Yoga benefits for kids stretch far beyond flexibility

Illustration by Kathleen Rietz and adapted from The ABCs of Yoga for Kids written by Teresa Anne Power

Many people think of yoga as a way to relax, and envision practitioners twisting their bodies into various contorted positions. Although yoga does indeed produce a sense of calm, and the poses do in fact stretch the body and increase flexibility, there are other benefits that are often over-looked. These benefits are especially applicable for children, who are inundated with over-stimulation from the effects of today’s modern technological society. Yoga provides a way for kids to naturally unwind and obtain physical activity at the same time.

 

 

Additional benefits of yoga which might not be as well-known include:

  • developing discipline
  • helping in the performance of other sport activities
  • strengthening both fine and gross motor coordination
  • improving visual-motor and auditory processing
  • toning internal glands and organs
  • aiding cognitive functions of sequencing and memory
  • heightening body awareness and self-control.
  • increasing focus and concentration
  • aiding kids to feel empowered
  • helping kids stay calm (even kids with ADD or ADHD)

Indeed, yoga nourishes the mind, body, and spirit, and paves the way for a life-long tradition of health and fitness. All told, this translates into healthier minds and bodies, not to mention better performance in school.

 Yoga can also be an effective tool for improving the lives of children with autism, ADD or ADHD, obesity, stress, and physical disabilities. It helps kids develop not only physical skills such as flexibility, strength, stamina, balance and coordination, but is also a valuable tool for stress reduction through conscious breath and focus.

Children of all ages and sizes and varying degrees of athletic abilities can practice yoga, a non-competitive form of exercise. This means that yoga benefits not only the child who delights in team sports like volleyball, basketball, and soccer but also the child who prefers individual sports such as tennis, dance, or the martial arts.

Yoga thus offers a new twist to physical activity… a mind-body one. Many Olympic athletes and sports pros have used yoga to help them achieve their goals. Sinjin Smith, Olympian and World Champion Beach Volleyball Player, states that “Yoga helped me compete the highest level of my sport well into my 40s…yoga’s benefits can now be shared with children as well, enabling them to enjoy life to the fullest by staying active and healthy starting early on.” In sum, yoga is a natural and healthy way for children to exercise, relax, focus and strengthen their minds and bodies.

Teresa Anne Power is an internationally recognized children’s yoga expert and best-selling author of the award-winning books The ABCs of Yoga for Kids and The ABCs of Yoga for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers. She has taught yoga to kids for over 10 years, helping thousands of children develop a healthy attitude towards their body. She is also the founder of Kids’ Yoga Day, an international event to raise global awareness of the benefits of yoga for kid

Categories: 2016, Issue Archives category, Parenting, Young Children