Little Yogis: How practicing yoga can benefit children

Yoga provides countless health benefits for those who practice. Dedicated yogis experience increased flexibility, less stress and overall spiritual, physical and mental improvements. As such, many studios are offering yoga for children, who could also benefit from this ancient practice.

North Sydney Yoga is currently offering an eight-week course for students of primary school age. These courses, led by Renuka Natarajan, take place from 3:45 to 4:30pm. It’s the perfect way for kids to get in a bit of exercise and relaxation after a long schoolday.

Why should children practice yoga?

Adults’ lives are full of stressors, including work, bills, and family issues. However, children’s lives can also be very stressful. Many young students feel pressure to fit in, have anxiety about doing well in school, and experience many of the same challenges as adults.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the National Institute for Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of children will experience some type of mental disorder. Those who have mood disorders, anxiety, or hyperactivity often have a difficult time coping with everyday stressors. Of course, children who aren’t diagnosed with a mental disorder still experience difficulties growing up.

In order to alleviate issues that children face, many parents turn to therapy and medication. While these treatments are effective for some, many children could experience improvements through alternative and holistic measures.

For example, a study conducted by the International Journal of Yoga found that students who practiced yoga not only performed better in school, but also experienced decreased levels of stress.

What is kids yoga like?

As an increasing number of parents seek places where their children can practice yoga, more studios are offering yoga classes for kids. These classes are not entirely different from those that adults take. Often, poses are named after animals and other common objects that are easy for kids to remember. Also, the poses are tailored for younger students.

Children’s yoga classes can allow kids to make new friends, explore their bodies, relax their minds and develop mindfulness.

How will kids benefit from practicing yoga?

Children who practice yoga can experience increased confidence while learning about their bodies. Kids often get the same benefits as adults who practice regularly. Going to yoga class improves coordination, flexibility, strength, concentration, balance, and sociability.

Parents who are seeking an outlet for their children’s hyperactivity, or are concerned about their young one’s stress levels, may find that yoga is the non-medical solution they’ve been looking for. Additionally, Harvard University conducted a study that found power-posing, including the warrior poses, benefits self-esteem when practiced before high-stress social situations.

Next time your child is worried about a test they have to take, consider taking them to a kid’s yoga class. You may be surprised by how effective this practice is for children.