Bali.

Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and help children to manage stress through giving them experience and skills like breathing, awareness, meditation, movement and connection. While children’s supple young bodies are still growing, the power of yoga at a young age is that it develops body awareness and good postural alignment, strength and a deep nervous system wellness. The children learn how to be in a group and cooperate, listen and develop morals and ethics.

Give Kids Yoga

This wonderful program is sculpting young minds and bodies, giving tools that will enhance and support these Balinese children to be balanced, creative, and calm individuals with a strong sense of who they are in relation to the world. The benefits of the ancient practice of yoga, such as the encouragement of self esteem, concentration and body awareness can be already be seen in these young children.

If you feel motivated to participate in this wonderful program, you can click this link to donate money to help buy these kids some beautiful eco yoga mats and clothes to practice in. You can also look into yoga programs offered for children in your own communities and see how you can help them provide this opportunity to more kids.

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

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Azriel ReShel

Writer, Editor, Yoga Teacher & Healing Facilitator

 

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