Special Report: Children's Yoga
Published Thursday, March 18, 2010 11:15AM EDT
Children these days are busier than ever, overstimulated and overloaded with information and technology.
Some people swear by the calming effect of yoga on children.
Yoga studios for kids, such as Butterfly Yoga in Ville Emard, are becoming increasingly popular.
Teachers like Angie Continisio are convinced that today's children need to calm down.
"We're always in a rush to do things," she told CTV's Tarah Schwartz. "We're always running from one place to another. So I teach the children to breathe, to be grounded, to be present in the moment."
Children like D'arcy McCready love it.
"It makes me feel in harmony and in a peaceful place," she said.
Only eight years old and already McCready sees life as being full to the brim. She says that she has a busy life.
"I have to take care of my sisters cat a little, I have to watch over my baby brother to make sure he doesn't do anything wrong, I have to do my homework, I have to do lots of stuff.
Psychologist Steffan Syd Apel psychologist says the number one mental health problem with children these days is anxiety that can come from being overbooked and overstimulated.
"I think that there's this mindset of parents that they're going to be the best parents they can be and keep up with the Jones' and fulfill dreams that they weren't able to fulfill as children," said Apel who works at the Maisonneuve Therapy group in Westmount.
He says life is busier, parents work more and time is harder to come by in our changing world.
"In order not to be faced with our own guilt of how our kids are having to live through in this very busy world, we program them, and give them stuff that we think is going to make them happy," he says.
"I think on one level it's well intentioned."
Some Montreal elementary schools have also embraced yoga to help children quiet their minds.
Audrey Ottier, Learning Centre Coordinator at Riverview elementary school in Verdun, says staff surveyed students and their families and they said yoga would be a great lunchtime and afterschool activity.
Yoga classes are now offered each week, with children as young as five learning to focus and concentrate.
"A lot of the kids get distracted very easily in class," said Ottier.
"These are (yoga) techniques that are going to help them in class if they're starting to get distracted of they have too much nervous energy."
There are no statistics or reports on the effects that practices such as yoga have on children, but the young ones who spoke with CTV, including eight-year-old Claudia, offered their thoughts.
"It makes you feel calm, relaxed and ahhh all the stress comes out, yeah."
Daniel, who is also eight, offered a sales pitch.
"I think that all the people in Montreal and Canada and all the other worlds should do yoga."
D'arcy says she's already seen the results.
"it's really helping my life because I've always had busy days and sometimes I just need to relax," she says.
"It really calms me down, it's like that busy day didn't even happen."