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Yoga Sequencing for Kids - Part 1

You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play, and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.

— JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU, ÉMILE, 1762

In past generations, children tended to be much more physically active than today, whether playing with friends, active in organized sports or recreational programs, or working. Today, more and more children have a sedentary life that, coupled with poor eating habits, has more than tripled the obesity rate among children ages six to seventeen from five percent in 1976 to twenty percent in 2009.1 Children are also under increasing pressure to perform academically in keeping with narrowly defined national and state standards of educational accomplishment, a trend that has combined with more limited spending on education to justify the reduction of physical education, the arts, and other activities in which children get exercise as well as a mental break that, if given, would enhance learning. With rising expectations on children to perform, they are increasingly experiencing stress and related emotional and psychological disorders. Close to ten percent of youth ages twelve to seventeen had a major depressive episode (MDE) in 2009, with a rate higher (thirteen percent) among female youth.2 A significant percentage of children also have serious difficulties with emotions, concentration, or getting along with other people.3

Despite these trends, many children are very healthy. Kids who get regular exercise have stronger muscles and bones, leaner body mass, are less likely to develop type-2 diabetes, and are likelier to feel better about themselves, have strong social relationships, and have a better outlook on life. They also tend to sleep better and are better at handling stressful situations, whether preparing for a test at school or dealing with a disappointing event. By getting more exercise these children have greater endurance, strength, and flexibility than their more sedentary peers. When combined with a healthy diet, children who exercise regularly are on the path of a healthier and happier life.

Most children who do yoga came to it by mimicking their parents or by having parents who introduced them to yoga. Children can certainly benefit from doing yoga on a regular basis just as much as adults, developing or maintaining flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance in their physical bodies while reducing stress and gaining a more positive outlook on life.

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