Pilates and yoga are mind-body systems which both emphasise breathing, relaxation, posture, muscular strength and endurance and flexibility. There is much science behind the connection of the mind and body and the link between the release of specific chemicals released when undertaking movements and many have already reaped the many benefits of practising both disciplines regularly.
Many children can face challenges in their learning which can affect their mental, academic and physical well-being. Studies were conducted on elementary and middle school children in education and found that yoga had an effect on improved grades, better health through a reduction in obesity and health problems, the research suggests that mindfulness activities such as Pilates and yoga can also assist children in class lessons because they are calmer, find it easier to complete tasks improved concentration as well as having a healthy body image which leads to more confidence in themselves compared to those who have a negative self body image, which could result in low self esteem and become a distraction in the class. (Eggleston, Brandon, 2015). Furthermore, (Peck & Kehle, 2005) revealed that younger children you took part in 30 minutes of yoga, twice a week for 3 weeks completed tasks on time compared to those who didn't take part.
YOGA FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Children with special needs may also benefit from undertaking Pilates or yoga as both mind-body systems focus the mind and attention on the movement, those in particular with conditions such as ASD (autism-spectrum disorder), as the skills learnt in these disciplines enable improved sensory information processing, motor control, communication and improved cognitive processing of information from perception, problem solving, reasoning, thinking and learning are factors linked with yoga participation which can help those lead a more healthy, balanced life (Etheringer, 2010). Particular Pilates/yoga exercises which are similar in nature have been associated with an increase in attention and memory as there is an increased blood flow to the brain, (Schaeffer, 2002) claimed "yoga can prevent memory lapses by calming you and enhance concentration. It can also improve your powers of recall by increasing blood circulation to your brain".
INCORPORATE PILATES & YOGA INTO LESSONS
Physical activities linked to Pilates and Yoga can be part of your curriculum and can be blended into lessons for 5 and 10 minutes for younger children by incorporating a story during reading, writing combined with Pilates and yoga poses and breathing techniques.
Eggleston, B & Brandon, J.E (2015) available at: International Journal of Health & Wellness Society. Vol 5, Issue 3, p.17
Etheringer, J (2010) Yoga for children on the Autism Spectrum, International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Vol 20. No 1. pp 131-139
Peck, H.L. & Kehle, T.J (2005) Yoga as an intervention for children with attention problems. School Psychology Review, 34 (3) 415-424
Scheaffer, R (2002) Athletic Insight, The Online Journal of Sports Psychology, Vol 9, Issue 2, June 2007