A Balancing Act: Toddlers in yoga

Toddler population growing in yoga

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says as of 2012, 9.5% of American adults do yoga.

That number made a significant increase from 6.1% in 2007 and with the increase in adult yoga has come the increase in toddler yoga.

"Before seeing kids yoga, I never, never would've thought that a child as young as three could be doing yoga," said yoga studio owner Rachel Gerrity. "We're seeing it grow in popularity and with younger and younger kids."

But, it's a lot different than the calming vibe you get in a regular yoga class.

"Kids classes -- they dance, they do crafts, they move around, they change activities, they play music, so it's a different experience," said Gerrity.

"She's done ballet and gymnastics and those are a bit more structured, meaning that you have to wait in line a lot of times, kind of sit and wait before you can move," said mom Andi Birone. "And this is more movement all the time, so more free movement."


Andi Birone's daughter, four-year-old Pippa, is one of the most interactive students in her class.

"We felt like yoga would be great for her because she's so high energy," said Birone. "So it allows her to slow down and take a deep breath."

Learning how to take those deep breaths are what child psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Samuel says helps his patients.

"If a child has anxiety, we teach them how to breathe, how to relax, and how to start monitoring themselves in the process of treatment," Psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Samuel.

He says those practices are the same you'll find in yoga for children.

"This type of breathing is expected to increase the amount of oxygen delivered to the bloodstream," Samuel said. "It's actually also expected to sharpen awareness and relax the mind and body."

Samuel says learning relaxation techniques, balance, coordination and developing functional motor skills at an early age is crucial, something he says kids gain through yoga.

And those things Birone sees her daughter developing through yoga.

"I can see that it's more conscious than I'm just going to run around, jump on the floor and tumble or whatever so for me, I feel like that really shows me that she's developing in something that I don't know where else she would get that discipline at this age," Birone said.

Birone hopes to see this trend continue to grow.

"Everybody should try it at least once for themselves, but also for their kids," Birone said. "I think that you'll be surprised how much your kids loves it."


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