By Kimaya Singh
Our children live in challenging times, and teaching them how to build a peaceful world is at least as important as passing tests and being good athletes. We must teach them how to work together, resolve problems, accept differences, and take care of their bodies and their environment. We also need to teach them social skills like compassion, anger-management, and empathy. Yoga teacher training graduates, who work with children, are likely to see many changes in education in the near future.
The illusion of an idyllic childhood may be a thing of the past, but it’s not too late to change our priorities. Although communities and schools are using a variety of techniques, Yoga is one of the most comprehensive and effective means of addressing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of children and the world around them.
Although research is still largely anecdotal, it suggests that Yoga training can reduce childhood obesity, improve concentration, and calm the autonomic nervous system. It may also help them cope with physical and emotional disabilities like diabetes or ADHD. When properly taught, it is a low-impact sport with minimal risk of injury and an emphasis on personal improvement rather than competition.
Ten Facts about Yoga for Children
• Yoga teachers usually focus on basics like mindfulness and breathing rather than perfecting poses. Children learn to coordinate long, slow breaths with movements.
• Classes traditionally begin with children sitting in a cross-legged position or lying on a non-slip mat.
• Physical exercises involve gentle motions, including stretching, sitting, standing, bending, twisting, and balancing.
• At the end of the session, children often lie on their backs with their eyes closed while the Yoga instructor leads guided visualizations or asks them to concentrate on their breathing.
• After relaxing, students wiggle their limbs or stretch before standing.
• Children should not practice styles of Yoga that involve intense exercise or “hot” rooms.
• Yoga should always take place in a location geared to the safety of young practitioners; for example, one with safe mats and no incense or candles
• No one, especially a child, should force a pose. Children should move slowly, avoiding postures that could cause injuries.
• Children are safer and more likely to have a positive experience with Yoga instructors who enjoy working with young people and understand the anatomy of growing bodies.
• The true practice of Yoga goes far beyond poses and deep breathing; it is a way of living that can change children’s lives.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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