I have been blessed, by and large, with excellent health. Good health just doesn’t happen…it takes effort: Feeding your body the right foods; exercising your body enough; and providing time for your body to rest and recover by getting enough sleep. There are other aspects to good health, but for me, these are the big 3.
Embrace Activism started as a way to improve health & wellness and make a difference. Prevention is the intention of my yoga journey, but drawing more people to yoga is an equally important goal for Embrace Activism. People can always choose to live a healthy lifestyle, but it’s easier and most effective when started early and at a young age. I have shared yoga with Boys & Girls Club youth and visited local elementary schools where I discussed the positive health benefits of yoga as well as leading a mini yoga class.
Last Wednesday, I was honored to have been asked to come in to teach a yoga session for a Girl Scout meeting. I was especially looking forward to it since there were two past preschool families in this troop. I always love to see how the kidlets have grown and what they’re interested. The troop was learning ways to be healthy as part of their work to earn their Healthy Living badge...sounds like the perfect opportunity to introduce them to yoga!
Most of the girls had some idea of what yoga was (“It’s a way to exercise” “It can relax you”) and were absolute troopers in trying! I went through a sequence that showed how yoga can help your flexibility—which isn’t really much of an issue for them—and strength/ coordination…a little bit more challenging and highlighted how the focus and concentration needed for balance poses can translate into a classroom setting and help with school. (You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher…)
I was really impressed with the Q&A session following practice! I was asked if there were DVDs they could use (yes, the library’s got great resources); I was asked about where yoga classes were offered (studios, gyms/clubs and community centers); and if there were any kids yoga classes (yes and it’s becoming more popular). I called on one last gal that had her hand raised and asked if she had a question. She said, “No, I have a comment.” Oh my!! What a landmark. I immediately thought back to preschool days when the vast majority of questions are really comments—the kidlets just wanting to share a thought or experience. Her comment: ”At my preschool, we had yoga teacher come in to do yoga with us.” I shared that I went in to Creative Kids Preschool for a yoga enrichment session this year…ahhh yoga with kids—fun times! The Girl Scouts continued on their healthy living curriculum for snack: fruit smoothies! I received a Thank You note a couple days later. I sure appreciated their thoughtfulness in sending a card—email’s nice, but I’d much rather have a card I can hold in my hands.
Continuing on the drawing people to yoga theme… Last weekend I volunteered at the American Diabetes Association Expo. The Expo had many activities offered and vendors present. Managing diabetes can be challenging; yoga can be a valuable tool. Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Being overweight can present obstacles in being active. Yoga—especially chair yoga—can be done by anyone. Chair yoga will cause positive changes to body, mind and spirit. Chair yoga can be the transition from a couch potato lifestyle to getting up and moving. Ideally, the exercise habit should be set while your young, but committing to physical activity at any age will make a difference in your health and the quality of your life.
So what about children and diabetes? In my role as a preschool teacher and, of course, parent, I wanted each child to develop into their fullest potential. Maintaining excellent physical health supports efforts in the classroom. The Latin saying: "Mens sana in corpore sano" can be thought of as "It takes a healthy body to house a healthy mind." I contend if the body is healthy and the mind is healthy, there will be the energy and intent for a healthy spirit. Diabetes is a serious condition. With the 'epidemic' of obesity reaching down into the young, more and more are succumbing to Type 2 diabetes. A recent article discusses the challenges they face. This reinforces the absolute necessity for maintaining a healthy weight with daily physical activity mandatory. Yoga is a great option and one that should be included for a well-balanced, life-long fitness program.
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Health, Wellness & CURES!!