Yoga at Orphanages
Yoga for children to reduce anxiety and heal
Young children are more vulnerable to traumatic experiences due to the impact of stress on brain development. Especially during the first years of life, children depend on loving, safe, predictable and accessible caregivers. Violence, sexual abuse, neglect, and other traumatic events can affect children’s emotional development, future behavior, and their mental and physical health. Trauma healing and other resources for children affected by these experiences are often not accessible, leaving them with deep scars through out their lives.
There are 30 children between the ages of 6 to 18 that live at the Imeldahof Orphanage in Aruba. Their situations are all based on abandonment and traumatic backgrounds. While the staff is doing an incredible job, they are overworked and underpaid. They have reached out to us in need of support and it is our aim to create a more peaceful environment for the children.
The Yoga Girl® Foundation has funded children’s yoga with local teachers fluent in Papiamento (the native language) and provided all the yoga mats and props needed. This project will start in October 2019 and cover the full school year until the summer of 2020, with one class per week.
We are so happy to share that our children’s yoga project has already been successfully funded. Please support our other projects and join us in healing the world!
Why yoga for the children?
Yoga can offer so many benefits for children. They learn not only about themselves and their bodies but also how to interact with their peers. Coming from backgrounds where they felt no control, learning to trust themselves and others again is crucial.
Through the consistent practice of yoga, it is our goal that the children learn techniques for self-health, relaxation and inner fulfillment. Yoga can offer tools to cope with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. By being able to navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease, they can grow into more confident, kind, and responsible adults.
Through the yoga postures, children understand their body movements and begin to learn what their minds are capable of. They perceive how much impact they can have on their mental state and the mental states of others. They become aware of their body, mind and spirit and the peace felt when all work together as one.
Yoga teaches children to accept and love themselves just as they are. While moving their bodies and connecting to their inner selves, children erase their self doubt and discover their dreams.
While learning specific breathing techniques and focusing on the mind during a yoga class, children learn to manage their emotions and relax physically. The more they practice the more they can apply the tools they learn into their daily life to step out of frustration and move towards calm.
During the practice, children begin to tolerate and accept others. They learn the importance of respect within a community and can create a more peaceful environment around themselves.
For many children, it is hard to concentrate for a long period of time. Yoga allows children to be present and focused as it takes attention to hold the postures!
Yoga teaches children no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is different and that is okay! There is no competition in yoga, people come to the practice to move at their own pace.
Weekly yoga classes for the children at the Imeldahof Orphanage in Aruba