Yoga Benefits for Youngins

May 02, 2016

In recent decades yoga has become increasingly more mainstream as a form of exercise. Most fitness centers offer a variety of classes, and more often parents are allowing their children to participate with them. It may seem strange to think a child would have the discipline to attend or enjoy an adult class. Yet, many young children are being exposed at a early age to yoga in schools that understand and value the benefits.

Is Yoga for Kids?

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I have been incorporating elements of yoga with my young patients for years. It helps with skills such as concentration, coordination, flexibility, strengthening, self-control, balance, relaxation, and body awareness. Since many yoga poses have corresponding animal names, I find it easy to get children to imitate poses and engage in challenging poses for extended periods of time. Furthermore, the increased use of muscles not typically practiced in traditional play allow a child to benefit physically. Also, it provides the mental health boost that comes with stress relief and increased confidence.

Yoga Poses

Some common yoga postures with animal names include: cat, cow, down dog, and dolphin.  These and many others are easy to search online and can be completed separately or in a sequence. Although it is important to practice intensive yoga with a trained instructor, parents can easily incorporate simple poses into play without much worry. For assistance in learning more, many product brands also sell flash cards specifically created for use with children including YogaCards by Think Fun and Yogarilla by Super Duper Publications.

I hope you find this insightful. If your youngin struggles with coordination skills, balance, strength, or flexibility that has negatively affected other skill areas, consider consulting with an occupational therapist to develop a plan for your child. Have a playful day!

Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L

Amy Baez is a pediatric occupational therapist, award-winning handwriting author, and Founder of Playapy. For more information about Playapy services and products, visit www.playapy.com or email info@playapy.com.

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