Kids Yoga

Kids Yoga

A fun form of yoga for healthy, happy kids

How can kids yoga nourish you?

Kids yoga aims to encourage children’s capacity for calm, concentration, coordination, strength and suppleness[1]. It is also a wonderful way to help kids to connect with each other and their emotions. Kids yoga is a more playful and interactive style of traditional yoga. It may include the use of games, animal sounds, creative names[2], stories and visualisations. 

Kids yoga grew from children’s natural tendency to imitate yogi adults and is part of the curriculum in many Indian schools. Kids yoga evolved in the western world as schools started to recognise the rewards of regular practice. Renowned yoga teachers such as Geeta Iyengar[3], Satyananda Saraswati[4] and Swami Sivananda[5] all contributed to the cultivation of kids yoga worldwide. Montessori and Kundalini yoga teacher and teacher trainer Shakta Khalsa[6] began to teach yoga to children in the 1970s.

Professional accreditation is not essential[7] to teach kids yoga. Certification as a yoga teacher, professional liability insurance and a Working with Children Check are preferable for a kids yoga teacher. 

Benefits of kids yoga

Scientific peer-reviewed research is highlighting the various benefits of yoga for all ages. Kids yoga has similar advantages to adult yoga with an amplified fun factor. 

Some recognised physical benefits[8] of practicing yoga include an increase in flexibility, muscle strength, muscle tone, energy, circulation and cardiovascular health. Mental benefits include enhanced clarity, calmness, concentration and self-awareness. 

Kids yoga can, in some children, improve relaxation[9], sleep, empathy, memory, cognitive function, social relationships, breath control, determination, perseverance, self-regulation, independence and mood. 

A growing body of evidence suggests that kids yoga could be beneficial for children with special needs. 

One study found that it helped to sustain attention in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)[10], while another reported improved gross motor skills in children with autism spectrum disorder[11] who had average or below-average motor skills. The modality has also been applied as a complementary aid to conventional approaches for children with asthma[12] and obesity[13].

Kids yoga may assist in relieving symptoms related to:

ADD/ADHD
Anxiety
Asthma
Autism
Back pain
Balance, stability and coordination
Circulation and cardiovascular conditions
Concentration, focus and problem solving
Confidence and self-esteem
Depression
Energy and vitality
Fatigue, burnout and exhaustion
Flexibility, endurance and strength
Heart conditions and heart attack
Insomnia and sleep disorders
Love and Relationships
Memory and cognitive function
Mobility and movement
Mood imbalances
Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
Relaxation
Respiratory and breathing issues
Sadness
Stress and tension
Tantrums
Weight control and obesity
Show all

What to expect from a kids yoga session

Kids yoga varies according to the teaching style. Generally classes are adapted to suit the physical, mental and emotional development of the students. Classes often incorporate age-appropriate names, songs, sounds and games to teach poses, hand positions, breathing, meditation and relaxation.

Kids can enjoy the social, non-competitive class environment which may have them assuming the role of animals, trees and warriors. Postures range from dynamic standing poses to balancing challenges and seated stretches. Classes often conclude with a lying down guided relaxation which may include non-sectarian affirmations and visualisations. 

As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing kids yoga. If you have any concerns at all, also speak to the teacher, who will be happy to address these and evaluate whether it is a suitable modality for your child.

References

  1. Here Are 9 Important Benefits of Yoga For Kids | yogiapproved.com
  2. Kids Yoga – What is it? | greenwood.com.au
  3. Iyengar Family Lineage | Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States
  4. Swami Satyananda Saraswati | biharyoga.net
  5. Sivananda Saraswati | Wikipedia
  6. Shakta Khalsa | Kripalu.org
  7. Do I need accreditations | help.cosmickids.com
  8. Benefits of Yoga | osteopathic.org
  9. The six benefits of yoga for your kids and family | bountyparents.com.au
  10. Effects of yoga program on sustained attention and discrimination function in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder | peerj.com
  11. Creative Yoga Intervention Improves Motor and Imitation Skills of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder | Physical Therapy
  12. Yoga Education Program for Reducing Drug Dependency and Promoting Better Asthma Control for Chronic Asthmatic Children | sage journals
  13. Development and Validation of Integrated Yoga Module for Obesity in Adolescents | International Journal of Yoga