By Kimaya Singh
In a yoga teacher training course, many subjects are discussed and among them is the safety of our students in the studio and in their homes. Compared to many other child activities, asana, pranayama and meditation are not the most dangerous activities our kids can practice. However, adult supervision can help prevent children from pushing their limits.
Although there is some concern that children practicing yoga at home might be more susceptible to injury or unsafe practices, these risks are relatively small. Children can manage poses quickly and have little trouble progressing through poses, even those that are more difficult, which many adults struggle with. Despite this tendency in children to successfully practice difficult asanas, practicing at home must be done with safety and caution in mind.
Children and supervising parents should always attend classes that are supervised by a competent yoga instructor before beginning practice at home. This is because it is quite difficult to develop proper breathing and alignment techniques on one’s own; typically, corrections need to be made by an experienced instructor who can identify where the student is going wrong. Typically, attending around twelve classes can prepare children with the necessary basics for safe, at-home practice. However, regular class participation is recommended because of the bonding with other children, proper practice habits, and the life skills students receive in organized classes.
Asanas that require balance, can be risky if children are unfamiliar with balancing exercises or are too young or weak to have developed the necessary equilibrium needed for certain poses. Typically, attending classes or participating in practice with age-appropriate videos can direct children and parental supervisors to a pose series that children can be successful with.
Active and eager children also tend to move too quickly through a pose progression, which places their younger, looser bodies at risk for joint injury or strained muscles and ligaments. Thus, teaching children to take their time and emphasizing the relaxation purpose of yoga is absolutely necessary for at-home yoga practice. It is also a good idea for children to hold poses for 30 seconds or less in favor of doing more repetitions of each pose. If they are asked to hold a pose for too long, their short attention span might cause children to lose interest in correct pose technique.
The benefits of yoga for children include better focus, stronger and more limber bodies and positive behavioral correlations like higher grades in school. Allowing children to practice yoga at home in an informal yet safe setting can allow children access to these benefits.
If parents keep yoga fun and relaxed, encouraging creativity along with proper pose technique, children can release pent-up energy at the same time they give their brains practice at focusing and settling down. A half hour spent in an at-home yoga training session is going to be much more productive for children than taking that time to play video games or watch television or get online.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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