Incorporating yoga into a child’s weekly routine taught at an age appropriate level will facilitate a happier, healthier, and well-adjusted child. When a child participates in yoga regularly they learn to focus on their body and gain control over their body movement. When taught at an age appropriate level, yoga helps to instill confidence in children because as they practice yoga more and more they will be able to accomplish more skilled yoga tasks and hold the positions for longer. Ultimately, the child who practices yoga routinely will benefit from being in control of their body and over time build self-confidence as they learn to concentrate and accomplish higher-level yoga tasks. Yoga can be extremely beneficial for children when they are taught as a group as well because the children are provided with an opportunity to flourish in a non-competitive group activity that is healthy for both their body and their mind.
Impulsivity, hyperactivity, throwing tantrums, and a short attention span are all normal characteristics of young children. By engaging in yoga, children and provided with control over their own body and required to focus and remain still for short spurts of time which increases body awareness, as well as decreases both impulsivity and hyperactivity. These effects generalize outside of the yoga instruction as well. Yoga helps children with attention problems and offers an alternative or complement method to medical and behavioral interventions commonly used with children who have problems with attention (Peck et al., 2005). By using yoga to help children reduce behaviors that adults disapprove of and gain control of themselves there may be less throwing of tantrums as well.
Yoga also qualifies as a physical activity as it takes physical energy to move the body in certain ways and hold positions even for children. Therefore, children may gain more muscle tone, which will allow them to control their body and remain sitting still for longer periods of time. Children will also be provided an opportunity to work out their body and have an increase in stamina and flexibility which may spill over into other areas of their life and allow them to remain calm and collected for longer periods of time in different real life situations.
Yoga when included in an intervention has also been found to benefit the well being of children with behavioral and emotional difficulties by improving self-confidence, social confidence, communication skills, and class participation (Powell, Gilchrist, & Stapley, 2010). Ultimately, yoga is a powerful tool that can be used with children to reduce their anxiety, promote self-control, and ultimately lead to healthy and well-adjusted children.
Peck, H. L., Kehle, T. J., Bray, M.A., & Theodore, L. A. (2005). Yoga as an intervention for children with attention problems. School Psychology Review 34(3), 415-424.
Powell, L., Gilchrist, M., & Stapley, J. (2010). A journey of self‐discovery: an intervention involving massage, yoga and relaxation for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties attending primary schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 23(4), 403-412.