Yoga Can Help Kids Lose Weight
By Matthew Papaconstantinou • October 6th, 2009 • 5924 Views
Is your child struggling to lose weight. Perhaps Ashtanga Yoga is the answer. In a first of its kind study, the University of Texas looked at the impact of participation in yoga on weight, self-concept, and psychiatric symptoms in young people. As many parents already know, pediatric obesity rates are at epidemic levels. Almost one of every three youngsters today is overweight, with an astounding 15% of kids’ Body Mass Indexes (BMI) in the obese range. An increase in health problems unfortunately accompanies the increase in weight. High blood pressure, diabetes and even heart disease are what the future holds for these children, and at even earlier ages than in previous generations.
Ethnic Minorities at Even Greater Risk
Most seriously affected by the obesity epidemic are ethnic minorities, with more than two out of every five of these youngsters overweight, and almost one in four are obese. With these facts in mind, Dr. Sandra Benavides, the study’s principal investigator, enrolled twenty predominantly Hispanic children, ages 8-15, in a 12-week yoga program. The children attended a yoga class that lasted for about 75 minutes each, three days a week, for each week of the twelve-week study. The same instructor was utilized throughout the study period to ensure consistency in each class.
"Power" Yoga Chosen for Study
Dr. Benavides employed a type of yoga that is more aerobic than many other types of yoga. Known as ‘Ashtanga’ or ‘power’ yoga, this particular method utilizes a series of postures known as ‘asanas.’ The focus of the various asanas is either strength or a flexibility challenge to the participant. Each asana is a fixed posture held while the participant performs a unique breathing technique called ‘pranyama’. These special breaths actually help connect one asana to the next. Participants hold the asana position for approximately five of these special breaths. Five to ten minutes of meditation or relaxation follow each yoga session.