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The Top 5 Benefits of Yoga For Children

Mother and daughter doing yoga exercise on the beachYoga has long been touted for its physical and emotional benefits for adults, but there are tons of advantages for kids, too — and calm, well-rested children translate directly into grateful parents. Discover the top benefits of yoga practice for kids (and the second-hand benefits for the adults who encourage it).

1. Yoga encourages stillness

Kids have inquisitive, inquiring minds and are naturally full of energy, making it difficult to settle down and pay attention when needed. Yoga introduces the concept of “engaged stillness,” where movement is curbed while the mind is engaged. Children are eased into being motionless for short periods of time without feeling bored, conditioning them to relax and sit still when the occasion calls for it.

2. Yoga helps to quell the reactive mind

Children are prone to simply react — or overreact — reflexively to all sorts of situations. Yoga helps take kids off of auto response by teaching focus and deliberation of movement, which fosters the development of the self-control they need in order to choose their responses rather than simply respond.

3. Yoga assists with homework-related stress

The same calming effects of yoga that help tame work-related stress in grownups can also take the edge off of homework-related anxiety in kids. Meeting deadlines, making presentations, and completing reports are all easier to accomplish with a clear mind and calm nervous system, and the low-impact physical exertion of yoga quiets the fidgeting that’s the natural enemy of getting schoolwork done.

4. Yoga teaches breathing as a tool

The art of focused and deliberate breathing that is an integral part of the practice of yoga is useful in real life for managing the racing hearts and blood-pressure spikes that go hand-in-hand with nerves. Kids learn a useful tool for regulating the panic that can arise before taking a test, speaking before a group, or even tossing a free throw in a basketball game.

5. Yoga encourages better sleep

A new appreciation for stillness, a reduction in stress, a less-reactive mind, and a practice of taking deep, cleansing breaths are a pretty great recipe for deep, restorative sleep. And what child doesn’t behave better and calmer than one who is fully rested? It’s a win-win for kids and parents.

Written by: Patrice Simon, Yoga Instructor & Author

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About the Author

As both a businesswoman and a healthcare professional, Patrice Simon feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to make a career out of helping others improve their well-being through preventative practices, first as a dental hygienist and, since 1991, as a yoga instructor. During the eleven years that she ran and owned a highly successful yoga studio in Costa Mesa, Calif., Patrice taught thousands of students and continues to work as a senior trainer of the Bikram technique to numerous yoga instructors. As the co-founder of Smiling Monkey Yoga, Patrice pioneered children’s yoga classes in Orange County. Beginning in April 2010, the Smiling Monkey program has been offered as part of the after school programs in several cities, including Newport Beach and Irvine. Her first book, Take Up Your Mat and Walk, details how to find your purpose and lead a meaningful, happy life through the practices of yoga and one’s spirituality.

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