It's Y for Yoga
It is a common knowledge that yoga is an elixir of life; it has the innate ability to heal, strengthen, and transform, not just the body, soul but mind too. But to add to the fun, introduce toddlers, and kids to yoga as a fitness regime, good for all reasons and seasons.
The bustling pace of children’s lives have a profound effect on their tender minds, sometimes not for the better. In today’s digitized world, with shrinking spaces along with parents’ time and attention, our kids are more reliant on technology which exerts immense pressure to precede each other with the latest. Yoga at an early age helps sculpt the young bodies and minds developing self-esteem, a sense of gratification, fostering cooperation and compassion instead of opposition.
Bend, so you don’t break
I remember reading somewhere, yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn on your way down. Indeed, yoga not only nourishes the body, but it also has the power to nourish the mind and soul. Practising yoga is not just to learn yoga; it is to learn the art of living, which is the most precious gift we can give to our generation Y.
The origin of yoga has been dated back to the pre-Vedic era. The ultimate goal of yoga is liberation. Liberation from various inhibitions, physical, mental and emotional. It is a disciplined approach to attaining the goal, learning the technique of controlling body and mind. It renders enormous benefits to children, enhancing their strength, flexibility, coordination and body awareness and soothes and calms their minds improving concentration.
Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem, a sense of inner fulfillment, fostering cooperation and compassion instead of opposition, thus sculpting young minds and bodies. In this process, children meld with their inner self attaining harmony within and cohere with the natural world that encompasses them.
Benefits of yoga
There are a host of benefits that yoga imparts to children, but the most important ones are:
1. Strengthening and energizing: The involvement of the different muscles while forming various poses builds the strength of the muscles and provides energy to them. Strong bodies help them deal with incorrect posture due to carrying heavy school bags or playing video games etc, strengthens bones and joints, improves digestion, helps maintain healthy body weight.
2. Balancing: The formation of poses which require balancing, children need to focus more to maintain balance. While concentrating on maintaining the balance, they evoke a sense of calmness and stillness of mind, thus experiencing some meditative feeling.
3. Breathing: Deep Breathing exercises relax the body and mind, along with enhancing the lung capacity and resulting in the release of healthy hormones.
4. Integration: When children perform a string of poses, they learn to move with ease and thus understand the coordination of various muscles and bones, leading to the integration of movement.
5. Awareness: While forming different poses of yoga and breathing exercises, children learn more about their body, structure and movements. It creates an awareness among them about their bodies hence leading to better postures, improved appetite, better physical activity and a relaxed mind.
Enhances physical strength
Improves stress management
Reinforces focus and concentration
Builds confidence and self-esteem
Improves coordination and flexibility
Top kid friendly Yoga Poses:
1. Bow pose – Dhanurasana
2. Bridge pose – Setubandhasana
3. Cat pose – Marjaryasana
4. Cobra pose – Bhujangasana
5. Corpse pose – Savasana
6. Cow Pose – Bitilasana
7. Downward facing dog pose – Adho mukh svanasana
8. Easy Pose – Sukhasana
9. Hero pose – Virasana
10. Locust pose – Salabhasana
11. Tree Pose – Vrksasana
12. Upward Salute – Urdhva Hastasana
13. Upward Facing Dog pose – Urdhva Mukh Svanasana
14. Warrior Pose – Virabhadrasana
Yoga poses not meant for children
Yoga, in general, is very good for children. Though it will not be incorrect to say that a little caution should be exercised in choosing the yoga poses for children. Children’s body is tender hence exercises like headstands, shoulder stands and rock and roll should be avoided as it may exert undue pressure on their tender spine. Also, children should not be forced unduly to perform yoga. It is imperative to understand that each child is different in temperament, physical attributes and capacity to sustain physical challenges. Hence, they should tread gently towards yoga poses and do just as much as they can easily perform. Children should be encouraged to perform yoga under expert supervision and any pre-existing medical condition should be brought to notice to the yoga trainer.
Some basic Do’s and Don’t for beginners:
1. A well-rested body: Best results of yoga can be achieved with a body that has rested well overnight with sound sleep.
2. Empty stomach: Do make sure to have not taken any heavy meals before doing yoga, preferably empty stomach.
3. Clean and ventilated environment: Yoga should be done in a clean and airy room with the inflow of fresh air and sunshine.
4. Yoga is not a hurried affair: Yoga should not be done hurriedly, do each pose/asana at ease and in a proper way. Do not just be in a hurry to finish it off.
5. Do not hold urine: During yoga practice, toxins from the body is excreted through urine, hence do not hold the urge to pass urine.
6. Keep yourself hydrated: During yoga if you feel thirsty, you can take small sips of water. Do not dehydrate yourself.
7. Sweat is okay: During yoga, you can sweat a little. Let the sweat dry up naturally, though if it is little more, gently wipe it off with a soft cloth.
1. No immediate showers: Do not take a shower immediately after performing yoga. Take a gap of at least 30-45 minutes between yoga and showers.
2. Do not overstrain yourself: After doing yoga, do not perform strenuous exercises.
3. Refrain when sick: When you are ill or have suffered sprains, muscular pains, fractures, refrain from doing yoga. The idea is not to exert the body.
4. Children should not be forced: Children should be gently convinced towards yoga and should not be forced. Children should first start with simple breathing and simple exercises then slowly proceed further.
5. No yoga in a closed room: Try not to do yoga in a completely closed room. The room in which you perform yoga should be airy and well ventilated with fresh air.
“The key is to keep it simple and short. Kids are much more flexible than an adult, but they are not so swift initially. Become a kid yourself, teach them in a fun way and correct their postures but do that by degrees. Never force them so that they don’t take it as a workout or as a forced drill. It should be fun for them. There are many innovative ways to make the staid asanas interesting for children. I have added some twist. I ask them to become a butterfly, and they show me butterfly asana, to become a cow, and they show me cow pose or to become a tree, and they show me tree pose. I also add storytelling and some hula hoop to fill in the rest time between two asanas because it’s not easy for kids to follow a long yoga flow.”
Neha Bangia Gulati, blogger, fitness trainer and winner of Mrs India Delhi NCR 2018 and Mrs India Superfit Goddess 2018 titles, and a mother of two, Evan and Mira.
Some yoga centers across the county:
1. Yoga Zoo
2. Akshar Yoga
3. Yog Gokul
979, 5th Floor,
Keerthi’s Cloud 9,
Near Maharaja Junction,
Koramangala 4th Block,
4. Kranti Yoga Community
Beach Resort House No 135
5. Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Himachal Pradesh 176219
6. The Yoga Chakra
E -297, GK2, Main Road,
New Delhi 110048
7. Iyengar Yoga Centre
87, North Ex Model Town,
Phase 2, Model Town,
8. Dibakar Yogarathi Institute
Garia, Laskarpur Peyara Bagan,
9. Sattva Yoga Studio
249 Jodhpur Park,
10. Monad Yoga Studio
No: 5, 2nd Avenue,
11. DYFC Dharamvir Yoga Fitness Classes
#3184, Sector 28D,
Top Floor, Near Pal Dhabha,