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Why your kids need to practice yoga

Yoga provides numerous benefits, especially for the little ones

San Antonio – San Antonio-based yoga instructor, Kelsey Motley, shares the importance of teaching kids the practice of yoga and mindfulness from an early age.

Motley was inspired to teach yoga after struggling with mental illness growing up. She now serves as a guide for people in similar situations by helping them re-establish contact with their inner self through mindfulness, sound therapy, yoga, and breathing exercises.

While in school to become a teacher, Motley became aware of the crucial component that the typical school curriculum lacked. She felt that kids, especially, needed to learn more than just content.

"I don't like to teach kids how to count, I like to teach them what counts and what helps them get through life," Motley says.

Motley is bringing yoga to San Antonio to teach kids the basics of mindfulness and more. One of the poses that best demonstrates this is what's known as the partner boat pose.

As shown in the video, two kids balance on their posteriors and hold their legs in the air, making sure that the soles of their feet touch one another's. The two kids then reach their arms out on either side of their legs and clasp each other's hands, resembling a boat when viewed from the side. 

The boat pose helps kids build connection and trust among one another. By holding hands to maintain balance, they learn the importance of supporting each other throughout life. 

Another pose that teaches kids valuable skills outside of the classroom is the tree pose, a popular move among yogis. To do this pose, shift your weight onto one foot, lift and bend the opposite leg, and then place the foot of the bent leg between the inner thigh and the knee of the standing leg. Standing straight and tall, kids become like that of a tree, possessing both physical and mental strength to remain balanced. 

Motley also incorporates crystal sound bowls into each of her yoga classes. These singing bowls have been around for about 3,000 years and have numerous health benefits such as reducing anxiety, improving blood circulation, activating the immune system, and increasing emotional intelligence. Once hit with a mallet, the bowls create a sound resembling that of wind chimes. Sound therapy is especially beneficial for kids with disabilities and mental disorders such as ADHD. 

The skills kids develop in yoga also translate to their schoolwork and social relationships. During practice, Motley makes sure to talk through each pose with the kids, helping them to make valuable connections between yoga practice and real life.

Motley's yoga classes assist students in nurturing awareness of the self and the interconnected body, mind, and spirit, and helps them to establish their own self-care practice and build confidence in learning how to love themselves, she says. 

You can find Motley at A Plus Pediatric Rehab for yoga classes Monday through Thursday from 1 to 6 p.m., or you can schedule one-on-one sessions in the convenience of your own home by calling (281) 961-5831 or emailing aplusyoga@gmail.com.