What is yoga?
Yoga (meaning union or yoke) is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature — body, mind, and spirit — in the pursuit of inner harmony,with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Yoga’s rising popularity as a form of physical exercise can be attributed to its basic stretching advantages and improved body awareness, with the added component of a mind-body connection.
What isn’t yoga?
Many people wrongly believe that practicing yoga is a form of Hindu religious worship, disseminating religious and meditation principles, because of the use of mantra chanting, such as “om”.To dispel the notion, most yoga teachers use generic terms for the poses, like “tree”,” cat”, “crow” and not the Sanskrit names. They do this in order to avoid any religious or cultural messages that could shift the focus from the immense benefits of the exercises.
Why do they need yoga?
We tend to think about our childhood as being the most care-free time of our life. In truth, kids today live in this fast-paced world where they have to keep up with growing competition at school, peer pressure, the stages of growing up, staying involved in extracurricular activities and meeting the expectations of their family and teachers.
Yoga can help counter these pressures, because by learning techniques for relaxation and self-health kids are more prepared to deal with life’s challenges. What’s more is that because yoga fosters cooperation and compassion, instead of opposition, it enables children to respond differently to the world around them, in a way that is more beneficial for them.
Yoga is beneficial to children of all ages, but it has been found to be particularly so for kids with special needs. Studies have shown that yoga benefits children with autism and ADHD. Practicing yoga regularly reduced kids’ aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity, because it played to the strengths of kids with autism while also reducing stress
The great part is that, as a kid, you don’t really need props to practice yoga. So once they learned all the poses they can do them pretty much anywhere, a cat-cow in the living room, a tree pose in the park and so on.
Yoga benefits for kids
● Flexibility and strength
● Discipline and responsibility
● Enhanced balance and coordination
● Increased self esteem
● Present moment awareness
● Relaxed state of mind
Yoga for kids? Here’s everything you need to know(2)
We all know that yoga is good for adults, and we stated, based on all evidence, that it is also highly beneficial for kids.
How early should kids start practicing yoga?
Children can begin as early as age three or four, especially if it is done with a parent. However, in India, the “home” of yoga, children start to officially practice yoga at 8, when they have a ritual of leaving childhood. That’s when they learn key sequences like the sun salutation. This age is also recognized by modern scientists as a crucial milestone for physiological and psychological development of children transitioning into adult life. But this decision is entirely you and your child’s. You could start early, doing a little child-parent yoga at home or take your child to a yoga studio straight on.
How often should they practice?
It’s not like there’s a recommended number of sessions per month. How often a kid should practice yoga depends on his or her age, physical state and synergy with other activities in his or her week. The important thing to keep in mind is consistency. It is better for your child to practice yoga once a week than sporadically. This will cultivate discipline and result in great physical, physiological and emotional benefits like enhanced compassion, mindfulness, generosity, focus, strength, and flexibility.
For how long does a yoga session for kids last?
The length of a practice depends on the age of the child. The greatest challenge with children is to hold their attention long enough to teach them the benefits of yoga: stillness, balance, flexibility, focus, peace, grace, connection, health, and well-being. Small children tend to get distracted pretty easily so their yoga sessions last for as long as they are engaged. If you want to do a home practice with your kid, just try various lengths of time and see what is too little and what too much. One tip is to use the name of the poses to keep their interest. Instead of just naming the pose, assume the role: let the dog bark and the cat meow. If there are any physical limitations for you or your child, you should consult a yoga teacher. He or she can help you adapt or modify the poses so that you can practice in spite of the limitations.