Yoga For Kids

Is Yoga Really Good For Kids?

It's no secret that today's kids are really stressed out.  They've got a lot on their small plates; school, homework, sports, and other outside activities, and they're not juggling it all that well.  Stress, depression, over-eating, panic attacks, anxiety, anger-management, eating disorders and other problems are surfacing with more and more frequency.

One way kids are learning to cope is through yoga.  As a parent you might question whether yoga is really good for kids.  If you've not been exposed to yoga yourself, you might wonder if it's a lot of brainwashing woo-woo, if the poses are bad for growing kids' bodies, or if it's really ineffective and just a waste of time.  

In fact, yoga does have a positive effect on kids.  It teaches them self-control, awareness of their bodies, how to concentrate and how to relax.  In turn, it gives them increased flexibility and coordination as it strengthens and tones their muscles.  Most sports tend to only work (or overwork) certain muscle groups while ignoring others.  Yoga gives a more well-rounded workout for many more muscles.

Yoga has also been suggested to help kids with ADHD, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, although research is limited.  

Learning yoga not only gives kids positive physical body results, but nurtures their ability to control their actions and thoughts with their mind.  It can also help them gain self-confidence.

Learning how to focus on their breathing, which is a big element in yoga, helps kids learn to control stressful times.  Knowing how to focus is a very important life skill that will help children down the road to becoming happy, successful adults.  

Another positive aspect of yoga for kids is the priority given to compassion over competition.  This might come as quite a relief to some children in the midst of our competition-driven world.

Kids yoga classes are not exactly the same as those for adults.  There is less emphasis on technical details and more emphasis on having fun and using the imagination, especially for the younger ones.  This style is more appropriate for children than the traditional adult yoga, so it's recommended you don't try to fit your child into an adult class.  Not all yoga styles are recommended for children.

Before you start your child in yoga, there are a few things to consider:

1.  Is your child even interested?
No sense trying to force the issue if they don't want to do it.  Sit in on a class if your child isn't sure what yoga is about.

2.  Is the instructor trained in teaching children yoga?
Frankly, not all teachers are good teaching kids.  If he or she has been recommended to you by an enthusiastic parent, that's a good sign.

3.  Does the class atmosphere sync with your child?  Delicate imagery of dainty flowers might not be what holds your child's interest.  Find out what the class is about and watch a session before signing your child up.

4.  Will yoga be just one more thing on your child's plate?  Or will it take the place of one (or two) other activities?

The benefits of yoga for kids are many.  It's an enjoyable activity that can help with coordination and agility, works many muscles in a non-threatening environment, and teaches kids how to focus and have some control.  This can lead to positive results in learning how to deal with stress and anxiety now and in the future, and that makes yoga a good thing for kids.

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