Yoga is being used by a growing number of youth and adults as a means of improving overall health and fitness. There is also a progressive trend toward use of yoga as a mind-body complementary and alternative medicine intervention to improve specific physical and mental health conditions. To provide clinicians with therapeutically useful information about yoga, the evidence evaluating yoga as an effective intervention for children and adolescents with health problems is reviewed and summarized. A brief overview of yoga and yoga therapy is presented along with yoga resources and practical strategies for clinical practitioners to use with their patients. The majority of available studies with children and adolescents suggest benefits to using yoga as a therapeutic intervention and show very few adverse effects. These results must be interpreted as preliminary findings because many of the studies have methodological limitations that prevent strong conclusions from being drawn. Yoga appears promising as a complementary therapy for children and adolescents. Further information about how to apply it most effectively and more coordinated research efforts are needed.
<p>This article outlines the rationale and best practices for helping young people recover from the trauma of sexual abuse using integrative and therapeutic Yoga practices. As a model for such work, we describe a specific program, Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse with Yoga, currently offered by the authors in the Portland, OR area. The program serves both girls and boys and has a teen leadership component to allow older youth to serve as role models for preteens. This article outlines the necessary steps for working with this population, including self-inquiry, training, program design, teaching strategies, and integration with other therapies and services. A full eight-week curriculum is described, with focal points for each class, as well as suggested poses, mantras, creative activities, and mindfulness practices. The article also addresses specific contraindications and risk factors and ways they can be mitigated. Finally, it covers observed outcomes from two sequential eight-week sessions of the Healing Childhood Sexual Abuse with Yoga program.</p>