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Yoga, the perfect antidote to root out depression in children : Grandmaster Akshar

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yoga depression in children

In a disturbing trend, more number of children is being diagnosed of depression at an early age. Unfortunately, the main reasons leading to the situation are the stress they are surrounded with and the cut throat competition they are pushed into, to be the best. Kids are trapped in a rat race where sportsman spirit and altruism plays a second fiddle. They are sadly stuck in this pursuit of perfection that they turn more and more self centered, in their early childhood. Against this backdrop, it shouldn’t come to us as a surprise that the rate of depression in children is on the rise in our country.

Apart from undue stress, depression is caused in children due to several factors like genetics, neuropsychiatric issues, medical problems, environmental reasons etc. Another factor to consider here is that very few children today have the liberty to enjoy or relish in activities they prefer. In most cases, they don’t even have a choice in their hobbies. Excessive involvement of parents in the teeniest aspect of children’s lives limits the development of their creativity and imagination. At a time when children hardly have the luxury of a “me-time,” Yoga, a gift from India to the world, could prove to be their perfect companion to cope and deal with the stress factors and gain strength from within.  

But, to many, yoga is a set of nearly impossible ‘asanas’ or poses that are meant for those agile souls. Not acknowledged by many is the fact that yoga is an excellent mechanism to connect one’s body with the mind, quire seamlessly. It is replete with a great deal of “happiness factors” which can provide one with a horde of physical and mental health benefits. It is truly gratifying to see that these days; many schools have introduced yoga in to their curriculum. Yoga helps to create mindfulness. Practicing it from a young age can help in keeping illnesses like depression and anxiety at bay. In 2011, a Harvard study showed that mindfulness is linked to increased gray matter density in certain cortical areas, including the prefrontal cortex and regions involved in self-referential thoughts and emotion regulation.

If not to perform those complex poses, yoga teaches us to breathe, to let go of all the negativity in us and let in all that is good and happy. And after all breathing is a fundamental aspect towards well being. Various studies have also proven that practicing yoga plays a crucial role in managing stress and pressure.

Yoga also helps the kids in gaining more control and confidence along with improved posture. With kids being bombarded on social media with warped messages about body image, there is immense value in a practice that cultivates self-control and respect for one’s own body. Additionally, growing children benefit from better balance and movement. The tree pose is wonderful for improving physical stability as well as concentration.

Yoga does wonder to improve mindfulness. Mindfulness meditation does not need to be time-consuming or complicated. It's as easy as closing your eyes for a moment and focusing on the sensations of your breath or simply directing your attention to the farthest sounds you can perceive. It works wonders for everyone, regardless of age. Just breathe in, hold your breath and think of all the things that is bothering you, imagine it to be a puff of air, exhale and imagine that puff of air which contains all your worries being released from you, now inhale and picturize everything good and happy entering in to you.

Today’s lifestyles leading to depression in children should be a cause of concern since the mental fabric of our youth reflects the well being of the future of the nation.  And yoga in schools is a wonderful tool to control and keep at bay if not eradicate all those ill effects that accompanies this hectic lifestyle. We should encourage kids to practice yoga, to empower them with healthier and happier lives.

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