Scientific Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Do kids really need Yoga in their lives? The answer is YES and the reasons why they need it are many.

Children today live in a very fast-paced world. Between pressures from school, extra curricular activities, their peers, parents, and society, the hustle and bustle of every day life can quickly wear down on a child’s inner peace and joy. All of these pressures and expectations can lead to a whole lot of stress, and while most kids are not familiar with the concept of stress, they can still experience what it feels like without giving it a label or name.

Evidence-Based Research

School-based yoga programs are being increasingly implemented across the United States as a result of the evidence produced from research. These programs address stress and anxiety, promote social and emotional learning, and physical and emotional health. These are all basic requirements for readiness to learn and for a positive and healthy school climate.

School-based yoga helps to develop Mind-Body Awareness by training students how to pay attention to the relationship between the two. As a result, students notice the impact of stress on their well-being. This awareness (also known as mindfulness) may lead to changes in behavior. Check out these studies below for more information. Benavides & Caballero, 2009 Wang & Hagins, 2016 Eastman-Mueller et al., 2013

Self-regulation can refer to our ability to manage our stress, emotions, and behaviors. Research is starting to show that yoga and meditation may help youth manage their stress and mood and behave more positively. Check out these studies below for more information. MLERN, 2012 Kaley-Isley, Peterson, Fischer, & Peterson, 2010 Miller et al., 2014 Butzer et al., 2015 Schonert-Reichl & Lawlor, 2010

Research suggests that yoga may improve physical fitness in adolescents as well as result in improved respiratory function, increased exercise adherence, and reduced obesity risk factors. An important difference between yoga and mindfulness meditation is that yoga includes physical postures. Essentially, yoga is a practice of “mindfulness in motion” that uses the body to promote awareness of the present moment. Check out these studies below for more information. Cramer, Lauche, Haller, et al., 2014 Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2012 Purohit et al., 2016 Liu et al., 2014 Bryan, Pinto, & Parasher, 2011

Recent research suggests that providing educators with training in yoga- and mindfulness-based skills may have several beneficial effects for educators, including increases in calmness, mindfulness, well-being and positive mood, improvements in classroom management, emotional reactivity, stabilized blood pressure, cortisol awakening response, and decreases in mind and body stress. Providing teachers with skills and practices to enhance their own self-care is a crucial step toward improving classroom climate, teacher effectiveness and student outcomes. Check out these studies below for more information. Harris et al., 2016 Jennings et al., 2013 Kemeny et al., 2012 Nosaka & Okamura, 2015 Schussler et al., 2016 Sharp & Jennings, 2016