Therapeutic yoga for kids

The discipline and consistency of a therapeutic yoga practice can begin as early as age six. I currently work with kids from age 7-13 on a weekly basis and have seen many students develop their practice over the course of several years now. 

At the same time, many of my adult students ask me, “How do I get my kids (or grandkids) to come to yoga?”  Or, “My kids don’t seem interested – what should I do?”

These adults have experienced so many physical and mental health benefits from their yoga practice, and they want the children in their life to have the same opportunities for improved focus, more stable moods, less pain, injury prevention, more stable blood sugar, and a long list of other benefits.

My question back to them is simple: How did you get your kids to brush their teeth?

Did you present it as an optional activity, when they were interested?  Or did you present it as something that was necessary for mouth and dental health?  

I bring this up because a traditional therapeutic yoga practice properly belongs in the same category of self-care as brushing your teeth.

In the case of teeth-brushing, it is an important practice of self-care that is initially imposed from the outside.  Eventually, however, we are motivated to brush our teeth because we have experienced how good it feels when we do it and how bad it feels when we do not.

Therapeutic hatha yoga is exactly the same, and kids can experience this for themselves.  Facilitating a weekly practice for at least one year will allow them to feel the benefits from the inside out.

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Ann Chrapkiewicz, M.A., is the founder, owner and director of Bikram Yoga Capital Area, an independent yoga school in East Lansing. Contact her at ann@byca.yoga.

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