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The scoop on children’s yoga in OKC

Toni Allen / Red Dirt Report
A new twist on the plank.
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EDMOND, Okla. – The 7-8-9 breathing method from the Indian yoga practice Pranayama is a great way to destress and relax in minutes. Convincing my nine-year-old to stop doing cartwheels so she can inhale, exhale and find her chi is easier said than done… So much for mindfulness.

Diving into Oklahoma City’s children’s yoga scene was eye-opening. The more I researched, the more I learned we have so many opportunities for kids of any age, gender, socioeconomic class, etc. to practice yoga. And the benefits are amazing.

Soul Yoga offers kids classes to help children become aware of their bodies and learn techniques to relax the mind and body. Much like it’s name, all classes are to music and will keep your little one moving. No screens—just engagement and movement.

Movement has proven to be key in increasing productivity and better behavior, because children are able to focus and retain information. Through what’s known as experiential learning, children learn by doing. You can count on your little one taking home relaxation techniques after learning in such an active setting.

The Kidz Yoga Fairy at Yoga Bliss entertains kids ages 4-7. Those a little older may enjoy the after school yoga classes, focusing on awareness, building confidence and restoring peace for preteens.

A quick Lotus Pose helps my niece and her teammates focus before a track meet. (Toni Allen / Red Dirt Report)

So often kids hear no, what they’ve done wrong and the consequences for making bad choices. Teaching self-awareness and empowering kids to use their body in a healthy way gives them the yes they don’t typically hear.

The fundamentals of yoga can help children with chronic illnesses, high levels of energy or attention disorders, too. Breathing, meditation and movement, all a part of yoga, are effective at calming children. Studies show yoga is able to regulate hormones and chemicals in the body. Cortisol, a key stress hormone, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), serotonin and acetylcholine, each contribute to mental health.

YogaLAB, owned by Spirit House Yoga, is the first studio in Oklahoma City providing free classes those who cannot afford to attend. Classes are $6 each, and the pay-it-forward program starts at as little as $1. Sign your kiddo up for a class and encourage him/her donate. (This has generosity, empathy, kindness and gratefulness written all over it.)

YogaLAB’s efforts to make physical fitness available to all is a step in the right direction. Improving the overall health of those who can’t afford to do so is one step in ending the epidemic of chronic diseases in our country. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity, among others, are the most common and often times preventable. Overtime, making healthier choices will get easier.

Today’s children are different than decades ago. They don’t just ride the bus home and let themselves in, they grab a snack and plop in front of the TV. They aren’t labeled busy in class, but diagnosed as ADHD and given prescriptions. They need a way to deal with the ever-changing 21st century. Practicing yoga may just be the answer. 

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About the Author

Toni Allen

Toni Allen has spent the majority of adulthood parenting, following hashtags and laughing...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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