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Yoga, Meditation Help Kids Deal with Chronic Stress

in YD News, Yoga Heroes, Yoga in the Classroom

How cute is that pic! Let’s face it, nobody likes to be super stressed. And it breaks our yogadork hearts to hear about kids having to deal with anxiety and tension at such a young age. They have the rest of their lives for that! Just kidding, of course.

We keep hearing news that more and more kids are dealing with high levels of stress, especially those growing up in high-crime or poverty areas, which can lead to depression, anxiety and even hinder cognitive skills.  And that really stresses us out! Thankfully, researchers like at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health are looking for hard evidence and support in providing tools to help kids deal.

Via LATimes:

[Researchers at Johns Hopkins] found a 12-week yoga program targeting 97 fourth- and fifth-graders in two Baltimore elementary schools made a difference in students’ overall behavior and their ability to concentrate. They found students who did yoga were less likely to ruminate, the kind of brooding thoughts associated with depression and anxiety that can be a reaction to stress. The findings, which focused on a pilot program that took place in 2008, were published recently in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. One program is still active, and researchers are now applying for federal funding to expand the effort into schools across the city.

Yoga to the rescue! And it’s making a difference.

“I just be so deep into my meditation, I fall asleep,” said Ja’naisa Brown, 9. She tries to draw on her yoga skills when she’s frustrated, she said. “If somebody gets on my nerves, my mother tells me to go into the house and do yoga. I sit on the floor in my room, put on my music and breathe.”

We know there are some super kids yoga programs out there and we say keep up the great work! Because heaven help us there are more Ja’naisa Browns out there who are just needing a little space to sit and breathe.



13 comments… add one
  • Yeah, it’s sad that such young ones are being exposed to mental health problems.

    BUT we do like knowing that the ranks of mini-yogadorks are on the rise! Bonus? They already know the benefits of yoga beyond “stretching” or losing their “bra fat”.

    Just sayin’…

  • Thanks for posting this; this is really important research, and the kind of information we should be focusing on more. After all, aren’t we all what we think, and think about? Thank you!

  • The children are our future… shout out to http://www.streetyoga.org/ based in Portland. NW Yogis check it out.

  • Thanks YD! We posted this to our FB page a few days ago. Such great work going on, particularly in underserved areas. This is inspirational!
    Lisa Flynn

  • I believe yoga helps indeed. However it’s downright sad to know that children at such a young age have to go through what is now so common with adults – daily stress. Children should be worry free, happy and careless as a butterfly.

  • I love that the research is showing how great yoga is for kids.

    Now-a-days when I teach a kids yoga class, almost every kid knows what yoga is. That’s a big change from 10 years ago and I think it will have long term positive effects too.

  • Very cool!

  • The Wellness Initiative in Boulder, Colorado is doing its best to create mini-yogadorks too! My middle-school age daughter takes a weekly class before school, and I know kids in Denver get in 3x a week as part of their PE class. So cool; thanks everyone for supporting yoga kids.

  • Nancy

    Once a colleague and I volunteered to do “aerobics” with 4-5th graders as one of many stations @ a field day. The day grew hot, the kids weren’t given enough water and were being “herded” from station to station every 15 minutes. Each new group grew increasing grumpy and growly. We saw a group of trees, changed gears and started doing yoga poses in the shade. One little girl did a “heart” tree pose for me with her arms in a heart over her head ….. she stole my heart and the kids that left were laughing and calm and happy…and that was only 15 minutes…..

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