Yoga and mindfulness improves mental health in children.

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Studies have shown that children practicing regular yoga, experience a decrease in stress, behavior referrals, better academic results, increased strength and flexibility in the body. Yet children are only accessing yoga once a week or not at all due to the lack of access to qualified kids’ yoga teachers. Therefore, children and adults are missing out on many of the benefits that come from practicing yoga and mindfulness such as improved mental and emotional well-being.

As a children’s yoga teacher, healer, and teacher in the ancient Mystery School Lineage of King Salomon, I recognized that many of my health issues and negative patterns have been caused from my conditioning as a child. After being diagnosed with a critical illness at twenty- eight, I used ancient healing techniques alongside allopathic medicine to get well. However, looking back, I feel that I could have prevented much of what happened to me and wanted to share this with as many children as I could so they could be well in their adult years. At the age of five I knew school was not a place I would be happy, I struggled with the methods and ways of teaching even though the teachers told my parents I was very intelligent, the way they taught me caused huge stress.

I tried to express this but of course as a child could not fully. I created a wrong meaning in what it is to be good, I translated it into being perfect and not to get anything ‘wrong’. All my life I spent trying to be something that I could never attain, this caused lack of self-esteem, lack of confidence which caused depression, anxiety and later-on in life I become a workaholic.

I can’t say that this caused my illness, but what I can say, is that if I could have stayed mentally and emotionally well, I would have made better choices. To do that I needed life skills to help me cope and express myself at a young age.

It is easier to aid prevention of disease rather than having to heal a disease that has already manifested into its physical form. I felt and still feel that we are not providing these life skills to families and children. Society and school life are more stressful for children, this is evident in children suffering from various mental and emotional illnesses than ever before.

Many children are labeled with concentration disorders or learning disorders however it is my belief that many and much of this could be avoided with ancient methods that have been used in many cultures for thousands of years. These methods have worked and stood the test of time and now with quantum healing science backing these methods, as a society we are more and more open to the possibilities.

The problem and purpose of this paper

One in ten children and young people in the UK, aged five through sixteen, suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder. That is around three children in every class. (Green, McGinnity, & Meltzer, 2005) There are more children than ever being diagnosed with mental health disorder and self-harming than ever before. The number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self-harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%. (Green, McGinnity, & Meltzer, 2005)

The most vulnerable children have some kind of behavioral or emotional problems, in fact 72% of children in care have behavioral or emotional problems according to Green, et al,(2005). Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression, nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression and 7.7% or nearly 340,000 children aged 5-10 years have a mental disorder. (Green, McGinnity, & Meltzer, 2005)

This means more children are being incarcerated because our system has failed them, 95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder (Green, McGinnity, & Meltzer, 2005) and there are no signs of this stopping any time soon. This problem is huge, not only for the individuals, but us as a society. The cost to the National Health Service and the prison system can all be avoided if we simply address this at an early age.

As adults, we spend years trying to undo the programs and beliefs that we have been conditioned with as children. Many conditions, science would have us believe are genetic, that we are just a result of poor genes. Epigenetics means that it is simply not true and that children and parents alike can go above genes and engineer DNA, even before we are born to make sure hereditary conditions or traits are not passed down to our children. Yet we are not sharing these tools with the children.

I decided that I would create a program that children of all abilities could do, but for it to be delivered by those adults that were with them daily. This way, it would become part of their routine and thus would take root as an effective positive habit via positive modeling. Simply giving children life skills that are not supported in the home or school environment seldom works, as we know from our own experiences of trying to eat healthier whilst everyone around us is eating cake, it is very hard to stay on track.

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Dr Kate Bartram Brown


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