Many would argue that an animated lot like kids do not require an extra physical activity like Yoga. But yoga is not just a physical activity. It gifts your child with all-round holistic development.
The Benefits: Yoga can bring about a physical, physiological and pyschological balance in your child’s body. Also the deep breathing techniques freshen him and foster general health and vitality.
I, ME, MYSELF: With practice, your little one becomes aware of his body, develops spatial skills and knows his right from left. When both the hemispheres of his brain are vitalised, he becomes a better performer, both at school and at other physical activities. The power of his mind peaks and the relaxation and breathing techniques go a long way in making him a positive thinker.
Physiologically, he gets a better digestive, respiratory and immune system and psychologically, boosted self-esteem. Yoga turns your kid into a more confident and emotionally balanced individual.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH NATURE: Children love yoga’s typical animal poses, as these give them a chance to identify with other beings and also understand them better. They enjoy the sounds that they need to produce while practicing them. In fact, learning the animal poses also educates your child about nature.
ONE-ON-ONE WITH YOU: Though kids should always learn yoga from a teacher to avoid injury, a practicing parent can help it become a family activity. Mom, dad and children can practice yoga together for about half an hour and even have laughs along the way! using some suitable music can add to the effect. Experts say that doing yoga together develops a deep bond of trust amongst practitioners.
FOCUS: Yoga improves concentration and makes one focused. This is extremely helpful with children, since they are so inquisitive about everything around them. we all know that kids find it difficult to decide what they want and stay attentive towards it- and yoga can make all the difference, even helping them do better in their studies.
REACH FOR THE SKIES: We all marvel at the amazing flexibility of our kids. But as they grow, it gives way to stiffness. Yogic stretches are a great way to maintain that flexibility. They stretch and tone not only the muscles, but also the internal organs(something that not many kinds og exercise provide), helping them remain in good working condition. As the muscles are exercised and strengthened, coordination in growing children improves. The spine stretch gives an erect posture to your child.
AWAY FROM STRESS: Yoga has a claiming effect on your child- so essential today, with children so stressed and actually becoming agressive. Yogic breathing exercises specifically have a wonderfully soothing effect on their nerves- an effect that trickles down to their core and helps them exercise control in real life situations. Best of all, children get to know the meaning of relaxation and the way to achieve it- an invaluable life tool.
Says yoga expert Shri Indrajeet Chakraborty, who has worked extensively with children, “The most difficult part with kids is to get them into state of silence. But it is really essential for developing a spiritual inclination in them.”
LESSONS IN SELF-DISCIPLINE: When little children do yogasanas and are informed about their benefits, they learn to take it seriously and practice it regularly. This instills in them a sense of discipline that menifests itself in many ways in their lives. For example, children practicing yoga are known to be more responsible and select healthier food options for themselves. They become better listeners and follow instructions carefully.
Children with special needs who ar unable to get into other forms of exercise are advised to do yoga to get optimum movement. Studies show that yoga greatly benefits autistic children and those with an attention deficit syndrome.
Garudasana, Paschimottasana, Vajrasana and breathing exercises like Anulom Vilom, Bhramari pranayam and Om chanting can be done on regular basis. It is good to make children do asanas in the standing, sitting and lying down positions to keep the balance in their bodies.
POINTS TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
# Wait for an hour after a snack and two hours after a heavy meal before starting yoga practice with your child.
# It is best to practice on a mat, but a folded bed sheet will also do.
# Dress your child in loose, comfortable clothing.
# Don’t let your child push his body to cause pain- however, encourage him to do a little better each day; the learning process has many advantages as the asanas themselves.
# If an asana is meant to be done from both sides, get your child to do so for an optimum balancing effect on the body.
# Yoga can be done with kids from the age of five. You may begin with a session of 15 to 20 minutes and increase it to about half an hour. Don’t forget the warm ups and coll downs.
HOW TO KEEP THEM HOOKED:
# Your kids may not hold a pose for more than a few seconds. So keep your expectations low, at least initially. Keeping the environment comfortable will produce the best results.
# Practice poses that give them an opportunity of movement instead of ones that require extended stillness.
# Keep your cool and handle them gently when they do not exhibit the kind of seriousness and concentration that an adult would display.
# The earlier you get them started on yoga, the better they’ll pick up and the more interested they would be in it throughout their lives.
All said and done, it is finally your interest in yoga that would keep the activity alive in your child’s life.