Yoga and Children: Can Your Child Benefit From
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
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
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
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
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.