Kids Yoga Around Town
Kids’ Yoga in the Dallas Metroplex
Dallas students are getting fit thanks to school and after school yoga programs. Find out where area kids can build strength and get their Om on.
Adults in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have accessing to a vibrant and continuously expanding yoga community. Recently, the enthusiasm for the mind-body practice has spread to the younger generation through an increasing number of yoga programs available for children.
Growth of Kids Yoga in Dallas
According to Ginger Newberg, 200-Hour (HR) Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), the demand for kids yoga is growing at studios, gyms and in less traditional locations, such as schools and museums. Says Newberg, “Yoga is now being offered in schools and camps across the city.” Newberg credits much of the growth in children’s yoga programs to Taylor Yoss, owner of Yogees: Yoga 4 Kids http://www.yogeesyoga4kids.com/. Yoss, a 200HR RYT, is one of the pioneers of yoga for kids age four to eight in the Dallas area. She travels to schools, studios and homes teaching her fun but disciplined style of yoga to the children. She believes part of its growing appeal is that more people are recognizing that yoga is something that can help everyone especially over-scheduled, stressed-out kids. “Yoga is about the mind, body, and soul; strength, balance, and flexibility. If we can teach our children the value in developing and nurturing these things now, then we can help them to grow into more well-rounded adults,” says Yoss.
In addition to programs for younger children, there is increasing interest in yoga for tweens, ages 9-14. This age group is too old to take kids classes, but too young to take a regular class suitable for adults and teenagers. Newberg started classes for this age group because of the stress she saw in her own tween daughter. “I could see the social and school pressures, hormonal changes, intense sports schedules and sports-related injuries beginning to set in and I thought yoga would be helpful in managing the stress. I sent an email out to determine interest, and the response was overwhelming.”
Benefits of Yoga for Kids
As adults who practice asanas know, yoga builds both body and mind. It promotes physical strength, balance and flexibility, as well as nurtures an individual’s self-esteem and self-respect. It teaches kindness towards oneself and others. Yoss believes children receive these same benefits in a yoga class. “In addition to engaging children, yoga develops a child’s self awareness; it shapes strong healthy bodies in a fun, noncompetitive, and nurturing environment; helps kids become balanced and well-rounded; and builds patience, self understanding and confidence.” Depending on how a class is taught, it can strengthen imagination, creative thinking, listening, and literacy skills. For example, Yoss integrates yoga poses and songs with children’s literature, having kids act out the story she is reading. She feels that this helps make the practice more tangible for children because they can find the book she reads in class at a store or library, and read it at home showing their families the different animals or characters they become through the postures.
As for tweens and teens, Newberg feels that they benefit from learning how to use yoga to address issues in other parts of their lives. “Many of my students who reported having trouble sleeping, now use the postures and breathing techniques we use in class to help them relax and fall asleep. They also use these strategies to manage stress in test-taking and social situations. The student-athletes I work with use the practice to prevent injury, improve their range of motion and increase mental focus, helping them to enjoy playing their sports again.”
Yoss and Newberg both note that parents notice positive changes in their children too. “Parents love to see how calm and centered their kids are when they leave class,” says Newberg. Karen Garfield, whose child Lily was one of Yoss’s students, says this about the impact yoga has had on her child, “I can honestly say that yoga transformed her. Lily became a better listener in class (noted by her teachers), a nicer friend (noted by parents), and a more patient sibling (noted by me).”