Mini Meditators: Yoga for Kids

Kids yoga classes are becoming popular as more parents practice Zen and the art of child maintenance
Karey Tom co-owns Charlotte Kids Yoga, and she says demand has exploded.

Though some children may be too young to grasp the meaning of the word Namaste (loosely translated as “I bow to you”), yoga instructors say that kids pick up the positions pretty quickly.

“My daughter will start doing yoga poses when we’re just in the living room, downward dog, up dog—she knows all the names and loves doing them,” says Lara Fleming of her four-year-old Abby. Fleming started taking Abby to yoga classes about a year ago to help encourage a love of exercising. She’s not alone. Yoga classes for kids keep popping up across Charlotte, and instructors say they’re constantly creating new classes.

“Yoga in general has just exploded,” says Karey Tom, the co-owner of Charlotte Kids Yoga. “The business has grown so much this year. It’s gone from one class a week with three kids four years ago, to now two classes a week with twenty kids in each class.”

Fleming says she wanted to introduce her two kids to a healthy lifestyle in a fun way. “We do the soccer thing and that’s great too, but I just feel like yoga teaches them about the mind and body connection.”

But national parenting expert and Gastonia resident John Rosemond says sometimes kids just need to be kids. “Yoga for kids is just another attempt on the part of today’s parents to grow designer children, another excuse to micromanage their precious time.”

Tom counters that she adapts the classes to be kid friendly. “We do some of the poses and work on balance, and we also do the hokey pokey using elements of yoga. We’ll even hop around. It’s just a wonderful way to get kids moving.” She also tries to get the tots to slow down. She makes “meditation boxes” with her students (individual-size pizza boxes cut up and decorated) and teaches kids to sit in them whenever they need to “take a moment.” This past Christmas, Tom’s four-and-a-half-year-old daughter could sense her holiday stress. “She said, ‘Mommy, I think you need the meditation box!’ I was having a mommy moment and she could see how stressed out I was.”

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