By Kimaya Singh
Yoga is a wonderful way for children to stay fit and healthy. Today, 18 per cent of children between the age of six and 11 are obese, while one-third of children are overweight. Studies have also found that yoga can have emotional benefits as well, including greater optimism and less reactive nature. Mentally, it increases a child’s focus, helps with concentration and improves their quality of sleep. Academic performance has also been found to improve when students are doing yoga.
These benefits are wonderful, but as a yoga teacher it is important you keep your children safe during yoga challenges. Children often push themselves too far, including during exercises, and that can lead to injury. It is important that children in your class are safe, because as long as they are safe with their challenges, they will continue to come to classes to get fit and create a pattern of health that stays with them for years to come.
Many young children won’t be able to do the movements or postures that adults can, because they may lack the strength and coordination to do so. Children have flexibility, but a child with flexibility alone needs supervision. As a teacher, there are other alternative poses that you can have children try in the yoga class, including:
1. Rock Pose: This pose involves the children sitting on their feet with their palms resting on the thighs.
2. Child’s Pose: This pose involves sitting down on heels and resting the forehead on the floor with arms at the side.
3. Cow Pose: In this pose children positioned with hands and knees on the floor, with knees hip-width apart.
4. Dog Pose: This pose involves children curling toes under and pushing with hands and feet as hips are lifted up.
5. Puppy Pose: For this pose, the child will lower the hips from the dog pose and balance on the balls of the feet and hands.
In order to keep children’s yoga challenges safe during the class, you should take into consideration the attention span of the children, as well as their energy level. Obviously, make sure the children warm up before they start the yoga. This will help loosen up their bodies for the yoga session. One of the most important things to do is to set limits for children depending on how old they are. These limits can be similar to:
1. Children below the age of six should spend only one minute on each pose and the yoga session itself should last no longer than 15 minutes.
2. Children over the age of six should hold poses for 90 seconds at most, and the yoga session should last no longer than 25 minutes.
Above all, in terms of safety, the best thing you can do is to supervise the children doing yoga challenges at all times. This is important because you can make sure the children do not attempt poses they are not ready for, which could injure them. You can also prevent them from forcing their bodies into a harmful position.
As a yoga teacher, you don’t need to worry too much on alignment when dealing with children. The two things you should ask yourself are whether or not the children are having fun and are they doing yoga in a safe manner. There is no need to be picky about the poses as a result. The most important thing is that you want to give the children a positive experience in yoga. That positive experience will foster a love of yoga in them, which will keep them living a yoga lifestyle well into adulthood, keeping them mentally and physically fit.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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