(CLEVELAND CLINIC) – According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the number of children using yoga and meditation is rising.
Judi Bar, yoga program manager at Cleveland Clinic, said kids often think yoga is fun, but it can also teach them effective ways to manage stress and self-soothe.
“There’s a natural curiosity and something that feels fun for them to try,” said Bar. “It’s kind of like slipping vegetables into their meals – sometimes maybe they don’t know it – not realizing how much yoga can really help and calm them.”
The report, which looked at data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2012-2017, showed yoga use increased among children between the ages of 4-17 – from about three percent in 2012 to about eight percent in 2017.
Meditation use increased as well – from less than one percent in 2012 to just over five percent in 2017.
Results also showed girls were more likely to do yoga than boys.
Bar said every child can benefit from yoga – even those with special needs.
She said some studies suggest yoga may benefit children with autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD.
Regardless of the reason for practicing yoga or meditation, Bar said learning how to breathe and calm ourselves provides a life-long benefit.
“If they do yoga, they can continue to do yoga at any age, but it’s something that really carries over for them that helps them with well-being and resilience,” Bar said.
According to Bar, kids age four and up are good candidates for a yoga class.
She recommends trying to incorporate a yoga class once a week and then practicing poses with children at home for a few minutes each day.