In our family, we practice yoga for fun as much as for its many health benefits.
During family gatherings my grandniece, Riley, will frequently pull me aside and ask me to show her some new yoga poses. Children’s brains and bodies easily take to this form of exercise.
Children who practice yoga postures, conscious breathing and mindfulness are better able to regulate their emotions, manage stress and calm themselves, according to scientific studies. They may also have better eating habits and engage in more physical activity than children who do not. Yoga addresses the whole child, encouraging academic and emotional competence. “The studies also illustrate that centered, calm and focused children learn more easily, have better social skills and, in general, are much happier kids.” ¹
Yoga Increases Static Motor Performance.
A sample of children from ages 9 to 13 were divided into two groups. One group received yogic training (physical postures, voluntary regulation of breathing, maintenance of silence, visual focusing exercises, and games to improve attention span and memory) while the other did not. Over a ten-day period, the children in each group were tested to observe their steadiness. The yoga group showed a 17% increase in steadiness while the control group showed no improvement. The study concludes that yogic instruction improves children’s ability to control their minds and bodies. ²
Children Following Yoga Training Improved Their Visual Perceptual Sensitivity.
A study of 14 children with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years who received 10 days of yoga training and another group who did not receive yoga training were assessed on Day 1 and Day 10 for visual perceptual sensitivity through Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency (CFF) and degree of illusion. Yoga group practiced postures and meditation, along with specific activities to improve memory and attention. Following 10 days of yoga training, the yoga group showed a significant increase in CFF and decrease in degree of illusion while the control group showed no change. The study suggests that children can show better improvement in performance in a relatively short amount of time.³
Twenty Benefits of Yoga for Children
The following are just some of the recognized benefits of yoga for children (and adults):
- Develops a strong and flexible body
- Encourages motor development on both sides of the body
- Assists neuromuscular-development
- Increases balance, body awareness and coordination
- Improves posture and alignment
- Reduces injuries and improves performance
- Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
- Strengthens the immune system
- Relaxes the body, promoting better sleep
- Calms and clears the mind, bringing us into the present moment
- Increases concentration, focus, memory and attention span
- Stimulates auditory processing and responsiveness
- Expands imagination and creativity
- Alleviates tension, stress and anxiety
- Balances energy (high or low)
- Builds confidence and self-esteem
- Develops discipline and self-control
- Supports individuality and self-expression
- Encourages a fit and healthy lifestyle
- Promotes an overall sense of well-being
Yoga helps children feel more comfortable with their bodies and helps them get in touch with who they are inside. “A child who learns yoga, mindfulness and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body and spirit.” 4
Best in health, Linda
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)
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