Yoga provides important mental and physical health benefits for individuals of all ages, including kids. Practicing yoga poses helps children develop concentration, improve focus, and build their self-esteem. A dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, posture practice and behavioral guidelines provides children with an alternative outlet for working through the natural frustrations and stress that come with growing up.
Yoga health benefits for children include the following:
With childhood obesity on the rise, parents are searching for new ways to help children safely be active. Yoga is a great way to get children moving on a regular basis, especially children who may not otherwise play team sports due to a lack of confidence or interest. Yoga promotes physical strength by teaching children how to use their muscles in new ways. Whether children are practicing poses standing up, seated or lying down, children are learning how to access and activate different muscle groups, including how to safely build core strength, flexibility and coordination.
Refining balance is also an important benefit: even if a child struggles with standing postures, like balancing on one foot, the child learns a valuable lesson in mental focus. As your child learns to improve his or her physical balance, this improvement also brings a sense of personal accomplishment. For children who also play competitive team sports, a regular yoga practice complements this physical activity by promoting overall dexterity and improving coordination, flexibility and strength.
Practicing breathing, concentration and different poses helps children learn new coping skills for managing challenging situations. A childhood yoga practice also builds self-esteem and self-respect. Yoga cultivates universal feelings of love and respect by introducing children to the values of truthfulness, moderation, cleanliness, non-harm and gratitude. With today’s modern world moving at such a quick speed, many yoga teachers say yoga is especially helpful for providing children with a safe outlet for pressures associated with academic performance, parental expectations, and peer pressure.
Several studies show that by teaching children improved concentration, yoga helps children to succeed in school. Recent studies, for example, have found that child with ADHD or autism who practice yoga improve their behavior. This includes reduced aggression, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity. The autism support website “Autism Key” says that yoga is especially helpful in cultivating self-regulation, reduced anxiety, and improved motor coordination.
Tilak, Visi. "The Benefits of Yoga for Kids." Parents, 2013.