Integrative health is care that focuses on the whole person. It combines suitable therapeutic approaches and the expertise of healthcare professionals across disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. It is the union of mainstream medicine with complementary health practices.
Yoga is offered as a complementary health practice to inpatient and outpatient clinical programs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The word “yoga” itself means, “union or to unite.” Yoga focuses your attention on your breath and your body at the same time. Yoga can help to improve health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental and social) through the regular practice of postures and poses (asana), breathing exercises, relaxation and meditation.
Yoga poses can help you to stretch or build certain muscle groups and increase flexibility. When you move your body into different yoga postures and focus on your breath, you can begin to feel calmer, more upbeat and better connected to your body.
Mindfulness techniques can be used to focus the mind on a specific thought or image, or on ways to direct the breath. It can help you relax, support sleep and decrease anxiety.
Research and well-designed studies show that the practice of yoga and mindfulness techniques can improve health and wellbeing for people of different ages, and it can be helpful to children with almost any health condition, either physical or psychological. When adjustments to the postures are made to meet each person’s physical and developmental abilities, yoga can support a wide range of health conditions. Yoga is a practice that can be continued throughout life.
Who we are
CHOP’s Yoga Program is delivered by certified yoga instructors with extensive experience working with children and adolescents with a variety of health conditions.
The Integrative Health Program is closely managed and coordinated with the healthcare providers who treat your child’s medical condition to ensure that yoga plays a complementary role in your child’s overall treatment plan.
What we do
We lead individual and group yoga sessions as a complement to inpatient and outpatient clinical services. Each session can be tailored to the needs and ability of the individual. We often modify poses or use props to make the practices safe and effective based on your child’s age and medical condition.
A yoga session could include:
- A physical warmup
- Breathing exercises
- Relaxation exercises
- Yoga postures, movements or stretches
The length of each personalized or group yoga session is based on the age, health, and interest of your child. Sessions can last from 25 to 60 minutes. The number of sessions will depend on your child’s symptoms and interest.
A specialized plan for your child's yoga practice will be determined by your medical team and the yoga instructor in consultation with you and your child.
Yoga is not a substitute for medical care provided by a healthcare professional. Please talk to your care provider if you would like to learn more about CHOP’s Yoga Program or the Integrative Health Program. Our staff can help you decide if yoga might be a helpful addition to your child’s care plan.