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Yoga helps kids relax

Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
Yoga Teacher

DYNAMIC ACTIVITY: Yoga classes for kids are fun.

Yoga Teacher
JUST RELAX: Edit Horvath says yoga helps children relax, focus and breathe.

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Being a kid can be stressful. Fortunately Edit Horvath has a solution for youngsters dealing with the ups and downs of childhood. She tells chief reporter Joe Dawson how yoga can help.

As a youngster Edit Horvath was often overwhelmed by her busy brain.

The high achiever had a lot going on upstairs, making relaxing or focusing a difficult task.

But at age 11 she discovered the calming influence of yoga and so profound were the results the discipline became a permanent fixture in her life.

These days the St Heliers' woman is a professional yoga instructor and as well as teaching her adult clients is sharing the skills that were so useful to her with the younger generation.

Children as young as 6 are taking up yoga and Ms Horvath says there are benefits for all sorts of kids.

"I think kids who need to come out of their shells a little bit can benefit," she says.

"It's non-competitive and throughout the yoga class we do poses which need flexibility, strength, focus, balance and they are different things.

"Every child has some strength in one of those, so they get success somewhere and if they are not academic or not athletic in the normal mainstream they might not get that that easily."

It can also be helpful for those who are finding it hard to settle their minds down or deal with the constant changes of childhood.

"It helps them breathe, focus and relax.

"It's good for stress management. Most kids don't know they are anxious, they don't have those words to know they are actually worried about going to school because the teacher might growl at them.

"This helps give them different tools to help them breathe and calm themselves down.

"I teach some teens going to intermediate or high school for the first time and have a lot of anxiety about it.

"Knowing they are in control of something is magic for them - this is my time, it's all about me."

Naturally a childrens' yoga class differs from one for adults.

"It's a lot more active and I dress up crazy. For kids it needs to get a little bit more colourful and dynamic."

Classes follow a story, use images of nature and animals, music is incorporated and it is a collective experience.

A Hungarian national who has lived in New Zealand for 23 years, Ms Horvath has travelled and trained widely to learn yoga.

She specialises in the Hatha technique, a complex and balanced style, covering breathing and physical and mental components.

As well as children she teaches pregnancy yoga and chair yoga for people with life-threatening illnesses.

She is set to start teaching for a mental health provider.

"I'm very much interested in spreading yoga for those who never think about it."

Visit facebook.com/professionalyoga.

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