The Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Benefits of Yoga for Kids
Yoga for Kids. Katrina Wittkamp/Digital Vision/Getty Images

As yoga is bring incorporated into more classrooms and P.E. curricula, you may be wondering what your kids can get out of doing yoga. Children can enjoy many of the same benefits of yoga that adult do, such as improved body awareness, coordination, and stress relief. Experiencing yoga will encourage kids to explore the unfamiliar with open minds and be comfortable in their bodies. For kids who are not good at (or don’t enjoy) conventional sports, yoga may provide a much-needed physical outlet in a noncompetitive environment.

As they reach the teenage years, yoga can help young adults deal with their changing bodies and give them ways to combat stress in academic and social situations.

What to Expect at Yoga Classes for Kids

Your child's first exposure can come as early as infancy, if you bring them to a mom and baby yoga class. While this may not make much of an impression on a young child, by the age of three they will probably be ready to do simple poses alongside you. Many yoga studios now offer age-appropriate classes for toddlers and school-aged kids, which may include singing, dance, and other kinds of movement. Kids have a lot of questions and a lot of energy, so the mood will be much more informal than in an adult class. Make sure that your child’s teacher is certified to teach yoga to kids (when in doubt, ask the studio or the teacher herself). If you are considering a drop-off class (one in which parents do not participate), ask to sit in and observe before your child begins or during his first class.

How to Do Yoga at Home With the Kids

If you want to do yoga at home with your kids, here are some ideas:

  • Put out mats for yourself and your child(ren).
  • Let the kids choose some music, but make it parent's choice during final relaxation.
  • Although children are naturally flexible, they probably will not do the poses “correctly” in the adult sense of the word, so it’s important to keep things simple. Use our recommended poses for kids for inspiration.
  • Basic breath work, such as three-part breath can also be introduced to older children. Just learning to take deep breaths and clear the mind can be helpful to kids since this is a proven way in reduce anxiety.
  • Follow along with a video, such as YogaKids.
  • Be ready to cut things short when interest wanes in younger children.
  • At the age of 9 or 10, most kids are ready to receive more detailed instructions about alignment. If you are an experienced student or yoga teacher, you can begin to correct their poses to make them safer and more beneficial.
  • Most of all, have fun. Giving your kids a familiarity with yoga now is a wonderful way to encourage a life-long interest in a healthy lifestyle.

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