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Yoga for Kids

Yoga is an ancient practice of poses and breathing that gained popularity in the U.S. in the late 1960s. More recently, yoga has been a growing practice for a new demographic: kids! Boys Town Pediatrics explains how yoga can be beneficial to your child.

Benefits

The benefits that adults and children receive through yoga are very similar. More studies are needed to fully characterize the benefits of yoga in children but the studies that have been done, suggest children show the following benefits:

  • Greater physical fitness and strength
  • Better mood
  • Lower stress and anxiety
  • Better attention and behavior
  • Better verbal and spatial memory as well as visual perception

Additionally, starting yoga at a young age can prepare children for a life of wellness and confidence. The focus is not about competing against other children as many activities have become these days, but about improving oneself and taking care of the body. Yoga encourages the practice of short breathing exercises in a calming environment, self-quieting and refocusing on skills to facilitate learning.

Kids Yoga versus Adult Yoga

  • Yoga is practiced differently for adults and children based on physical and developmental differences. While adults focus more on being quiet and contained, kids tend to laugh and play during yoga. The exercise has a more playful feel with games, singing and creative poses often related to animals.
  • The techniques and poses are different as well because the bones and muscles are not developed enough to hold poses as long as adults, not to mention a child's attention span is typically shorter. Yoga instructors for children usually spend less time holding and critiquing poses and will switch from exercise to exercise quicker than they would with adults.

Yoga is a unique way to encourage a lifetime of physical and mental well-being and can be practiced in a limited amount of space, is easy to learn and requires minimal equipment. Though the first child-only yoga studio was not founded until 1998, popularity has boomed since then. If you are interested in getting your child started, search the Internet for studios in your area, use online programs or even become a certified child yoga teacher yourself!