By Kaushik Mukherjee
A yoga teacher often says that children are natural yogis.
We don't generally consider children as having stressful lives, but when you think about how busy they are and we are as well, always rushing around to school, sports, lessons and so on, we can begin to realise that they are under major pressure. This can definitely have a negative effect on their lives in many areas.
If you closely watch your children when they are playing and being silly, you too will notice some basic yoga postures, or asanas that children do naturally. The most obvious is the child's pose. Another pose you may see a child take is the Downward facing dog, or to squat very low to the ground. Because children are naturally flexible and open-minded yoga is an ideal form of physical activity that will suit them.
Yoga classes for children that take this multi-disciplinary approach are certainly an excellent learning experience. Kids are provided with the opportunity to explore their innate abilities across many planes: linguistic, logical, visual, musical, kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.
The great challenge in teaching kids is to be able to hold their attention. Fortunately, kids love to be in motion and they love to talk. They can do both of these in a yoga class and they will love playing like various animals, trees, flowers, cobras and warriors. The instructor should allow them to let go and roar in the lion pose, bark in the dog pose, meow in a cat stretch and hiss like a cobra.
In yoga classes for children lessons can be integrated as well. Narrating their ABC's or practicing counting their 123's can be a lot of fun while holding a pose. Children love the release of making sounds and their yoga classes will allow them to connect an auditory experience to a physical sensation. Providing a responsive, creative and loving environment in a yoga class will help children to discover the world on their own and is an optimal method for instruction. Their minds can be engaged as they perform animal and nature asanas to deepen their awareness. When they're snakes, invite them to really imagine that they're just a long spine with no arms and legs. Could you still run or climb a tree? In Tree Pose, ask them to imagine being a giant oak, with roots growing out of the bottoms of their feet. Could you stay in the same position for 100 years?
Yoga classes for children provides benefits like: balance, flexibility, focus, peace, grace, connection, health and well-being can be imparted to children in an interactive and pleasurable way that create the foundation for a life-long practice. Children will be given the occasion to express themselves and learn important principles such as reverence for life and the interdependence of all beings.
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