Yoga has health benefits for kids

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on May 28, 2011 at 6:00 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

"Clap your hands," called out the yoga instructor in the kids' room of a yoga family center. The staff say the children get the same benefits from yoga as adults.

"It just really helps with focus, concentration. It helps with their sports as they start getting older and their agility, just a number of things," said instructor Dona Hagler.

The children's classes are a combination of songs, dances and poses. Three year old Sydney Conklin has been coming since she was one.

"She loves yoga. She's always showing daddy her moves. Down dog, bridge, tree. What else do you do?" asked Syndney's mother Tanya Conklin.

"Doggy," Sydney reminded her.

"Breathe in, switch," intoned instructor Jessi Kennedy.

Some students in her class are using yoga to help with medical conditions. Stella Smith has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

"Now I have it in my knees and I have it in a couple of my fingers," said Stella Smith.

But Stella said the classes make her feel better. Why?

"By relaxing and stretching," she said.

When Meg Lemler and her sister were born with club feet, their physical therapist suggested yoga. Four years ago, their mom called Jessi Kennedy.

"I said, 'Hey, would you come to our house and do the class?' And she agreed. And it's just been great. It's helped with their flexibility and their balance and their strength," recalled M'Liss Daigle.

Daigle said after years of yoga, the girls no longer have issues with their feet.

According to a study done at Ohio State University, children said yoga helped their strength. And they said it increased attention, and decreased stress.

"Children don't have the time to be still anymore. They are rushed to get up in the morning, rushed to eat breakfast, to get to school on time, rushed to get to class then the next class. They don't have the time to slow down," said instructor Hagler.

Here, at kids' yoga, slowing down seems to be their  favorite part.

"I like to lay down," said Issabel

"I really like the resting time," chimed in Maggie.

And who can blame them? Each of their classes ends with a foot rub.

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