Is Hot Yoga Good For Kids and Teens?

Is heated yoga cool for kids?

Seems that this hot secret is finally out: kids can benefit from hot yoga as much as adults. And even more so.

As such, many hot yoga studios are seeing an uptick in the attendance of youngsters, particularly tweens.

On the physical level, yoga has been shown to enhance physical flexibility, coordination and strength, all of which makes children less injury-prone on the playing field. And kids of all ages play a lot of sports in school and after school, including college level sports.

On an emotional level, children who practice yoga often show increased self-esteem. They are better able to focus on tasks and manage stress in school including tests, homework, and a social life which can become quite stressful as they enter the tween years.

My own two children started yoga with me when they were 14 and 17 (my daughter actually attended yoga with me when she was 5 years old; but she started practicing on her own at 14). Both are athletes – my daughter Carly plays league softball and football and is an avid cross-country biker and hiker. My son Zach is a black belt in karate and recently started Capoeira.

My kids credit hot yoga with years of injury-free athletics.

I credit it with maintaining my sanity through their teenage years.

What is hot yoga?

Traditional Hot 26 yoga is done in 105 degrees with 40% humidity, a 26 pose sequence for 90 minutes.

The teacher is charged with keeping everyone both safe and challenged to their max, so rest assured: your kids will be well cared for in the heat.

Benefits for Young Athletes

Kids can play rough.

True hot yoga enhances flexibility, coordination and strength, all of which makes children less injury-prone on the playing field. That’s one reason more and more high school coaches – football, baseball, soccer and hockey – are recommending hot yoga to their young athletes.

In addition, children who practice often report increased self-esteem and are better able to handle stress including tests, homework, and a busy after school schedule.

And what teenager wouldn’t benefit from a large dose of self-direction?

Yoga-kids also tend to better manage emotional challenges with patience, tolerance, and, let’s say the L word: love.

At what age can children do hot yoga?

In my opinion as a yoga teacher, age 10 is about the earliest a young student can fully manage the stamina and balance, as well as heat acclimatization needed to full enjoy the 90 minute hot class.

Make sure they drink plenty of water – half their body weight in ounces – so they go into class already well-hydrated.

Should parents bring their children to yoga? A heated debate…

I love seeing parents and their children doing hot yoga together and bonding over a sweaty class.

Even when tweens or teens have little in common with their parents, they can still enjoy this challenge together. Being warriors together in yoga class can offer a respite from battling each another.

One caution for the parent: stop being a parent while you’re in class with your kids! Don’t correct them, scold them, don’t even place your mat where you can see them – otherwise the temptation to parent them will be too great.

Let the yoga teacher handle everything in the class; enjoy your practice and let your kid enjoy hers.

Yoga teaches balance, body control, it even teaches focus and concentration. These yoga-inspired traits are something every youngster can carry well into adulthood and turn into lifelong habits for happiness and success.

And a reminder of the value of patience, self love and a time when your body was a lot more flexible, are great for the child in all of us adults, too.

By Rhonda Uretzky, E-RYT

Lambertville NJ, November 22, 2011

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