Yoga – What do kids really learn? Tracey Lenarduzzi
Today’s society seems to grow faster, and crazier, by the minute. Exposure to an ongoing barrage of images, sounds and movement can leave the body, and mind, feeling over-stimulated and exhausted.  And that’s on a good day! Today’s kids are no exception to this sensory overload, especially when the pressures of family and schooling are added into the mix. There is no doubt that stress and anxiety are on the rise, particularly so for our young people. Additionally, many children are now living a lifestyle that is highly sedentary in nature, contributing to health issues, poor self-concept and anti-social behaviours. Yoga provides an opportunity to bring kids back into their bodies and minds. How can yoga help?  Yoga has a major impact upon kids’ bodies, physically, mentally and emotionally. It has been shown to improve many aspects of health and well-being, including:
  • Oxygen flow (assisting concentration and learning)
  • Strength and flexibility
  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Muscle tone and length
  • Balance and co-ordination
  • Social confidence and awareness
  • Self-regulation through the use of breathing, relaxation and self-calming techniques
  • Self-belief and assertiveness
  • Sleep patterns
  • General confidence and positive state of mind
A kids’ yoga class looks very different to an adults’ class. If you looked inside the door, you might see a whole range of things going on:  
  • Physical postures (asanas)
  • Breath awareness
  • Storytelling
  • Games
  • Music
  • Colouring and drawing
  • Circle time
  • Yoga dance sequences
  • Visualisation
  • Partner poses
You will also see a variety of props, including feathers, drums, bells and mandalas, to name just a few. As you peer inside that doorway, you might wonder to yourself, “What are the children really learning?” The depth of  the response may well surprise you. What do kids really learn in a yoga class? When children share yoga: They learn how to feel inside their bodies, what parts tighten and what parts release; They learn how to use their bodies to self-calm and regulate their emotions, and how to use their breath to complement this process; They learn how to stay healthy as their muscles lengthen and tone, their bones grow strong and they develop their sense of balance and co-ordination; They learn important social skills, how to interact with others in a way that is positive and affirming; They learn how to listen, both to instructions and to each other, before taking action; They learn to motor plan and problem-solve as they think about how they are going to move their bodies into the next physical posture; They learn to take risks and have a go, knowing that it is safe to do so; They learn to believe in themselves and to know that they are worthwhile; Finally, they learn that they are just one piece in a massive puzzle of human connection, and that when they unite together with another human being they feel a sense of solidarity and begin to feel compassion.   Ultimately, when children share yoga, they learn about life. Tracey is a registered teacher, certified yoga instructor and mother of two. With over 18 years of teaching experience, including 7 years working specifically with students who have special needs, Tracey has developed a great rapport with children. For the past 1 1/2 years she has worked primarily with children who have a language disorder. Tracey is a registered tutor with SPELD Qld. Tracey has practised yoga for over 15 years and completed her Yoga Certification through My Health Yoga. Tracey's passion is engaging with the therapeutic applications of yoga and its potential to ease the body and mind of discomfort. A major focus of her teaching is providing relief from stress and anxiety, which are increasingly prevalent in today's society.  You can find more information on Tracey and Tree of Mind on her website at or on Facebook. Thank you Tracey for sharing your wonderful wealth of knowledge with us.