Yoga For Kids: Nirvana or Nonsense?

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

violet-1.jpgStory by Cynthia Darling
At a recent gathering, my friends and I sat noshing on coffee and dessert and chatted about the range of activities everyone’s children seemed to be involved in. As if on cue, my friend’s 8-year-old daughter immediately began modeling poses she had learned in yoga class, moving seamlessly from warrior to downward dog to plank pose. Smitten by the way this child could transition from the bustling atmosphere of the party to absolute focus as she assumed her yoga positions, I marveled at her ease.
Still, a part of me wondered, despite the obvious “wow!” factor of this child’s thrilling displays of agility and concentration, just how beneficial is yoga for children?
Yoga teacher Omni at Yoga Montclair has been teaching kids for the past 14 years. She’s even written a book on the subject, The Yoga Kid. According to Omni, “Kids are natural yogis. The age range between 3 and 6 encompasses critical years for development in children. It is a rich time in creating brain pathways that will create a web of understanding as kids’ move through their life.” In fact, she says, “Yoga is recommended for kids as early as they want to move!”


Local Mom Christina Kelly started her daughter in yoga at a young age. “Violet is seven now and she started yoga right after her third birthday. She loves yoga. When she was three, I noticed right away that she slept better on the night she had her yoga class.” Now that Violet has been practicing for four years, her mom sees even further results. “She is very flexible and strong, and I also believe that yoga makes her calmer and more confident.”
As with any activity, some precautions should be taken when beginning the practice. But, Omni says that most possible risks associated with yoga for children extend only as far as the mat beneath them. “Yoga poses no risks but must be done with adult supervision! Little yogis are fearless, which is wonderful, but this may also cause a fall here and there. So be present with your little one when you practice at home. They will understand how deeply connected you are to them.”
Children aren’t the only youthful population who stand to benefit from yoga. Athletes from the Freshman Lacrosse team at Montclair High School have formed a yoga class at Asana House Studio in Montcliar. According to Asana studio owner Deb Williams, “Adding yoga to their routine was an added benefit to the preseason training they were doing. By adding yoga to their regime, they work to avoid injury and begin to understand the mind body connection. This gives them the opportunity to work at their fullest capacity on the field.”
So, it seems yoga does more than simply produce adorable kids ready to showcase their skills on command. In fact, getting our children and teens to start yoga practice might be the best way to ensure that they become adults who are more in touch with their bodies and have lower stress levels than we do. Interested or have a little yogi who wants to take classes? Baristaville offers many options. Some studios offer ongoing classes for kids and others offer workshops throughout the year. Check their website for schedules:
Yoga Montclair
51 Upper Montclair Plaza
Montclair, NJ, 07043.
973.233.YOGA
Mommy & Me class
Tween Yoga
Teen Yoga
Starseed Yoga
215 Glenridge Avenue
Montclair, NJ, 07042.
973.783.1036
Mommy & Me classes
Kids Yoga & Art
Asana House
127 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ, 07042.
973.744.1500
The Karuna Shala
855 Bloomfield Avenue
Second Floor – Suite 208
Glen Ridge, NJ.
973.743.1211
Lotus Yoga Montclair
7 North Willow Street
Montclair, NJ, 07042.
Kid’s Yoga
Teen/Pre-teen Yoga
Yogadesha
25 Watchung Plaza
Montclair, NJ, 07043.
973.707.7726
The Helen and Bill Geyer Montclair YMCA Family Center
159 Glenridge Avenue
Montclair, NJ, 07042.
973.783.7640.
Baby Yoga
Toddler Yoga and Movement
Yoga Pretzels

3 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Generically named Mike  |  April 28, 2010 @ 3:39 pm

    I don’t know about “brain pathways” and some of the other gibberish “Omni” (really? Your name means “All” in Latin?) was going on about; but, it is beneficial for young children to be involved in martial arts (which, believe it or not, yoga started out as).
    I took karate and Tae-Kwon-Do classes starting at about age 4 and firmly believe that ten years of those classes ultimately made me a better football player, better skateboarder, and kept me in all around better shape longer than I would have been if I didn’t take them.

  2. POSTED BY Erin IGKH  |  April 28, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

    If kids take to it, why not? It’s better than video games. I just wish I could get into yoga again! My kids have totally derailed my yogi self.

  3. POSTED BY Julie  |  April 28, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

    First of all, Omni is a wonderful teacher of both children and adults. She has taught both yoga and dance to children and teens for many years and has a wealth of knowledge. When my own daughters studied with her, they were motivated to move their bodies and open their minds. She deserves respect for this. Secondly, making fun of someones name is so ridiculously “un-yogic” or even just unkind that Mike should stick with generics. Last, yoga did not originate as a form of self-defense. Self-defense also contributes many positive things and is a wonderful practice for children and adults. It is not, however, synonymous with yoga. Yoga is a spiritual and physical practice that unites the body, the mind and the spirit and teaches one how to be centered in difficult situations on the mat but ultimately, in life beyond the mat. Having practiced for many years, I am living proof of the positive effects of yoga in ones life. Maybe Mike should try it before making knee-jerk comments. Namaste Mike

  4. Pingback: Starseed Yoga Offers a Summer Sanctuary For Families |

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