First let me say I am a huge fan of yoga and it’s benefits. I, however, am older and need it to sustain flexibility, digestive health, and mental health. But as Yoga has become this all encompassing exercise, and for everyone; I ask myself have we, yet again as Americans, gone overboard with a good thing?
I’ve done a little research on the pros and cons of yoga for our babies and toddlers. Here are a few interesting facts I’ve found:
- According to Tiffany Field, research professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami School of Medicine. “Yoga is a form of self- massage. Stimulating pressure receptors on the skin slows down the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol.” Although research needs to confirm this, Field suspects a similar process occurs in infants who are massaged by their parents during yoga.
- “Having a child spend time on its tummy will improve upper body and neck strength,” said Dr. Teri McCambridge, division director of sports medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “So, the fact that parents are taking time out of their day to put their baby in different positions, will over time increase strength and development,” McCambridge said.
- Yoga promotes parent/baby yoga bonding time and children seem to enjoy the yoga.
- The moves can assist with physical development and balance.
- Elizabeth Goranson, M.S.Ed., RYT states: I believed if yoga worked for me, the practice could help children, with autism or otherwise, learn to self regulate their behavior and mood, just like it helps the rest of us. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all practice.
- There is little to no research on whether yoga provides other benefits for kids that some claim, such as helping kids sleep or relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A 2009 review of studies on yoga for children concluded most work in this area was low in quality, and solid conclusions about the benefits could not be drawn.
- About 5 percent of babies have hypermobile joints or tight joints, and overstretching is a risk for these children.
- Like an exercise muscle and joint injuries can happen if the activity is done too rigorously,
- Infants’ limbs should not be placed in extreme extensions, and the activity should be performed for only 15 to 20 minutes at a time, Small said.
My personal opinion is that yoga is great for adults who need the stress relief from their children. I think yoga can be a sacred place just for adults to detox mentally and physically from grueling days. Kids are flexible on their own. I will admit that if yoga brings you and your children closer by all means practice, and if your child’s behavior is improved by yoga then go for it. Utilize common sense when practicing with your infant and children. Most importantly enjoy the time you spend together! OMMMM