It is a common misconception that kids should wait to begin Yoga at least when they are 13-14. Yoga isn’t age-restricted. With proper guidance and customized yoga postures, one can start as early as 4.
As this is a rapid growth stage in their life, they perform certain yoga postures knowingly or unknowingly. However, while starting out one should remember the precautions to take before delving their children into it.
Benefits of yoga for the children
Boost’s self-esteem- Apart from their body development, perfecting such activities and doing them regularly give them an esteem boost. They feel more empowered and strong.
Improves concentration– Not only for adults but for children, yoga helps them to concentrate more and maintain balance. Children get distracted easily, hence, yoga helps them to be aware of their surroundings.
Develops strength – It is a no-brainer yoga develops their strength and flexibility. The more they move, the more they become active which likely affects their strength.
Increases mindfulness– It is very important to teach children about their mental health and stability. Yoga makes them more calm and composed.
Inculcates discipline- With slow and steady poses, children learn to be disciplined. They learn that there’s no use in being impulsive and express themselves calmly.
At what age should children start yoga?
Kids can begin practicing Yoga as soon as they grasp the directions. Children aged 4 and up should be able to understand and follow the teacher’s directions.
However, some may consider the age of 8 to be a better stage to start teaching yoga. This age signifies the end of childhood. Even contemporary scientists acknowledge that this is a crucial period in the physiological and psychological development of children as they become adults.
“Seven years is generally considered a good age, but you have waited till nine. So, it is time to start, because it is important that a child is offered many things and that they are able to make an intelligent choice about them. If you do not give them these options, they are being brainwashed to believe that what they are exposed to is all there is in the world. The choice is only between soft drinks and pizza, nothing else!”
Yoga postures for children
Here are some of the postures which are suitable for children. One must keep the precautions in mind
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
It is in the name. Easy yet relaxing. Simply sit on your heel and bend forward. Stretch your arms so as to touch your forehead to the floor. Your back should feel the stretch. Hold the position.
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
It is possible that your child has already done this one knowingly or unknowingly. Just ask them to lie on their stomach and lift their head up with the support of their hands. Ask them to keep their hands straight and at their shoulder’s distance. Hold it for a few seconds. You can ask them to make a “hiss” sound while doing this pose to make it more interesting and engaging for the children.
Vrikshasana (tree pose)
Let the children know that they are a tree now. They need to stand still and calm themselves. For this, they are required to stand straight and lift their left leg and rest it on the right thigh. Stretch their arms up above their head and hold the pose. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Not only this pose will help their muscles stretch but it will also help in increasing their height. They are required to stand on their heels and stretch their arms in the air, hold the pose and come back on the complete foot. Tell them to inhale while stretching and exhale while coming back.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
This is always done at the end of the session. Simply lie down on your back and relax. Ask them to lie down straight and calm their thoughts. This will help their muscles relax and increase their concentration. You can ask them to close their eyes and listen to the far held sound and then ask them to tell you what they observed.
Precautions to keep in mind
Even though children’s bodies are flexible and they are active in nature, there are still some points to keep in mind to expose them to these exercises.
Try not to practice extremely tough yoga poses.
Poses that may bend bones like Padmasana should be avoided.
Do not overdo the poses.
Make the session enjoyable that will encourage them to do it more often.
Make the sessions according to their age groups.
Yoga teaches kids to listen to their hearts. Yoga teaches you to focus your attention within, which is essential for both children and adults. Yoga strengthens children’s emotional and stress resilience. It provides them with self-regulation skills that will help them enhance their mood.
At Yog Gurukul, we believe in encouraging children’s creativity and curiosity. We concentrate on their psychological growth. As a result, we’ve created Krida Yoga and Family Yoga. We provide seminars in which parents, children, teens, and adults may all participate.