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A New Spin on Kids Yoga Provides a Healthy Release for Children

ONEYOGAHOUSE Teams Up with Yogi Land to Introduce Yoga to Kids
Photo: Shutterstock

Kids today aren’t necessarily enjoying the carefree life they should. From living through a pandemic and all that entails to experiencing second-hand stress from those around them, they could certainly use some coping and stress-relieving strategies of their own. Yoga, which has long been practiced by adults for its ability to put the mind and body at ease, is now being embraced by the younger set.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 8 percent of kids ages four to 17 practiced yoga in 2017. That is a significant increase from 3.1 percent in 2012. While more recent statistics aren’t available, yoga is definitely a practice with a multitude of benefits for people of all ages. That’s why Anna Haddad, founder of ONEYOGAHOUSE, didn’t hesitate when one of her students—a mom—approached her about starting a kids yoga class. According to Haddad, the mom wanted her child to experience some of the same benefits she was experiencing.

When Haddad was preparing to open her studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn, she knew she wanted to share the benefits of yoga with kids, as well. “I wanted to create a space where everybody in our community could gather in a beautiful space to ground, energize, and take time for themselves,” says Haddad. “I firmly believe that starting a mindfulness practice at a young age is very beneficial.”

She isn’t alone in that thinking. Research backs up the idea that kids yoga can help improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Perhaps most promising is the fact that it has been found to reduce stress and anxiety in children. Considering the pressure kids are under these days, that is certainly reason enough to consider enrolling them in a class that can help them better cope with daily stresses.

The benefits don’t stop there though. “Kids yoga also enhances concentration, memory, mindfulness, and self-esteem,” says Haddad. “Not only does it boost body awareness through balance, endurance, proprioception, and strength, but there is also the ability to self-regulate emotional states including stress, anxiety, and self-limiting thoughts.”

Because teaching yoga to kids is not the same as teaching it to adults, Haddad teamed up with Yogie Land, a New York-based kids yoga company founded by Grant Henry, to launch The Little ONE class. It takes kids on an immersive yoga journey, weaving live original music, puppetry, games, and storytelling to make it fun and playful. “There’s movement, breathing, and a ton of stimulation, all through the use of imagination, creative expression, and exploration,” says Haddad.

Henry, who has spent his entire professional career involved in early childhood education, created a children’s yoga television show as part of his thesis while in graduate school. Urged by his thesis director to get certified as a yoga instructor, he went on to teach for a few other companies specializing in kids’ yoga. It was there that he was inspired to improve upon the programming. 

“There was so much emphasis on expecting a two-year-old to sit on a yoga mat and follow your directions for 40 minutes that it felt contradictory to my beliefs as an early childhood educator,” says Henry. “I wanted to have a class where multiple learning modalities were taught at once to allow for all types of young learners to benefit.”

Launched in October 2019, Yogie Land grew quickly to encompass 13 locations after only a few months. Then the pandemic hit, and Henry had to halt operations until recently. Fortunately, the hunger for wellness-oriented kid programming is stronger than ever.

“I think yoga is such an important tool for young children, even in the very early stages of life,” says Henry. “As adults, we sometimes overlook what a young child is going through in their early years as we have so much happening in our day-to-day lives. But there are so many changes that occur in the first five years of a young child’s life—they need methods to understand their emotions and to learn how to address the physical and psychological changes.”

ONEYOGAHOUSE hosts The Little ONE, available for ages six months to eight years old, twice a week. The class is open for the entire family to join in on the fun on Saturdays. Henry has also introduced live and on-demand Yogie Land classes on House of Flow, so kids throughout the world can take classes anytime and anywhere.

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.