Yoga

Encinitas Yoga Studio Opens to Younger Crowd During What Experts Say is a National Mental Health Crisis for Kids

NBC 7 spoke with an expert about ways parents can help their children address mental health struggles and visited an Encinitas yoga studio that is empowering kids

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Astea Yoga is helping kids cope with changes brought on by COVID-19, reports NBC 7’s Jackie Crea

A lot of attention is paid to the physical challenges surrounding the pandemic, but the American Academy of Pediatrics, among other organizations, declared it’s children’s mental health that is in crisis.

NBC 7 spoke with an expert about ways parents can help their children and visited an Encinitas yoga studio that is empowering kids.

Christina Daley is opening up her Asteya yoga studio for kids' classes.

"It's a way of living and it's teaching all these tools: breathing, gratitude, affirmations, stillness even, and empowering ourselves with these ways of coping when things out there we can't control seems super crazy," Daley explained.

They've never needed those skills more than in the last 19 months or so.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in an article, described how children continue to face physical isolation, ongoing uncertainty, fear and grief during this pandemic.

Staggering statistics signal it’s an emergency.

Between March and October 2020, the AAP and AACAP reported mental health ER visits for children 5 to 11 years old increased 24%. Visits for children ages 12 to 17 years old increased by 31%.

Dr. Suzanne Barchers, Ph.D, an expert in children and education, told NBC 7 the signs will be in patterns of sadness, sleeplessness and loss of appetite, to name a few.

“There’s that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that comes with the unprecedented happening, which this pandemic is,” Barchers said.

Countering that with open lines of communication and focusing on goals are a few ways to help kids.

Also, gratitude, she said, is huge.

“This feeling of focusing on being thankful for what we have if we are continuing in good health and have not lost family members,” Barchers said.

So is connection. Rochelle Bohannon brings her daughter Veda to yoga classes.

“I mean, gathering in groups is one of the most important things that we can do as human beings, and especially for the little kids. Like, they just need to be. They just want to be around their friends,” Bohannon said.

It’s a practice in gratitude they hope will bring more mats to the studio.