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Yoga for Children
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Forum Posts: 73
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July 8, 2005 - 3:43 pm
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Below is an interesting article about teaching yoga to children.

Teaching Yoga to Kids - Tips on Helping Children Enjoy Stretching and Breathing Exercises

By Dee Cohen

The benefits of Yoga for adults include aspects such as improving flexibility, coordination and an increased sense of well being. The poses are also known to relieve stress. Yoga for kids can have the same benefits. Kids today lead stressful lives and many do not quite know how to deal with their stress. They worry about their family's financial situation, have pressure often from sports' activities and compete with each other for friends. Practicing yoga can help kids let go of their stress and unwind.

By learning to breathe deeply and stretch, kids learn healthier ways to deal with pressures. Teaching yoga for kids is very similar to teaching yoga to a beginner.Do not try too much right away. Make it fun too and not like academic subjects.Here are some simple tips on teaching yoga for kids.

1. Help kids understand that yoga can be used to relax after an argument with a family member or when something happens that upsets them.

2. With young children, do a lot of animal poses. Kids love to do the lion, frog and camel. They can really feel like a cat doing the cat stretch as well.

3. Start your sessions with simple breathing techniques. One simple exercise is to have the child lay on the floor with arms relaxed at their side.

Then the child should breathe in deep while they imagine air flowing into their lungs and belly. Slow exhalation is next. Have the child feel that they are squeezing all the air out of their body and imagine themselves as a mustard bottle being compressed.

4. Visualization is key to teaching yoga for kids. Start by finding some really simple poses for a child to learn. The elephant is a nice visual pose for a beginner in yoga. While the child is standing, have them bend at the waist with arms hanging loose towards the floor.

Then have the child put both arms together and fingers laced.This looks very much like an elephants trunk and now they can pretend to be an elephant by walking slowly around the room while swinging the trunk from side to side. Kids also like the Downard Dog post. Afterwards have everyone lie down in corpse pose and feel free from daily worries.

5. Patience is the key in the beginning when teaching yoga for kids. Due to our fast paced world, kids may find it difficult to sit still or to learn to control their breathing.

By adding in fun poses and visualizations, the mind won't jump around too much.When teaching yoga for children, you are essentially teaching a beginning student and the situation should be treated as if the child is a beginner. As time goes on, and flexiblity increases, more advanced poses can be introduced such as the shoulder stand and balancing poses such as the tree.

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