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yoga children

Yoga for children

Yogic children

Contrary to popular belief, yoga can be practiced by children and is infact, beneficial to their development.

In their early years, children are highly receptive to the world around them and are generally quite active. But as they grow up, naturally occurring pressure from school, friends and the general environment can cause changes in eating habits, academic performance, behaviour and physical fitness.

Extensive studies have proved that yoga improves their academic performance by improving their ability to concentrate and focus. Children show fewer tendencies towards stress and anxiety, and do not succumb to peer-pressure. They show evidence for increased self-confidence, self-esteem and emotional balance, and are less likely to show aggressive and violent tendencies.

Infact, several physicians have gone so far as to recommend yoga for those children suffering from ADHD, ADD, Autism, etc, in which case it is used as a form of therapy.

While yoga is a proved therapeutic process to develop mental and spiritual health in the child, it also enhances the child’s physical capabilities. It provides a fun way for children to grow fit and strong, making them less susceptible to injuries while doing sports. These children are likely to have better posture, coordination and flexibility.

Yoga provides for children a non-competitive, stress free, positive environment that allows for them to just be themselves. Today, it has become one of the primary choices of activities for children.

Yoga for children at the YWC

As with all other classes at the YWC, these classes will be preceded by an interview to determine the best approach to yoga for the child. The class could either be designed to be a fun activity, or even a therapeutic and serious experience.

This program has been specifically built around the needs and requirements of children of ages 5 to 12. Children are grouped into batches depending on their age, since children of different age groups respond differently to information and instruction. The time period of yoga practice will also differ, where young children might have a 45 minute class, and older children might have a class of 1 – 1½ hours.

Yoga classes are planned around themes that give focus to a particular class. Themes can also be synchronised with what is being taught in school. The philosophy of yoga may also be introduced, to help in situations like bullying, which are very common in school.

In addition to what is taught in class, games are also played to serve as an icebreaker, or to develop memory and awareness. It also helps the children to understand and express different emotional states that may seem confusing to them.

Story telling is also encouraged to make the experience more receptive and interesting for the children. It also helps them to enhance their imagination and helps them to participate in the activities.

Other activities such as decorating the yoga class room are also encouraged to make the experience more enjoyable for the children. This also makes the yoga class seem like a special place and makes the class itself exciting.

An assistant will also be available to give individual attention to the children, at the YWC. Whether it is to help with a particular pose, or to offer the child counsel, our teachers are always present to take care of the child at all times.

What will be taught

Asanas

Children love asanas, especially animal asanas, because above everything else, it is fun. They enjoy making the animal noises and sounds, and they get to learn more about animals and a little more about the world around them.

Only simple asanas are taught and asanas that involve headstands, etc, are strictly avoided. The child’s body is still growing rapidly at this stage, and it is important to not impede or deter the process.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra roughly translates to ‘Yogic Sleep’ and involves a conscious state of deep sleep. Children love this state because it helps them to relax deeply, and because it utilizes their imagination.

Trataka

This is recommended practice for new meditators, and is considered to be a cleansing practice. It involves candle gazing and helps to increase concentration, memory power and emotional balance and also decreases stress. It is a quietening experience that helps in the intellectual development of the child.