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Benefits of Yoga for Kids

yoga for kids

We can play inside and outside and help teach our children to enjoy moving their bodies and exploring what they can do. Yoga for kids is a playtime activity that can benefit children’s physical health and also support their mental and emotional health.

Why Practice Yoga?

Originally from India, Yoga is a discipline that combines physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the person in search of unity or harmony. Over time, Yoga has evolved and meshed with other types of disciplines to create different types of practices. Some types of yoga are more spiritual in nature, while others focus exclusively on physicality and as a primary method of exercising.

As Yoga has increased in popularity, adults have reported countless benefits to practicing, not limited to reducing stress levels and relieving joint and muscle pain. And, what if we extended that same tool to our children and invited them to practice this discipline from an early age? How does yoga promote development in the early years and what kind of skills can it develop? 

The practice of yoga for kids is supported by several studies * as a discipline to help set up academic and social development skills from the early years to adolescence. The breathing and postural techniques, alongside the behavior promoted in yoga can support children self-regulate and learn to respond and deal with different physical, social, mental and emotional challenges from different approaches. 

What are the Benefits of Yoga for Kids?

Balanced Emotions

Like us, children are not constantly in a state of fun and happiness. Every day, they are constantly discovering and exploring new emotions and new experiences. Unsure of how to act or react in some cases, children need language and modeled behavior to understand what they are experiencing. Yoga for kids can be one tool to help them turn inward and become more self-aware and then identify their emotions.

Self-awareness and self-knowledge are key parts of the central goals of yoga. In this way, the exercises of yoga for kids help them to know the signals or reactions of their body according to what they are feeling.

With practice, children will be able to resort to breathing techniques or postures to regulate themselves when they feel overwhelmed or anxious. It isn’t that children need to remember to go into certain poses to know their feelings but rather how practicing yoga can help them bring attention to different sensations in their body. Over time, they will be able to transition this recognition to any moment of their day.  

A Peaceful Mind

We know that children can experience different types of stress, and the impact of stress in the early years. Positive and tolerable are two types of stress that they can learn to face and manage. Young children can be exposed to stressful situations and should be offered tools and modeled appropriate behavior to deal with their experience.

Positive stress is characterized by brief increases in heart rate and mild elevations in stress hormone levels, and can be triggered, for example, when a child meets a new caregiver. On the other hand, Tolerable stress is more severe, and activates the body’s alert system to a greater degree. It can be triggered, for example, when a child faces a natural disaster.


Stress releases cortisol and too much cortisol over time can hamper brain development in the early years. Practicing yoga has been shown to help with the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This gland secretes cortisol, better known as the stress hormone, which activates both the sympathetic nervous system, speeding up our heart rate, and the amygdala, the region of our brain that processes fear.

In sum, yoga and breathing techniques can help a child to reduce their cortisol levels, while it also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and a sense of calmness.

A Healthy Body

As young children grow, it’s important that we offer different styles of exercise that can promote and be adapted for their different abilities.

Yoga improves flexibility and strengthens muscles. Moving from one pose to another pushes their bodies to move in new and unique ways, while consistently breathing to bring oxygen to their muscles.

In very young children, yoga is wonderful for supporting their fine and gross motor development; targeting their coordination and balance. We recommend starting your yoga routine with short, simple movements from 18 months, or when they have started walking.  

Yoga goes beyond supporting the type of physical development you can see by also generating benefits internally. It promotes increased circulation, steady heart rate, a strong immune system, and provides more hours of restful sleep. Even though yoga is not an energetic exercise, it allows children to expend their energy to achieve better physical balance

How To Bring Yoga To The Family?

It’s important to know that yoga for kids is usually more fun and involves more talking than an adult’s yoga class. We want children to have fun, and return to their practice as often as they like. Here are some notes on how to start your own routine: For example:

  • Create a story related to the postures so that your child feels like they are part of the same story and get involved. Maybe it sounds like, “This is the story of the warrior who climbed the mountain…”
  • Play “Simon says” or mirror each other with the same postures. You can take turns, so that your child also gives instructions.

If you need some support on starting or completing your practice, then try searching in Kinedu’s digital catalog on the app or YouTube. Cosmic Kids is a great channel with lots of unique stories for practicing yoga with children. 

You might experience a slow start and find that your child doesn’t engage fully at the beginning. Start slow, follow their lead, and continue repeating your practice in ways that work for you and your family. Notice benefits you experience as a reminder as to why you and your child started this routine together!

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