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April 27, 2015
Padmasana ( Lotus) is often identified as the centerpiece for Hatha yoga. It is one of the classic poses, and almost recognized by everyone even those who don't know much of yoga. Though it is classified as an advanced yoga posture, it could be done with ease by many children. This pose is often used for meditation. Some might find it a bit difficult to do this yoga (mostly beginners). People who had a knee injury should consult a guru before giving it a shot.
Steps: Get in to Dandasana (The staff pose). Relax your thigh muscles, make sure your tail bone is pointing outside and slightly concave. Now bend the right knee and bring the right foot over the left thigh (A word of caution, don't wear slippery trousers) close to the hip region. The bottom surface of your feet should face up. Once this becomes stable, bend the left knee and bring your left foot over the right thigh close to the high region. The center portion should look like the letter 'X'. The bottom surface of the left foot should face up.
Rest both your arms on the respective knee. Take long breath and close your eyes. You can stay in this pose for 2 to 10 minutes (There are people who can sit in this pose for hours together, as this is considered to be one of the most comfortable yoga poses). There are hundreds of yogasanas derived from padmasana, one such is Yogamudrasana, which is very important to raise the kundalini. With arms behind your back, bend forward to touch the floor with your nose and forehead. While doing so, your sit bones should not rise from the floor. The chest should rest on your lap.
Benefits of Lotus posture: It opens up the hips, increases flexibility, increases focus and concentration and strengthens the knee joints and ankle joints.
April 27, 2015
How to Teach Yoga to Children of all Ages
Yoga makes adults stronger, calmer, and more focused, so it makes sense they would want to pass these benefits on to their children. Yoga is a wonderful activity for the youngsters, but there are things to remember when introducing kids to yoga.
Always make sure you are approaching the practice from an age-appropriate standpoint. There are techniques to engage specific age groups safely and wisely, while keeping it fun.
Postpartum/Babies: Baby yoga is a calming and bonding activity for mom and baby. It is a very gentle series of stretching and massage movements in tune with soothing music or chanting.
Toddlers: Mixing yoga and toddlers has its challenges, but can also be rewarding and fun. Do not expect toddlers to hold poses for longer than 30 seconds. Yoga is fun for this age group when turned into a game like a trip through the jungle. A simple game of follow the leader while engaging in easy poses like lion or a child-friendly frog pose can bring smiles and giggles to these young ones. Also, make sure these kids don't have full tummies before beginning, and keep class time to about twenty minutes.
Grade School: The longer attention span of grade school children enables them to hold poses over a minute and learn simple sequences. They are usually open to engaging in specific breathing and relaxation techniques. You still need to make it fun for them by breaking the class down into easily digestible segments.
Tween/Teen: This age group wants to be heard. It's a good idea to ask them for suggestions or ideas about what they want to achieve from the class. A five-minute question and answer session before the class, which allows them to provide input will make them feel more involved with the practice.
Special Needs: Research is emerging that shows autistic children can benefit from a yoga practice. Often children with autism show delays in motor skill development and yoga strengthens muscles and improves balance and coordination. Autistic children will also benefit from the calming aspect of yoga. The first step to remember when engaging an autistic child in yoga is to take the time to develop a bond, and establish trust with the child.
Children's yoga is one of the fastest growing specialty fields in the yoga community. The primary keys to success are keeping the children engaged, while creating a safe, low-pressure, age appropriate environment.
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