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Benefits of Yoga for Kids

31 Proven Benefits of Yoga for Kids

It’s a fact that more and more adults are learning about the healing powers of yoga.

However, statistics show that over 400,000 children in the US are now also hooked on the mind and body practice.

Could you have a little yogi in your family?

If you’re looking for something new to entertain the kids, yoga can be so much fun. But it also has a wealth of different benefits for both their mental and physical health:

Benefit 1: It’s a Fun Way to Relax

1: It’s a Fun Way to Relax

In the stressful world in which we live, anything that can help children to relax is positive.

During an 8 week study in Malaysia, third-grade students were asked to follow a yoga program.

Though carried out on only a small sample, results concluded that participants had developed stress-management techniques that helped them to relax.

Plus there’s so much inspiring yoga content out there now for kids, including exciting sequences from one of the top yoga instagram accounts, Cosmic Kids.

Watch a yoga sequence created for kids who love dinosaurs, or Frozen yoga for dedicated Elsa fans.

Why not get started by helping your little one follow the video below:

YouTube video

Benefit 2: Helps Improve Their Attention Span

2: Helps Improve Their Attention Span

Every child struggles to concentrate sometimes, with so many new and interesting things to look at and learn.

In a paper published by the National Association of School Psychologists, yoga was found to help a child focus more effectively.

One study looked at children who had attention problems, but had not been diagnosed with ADHD.

Outcomes not only highlighted their improved attention span…

Teachers also commented on how enjoyable the children found the practice, particularly when following video instruction.

Cosmic Kids, an online yoga content creator for children, conducted their own research following regular yoga sessions held in schools.

They reported that 96% of teachers had seen a positive change in a student’s ability to focus, with over half describing it as a marked improvement, too.

Benefit 3: Encourages the Connection Between Body and Mind

3: Encourages the Connection Between Body and Mind

In Lisa Flynn’s book, Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children, she explains how getting children to make the connection between their body and mind, can really help their development.

She states:

More and more American children from all walks of life are overweight, have stress and anger issues, and have attention and learning problems. There is a real separation of mind and body.

Throughout her book, Flynn demonstrates how by learning yoga, children can become more present in the moment.

They’ll grow increasingly aware of their mind and body, making it easier to manage their emotions, build resilience and improve their health.

Her book also includes a number of guided meditations, which has also been shown to have benefits for children.

Benefit 4: Good for Balance

4: Good for Balance

A study conducted at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, focused on inner-city students living in the Bronx, revealed exciting results.

Fourth and fifth-grade students followed a 12 week after-school yoga program, with the hope being that it would improve both their mental and physical health.

Though the students’ perception of their own wellbeing didn’t show any differences, significant improvements were seen in their balance compared to the comparison group.

Benefit 5: Increases Flexibility

5: Increases Flexibility

One of the most popular reasons adults take up yoga is to improve their flexibility, with some poses making you more supple than others.

Findings from a 2016 project in Brazil, showed how yoga improved motor abilities of children aged between 6 and 8 years old.

Their scores demonstrated positive changes in flexibility, as well as strength and balance. Not only that, but benefits were also seen in their social behavior.

Benefit 6: Builds Strength

6: Builds Strength

Yoga is amazing if you’re looking to build strength in your body.

A small study, focused on 7-9 year old school children, found that 12 weeks of yoga practice led to improvements in physical strength.

The effect however didn’t last if children stopped practicing, so once you start, you need to keep going.

Why not start off with a little yoga game?

These fun Yoga Pretzels cards are good for children and adults, so why not see what funny positions you can get into?

Benefit 7: Improves Their Mental Wellbeing

7: Improves Their Mental Wellbeing

With the mental health of the nation’s children such a widely growing concern, there are a number of ways yoga can help.

Researchers from across the world came together in 2014 to look at the body of evidence

They concluded that regular yoga practice could improve a child’s overall mental wellbeing.

It can help children deal with depression, as well as the everyday stresses of life created by excessive media consumption.

Little yogis were better able to regulate their emotions and demonstrated improved self-esteem, which led researchers to propose additional future research, and also to start introducing yoga in to the curriculum.

Benefit 8: Boosts Immunity

8: Boosts Immunity

Research suggests that mind and body therapies, such as yoga, can help boost your child’s immunity.

Results of 34 studies in to the impact, showed that practicing yoga and meditation, both in the short term and longer term, reduced markers of inflammation and improved immune responses to infectious diseases.

It’s still felt more that more investigation needs to be done, but early results were promising.

Benefit 9: Encourages Healthy Eating

9: Encourages Healthy Eating

Project EAT in Minnesota, sought to understand how yoga intervention could help encourage healthy eating and exercise.

It was a major piece of work, looking at 1,820 teens and young adults and results were encouraging.

Following regular yoga practice, participants were shown to eat more servings of fruit and vegetables. They also consumed less snack foods, fast food and sugary beverages.

Benefit 10: Reduces Stress and Anxiety

10: Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Statistics from the American Psychological Association, show that one in five children report worrying “a great deal”.

With approximately 4.1 million children in the US, aged between 3 and 17 years old, diagnosed with anxiety.

School-based yoga has been shown to be particularly useful for managing stress and anxiety.

Focusing on third-grade students, a 2018 study looking at stress and anxiety in children, demonstrated how regular yoga practice could help.

Results showed increased psychosocial and quality of life scores, both linked to emotional health.

But even though yoga has super serious benefits, you can still make it fun!

Why not invest in some yoga dice and turn it in to a game?

Benefit 11: Leads to Better Sleep

11: Leads to Better Sleep

Is your child one of the 2 million children in the US suffering from a sleep disorder?

Yoga can help them to get a better night’s sleep

A study in 2014, looked at how yoga can impact a child’s mental health and wellbeing. Results showed that regular practice had a positive impact on sleep quality.

Benefit 12: Improves Self-esteem

12: Improves Self-esteem

Yoga is shown to give children a little self-esteem boost.

Though a small sample size, a project looking at 34 orphanage adolescents and young adults, produced interesting results.

Following just two weeks of yoga practice, reductions were seen in both anxiety and depression symptoms, with significantly improved self-esteem across the group.

Another way to help your child with their confidence is by encouraging them to recite an uplifting daily mantra.

Read our list of positive affirmations for kids to help them get started.

Benefit 13: Encourages Empathy

13: Encourages Empathy

The aforementioned research, from yoga content creator, Cosmic Kids, also looked at the impact of yoga on empathy.

Following regular sessions in schools, teachers observed a positive change in students’ empathy and awareness.

The teachers who took part, also commented that it had benefits not just in school, but also in the wider community.

Benefit 14: It’s Not Competitive

14: It’s Not Competitive

One major benefit of yoga for children is the fact they can practice it without the element of competition.

Young Yoga Masters, a kids’ yoga teacher training school, explain that kids need to look at exercise in a different way.

Even if they’re not considered typically “athletic” they’re not excluded when practicing yoga.

Benefit 15: Builds Confidence

15: Builds Confidence

Build confidence in your child by encouraging them to try yoga…

Research conducted in India, looked at how yoga could help children improve their psychomotor performance and believe in themselves more.

Results demonstrated a greater sense of self-belief and an improved performance when it came to fine motor coordination and cognitive performance.

Benefit 16: Introduces Kids to Mindfulness

16: Introduces Kids to Mindfulness

Though evidence is still limited, teaching children about mindfulness and how to live in the moment, has a number of mental health benefits.

Yoga is a great introduction to mindfulness….

Studies show that both the poses and focus on breathing, help to promote mindful behaviours.

Benefit 17: Increases Energy Levels

17: Increases Energy Levels

Kids are generally bursting with energy, but if your little one needs a boost, why not try yoga?

A small scale project in 2010, looked at the ways in which yoga as a complementary therapy could help children and adolescents.

As well as increasing strength and stamina, it also showed how it could increase a child’s energy.

Benefit 18: Helps with Self-control

18: Helps with Self-control

In a paper, published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, researchers showed how yoga could help children improve their self-control.

Following a YogaKids curriculum throughout the school year made them less impulsive, and also more able to wait for a possible reward!

Benefit 19: Improves Behavior

19: Improves Behavior

If you’re struggling with difficult behavior, you’ve probably read every piece of advice online.

But have you considered how yoga could help?

Classroom-based research, demonstrated that children who enjoyed yoga as part of the curriculum, showed significant improvements in behavior. This was particularly noticeable for second-grade students.

Benefit 20: Can Help to Improve Memory

20: Can Help to Improve Memory

Like meditation, yoga can do incredible things for your memory.

In a close look at the therapeutic effects of yoga for children, they identified two different studies where children managed to improve their memory following regular yoga practice.

However dig deeper and we see that it’s less about improving the parts of the brain that control memory, and more about helping to reduce the anxiety and stress that might inhibit a student’s ability to remember things, for example before an exam or test.

Benefit 21: Has a Positive Impact on Relationships

21: Has a Positive Impact on Relationships

In Katherine Ghannam’s book, Yoga for Kids and Their Grown-Ups: 100+ Fun Yoga and Mindfulness Activities to Practice Together, she highlights the positive impact yoga can have on the parent-child relationship.

Yoga and mindfulness routines for kids and parents provide a fun and meaningful way to spend time together at home, in the park, or even on an airplane.

Benefit 22: Improves Breathing

22: Improves Breathing

Helping your child learn how to control their breathing, can decrease anxiety and enable them to better manage pain, explains Tonia Kulp, certified yoga instructor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Kulp goes on to describe how…

Simple yoga breathing is a powerful tool in managing our emotions, energy levels, feelings and thoughts… And breathwork is easy, free and accessible to anyone — especially our youngest yogis.

Benefit 23: Increases Physical Fitness

23: Increases Physical Fitness

With all these wonderful benefits for both strength and flexibility, it’s probably no surprise that yoga is shown to improve a child’s physical fitness.

You might just see yoga as being a few simple stretches that wouldn’t have much impact, but you’d be wrong.

In fact, researchers looking at the impact of yoga exercise on school-age asthmatic children, showed that regular practice could improve BMI, muscular endurance and cardiopulmonary fitness.

Benefit 24: Regulates the Bowels

24: Regulates the Bowels

If your little one struggles with bowel problems, it can be a real concern.

Looking at a small sample of adolescents, aged between 11 and 18 years old, researchers wanted to see what impact yoga practice could have on the symptoms of IBS.

Results were exciting…

Significant improvements were seen in gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as emotion-focused avoidance.

The children who took part said yoga was helpful, and were excited about continuing to practice.

Benefit 25: Benefits for Asthmatics

25: Benefits for Asthmatics

Yoga can be a great activity for children with asthma…

A 2019 project, aimed to reduce drug dependency and improve asthma control among chronically asthmatic children. It was a major project, with 450 participants across four different cities.

Following the study, children had better asthma control and symptoms were reduced.

Amazingly, the yoga education program even helped the children reduce their drug intake.

Benefit 26: Improves Academic Performance

26: Improves Academic Performance

If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids busy at home, but you want to make sure they’re still learning, then yoga is the perfect activity.

Researchers in the US wanted to understand how yoga could improve the quality of life of fourth and fifth-grade students.

Though based on a fairly small sample, the results were conclusive…

It not only helped with self-esteem and self-regulation but they also saw improved academic performance, with a reduction in stress.

Benefit 27: Easily Accessible

27: Easily Accessible

Yoga classes for children are so easy to access online and enjoy at home. Not only that, but there are a number of organisations, including Yoga Beez, taking the benefits of yoga for children in to schools.

YouTube has a wealth of content for you to choose from. This 15 minute video below, from yogi and schoolteacher Alissa Kepas, is a great way to help you and your child get started today:

YouTube video

Benefit 28: Low Cost

28: Low Cost

With so much content to access online, it’s a great low cost workout for your child.

Once they’ve mastered the poses you don’t even need to follow the tutorial, you can simply have fun with the sequences at home.

Yoga cards can also be bought online, to prompt your child, or introduce them to new poses.

Benefit 29: Improves Symptoms of Adhd

29: Improves Symptoms of Adhd

Multiple studies have shown have powerful yoga can be for children with ADHD.

Research conducted in 2015, demonstrated how yoga could have a significant impact on the symptoms of the condition. Improvements were seen in impulsivity, hyperactivity and anxiety.

A separate study in India, followed 69 students between the age of 6 and 11, for one year as they took part in a yoga, meditation and play therapy program.

Not only were improvements seen in ADHD symptoms, but also in their academic performance which was sustained over a 12 month period.

Benefit 30: Improves Symptoms of Autism

30: Improves Symptoms of Autism

48 children with autism, between the ages of 8-14 years old, were studied by a team looking at the benefits of yoga therapy on autism spectrum disorders.

It was observed that following regular yoga practice, the majority of the children demonstrated improved symptoms. These included, increased tolerance of sitting and adult proximity as well as better socialization.

This was backed up by quantitative results that showed immune activity to be regularized.

Benefit 31: Helps with Recovery from an Eating Disorder

31: Helps with Recovery from an Eating Disorder

Researchers in Rhode Island wanted to understand how yoga could help children recovering from an eating disorder.

Their research focussed on 21 adolescent girls, who had been treated at an eating disorder clinic. As part of their outpatient care, they were required to take part in weekly yoga classes for up to 12 weeks.

Reductions were seen in anxiety, depression and body image disturbance, without having a negative impact on weight.

They concluded that:

These preliminary results suggest yoga to be a promising treatment strategy, along with standard multidisciplinary care.

Though the results were exciting, researchers still felt that further research is needed before yoga could be endorsed as a standard component of outpatient eating disorder treatment.

Are you ready to get started on your child’s yoga journey? Enjoy this fun and family-friendly introduction right now:

YouTube video

Looking for more ways to inspire your little ones?

Then why not encourage them to start writing in a journal. We’ve compiled a list of daily journal prompts for kids to help inspire them.

Laura Smith


Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

Specialist health & wellbeing writer, passionate about discovering new technologies & sharing the latest research.