Fort Worth, TX,
15:08 PM

Cook Children’s Now Offers Pediatric Yoga Therapy Services

Our yoga therapists are here to help alleviate physical and mental health conditions by cultivating the mind-body connection.

Yoga Therapy

By Sydney Hanes

A couple months ago, Pediatric Yoga Therapists Gina Shelton and Stacy Bush joined the Cook Children’s Pain Management team to lead yoga therapy classes and individual consults throughout the medical center, Inpatient Psychiatry Unit and Partial Hospitalization Program.

While yoga is a general term of practice, “yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the teachings and practice of yoga,” according to the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Our yoga therapists are here to help alleviate physical and mental health conditions by cultivating the mind-body connection. 

“The main thing we teach is that your breath can change how you feel, then movement calms your nervous system. Our modern culture often forgets that our bodies are made to move, not sit still all day,” Shelton said. “And we also talk to them about their brains and how they work. So they get a little more awareness of themselves and how their brain, emotions, and body are interconnected.”

Cook Children's yoga therapy sessions consist of breathing exercises, postures, meditation and relaxation techniques. Conditions addressed may include stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, Musculoskeletal problems, autoimmune diseases, Insomnia, IBS, Cancer, and others. 

“Through these classes we have an opportunity to come in and teach the kids through experience,” Bush said. “When they feel it, it is easier to learn it and implement it as a coping skill. That’s the great thing about the focus we have on breath work. Your breath is always with you, no matter where you are. You don’t have to change what you’re doing – you just stop and breathe and have a moment to connect back.”

Each session is built around integrative learning approaches aimed at being more like play than therapy. The goal is to meet the patient where they are most comfortable and to implement techniques so that the patient engages willingly and in a joyful manner.

“Kids are going to have lots of energy and all kinds of different things going on, so we have to meet them where they are,” Shelton said. “In our classes, we pay attention to how we’re feeling and that brings us back to our bodies and connects mind, body and breath.”

Yoga therapy aligns the needs of the patient with the particular practice required. Our therapists are able to work with children of all developmental abilities, allowing them to participate with low back pain or physical disability with very specific yoga from their bed, chair or floor in their own room.

For example, with positions and postures to increase strength, circulation, range of motion, proprioception and balance. Likewise, with anxiety, there are specialized sessions to raise self-awareness and regulate the central nervous system.  

By developing a positive relationship with their body, the patient is more likely to have a beneficial outcome from other prescribed therapies that are part of their medical treatment.   

“We teach them to take a moment and take a breath to calm back down,” Bush said. “With this awareness, we can help them start to shift the way they think about themselves, the way they view the world and the way they move in the world. I think that’s a pretty powerful thing.”

About Cook Children's

Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization is comprised of nine companies, including our Medical Center, Physician Network, Home Health company, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Health Plan, Health Services Inc., Child Study Center and Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet the unique needs of their child. For 100 years, we’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. We combine the art of caring with leading technology and extraordinary collaboration to provide exceptional care for every child. This has earned Cook Children’s a strong, far-reaching reputation with patients traveling from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care. For more information, visit