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November 2018

Your Little Yogi: Getting Your Child Started with a Yoga Practice

Adulting is hard. But childhood has its difficulties, too. From pressure to succeed in the classroom to competitive sports to ever-changing social situations to body changes, kids need coping strategies to ease stress and anxiety. What do researchers suggest? Yoga.

Why yoga?

Yoga brings together mind and body, involving a combination of postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It’s also proven to be a safe therapy for children dealing with emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral challenges. That’s because various yoga postures can:

  • Release tension

  • Stimulate the digestive system

  • Relieve constipation

  • Promote flexibility

  • Enhance concentration

  • Regulate blood sugar and hormone levels

  • Improve balance

Each posture can challenge various muscle groups, which can teach your child to become more aware of his or her body, too. Student athletes may also find that yoga enhances their cross-training and helps prevent overuse injuries.

Yoga for children is growing so much in popularity that the U.S. is actually seeing an increase in the practice at schools. Multiple studies have shown that school-based yoga programs have the potential to improve social skills, classroom behavior, self-esteem, and academic performance.

If your child’s school does not include yoga in its curriculum, consider enrolling him or her in a class. Or try adding yoga to your family’s routine at home.

Animal-inspired yoga poses

Get your child excited about yoga through these animal-inspired poses. Animal sounds encouraged!

  • Cobra. Lie on the stomach, with hands below the shoulders and legs pressed together. Inhale to lift the chest off the floor.

  • Dolphin. Place elbows on the floor below the shoulders, resting the forearms and palms on the mat. Inhale to tuck the toes under and exhale to lift the knees and draw the hips toward the ceiling.

  • Sleeping bug. Lie on the back, draw the knees in toward the chest, and reach the hands to grip the feet on the pinky toe side of each foot.

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Gonnella, Joseph, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 9/3/2018
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