National Yoga Day Celebrated at Santa Monica Pier

By Diane Z. Elder
Special to the Palisades News

As the the U.S. launched 59 missiles at Syria in April, children walked to the end of the Santa Monica Pier and sat peacefully to begin an afternoon of yoga in conjunction with kids on the other side of the world.

In celebration of International Kids Yoga Day (KYD), more than 115,000 children around the globe participated in the 24-hour event over April 6 and 7, and many live-streamed to Los Angeles, as Los Angeles did to them, creating a sense of global oneness.

Kids celebrated National Yoga Day at the Santa Monica Pier in April.
Kids celebrated National Yoga Day at the Santa Monica Pier in April.

The following morning, KYD founder and Palisadian Teresa Anne Power led 300 children through her “Five Minute Yoga Routine” in Los Angeles at St. Raphael’s Catholic School in South L.A. The results? Happy, relaxed and confident children, who exhibited an impressive degree of self-control.

To tie the whole event together, Power’s latest book, “The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Around the World,” debuted at number one in the Kids Fitness category on Amazon the same day.

Many local media outlets chose to cover the missiles that day rather than the children, but while they have now moved on to other news, thousands around the world are still talking about KYD and posting their photos, comments and videos to the KYD Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter as well as on their own social media pages.

KYD, developed here in the Palisades, has become a global phenomenon. Among those outlets that did cover the Pier event, such as CBS and Telemundo, it was portrayed as a day of fun and exercise.

But yoga is also much more.

Current research validates yoga as a natural way of calming and focusing children. In an Israeli study of 122 third through sixth graders, “Here and Now: Yoga in Israeli Schools,” teachers reported “many statistically significant improvements in the children’s concentration, mood and ability to function under pressure.”

In a more recent 2016 study conducted in New York City public schools, ”Perceived Benefits of Yoga among Urban School Students: A Qualitative Analysis,” results showed that “students perceived the benefits of yoga as increased self-regulation, mindfulness, self-esteem, physical conditioning, academic performance, and stress reduction.”

Interviewed on WTYM’s David and Friends morning show, Teresa Power said, “I truly believe we can change the world, one pose at a time. I’ve seen it in the thousands of kids that I’ve worked with. If yoga can be taught in the schools, kids and parents will see it as something important and integrate it into their daily lives and the results will be transformative.”

Next year’s International Kids Yoga Day has been set for Friday, April 6.

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