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Yoga and Children: Can Your Child Benefit From Yoga Training?

Yoga for Children

The benefits of yoga training are considerable for adults. If you’ve taken a yoga class you may have experienced first hand the sense of body awareness and well being that yoga can promote.

But what about your children? Children lead stressful lives too between juggling home and school responsibilities along with sports and extracurricular activities. This type of hectic pace can lead to a certain degree of anxiety and even depression in some children. What about children and yoga? Is it a good idea to let your child participate in yoga sessions?

Studies that have looked at children and yoga have shown overwhelmingly positive benefits. Not only does it help to build body awareness and self-esteem, it shows children how to achieve inner relaxation in the face of stress and builds flexibility which can be useful for certain sports and other physical activities. Surprisingly, the effects of yoga may extend far beyond this for children.

In 2003, researchers at California State University looked at the relationship between children and yoga training in terms of academic and school performance. Children who participated in yoga classes not only had a higher self-esteem but they also scored better on tests and had a higher GPA. In addition, the children who were yoga participants experienced less disciplinary issues. It appears that yoga may help children better focus and concentrate on their school work and the increase in self-esteem gives them a “can do” attitude toward academics.

 



Another benefit of children and yoga training is it teaches them early how to deal with stress in a positive, constructive way. This type of learned adaptive response to stress can carry over into the high school and college years when life becomes even more stressful and complex.

Even young children can benefit from the practice of yoga. Because children have inherently shorter attention spans than adults, children’s yoga classes are often adapted to suit their particular needs. For example, a child might be encouraged to assume the role of an animal or a flower and make the sounds that that particular entity might make while holding poses. This adds an element of fun and also helps to stimulate the imagination which may help with the development of creativity.

When a child is exposed to yoga at an early age, he gets a variety of mental and physical benefits that may allow him to be more centered and focused as well as handle stress better as an adult. You may want to consider the possibility of offering your own child the wonderful benefits that yoga has to offer.

By Dr. Kristie

 

The best way to start kids on yoga is to try out a quality DVD designed to teach simple yoga exercises to children. This way, you can gage whether your child is interested and ready for more instruction before dishing out money for an expensive yoga class. Many families will be content to incorporate yoga exercises into their daily routine using a favorite DVD.

We love Wai Lana's Little Yogis (see our review of Wai Lana's Little Yogis here), but there are some other excellent choices here:





 

Yoga for Kids: DVDs for At Home Yoga Instruction



 


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