Today’s kids live in a world of over scheduling, busy parents, too many video games,
social media, school and peer pressure, and competitive sports. Not to mention that our
kids spend most of their days sitting and slouching, carrying backpacks that are already
causing alignment issues. We don’t normally think of our kids as stressed out, but kids
deal with a lot of pressures that many adults would have a hard time handling, heavy
backpacks included! The earlier we teach our children how to deal with their feelings
and their stress, the better chance they will have of becoming emotionally healthy and
confident adults, able to navigate through life’s ups and downs.
Yoga is one of the best tools we, as parents, can give to our kids! Think of yoga as a
path children can follow for a lifetime of self love and worth, healthy living and inner
peace. When kids practice yoga and utilize techniques to help themselves relax, live in
the moment, focus and become stronger both on the inside and outside, they learn that
they are in control of their own happiness and their own path. That’s the beauty of
I have been teaching yoga to children of all ages for 5 years and I am still amazed at
how open kids are to this ancient practice. But let’s face it. This is not their mother’s
yoga! I’ve never been to an adult class where people are mooing in cow pose,
balancing on top of one another, or making up there own “never before seen” yoga
poses. For instance, a toddler yoga class almost always begins with a 5 minute run
around the yoga mats. Not something one might see at an ashtanga class, but as long
as those high energy, two year olds are present and in their bodies, they are practicing
yoga. Kids classes are FUN and full of surprises and play! They can include everything
from pop music, to crafts and games, to conversations about kindness, bullying, or how
to make a difference in the world.
And here’s one of the best things about yoga – it’s for EVERYONE and everyone can be
good at it! The scholar, the athlete, the dancer or gymnast, the boy who isn’t interested
in competitive sports, but still wants to do something physical, the painfully shy child,
and yes the kid who can’t sit still.
Yoga comes so naturally to children. They are completely open to the freedom of a
yoga class, because here they are not judged, or pushed to hard, or competitive with
one another. There is no pressure to succeed because there is no such thing in yoga.
It’s an activity where kids can just chill out and be themselves, and I think children really
Elyse Cohen Rotondo is the founder and director of OM Kids Yoga Center. The
center offers over 20 classes throughout the week for infants through teens, birthday
parties, holiday themed camps, summer camps, glow in the dark yoga, family yoga,
school programs, girl scout retreats, and teacher trainings.