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Children's Tips

Yoga for Children

Introducing kids to yoga has multiple benefits:

Movement is essential for growing bodies. And, yoga is a timeless, time-tested and practical technique for developing both mind and body. Children can relate wonderfully to yoga poses – many yoga asanas were derived by observing Nature, and some of them imitate the spirit of animals such as the lion, cat and dog. They also represent parts of the environment such as the mountains, trees and sun – aiming to imbibe their natural grace and qualities. Read on to discover the answers to frequently asked concerns about yoga for children.

How is yoga for children different from that of adults?
Both adults and children benefits from yoga. Children are more supple than adults, and introducing them to yoga at a young age is a great way to ensure that their bodies stay supple and fit.

How does it help to initiate children to yoga at an early stage?

Practising yoga regularly in the early years helps develop better mental concentration, co-ordination, flexibility, strength, postural awareness and breathing habits. Yoga also balances the functioning of the body’s glandular system and the chakras – the body’s spiritual energy centres.

What is an ideal age to begin yoga?

Right from the age of four, you can introduce yoga to children. In this young age group, tremendous physical and mental development is constantly taking place.

What should be the length and frequency of yoga sessions for kids?

Yoga can be performed once a week as well as all seven days of the week. The duration can range from 10 minutes to 60 minutes per session. The yoga session should be planned keeping in mind the age, attention span, interest and goal of the child.

For example, yoga poses can be performed to either slow down or energise the system. A hyperactive child can be encouraged to practice breathing exercises or relaxation poses. A child who prefers a sedentary way of life can be encouraged to practice energetic poses to boost the metabolism.

Do children with medical conditions need to avoid yoga practice?

The need to consult their physician for specific exercise recommendations based on their medical condition.

How can yoga instructors enliven up yoga sessions for children since have a short attention span?

Introducing children to yoga asanas as an activity that is fun and entertaining helps channel their natural energy to a fitter body.

Ages Four To Seven:

Be inventive – think of simple stories or use their favourite story books to incorporate the different animal or object poses. Animal poses and story telling workouts keep kindergarten-age children entertained.

Ages Eight To Eleven:

From this age onwards, the yoga session can be more structured. Dynamic asanas, in which a series of different poses are put together, such as the salute to the sun, can be introduced. Dynamic poses boost strength in order children.

Ages Twelve Upwards:

Older children have a longer attention span, more stamina and endurance to attempt poses such as the candle pose. You can now include more challenging poses based on their fitness ability. Are there dietary instructions to complement this discipline of fitness? A well-balanced diet consisting of a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and sprouts, will always complement any physical activity.

Are there precautions that need to be observed by kids?

Make sure the environment is clear of any sharp objects, so that they do not hurt themselves. They should wear comfortable loose clothing and there should be adequate ventilation.

Does yoga help children in social interactions and dietary habits, apart from increasing their fitness quotient?

The feel-good factor that comes with regular yoga practice may increase confidence in their social interactions.

Benefits of yoga for kids:

  • Flexibility - kids are natural flexible, but as they get older, their flexibility diminishes. Yoga helps to maintain that natural suppleness.
  • Better health - lung capacity is greatly developed at a young age, and it's been clinically proven that kids with asthma can reduce their symptoms greatly with yoga.
  • Concentration - meditation is a great way for kids to learn the benefits of relaxation. Meditation also helps kids concentrate in the classroom and at home.
  • Strength - most people don't understand that yoga actually strengthens muscles in a similar manner that weight-training does. The difference is, yoga for kids is a safe, fun way to achieve the same results.
  • Self-esteem - children develop a sense of pride and control when they learn that they can control their bodies and minds.
  • Creativity - imagination and creativity are stimulated when the body and mind are relaxed.