Yoga has many benefits for children. The practice helps them concentrate more deeply and can increase their motivation to learn. Yoga Journal reports that the "market for teaching kids yoga is largely untapped." Grants from the federal government, non-profit organizations and yoga schools are helping fill this void, allowing yoga teachers to reach children in regular schools and underserved communities.
Many parents cannot afford to pay expensive fees for their children to learn yoga. Most schools do not offer the opportunity for children to be taught yoga as a form of physical education. Yet, yoga has many benefits for children, particularly those in school. In "Yoga Education for Children," renowned yoga teacher Swami Satyananda Saraswati explains that yoga helps school children by developing both the right and left sides of the brain, helping students concentrate more deeply and sustaining their motivation to learn.
Yoga Journal states that, "As yoga has caught on with adults, the number of yoga teachers has mushroomed. According to Yoga Alliance, there were a few more than 2,000 registered yoga teachers in the U.S. five years ago. Today there are more than 14,000." Unfortunatley, very few of these new teachers are trained to teach yoga to school children.
Types of grants for teaching kids yoga include those for teacher trainings, salaries and program fees. The Usha Yoga Foundation, for example, classifies its grants into teacher training, local and global grants. Yoga students interested in teaching yoga to kids can qualify for a grant to help pay for their training fees. Local grants provide yoga teachers salaries to teach in schools and train school staff. Global grants fund yoga teachers to bring yoga to schools in remote areas of the world by providing transportation and supply fees. According to Yoga Journal, a federal Physical Education Program (PEP) grant worth $750,000 has funded 200 yoga teachers to take trainings, enabling them to teach in schools.
In addition to the Usha Yoga Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, TerraMundi World Wellness and Satya Foundation provide grants to teach kids yoga. TerraMundi World Wellness takes grant proposals from yoga teachers who wish to create inner city children's yoga camps and domestic violence and public school projects involving yoga. The organization's grant funds a teacher's salary, transportation, props and supplies. Satya Foundation allows teachers to apply for funding to create yoga programs in schools and organizations for underserved children.
Kripalu and Iyengar Yoga Schools both provide grants for yoga students who are interested in training to become teachers. After training, grant recipients from these schools make a commitment to teach yoga classes for children in underserved communities. The Yoga Alliance organization (responsible for providing accreditation for teacher training programs) is in the process of creating a similar kind of grant.
Ripa Ajmera has been writing for six years. She has written for ABCNews.com, General Nutrition Center (GNC), TCW Finance, Alliance for a New Humanity, Washington Square News and more. She was a Catherine B. Reynolds Scholar from 2006-2008 and graduated from New York University Stern School of Business with an Honors degree in Marketing.