Monday, February 6, 2012

Yoga in School and at Home

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and currently, close to 11 million Americans are enjoying its health benefits. 

When some people think of yoga, they imagine having to stretch like a gymnast. That makes them worry that they're too old, unfit, or "tight" to do yoga. The truth is you're never too old or unfit to improve flexibility.

The series of yoga poses called asanas work by safely stretching your muscles. This releases the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and causes stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body.
Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons, and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. And no matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35% improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga. 
With increased flexibility and strength comes better posture. Most standing and sitting poses develop core strength. That's because you're counting on your deep abdominals to support and maintain each pose. With a stronger core, you're more likely to sit and stand "tall." Another benefit of yoga is the increased body awareness. This heightened awareness tells you more quickly when you're slouching or slumping so you can adjust your posture.
Because of the deep, mindful breathing that yoga involves, lung capacity often improves. This in turn can improve sports performance and endurance. 
Most forms of yoga emphasize deepening and lengthening your breath. This stimulates the relaxation response -- the opposite of the fight-or-flight adrenaline boost of the stress response.
Will yoga be the next prescribed treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? An estimated 2.5 million children between 4 and 17 take Ritalin, Adderall XR, Strattera, and other prescribed drugs for the disorder. Unfortunately, the FDA has concluded that some of these drugs carry a troublesome risk of mania and hypomania, and may be associated with suicidal impulses.

As concerns about the safety of these drugs grow, researchers in Australia and Germany have found that children with ADHD may find relief and improved focus with yoga. "Yoga can be a lifetime friend," says Pauline Jensen, coauthor of a 2004 study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. "It increases concentration, promotes mental and physical discipline, and induces confidence." Though parents in Jensen's research reported that the 8- to 13-year-old boys who practiced yoga once a week for five months were less hyperactive, the findings did not conclude that a yoga practice could replace drug treatment.

However, a 2006 German study found that children undergoing drug treatment for ADHD can greatly benefit from a yoga practice and that forward bends are particularly effective. "Forward bends increase exhalation by lengthening and deepening the breath," says the study's coauthor, Nicole Goldstein, M.D. "This is key in developing concentration."

Yoga in the schools:
How can teachers incorporate yoga into their classrooms?

tools 4 schoolsYOGA TOOLS for SCHOOLS  

Playshop for Educators, Parents & 
Child-Focused Professionals

A 3 hour introduction to the YogaKids Tools for Schools solutions for the classroom and homework time. Based on the book, "YogaKids, Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga" by Marsha Wenig, founder of YogaKids International and anchored in scientific research that supports the benefits of mindfulness, and yoga and breathing awareness with children. This program will inspire, educate and encourage parents, educators and professionals to welcome new resources that increase academic achievement.

Appropriate for Parents, Educators, Occupational and Physical Therapists, Yoga Teachers, and Child-Focused Professionals. 
No prior yoga experience necessary.

Saturday, February 18, from 1 to 4pm, Cost $79
at the Danville Yoga Center

For details and to register visit and click on the 'YogaKids Trainings' page and then the 'YogaKIds Trainings & Workshops Banner' at the top of the page or contact Judy Brennan at


  1. I am a retired elementary school teacher. I am delighted what you are doing with yoga, it will help millions of children. I taught second grade when I started using relaxation in the late 70s. I had to call it Relaxation, the reason is some churches are against yoga. Later I began the day with relaxation for 12 minutes. By the time I took lunch count it was ten minutes. After I really got into it I called the nursing program at the local college and asked them to come and take the children's blood pressure while i was teaching relaxation. The result was amazing. The children that were overweight mostly had high blood pressure, but some others also did . I gave this information to the parents during conference time. During state testing, when children became tense they begged me to give them a break and teach them relaxation (of course I did). They felt better and we continued the test. There are many other times children talked to me about how they used relaxation in sports or when they had hurt themselves on the play ground. This is learning a life skill.

  2. Always thought Yoga have great benefits specially when start do in it in a short age, I was also reading an essay about yoga for kids on the site that maybe you could find interesting.

  3. This article is so interesting! As a tutor, I often interact with students who could definitely benefit from deep breathing, if nothing else! I'm going to link to this great article on my website!