Experienced instructors differ as to whether children should take a power yoga class. While they acknowledge the benefits of flowing yoga for older kids, they believe that parents should be aware of certain risks inherent in these physical forms of yoga. At the same time, yoga instructors who are willing to teach a kid’s class also have responsibilities to their students to prevent injury and improve health.
Because power yoga is a fast-flowing and physically challenging type of yoga, students must be not only familiar but comfortable with the basic yoga poses they will be practicing. If too much instruction is needed, then the class turns into a slower form of yoga and the flowing characteristic cannot be achieved. Thus, kids who have not practiced yoga before should avoid power classes.
Because it is a more physically challenging practice than other styles, power yoga also carries increased risks. Faster movements within poses require good technique and postural alignment, which can be difficult for a child to achieve. It must also be remembered that kids’ joints are looser and their bodies still developing, so faster movements might result in improper balance or over-compensation. Falls or injuries can result.
The faster flow of poses can also make it difficult in some classes to adjust improper technique, especially in young children who may have difficulty paying attention to an instructor’s dialogue.
Many parents find that despite its increased risks, power yoga’s emphasis on the physical is advantageous to their children’s health.
First, physical forms of yoga build strength; its fast-flowing movements encourage muscular fatigue, which is necessary for strength building. The poses are designed to move into each other, so many of the postures are related and work the same parts of the body, enabling yogis to grow tired yet still continue challenging their muscles.
Second, flowing yoga enhances cardiovascular health, as the series of uninterrupted poses builds endurance. With this type of yoga, students will move quickly from one pose to the next without breaks while avoiding poses that are more restful. As the practitioner continues to practice without rest, his or her heart rate becomes elevated and overall health is improved.
Third, power yoga does not focus on meditative practices, which can be a real challenge to young people who have short attention spans. Its emphasis on the physical, allows kids to really expend their extra energy so that they leave their yoga classes tired yet rejuvenated.