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Bikram Yoga for 4-Year-Olds?

in In Class, YD News

Burning Q from the interweb pipeline: Should parents bring small children into Bikram class??

A blogger at MomLogic had a WTF moment this past weekend when much to her shock there was a pint-sized yogi practicing on the mats in Bikram class. Apparently a mom had brought along her 4-year-old daughter to sweat her little tootsies off!

At the beginning of the class, this little yogi was trying each of the moves, naturally having trouble holding any pose. By 15 minutes into the class, the poor thing was playing with her water bottle, spraying herself and rolling around on her towel.

Holy smokes. We get the mommy & me thing, but a 4-year-old? In 104-degree heat? That can’t be healthy! The little girl then got up and did a few more poses with the group, all while being encouraged/corrected by her mom. Huh?

Er, something about this seems all kinds of wrong. Besides the obvious health risks to a little youngin’ in such extreme heat, is it really good practice for a mom to bring small children to yoga class in general? Plus who wants Bikram standing on their kids?! (we’re joking)

We don’t have lil YD jrs  running around, so we’d love to hear from the yoga moms out there…Have you brought your child to yoga class? To Bikram? Would you?

Bikram yogis feel free to chime in!


35 comments… add one
  • this is whacko! but there is no end to what people will subject their kids to. i never let kids in class… and when i explained to one dad a few years ago that he could not leave his child in the lobby for the receptionist to watch- he replied… well i ‘ll just let her sit in the car. WHAT??? i politely told him his yoga was to spend quality time with his daughter and to please leave.
    regarding a baby in bikram yoga class. the heat is wrong- the germ-y carpet as a playground- abusive.

  • whoa! that CAN’T be good… i’m sure the mom who wrote in wasn’t the only one who had a WTF moment!! far be it from me to judge, but my instincts ask me “what is wrong with this picture?” and you sited both: too hot for the little bugger, and what is a 4 year old doing in a yoga class, anyway? i’ll be interested to see how others respond to this…

  • I take my 9 year old daughter to yoga class with me every week. I also bring my husband. We’re all enrolled, and the instructor approved it. I don’t think I’d bring a 4 year old (or even a 5, 6, 7 year old). I think I’d have them in a children’s class at that age as they really don’t have the attention span to stay on their mat and do yoga without being disruptive to others.

    And a bikram class? Hell no! No kid should be there. I’m not even convinced most adults should be subjecting themselves to that kind of heat while exercising.

  • Yikes.

  • Freda

    Another example of self-centered people doing a self-centered brand practice in a self-centered life style. Child abuse especially if this was on the east coast in the last few days as the temp is ungodly to begin with.

  • Dana

    I love Bikram Yoga!! I think all kids can benefit from a good yoga class…however, I don’t think Bikram is a good choice for a kid! I know the studio I attend is holding classes this summer for the younger kids…but they don’t practice in a heated room. Once they are teenagers, I think the Bikram environment is fine….

  • elly

    Wow. There are plenty of classes out there that are specifically for children, or families, or parent/child practices that you could take your mini-yogis to… if children aren’t supposed to stay in saunas and steam rooms at gyms or hotels for more than a few minutes, I can’t imagine that playing in a 90 minute Bikram studio is a very good idea. With liability being such a big deal these days, I’m really surprised the studio manager allowed that… wouldn’t the mother have had to sign a health release for her child, too?

  • elly

    Wow. There are plenty of classes out there that are specifically for children, or families, or parent/child pairs that you could take your mini-yogis to. If children aren’t supposed to stay in saunas and steam rooms at gyms or hotels for more than a few minutes, I can’t imagine that playing in a 90 minute Bikram class is a very good idea. With liability being such a big deal these days, I’m really surprised the studio manager allowed that… wouldn’t the mother have had to sign a health release for her child, too?

  • Really shocked to hear this!

    Yoga Wellbeing

  • I don’t like to judge the decisions parents make with their children. However, this does seem a little extreme and like a very poor judgement call. Four years old is just too small for an adult yoga class of any type.

  • Rock My Soles

    Is it the I wish my parents started me in yoga at 4 issue? I can’t miss a yoga class even if there is no baby sitter. Poor judgment and its all about me.

  • Blissful Girl

    I’ve had students bring their children/grandchildren to class (not Bikram), but they have always asked me ahead of time. I tell them if their child is mature enough to pay attention for an hour and will not roam around the room than I’m okay with it. I’m more concerned with the other students in the room and that they are not disturbed or injured trying to avoid kicking a little one. 9 to 10 years of age seems to be the appropriate age to participate in an “adult class”, but not a hot/Bikram class.

  • jen

    I’ll probably get flamed here, so be it.

    My daughter is now 8. I started taking her to a parent-child class in kindergarten (age 5). We still attend a weekly parent-child class on Mondays. I’m a single mom w no family around.

    Starting last year (2nd grade), I started taking her with me to “mommy” (adult) classes. I explained to her that in order for Mom to get better, Mom needs to practice w adults. I cleared it with the instructor and my daughter either “practices” on a mat in the back of the room or reads quietly for the hour class. She knows the expectation is to be as quiet as she would in Mass. I find yoga expensive enough with out adding another $7/hr (including travel time) to enjoy this. I feel she gets added benefits as well. Not only does she absorb some of the teachings both passively and actively, she can watch her Mom grow in her practice as well. It is my hope this is a life long activity she and I can continue to grow. If people are bothered by it, then so be it. Their focus really shouldn’t be on why I didn’t get a sitter though.

    As for the story above, even with the experience my daughter has, I can not imagine taking an elementary age student into a Bikram class. It is encouraged by a local studio here, and I will not attend any of their classes (Bikram or other). Taking a preschooler into that type of heat is beyond my comprehension. With that said, I do not know the circumstances and maybe she thought her daughter would embrace it. Hopefully, she does not repeat this again.

  • debra reece simons

    absolutely stupid and absurd.. children do not have the sweating capability of adults and heat to dangerously high temps very quickly..important when you consider that temperatures in excess of 107°F can be deadly to young children. Additionally, children’s bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than those of adults.
    So as an RN and a mom, I would say this is child abuse and plain stupid… and deadly.
    And I am a Bikram practitioner ..
    debra reece simons, asheville,nc

  • Bikram yoga for 4 year old kids sounds terrific. Yoga is good for all but only when practiced in its pure form. Bikram yoga is not exact yoga as given in traditional text, it is remix of traditional yoga poses and aerobics. As it mainly focuses on the dynamic practice in a hot class room, it’s very unsafe to took 4 year child in that class, as children don’t have the capacity to bear those dynamic practices in such a hot class.
    So if you are looking for any yoga for your kid then classical form of yoga is the best choice for your kid for his proper development and fitness. Because it works very gently on their body, brain and mind with out any injury.

    Raina, DivineWellness http://bit.ly/ aVtS1o

    • Nikki

      You have very obviously never taken a Bikram yoga class, as there is nothing that can be considered a “remix” (it is 26 traditional postures) nor anything resembling “aerobics” included in the 90 minutes.
      Learn to conjugate a verb, then refrain from commenting on things you know nothing about.

  • I agree with Debra: As a Health practitioner, Bikram yoga specifically, can be extremely dangerous for those tiny bodies. Preschoolers do not, in fact, have the same bodies as adults… nor do they have the same heat tolerances. It’s not the yoga, but the HEAT.

    Besides the mother making a poor judgement choice- I would question why she was permitted by the Bikram yoga instructor to bring her child into that heated room. The instructor is supposed to be the ‘expert’ on Bikram yoga (I mean they pay enough in royalties- what else is it for other than to be ‘safe’?).

    It was the instructor’s responsibility to inform the parent. They’re lucky that the child didn’t become ill or worse.

  • JulieG

    When my daughter was 8 I took her to a Bikram class. I had cleared it with the studio and had read that at age 8, kids can do Bikram, however they are only to do the second half, (the floor) postures. I also cleared it with my pediatrician and my daughter enjoyed it. I have a yoga studio (not Bikram) where I teach kids & adult yoga – some 4 year olds are more capable of paying attention and performing in a yoga class than some 10 year olds. Of course if the child feels uncomfortable in the heat they should have the option to leave, I just think it depends on the individual child on whether they should be in class.

  • mlb

    As a teacher of heated vinyasa, I know that this is completely irresponsible. Any studios who have done their homework properly will know that children under the age of puberty do not have fully developed sweat glands. They can easily get over heated in the extreme conditions of a Bikram class, which can be very dangerous for their health. Even most adults I have met can’t hack the heat of a Bikram class, despite their fully developed bodies & glands! Besides the fact that children just do not have the attention span necessary to participate in an adult class such as Bikram or Baptiste. There are classes specifically designed for children, as other YD readers have already stated. No need to mention that this is totally distracting for other people who paid good money & committed their time to the serious study of yoga. This is completely negligent parenting & the owners of this studio should know better than to allow it, even if the parent in question is too self-centred.

  • CJYogini

    Shame on the studio for allowing it. Another fine example of Bikram’s irresponsible ways and its undereducated instructors from my experience.

  • saskia

    I do bikram yoga frequently and there are a few parents at my studio that bring their under 10 kids to class. I find this disruptive to my practice as the children cannot take the pace, or the heat and end up rolling around, playing with their mat/towel/water and in some cases frequently going in and out of the room.
    That being said, there is one parent who brings her 4 year old, who waits with the receptionist for the first half of the class, and then comes in to do the floor series who does just fine. Also, this summer my studio has started a kids only class. Which I would advocate (with doors and windows open).

  • Passing through

    I came across this page because I was trying to gain some insight as to when I can bring my daughter with me to yoga class. Mostly everyone here has bashed this woman and the studio…I don’t think it’s that big a deal. Keep in mind, BABIES live in these temperatures on a day to day basis in India, the Philippines, Thailand, etc. They were born in these areas, but nonetheless, their body has to adapt to the heat.

    The mind is a strong force. Kids can get used to Bikram heat just like anything else.

    The bikram yoga place I used to go to had a 7 year in the class coming in with his dad on a regular basis.

  • Yogagyrl

    See, the thing is here, that no-one actually knows the circumstances that occurred during this class with this mom and this 4 year old child. If the child was in a cooler area of the room or somewhere where there was a lot of air flow or fans, then the child could very well be comfortable. I think y’all would be surprised at the ability that some children have!! I’ve seen very young children as well as older children in class (Bikram) and it varies with each child how he/she reacts and “does” in the class. I know very many yogis who are amazing and inspiring and under the age of 13….they have to start somewhere, right?
    Check out yogacup.com THIS weekend (March 5 and 6th 2011 (for live streaming of the USA yoga asana championships….including a YOUTH division…some amazing things happen when you haven’t learned judgement or self-consciousness yet…

  • Nikki

    It’s extremely dangerous for the child, hugely irresponsible on the part of the parent, and a huge distraction and terribly unfair to the adults in the class who need the 90 minutes to heal or meditate or just get their workout on.
    And a child popping in and out of class to cherry-pick which poses are maybe safe or interesting to him/her is selfish.
    Young children also don’t belong in an adult locker room, no matter how progressive the parent thinks s/he is. It’s inappropriate and puts adults who prefer not to be a study in human sexuality for a 7-14 year old in an unnecessarily uncomfortable position.
    Go find a mommy-and-me class or a yoga class geared toward children, don’t inflict your kids on practitioners of possibly THE most focused, disciplined and extreme kind of yoga available.

  • Tracy

    My daughter is now 12. She started bikram yoga with me and my husband a year and a half ago. This was encouraged by the studio owner who runs teacher training for Bikram International. She was an amazing child to begin with but even so bikram yoga has changed her life. Since beginning her bikram practice she has lost 30 pounds, has learned more about health and nutrition than most adults we know and has even participated in the Northern California USA Asana youth competition. Bikram yoga took a focused, disciplined, motivated child and made the world her oyster. I welcome the teen years because this child knows what she wants and knows how to get it. She won’t be wasting her time trying to figure out who she is because she already knows. I am immensely proud of her and proud of myself that I could get out of the box and try something that maybe wasn’t conventional simply because it felt right. Incidentally, my daughter who attends class 4-5 days a week comments regularly about all the adults who walk in and out of class. She never does.

    • Nikki

      If she hasn’t started her period and it is a *true* Bikram class that maintains 105 degrees, you are an irresponsible parent and the studio owner is a money-grubber for putting a child with undeveloped sweat glands into that level of heat. You are very lucky she hasn’t stroked out.

  • Yogagyrl

    That’s so awesome, Tracy!!

  • Chris

    The best Yoga for a child would be the from the Yoga-Schools that adhere closely to the classical, traditional Patanjali-style, as these are more akin to a regular gym-class at school.

    So, the most suitable styles for a child would be the Iyengar-school or the Swami-Ramdev-school.

    The Iyengar Institute in Pune conducts regular Yoga-classes for kids. Swami Ramdev regularly conducts Yoga-training for school-kids in India.

    • Candace

      ‘patanjali style’ yoga postures?!?! There is no such thing…if Patanjali saw a Yoga ‘asana class’ (Especially as is practiced in the west) I’m sure he would laugh in hysterics…even MY yoga teacher taught this as proper yoga tradition and history…the ‘father’ of modern asana practice is Goraksha…and those of you who think that Tony Sanchez’ “classical Yoga Postures” is accurate are off your rockers too…Asana practice doesn’t have “classical” poses…and if there are, then there are a hell of a lot more than 80 or so…(try 800 or more!). I am a hot yoga studio owner and teacher and do not presume to know what is best for the children of my students…while I would not allow a 4 year old, I do allow parents to bring their children on occasion, set up by the door, and ask that if they become distracted, or distracting, that they quietly leave…

  • Jodi

    Wow, Nikki. You’re carrying some bad juju!

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