By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
There are many benefits that children gain from practicing Kids Yoga, such as stronger muscles, improved balance and flexibility, enhanced stress management, and improved spatial memory. However, like any other form of physical activity, there are risks involved. Therefore, it is important that Yoga teachers be aware of these ten safety guidelines.
1. Make sure the child’s doctor approves him or her to practice Yoga. There are many definitions and impressions of Yoga, so it’s important the doctor understands exactly what the child will be doing in Yoga class when making this assessment.
2. Become a qualified Kids Yoga instructor. A qualified teacher will have a diploma from a specialized Kids Yoga teacher training program. Ideally, he or she will also have specialized knowledge in safely teaching Kids’ Yoga programs.
3. Create a class that has ten or fewer students. Smaller classes are safer because the teacher is better able to address the needs of each individual child.
4. Let parents know that if the child needs to eat, make sure he or she does so at least two hours before class. This will help avoid any digestion issues that could arise, as a result of having food in the stomach, while practicing Yoga.
5. Make sure each kid stays on his or her Yoga mat during class. Doing so can help decrease the chance of accidents occurring, as a result of kids bumping into each other during practice.
6. Ensure that kids know never to push beyond their limits. If they are feeling pain or discomfort while in a pose, they should stop immediately and let the teacher know. Yoga instruction should always include modifications and alternative postures for people who need them.
7. Beware of over-extending kids’ flexible joints. Generally, kids are much more flexible than adults. They must develop strength and stability to support their flexibility, and avoid going too deeply into a pose before that has happened.
8. Start with easy Yoga poses before progressing to more challenging postures. Once kids are comfortable with the basics, they can build on their knowledge and abilities and add more complex poses to their practice.
9. Be sure to include resting Yoga postures and counter poses in the practice. This helps avoid over-exertion and over-stretching of muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
10. Keep the length of the Yoga practice appropriate for the age group. Younger kids may lose focus if the class is too long – increasing their chances of injury.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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