How Teaching Yoga to Kids Can Change the World

When I went to my first yoga class, I distinctly remember thinking, “Wow. I wish I had learned this as a kid. My life would be so different.” That feeling was compounded when I went through my first teacher training and learned more about the tools that were now available to me. My fellow students, as well as many students that I’ve taught over the years, have often repeated the statement “I wish I’d learned this stuff earlier in my life.”

Yoga offers us a whole host of tools for releasing stress, controlling thoughts, and bringing our minds and bodies into balance. It also satisfies our deepest desires for community and expression. I find myself acknowledging this constantly, and wonder at how some people could be ignorant of this fact, or think about yoga as anything less than a miraculous gift to humanity. But that’s just my humble opinion.

One of the eight limbs of yoga, of which asana or posture is just one, is Dhyana (in Sanskrit) meaning meditation in English. You can read more about the eight limbs here.

A study

conducted on large groups of people practicing Transcendental Meditation or mantra-based meditation showed reductions in U.S. homicide and urban violent crime rates during an intervention period of 2007-2010. The Dalai Lama is famous for his saying on the topic:

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”

One of my teachers, Deepak Chopra often said that he taught his children to meditate at a young age. His daughter, Milika Chopra recently published a book about teaching children to meditate called Just Breathe.

Yoga is so beneficial for everyone and especially kids. Because children encounter emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts. A dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable for them.

Yoga is beneficial to children of all ages, but it has been found to be particularly so for kids with special needs. Studies have shown that yoga benefits children with autism and ADHD. NPR

has reported that researchers surveyed teachers at a Bronx public school that had a daily yoga program and found that the program reduced kids' aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity, compared with a control group of kids with autism who did not practice yoga.

So there you have it folks. Actual proof that yoga can change the world for the better.