|Yoga is a beneficial and fun addition to traditional PT, OT and physical rehabilitation. It develops
increased strength, flexibility (range of motion), balance, body awareness, coordination, motor planning,
concentration and an overall sense of well-being. Yoga provides organizing sensory input, teaches effective
deep breathing patterns, relaxation, and decreases feelings of stress. Yoga is a whole-body practice that
benefits both the body and the mind. Many find that yoga, when practiced regularly, helps children
become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. From this awareness, changes and growth in new and
positive directions can blossom.
BENEFITS OF YOGA THERAPY FOR CHILDREN:
- Yoga is a foundation for well-being
- develops strong and healthy bones
- fosters creativity and imagination
- increases focus and attention span
- discovers self-awareness and respect for others
- fosters confidence and self-esteem.
- fosters ability to communicate
- improves social skills
- improves ability to motor plan
Children with sensory integration dysfunction:
- struggle to figure out where their bodies are in space
- demonstrate a great deal of difficulty with finding that "just right" level of attention
- have poor control of precise and coordinated body movements
- may either be over sensitive or under sensitive to particular sensory stimulation
These elements may lead children with sensory difficulties to the following:
- find themselves at the extremes of attentiveness....either "slumped over their desk" at school or "bouncing of the
- may appear clumsy
- develop behavior that gets them in trouble at school
- tend to fidget
- display unusual behaviors such as "self biting", "throwing themselves on the floor", "chewing on inappropriate
items such as their shirt"
The system of yoga is beautifully and inherently designed to
- improve body awareness through self discovery and breathing
- increase strength, endurance and flexibility through yoga postures
- teaches patience for one's abilities and inabilities as well as tolerance in challenging situations
Here are some of the aspects that are included in a yoga practice and their therapeutic benefits for children
- Mantra (Yoga sounds): Use of vibration and vocalization is calming and helps to focus attention. Encourages
development of language and the physical ability to speak. Helps establish eye contact and interactions.
- Pranayama (Breath awareness): Deep breathing has a claming effect. Children are able to learn to use their
breath to self-calm. Practicing breathing encourages the development of breath support for speech and postural
stability. Children with hyperactivity or unstable activity levels respond beautifully to breathwork and singing to
calm and stabilize their activity levels. Styles of yoga that use movement and breath together—like in Vinyasa
and many exercises in Kundalini yoga are perfect.
- Asana (Postures and exercises): Help with all developmental aspects of gross motor skills, including general
body awareness and position in space.
- Savasana (Deep relaxation): Even a few brief moments of quiet stillness can have beneficial effects for children
who rarely stop moving. Use visualization techniques. Try rolling a foamy ball up and down the body slowly and
with moderate pressure.
- Meditation (quiet/alert time): Improves attention span, the ability to sit still and concentrate. Helps remove anxiety
and frees the mind from clutter so that it is more available for learning new things. Using yoga songs and
affirmations are a good way to start, for example: “I am happy, I am strong.”
The Basic Principles Of Ayurveda website describes in detail the philosophy of yoga.
Get some comfy clothes on for you and your kids and Try Yoga Now!
Locate a children's yoga class near you
Or visit these local places all in Santa Cruz, CA that have yoga for kids:
Pacific Cultural Center and Ashtanga Yoga Institute
ITSY BITSY YOGA (birth - 4 years)