Today’s post is written by journalist and yoga columnist, Virginia Cunningham.
Why You Should Do Yoga With Your Kids
When most people think of yoga classes, they often think of adults working to build flexibility and strength, while decompressing from a stressful, busy life; however, children’s yoga classes are becoming more and more common, and classes designed so parents and their children can do yoga together are increasing in popularity.
Yoga classes may help to promote relaxation, flexibility and strength in adults; however, those benefits may not be the biggest ones that yoga has to offer young children.
Yoga and Children with ADHD
Although there hasn’t been a lot of medical research done on how exactly children benefit from yoga, a few studies have been done on children with ADHD who participated in yoga classes.
In a 2004 study published in Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, children that participated in yoga twice a week (90 minutes per session) alongside their parents showed a marked improvement and general reduction in ADHD symptoms according to a parent survey. In fact, 92-percent of parents that took the survey said that their children greatly benefited from the yoga sessions.
Another study, published in 2005 in The School Psychology Review, evaluated ten students between the ages of 6 and 10 years old who did yoga twice a week (30 minutes per session) for three weeks. The children in the group showed improvements in attention to tasks – more so than students who did not participate in the yoga sessions; however, when the children were monitored three weeks after the sessions ended, the improvements appeared to have decreased (though they were still higher than before yoga).
Improved Motor Function
Most children have relatively strong motor function at a young age if they are healthy; however, according to a 1999 study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, many children with motor function impairments or decreased reaction times due to neurological conditions may be able to improve their overall motor skills by doing yoga regularly.
The study, which had children and adults take a basic tapping test to gauge overall reaction time before doing yoga, showed that adults improved their motor function response time after 30 days of yoga, while children needed only 10 days to improve their response speed.
Adults and children in the control group that did not do yoga showed no improvement at all in the tapping test. According to the researchers, this suggests that regular yoga practice by children and adults may help improve overall motor skills, though the improvements may be faster and more obvious among developing children than in adults.
Not only can yoga provide benefits to children with ADHD and motor function impairments, but yoga can also be a great way to bond with your children, even if you don’t have a health goal in mind. Spending time with your child doing any activity can be beneficial, and since yoga is a form exercise, you’ll also be helping your children get into the habit of exercising and making sure they’re physically fit from an early age.
Yoga for kids isn’t just a fad for soccer moms; it’s an activity that can actually make a difference in a child’s life, whether your child receives therapeutic benefit or simply benefits from the physical activity and bonding aspects.
Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from Southern California who writes about various health topics, including fitness and training, healthy cooking and essential supplements. She has three kids and loves when the join her in her daily yoga routines.