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No matter what the age, yoga is an ideal way for all to limber up joints and muscles and feel generally better and more flexible. If the yoga student is a child, there are a number of considerations that should be kept in mind when attempting new positions. The range of motion of a child can sometimes seem endless, but they are still able to get muscle tears and joint injuries just as other age groups are.
The one thing that should be considered when placing a child in a yoga class is the size of the class. The yoga teacher will need to be able to keep his or her eyes on every student. While a new posture will need to be modeled by the teacher in order to show students how it is done, once the position is demonstrated, the teacher needs to keep a close eye on how the students are doing. Kids yoga instructors must walk around the room, help students find the best alignment and show them how to get the most out of the position without getting hurt.
Overstretching and hyper extending muscles and tendons are quite common with inexperienced students. Be sure to show your students the best ways to practice asanas without incurring injuries. Parents should reinforce the fact that if the student presses their muscles and joints too hard, they can get seriously hurt. Slow and steady will result in greater and better outcomes.
Another thing that the teacher should be aware of is any pre-existing conditions that the child may have. Be sure to have a thorough interview with the parents before starting any yoga lessons. Knowing about health conditions before starting classes will ensure that the child will not be asked to perform any moves or positions that they are not physically able to do. It can also aid the teacher in formulating lessons and positions that may help a child to improve his or her condition and become stronger.
Kids yoga is not a sport, but like any other physical activity the participants should be sure to warm up their bodies and muscles before commencing the exercise. This should consist of a series of movements and stretches that limber up the body and make it ready for the asanas to be performed during that class. This will help to reduce the number of injuries and potential harm that may otherwise occur.
Yoga warm ups are a great tool for children to feel better and limber the body up in order to prevent injury and harm. Being sure to perform all movements within the range of ability of the student will produce the best outcome for all involved.
Handle With Care - Useful Tips for a Safe Child Yoga Practice
The practice of yoga is a wonderful activity for children, but as with any physical activity presented to young people, guidelines and precautions will enable you to provide a safe, injury-free experience.
A couple of years ago, a YouTube video surfaced of a woman swinging a baby around like a sack of potatoes and calling it baby yoga. This video met with outrage and horror by many, but none more than yoga teachers and experienced practitioners, who were researching this field in order to organize classes or explore the specialty field of youth yoga for their own children.
Clearly, the controversial video does not depict what baby or child yoga is about, but it serves as a reminder that some supposedly responsible adults do not always understand the limitations of young developing bodies.
Before you decide to introduce a young person to a physical activity, always remember that children's muscles and bones are still soft and in the active growth phase, therefore certain safeguards are necessary to prevent injuries.
The instructor or parent should be present and fully aware when working with children. Yogis understand the limits of their bodies, but often children do not, and loose joints combined with naturally competitive enthusiasm can prompt them to push their bodies beyond safe measures.
The American Yoga Association issued warnings stating children under 16 practicing yoga are at risk for developmental issues due to the pressure that yoga asanas put on various glands in the body. For this reason, children should never hold poses as long as adults do.
Instructors should not introduce upside down postures to small children. It is imperative to be especially careful with the neck and shoulders when teaching yoga positions to kids. In addition, intensive yoga like Bikram, conducted at high temperatures is dangerous for little bodies that dehydrate quickly.
Another important reminder is that yoga cannot replace cardiovascular activity, which is essential for growing children and necessary for burning fat and improving metabolism. Make sure yoga is only one part of a child's exercise regimen.
Yoga is a wonderful activity for children, but the adults involved must follow guidelines to make it a beneficial and enjoyable experience for the child. If you are thinking about getting into this specialty field of yoga as an instructor, or working with your own child at home, it would be wise to do your research and be sure you understand all the necessary precautions for a safe practice.
One last thing: In comparison to the many unsupervised activities we practiced as kids, yoga is quite safe. Stunt biking, football, soccer, street hockey, wrestling, gymnastics and martial arts are far more dangerous, even when children are supervised, but yoga teachers have special training courses for working with kids. Just because we already have a good record is no reason why we can't try for no injuries at all. Children need to be 100% safe in a yoga studio.
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