The Dangers of Pushing Kids in Physical Yoga

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The Dangers of Pushing Kids in Physical Yoga

teaching yoga to childrenBy Faye Martins

Yoga teachers are often considering the development of new programs for adults, seniors, and children. Sometimes, we consider giving children the opportunity to get the level of exercise needed to rid extra energy. This extra energy needs to be released in a positive way, but children need proper guidance and yoga instructors need to make sure classes are safe.

Power and vinyasa are generic physical styles that often derive their roots from the Ashtanga school of yoga. These generic styles emphasize the physical practice over the mental and spiritual practice. They are often offered at gyms as a form of exercise that can build strength and help with weight loss while encouraging flexibility and stress relief.

Additionally, more and more families are realizing that these health benefits are not lost on the younger generation.

It is important to note that despite being an advantageous way to stay healthy and fit, yoga can also present its own challenges to safe practice. With this in mind, parents should expect that there might be dangers in physical yoga for kids, and should refrain from pushing their children too hard.

The Risks

Power, vinyasa, and other physical forms of yoga can be risky for kids for several reasons.

First, children’s developing bodies and immature attention spans pose a special challenge for yoga instructors or parents who wish to guide youths through the refreshing practice of physical yoga. To prevent injury, students should take pose progression slowly, starting first with only the most basic postures and working on each pose series until the technique is nearly-perfect. Moving on to the trickier poses too fast can put a young person beyond his or her strength and flexibility capacities. As part of this idea, yoga teachers must keep an eye on balance and stress the importance of paying attention. In this way, children can avoid falls or muscle strains from incorrect posture. Practicing creative teaching can also make this challenge a lot easier by engaging kids’ attention in more lasting ways.

Second, even poses that children have mastered can present dangers. Inversion poses, for example, can place stress on the spine and neck, and abrupt forward bends are known for aggravating or causing back pain. With these risks common among adults, instructors should be careful not to place undue amounts of stress on young people’s immature musculature.

Third, there is a difference between pushing children to fulfill their potential and pushing children beyond their abilities. Some instructors or parents become impatient with children who struggle with pose alignment, but it is important to maintain an encouraging and supportive role during a yoga session. While some kids may need more guidance than others, continuing to assess the student’s abilities during a difficult pose is absolutely necessary. Remember that baby steps will get a person to the goal just as well as steps that over-reach.

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