Should Yoga be Taught to Children ?
Yoga is the buzz word today. It seems like everyone is talking about Yoga and its great benefits. Is Yoga a good choice for Children in this hi-tech, sci-fi era? Let’s find out

Life of a child today

Today’s child is faced with challenges on many fronts. They live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, video games, malls, etc. They are expected to be smart and a quick learner in all subjects and activities. All this gets stressful for a child. The bustling pace of our children’s lives affect their innate joy negatively.

Today’s children are spending an increasing amount of time looking at screens or working on schoolwork. Media, such as magazines, radio, video games and the Internet, also have the potential to influence children’s eating habits, exercise habits, buying habits and mental health

·         How can yoga help?
From my experience of teaching Yoga to kids of different age groups (3-6 yr. and 6-12 yr.) I can say that Yoga can help deal with the stress children experience living in a hurry-up world.
When children learn techniques of asana (postures), breathing, and mantra chanting, they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease. These techniques strengthen them physically and mentally.
I inspire children to develop healthy habits through different activities or stories, or even role plays. Children are very adaptive to new things and group dynamics play a big role here. Seeing their peers doing something encourages them to pick up new habits quickly.

·         Holistic approach for all round personality development @Mandala yoga with Shivani
 Asana:  When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on its qualities. It brings them closure to their true nature and abilities. This way they connect with nature.   For example, as I make them to pose like a lion (Simhasana) or a tiger (Vyaghrasana), they experience not only the power and behaviour of the lion, but also their own sense of power: when to be aggressive, when to tame that aggression.
Surya Namaskara: I get them to perform this with a lovely sun salutation song my friend shared with me. Surya Namaskar is especially important for teenagers and children nearing puberty as Surya Namaskar is the one exercise that works directly on our glands – thyroid, adrenals, pituitary.
Breathing Practices:  I use breathing techniques regularly in the kids’ yoga classes. Simple breathing practices like Bhramari (Bumble Bee sound) works wonder with children. Not only do they enjoy performing it the lovely comforting resonance of this has a calming effect and done with eyes closed can make it even more peaceful.

Along with these I introduce children to Mantra Chanting, Visualization & Affirmations to stimulate/awaken their brain activities. Yoga encourages the child to learn to relax like visualization in Savasana, bring body awareness and higher self-esteem. Such a child excels with self-confidence and self-reliance.
Lots of Fun and Learning through Yoga Games & Activities: As child, we all loved playing games. As a Yoga Teacher I find games a crucial part of the kids’ yoga class. Not only are they helpful in teaching different yoga poses, but they support children’s learning in a variety of ways. Activities like crafts, drawing, role play, enacting, etc. Keep them entertained and bring out their creative side. Activities and games enable the individual child to develop their self-worth. It strengthens powers of concentration, and underpins everything from learning social interactions and norms, to the beginnings of scientific thinking.

In all, Yoga helps children understand their body, emotions & expression of what they feel & experience. Physically it builds strength, stamina while mentally it brings focus and balance in their behaviour. They learn to train their mind to focus more on positive thoughts & prepare for whatever comes their way in life with positive attitude. 

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