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The Great Benefits Of Yoga For Children

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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:56 am

Children are naturally radiant aware, and full of innocent wisdom. Yoga helps them maintain their natural radiance; if their light has been dulled by events in their lives it helps them regain their inherent state of being.

Children’s yoga is a natural and healthy way to exercise, relax, focus, and strengthen their mind/body/spirit connection. Our children live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, competitive sports. I have found that yoga can help counter these pressures. When children learn techniques for self-health, relaxation, and inner fulfillment, they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease. Fostering cooperation and compassion -instead of opposition-is a great gift to give to our children.

Yoga games, breath meditations, and deep relaxations are wonderful self-help therapies for hyperactivity and have helped with ADD/ADHD, Autism, and children’s health and well-being. Yoga helps children focus and be aware; relax and balance their emotions more openly. It harmonizes their brains so they can learn. It helps them become more strong, well-coordinated in their body and be self-assured. Yoga helps them just be beautiful that they are.

Yoga integrates storytelling, games, music, language and other arts into complete curriculum that engages the whole child. While playing yoga children move about the room; play; make noises; act out stories; use their own creativity and imagination; pretend to be fun loving animals, recite the children’s yoga ABCs or 123s as they are holding asanas (poses). Children need to discover the world on their own. Telling them to think harder, do it better, or be a certain way because it is good for them is not the optional way. Instead provide loving, responsive, creative environment for them to uncover their own truths. As they perform the various animal and nature asanas, engage their minds to deepen their awareness.

When they hiss like snakes in the Cobra Pose, I invite them to really use imagine that they are long spine with no arms and legs and ask them, “Could you still run or climb a tree?” In the Tree Pose I ask them what type of tree are they and tell them to imagine themselves being a great big giant tree with roots growing out of the bottoms of their feet. I ask them, “Could you stay in the same position for 100 years if we count to 10? If you were to be chopped down, would that be okay? Would it hurt? Why are trees important to our earth?”

When they stretch like a dog (downward dog asana) and imitate how dogs bark, stretch like a cat and meow, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bunny, or stand strong and tall like a mountain, or the courageous brave warrior, they are making a connection between the macrocosm of their environment and microcosm of their bodies. The importance of reverence for all life and the principle of interdependence becomes apparent. Children begin to understand that we are all made of the same “stuff.” We are just different forms.  If we can guide our children while simultaneously opening our hearts and letting them guide us, they will no doubt invite us into a boundless world of wonder and exploration.

During the Meditation part of the yoga class, I have had a wonderful opportunity to work with children who are creative, intuitive, physically and emotionally sensitive and nonconforming. Many of these children have been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and Bipolar Disorder are brought to me by parents who are looking for a drug-free solution. In most cases these labels are neither necessary nor helpful. If a child associates him/herself with words such as disorder and deficit, their self-confidence is affected and they may believe they will be defined by these terms for the rest of their lives.

However, ignoring their symptoms is not the answer either. A child, who is very energetic and has trouble focusing, is usually frustrated and unhappy which will benefit from alternative therapies. Meditation and yoga has proven effective with helping children become more attentive, which begins with a child’s ability to focus on himself. Meditation is a time for children to explore their inner world. Children are fascinated with clouds in the sky, the waves from the ocean and stories from books and television; however, they are most captivated by their own thoughts.

Many adults have trouble opening their inner minds to see the visual images useful meditation. Children, on the other hand are by nature visual and easily hold and explore their inner images. Having taught both adults and children how to mediates, he practices something in his head so later it is easier for him to carry out the particular action or feeling. Meditation also brings into consciousness thoughts the child is unaware of during normal consciousness. It allows the child to see thoughts hidden deep down inside his mind.

For more information on Kids Yoga classes please feel free to email me at minnieslittleyogis@yahoo.com or call me at 1.619.942.1095.

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