Yoga in Paediatrics: Difference between revisions

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Yoga is the integration of the mind, body, and spirit[1]. There are numerous modern schools or types of yoga (for example, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Sivananda, and so on), each with its own distinct focus on the physical postures and exercises (asanas), breathing practices (pranayama), deep relaxation, and meditation that cultivate awareness[2] and, ultimately, improve attention and concentration in children. A well-rounded yoga practice may provide structural, physiological, psychoemotional, and spiritual advantages. Yoga is gaining popularity around the world, and several research studies and systematic reviews are being published with scientific proof of its health-promoting and therapeutic potential in children.[3]

  1. Asanas or physical poses

The meaning of Asana In Sanskrit is, “as” means “to sit” or “to be.” The goal of yoga asanas is to remain in one posture with complete attention so that the mind becomes more focused. Asanas should be done gently and effortlessly so that one’s awareness is increased and can feel one with themselves. [4]


2. Breathing or Pranayama

Pranayama is when the breath is controlled and the mind is controlled. When the breath is stretched and controlled, there is a cessation in brain activity.  They are a collection of basic breathing techniques that are known to quiet the mind and are therapeutically utilised to excessive mental arousal.[4] They boost lung and cognitive capacity, lower blood pressure, anxiety, and other psychosomatic tendencies, and promote physical well-being and self-awareness. [6]


3. Deep relaxation or Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra aims to train the unconscious to achieve the desired condition consistently through mental repetition. Cognitive reorganisation processes are triggered in studies that used similar strategies during meditation. [8]Yoga Nidra is a systematic sequence of breathing and body awareness techniques that can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and increase the number of slow alpha waves in the brain.[9]

4. Meditation

Over the past few years, there has been a growing body of research on meditation-based interventions. A collection of self-control exercises aimed at sustaining awareness and attention is called meditation. [10]These therapies, which include yoga and mindfulness, are described as interventions that work to strengthen awareness, presence, and a more cohesive sense of self by developing attention and emotion regulation.[11]

According to the paediatric literature, mindfulness and yoga increase memory in school children, cognitive function in children with mental retardation, planning abilities and executive functions, as well as attention, behaviour, and emotional control in healthy children. Yoga has been found to increase balance, motor skills, and strength, as well as overall well-being and quality of life in a various groups of children.

Physical and Physiological Effects:

  • Increase in muscle strength, posture, flexibility[12]
  • Increase in body’s immune response[13]
  • Increased energy levels
  • Increased sensory awareness
  • Improved breathing pattern[14]

Social, Emotional and Cognitive Effects:

  • Improves attention span, and concentration[15]
  • Improves memory[16]
  • Reduces stress and anxiety[17]
  • Improves relationships and social awareness[12]
  • Induces relaxation[18]
  • Improves self-confidence[12]
  • Improves emotional regulation[19]

Yoga and ADHD[edit | edit source]

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an incidence of about 5% in children[20]. The disorder is typically associated with cognitive impairments, executive deficits, Oppositional defiant disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Learning difficulties are common in children with ADHD.[21] Yoga and meditation have been shown to improve executive function, inhibitory control, hyperactivity, impulsivity, attention, and mood management, as well as anxiety, insecurity, and stress.[17]

Yoga and Cerebral Palsy[edit | edit source]

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most prevalent physical impairment in childhood, caused by non-progressive injury to the foetal or infant brain, resulting in motor, postural, cognitive, and psychological issues[22]. A study indicated that performing specific yoga asanas on six 7 to 11-year-old children with cerebral palsy had a substantial effect on hip and knee joint flexibility[23]. Another experimental study found that 3 months of yoga practice improved motor skills such as reaction time, eye hand coordination, static balance, and agility[24]along with considerable gains in postural control and functional ability. [25]

Yoga and Paediatric Oncology[edit | edit source]

Children and adolescents undergoing cancer treatment are subjected to a wide range of physical and mental challenges. Paediatric oncology patients include fatigue, pain, anxiety, sleep difficulties, restlessness, depression, nausea and vomiting, and hair loss .[26] This can be extremely taxing on the body and mind of people affected, perhaps resulting in a considerable decline in quality of life. According to a 2021 review, yoga and mindfulness may assist to improve quality of life, reduce fatigue, increase activity and fitness levels, improve sleep quality, stimulate appetite, and decrease anxiety at various phases of the disease and its treatment.[27]

In order to improve patients’ functional outcomes following a variety of injuries, yoga used in tandem with standard or routine physical therapy has been shown to reduce pain, reduce stiffness, and enhance motor functioning. Yoga practise has also been linked to improved motor imagery performance, according to recent studies.[28]

Additionally, it has been discovered that employing cognitive techniques and mindfulness training, as opposed to the sensory aspects of pain, can enhance one’s perception of pain.[29]

Yoga can help achieve the following physiotherapy objectives in children :

  • Improved strength, flexibility, circulation, and oxygenation
  • Improved motor co-ordination, motor planing, performance and reaction speed
  • Improved grip
  • Improved cardiopulmonary parameters
  • Increased inspiratory and expiatory muscle strength
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Increased feeling of relaxation and calmness
  • Improved self-esteem
  • incfeased attention and concentration
  • Better sleep
  • Enhanced behaviour, focus, and academic achievement
  • Enhanced social and emotional intelligence
  • Enhanced sense of wellbeing and quality of life
  1. Bhavanani Y. M. D. (2011). The history of yoga from ancient to modern times (pp. 1–21). ICYER.
  2. Saud A, Abbasi M, Merris H, Parth P, Jones XM, Aggarwal R, Gupta L. Harnessing the benefits of yoga for myositis, muscle dystrophies, and other musculoskeletal disorders. Clinical Rheumatology. 2022 Nov;41(11):3285-97.
  3. Butzer B, Day D, Potts A, Ryan C, Coulombe S, Davies B, Weidknecht K, Ebert M, Flynn L, Khalsa SB. Effects of a classroom-based yoga intervention on cortisol and behavior in second-and third-grade students: a pilot study. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine. 2015 Jan;20(1):41-9.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Iyengar BK. Light on yoga: the definitive guide to yoga practice.
  5. How to do Yoga (Surya Namaskar) ? for children. Available from: [last accessed 24/11/2023]
  6. Campanelli S, Tort AB, Lobão-Soares B. Pranayamas and their neurophysiological effects. International Journal of Yoga. 2020 Sep;13(3):183.
  7. Teach this Pranayama to your Kids ❤️🙏 Available from: [last accessed 24/11/2023]
  8. Moszeik EN, von Oertzen T, Renner KH. Effectiveness of a short Yoga Nidra meditation on stress, sleep, and well-being in a large and diverse sample. Current Psychology. 2022 Aug;41(8):5272-86.
  9. Mandlik V, Jain P, Jain K. Effect of Yoga Nidra on EEG (Electro-Encephalo-Graph). Yoga Point. 2002.
  10. Zhang J, Díaz-Román A, Cortese S. Meditation-based therapies for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children, adolescents and adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Ment Health. 2018 Aug 1;21(3):87-94.
  11. Marciniak R, Sheardova K, Čermáková P, Hudeček D, Šumec R, Hort J. Effect of meditation on cognitive functions in context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience. 2014 Jan 27;8:17.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Folleto JC, Pereira KR, Valentini NC. The effects of yoga practice in school physical education on children’s motor abilities and social behavior. International journal of yoga. 2016 Jul;9(2):156.
  13. Yeun YR, Kim SD. Effects of yoga on immune function: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2021 Aug 1;44:101446.
  14. D’Souza CD, Avadhany ST. Effect of yoga training and detraining on respiratory muscle strength in pre-pubertal children: A randomized trial. International journal of yoga. 2014 Jan;7(1):41.
  15. Hagins M, Rundle A. Yoga improves academic performance in urban high school students compared to physical education: a randomized controlled trial. Mind, Brain, and Education. 2016 Jun;10(2):105-16.
  16. Parajuli N, Pradhan B, Bapat S. Effect of yoga on cognitive functions and anxiety among female school children with low academic performance: A randomized control trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2022 Aug 1;48:101614.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Khunti K, Boniface S, Norris E, De Oliveira CM, Shelton N. The effects of yoga on mental health in school-aged children: A Systematic Review and Narrative Synthesis of Randomised Control Trials. Clinical child psychology and psychiatry. 2023 Jul;28(3):1217-38.
  18. Dai CL, Nabors LA, Vidourek RA, King KA, Chen CC. Evaluation of an afterschool yoga program for children. International journal of yoga. 2015 Jul 1;8(2):160-1.
  19. Daly LA, Haden SC, Hagins M, Papouchis N, Ramirez PM. Yoga and emotion regulation in high school students: A randomized controlled trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. 2015 Aug 19;2015.
  20. Mechler K, Banaschewski T, Hohmann S, Häge A. Evidence-based pharmacological treatment options for ADHD in children and adolescents. Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2022 Feb 1;230:107940.
  21. Drechsler R, Brem S, Brandeis D, Grünblatt E, Berger G, Walitza S. ADHD: Current concepts and treatments in children and adolescents. Neuropediatrics. 2020 Jun 19;51(05):315-35.
  22. Mak C, Whittingham K, Cunnington R, Boyd RN. MiYoga: a randomised controlled trial of a mindfulness movement programme based on hatha yoga principles for children with cerebral palsy: a study protocol. BMJ open. 2017 Jul 1;7(7):e015191.
  23. Chinnasamy RD. Effect of yogasanas in improving flexibility of hip and knee joint of children with intellectual disability having cerebral palsy 2015;2:1297- 1309.
  24. Pise V, Pradhan B, Gharote M. Effect of yoga practices on psycho-motor abilities among intellectually disabled children. Journal of exercise rehabilitation. 2018 Aug;14(4):581.
  25. Gokcek O, Huzmeli ED, Katayıfcı N, Duman F, Huzmeli I, Kaya I. Effects of Yoga on Sleep Quality, Depression in Children with Cerebral Palsy. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Advances in Pure and Applied Sciences. 2017;8:135-43.
  26. Hinds PS, Linder L, editors. Pediatric oncology nursing: defining care through science. Springer Nature; 2020 Jan 23.
  27. Stritter W, Everding J, Luchte J, Eggert A, Seifert G. Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness in pediatric oncology− A review of literature. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2021 Dec 1;63:102791.
  28. Gray C, McCormack S. Yoga for chronic non-malignant pain management: A review of clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and guidelines.
  29. Brown ML, Rojas E, Gouda S. A mind–body approach to pediatric pain management. Children. 2017 Jun 20;4(6):50.

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