The other day, I walked into my yoga studio, stashed my clothes in the bin marked “Ashley Zehnder” and stopped dead in my tracks. There, in the middle of the yoga classroom was a kid of about age 4 or 5, just waiting to start the class alongside the adults.
I’ve never seen a child in a yoga class before, especially at this studio, so it caught me a little off-guard. And since then, I’ve been doing a little thinking about whether kids should be in yoga classes at all.
On the one hand, I think it’s important for young children to see their parents engaged in exercise. We have a serious obesity problem in this country, and the best way to help all of us to lose weight is to ensure that all of us eat right and exercise appropriately. Kids that see that happening when they’re young might be more likely to grow into adults that do the same things.
But, yoga can also be really taxing on the body. Some of the poses we do in my class put a lot of pressure on the neck, hips and knees. Young people in the midst of growing could do a lot of damage to their joints with these poses, and they might not have enough body awareness to stop something when it seems wrong or uncomfortable.
So while I admire this mother for bringing her child in to the yoga experience I’m also planning to tell the studio to stop allowing children in class. I can’t sit there and let kids put their health at risk while I watch. If the studio won’t comply, I may need to find a new workout space.