Is it OK for my kids to do yoga?
Kelsi Compton-Griffith is a physical therapist at Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz.
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Answer: Yoga is physical activity in the form of static poses. Yoga promotes health, flexibility, strength, coordination and relaxation. Yoga is gentle and works the entire body.
Yoga can be done by children of all ages and physical abilities. It can be a good alternative for kids who are not typically active; this is a good method of introducing them to exercise without getting hurt. Children are still growing, meaning that their bones haven’t fused together.
Easing into physical activity with yoga helps prevent injury that can commonly be caused by more “aggressive” sports or activities. Other benefits include:
- Great for the entire family to do together
- Can be done pretty much anywhere – just need an open flat space!
- Can make games out of it if children are more competitive
There are lots of different types of yoga poses, depending on your child:
- Movement, bending and stretching:
- Mountain, Tree, Warrior, Rag Doll, Triangle, Standing Twist, Wigwam, Dog, Bow & Arrow, Cow, Locust, Snake, Bridge, Wheel
- Breathing exercises that help with relaxation
- Mouse, Diamond
- Coordination, integrating teamwork or “family fun”
- Walking games
- Animal games (Lion, Mouse, Snake)
- Ball games (bowling in Butterfly pose)
- Sunwheel (with large group)
- Stiffness or poor posture
- Prayer pose, Half Eagle, Knee to chest
An important tip to remember as you practice yoga with your kids is that it should be FUN! Kids have short attention spans. Yoga is an easy exercise to do at home, since all you need are comfortable clothes, an open space and a nonslip surface. If you want more information, there are lots of DVDs, Web sites, books, video games such as Wii Fit and local classes.
Reviewed June 2010