From the list of things in life that you cannot possibly make up, comes this gem of a news story out of Alabama, USA: Yoga is a dangerous activity for children. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, waaaay back in 1993 the (devoutly Christian) state of Alabama banned the teaching of yoga in public schools due to concerns that children would be converted to Hinduism through the practice. (Fun fact: according to Yoga Journal, 20.4 million Americans regularly practice yoga while, according to Pew Research, only 3 million American citizens are practicing Hindus. So, there goes THAT logic 🙄…)
Now, the yoga ban is back up for debate thanks to the efforts of Rep. Jeremy Gray (a former football player who has, himself, benefited tremendously from yoga). You would think that over the past 28 years, as yoga has become incredibly popular and mainstream across the globe, that the state of Alabama would have become more enlightened (ahem) about the many benefits of regular practice. But, alas, that is not the case. As of this writing, the state legislature voted 4-4, leaving the children of Alabama, who are already ranked a depressing 47th in the nation for health, unable to reap the many physical and mental benefits of yoga.
In honor of the Alabama lawmakers and their unbelievable short-sightedness, I thought I would share 10 great reasons why yoga is beneficial for kids:
Yoga helps build kids’ concentration and increases their attention span.
Yoga teaches kids how to manage stress healthfully with breath and without relying on addictive substances.
Yoga helps increase balance, flexibility and strength.
Yoga can help kids sleep better.
Yoga supports and strengthens the immune system.
Yoga is not competitive, so all kids can enjoy the practice without fear or embarrassment of losing.
Yoga teaches discipline.
Yoga encourages positivity and calmness.
Yoga teaches compassion.
Yoga can help undo the damage of sitting and staring at a screen all day.
Are you a yoga teacher? Have you ever taught yoga to kids? What transformations have you witnessed with your students? Let me know in the comments below!