kids yogaThe decision by Yogabugs to appear on BB2’s Dragon’s Den a few weeks ago was not only an astute business move for the children’s yoga company – it also served to alert the ordinary, non-yoga TV watcher to the multi-faceted benefits of kids doing yoga.

The trend is one to watch. Yogabugs estimates that at least 100,000 youngsters will be taking part in yoga lessons by 2007 and schools are gradually cottoning onto the idea that yoga and kids in fact mix pretty well.

The reasons why are not hard to fathom. Childhood obesity has ballooned – excuse the pun – to new levels (one in four children in England are now obese); conditions such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are ever-more widespread; the internet and mobile phones mean it’s harder than ever to switch off.

In many ways, yoga is the ultimate antithesis to modern life. As well as the obvious physical benefits, it forces you – the adult or the child – to slow down and focus on the present, far away from emails, texts and MSMs.

It’s uncompetitive and calming, fostering a greater awareness not only of the needs of the self, but of other people. It also develops a child’s sense of creativity and fun in an often one-dimensional world of instant gratification.

Ever one step ahead (in most things) the Americans twinned yoga with kids years ago. There are now yoga camps for children, yoga videos, yoga books – even yoga birthday parties, where the candle pose (shoulder stand, to you and me) is de rigeur.

Back in this country, doubters are sure to pore scorn on the latest moves to bring yoga to the nation’s youngsters.

You can just hear the sceptics – who needs airy-fairy yoga, they cry, when kids need toughening up with a wet ten mile run on a freezing January afternoon? (And if the image of grim cross-country running days isn’t enough to excite you about the prospect of the nation’s kids relaxing into the dog pose instead, I don’t know what is…).

But Yogabugs’ presence on BB2 the other week underscores the fact that yoga for children is potentially Big Bucks. Given what it can do for body and soul, it’s also an absolute no-brainer.

Lucia Cockcroft, editor

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