Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Reducing Violence with Kids Yoga Sessions

By Faye Martins

Why is Aura Wellness Center devoting so much energy toward "Tiki's Yoga Journey?" Are they wasting time with all this technology and 3D entertainment for Yoga teachers, students, parents and children? I contacted the team at Aura Wellness Center to find out what they are up to and why they are working on this project.

At Aura, virtual 3D sequencing was created for two reasons.
1. As a teacher's aide to help with creative sequencing ideas. 2. To develop our 3D artist's talent for an child-friendly app that will drastically reduce violence over a generation. If Yoga were accessible to every child on this planet, in multiple languages, we would achieve our objective of preventing violence through Yogic education. It is much easier to invest in children today than to try to repair broken adults tomorrow. The ultimate purpose is to make a positive impact in the lives of children and give them skills for coping with stress.

With violence and bullying reaching epidemic proportions in both the real world and cyberspace, many people are looking for ways to reduce violent outbursts in children. Yoga is proving to be an inexpensive but effective solution to violence problems and has shown great promise. By allowing youngsters to learn control over both their physical body and emotional processes, yoga provides a much safer outlet for negative energy and thoughts than many other activities. Here is a look at why and how the practice helps children.

Like other sports and physical activities, yoga provides youngsters with a chance to move their bodies. Doing so expends energy that can release itself in unacceptable ways if not properly channeled. Due to its noncompetitive nature, however, yoga is able to offer many of the benefits of sports without the anxiety and apprehension that gym classes and team sports induce in the less physically fit.




Physical activity is also known to increase the body's production of endorphins, and yoga does the same. This release of endorphins creates a feeling of happiness and well being while strengthening and toning the body. The positive feelings gained from yoga movements and exercises may help eliminate negative feelings that could lead to violent thoughts and behaviors.

Even when the endorphin rush of yoga isn't enough to counteract all of a child's negative feelings, it still teaches him or her how to deal with those feelings. The meditation aspect of the practice allows instructors to lead children through a series of meditations and exercises designed to help them find inner peace and learn how to let go of negative feelings before they become overwhelming or overpowering.

Based on feedback from students participating in yoga classes, the practice is especially beneficial to those in low-income families and dense urban environments. These children rarely get much time or space to themselves but report that yoga gives them this. Learning yoga and meditation provides these children with a way to access their own private inner world when they need a level of space and quiet that their external environment is unable to provide. Unfortunately, school districts in urbanized and poor areas often cut funding to programs like music and yoga instruction due to a lack of budget, leaving volunteers to step in and help students in need of physical and emotional outlets.


It has already been shown that kids who practice yoga are more focused and engaged in school and have fewer behavioral problems. While more research is needed before it can be conclusively stated that yoga reduces violent tendencies in youth, it is certainly a logical place to start.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Gaining Strength With Kids Yoga

appealing to children
By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 500

Adults from all walks of life and varying physical abilities are discovering the many benefits of practicing yoga and they're not alone. Children as young as three can do simple yoga exercises; in addition to helping a child improve balance, coordination, and body strength, yoga exercises are something that parents and children can do together. In addition to a calming, pleasant exercise, yoga provides opportunities for parents to provide instruction and build trust and communication bonds with their children. And yoga is not just appropriate for small child/parent groups within the home. Larger groups of children respond well to yoga in both classroom and studio settings.



What Children Get From Yoga

In addition to improvements in general body handling and strength, children have responded well to yoga exercises as both a form of physical and occupational therapy. The props often used in yoga seem to be especially appealing to children and yoga's efforts to bring balance and tranquility to both body and mind is helpful to children as well. In the aftermath of the tragic 2012 elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, one yoga instructor mother taught what she thought would be a one time class at the targeted school. Children and instructors there were so pleased (especially with breathing and meditation exercises), it's now a weekly event for the entire school, with plans to expand these classes to upper grades, as well.

Cautions About Yoga And Children

Although the benefits from yoga are similar for adults and children, parents and instructors should be aware that these two groups require different instructional approaches. Small children have shorter attention spans, and get frustrated (and upset) more easily than older children and adults. While children are more flexible than adults, they lack an adult's body strength, balance, and coordination, all of which can potentially lead to injury if exercises aren't properly done. To avoid issues, instructors should offer age appropriate classes. Toddlers shouldn't be mixed in with kindergarteners, for example. Always start with very basic poses for all levels, and communicate to children that bodies should never hurt while practicing yoga moves, and that modifications or adjustments can be made to avoid this.

Good Yoga Strength Exercises For Children

1. Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog): This is a great stability exercise for kids. Have children start from a hands and knees position on the mat, then lift up. Have them keep feet flat on the mat to avoid falls. Bending knees in order to do this is perfectly acceptable.

2. Vrkasana (tree): After finding a good stance on the mat, children slowly raise one leg and rest their ankle against the opposite inner ankle. More experienced children can raise the opposite leg higher, but don't let them rest the foot against the knee joint.


3. Ardha Chandrasana (crescent moon): This exercise provides balanced flexibility on both sides of the torso, but younger children will need help both with appropriate arm extensions and breathing.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
See our selection of Online Yoga teacher training courses.
See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga teacher certification courses.
Please feel free to share our posts with your friends, colleagues, and favorite social media networks.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kids Yoga for Breath Awareness

Tiki teaches kids yoga
By Faye Martins


Bringing awareness to the breath is a fundamental part of any yoga practice, but it is also important for our lives off of our mats. As adults, we feel the physiological and emotional benefits of breath awareness, but children can also benefit from conscious breathing.

Pranayama practices encourage us to elongate our breath. The way that a person manipulates breathing dictates the way that energy flows through the body. For children, who are bombarded with over stimulating environments, mastery of the breath can allow them to self-regulate their behavior. Anxiety reduction and impulse-control are two of a multitude of benefits that children can receive from understanding how to use their breath.

Many of the same pranayama practices that are beneficial for adults can be helpful for children. When teaching breathing techniques to children, the presentation is important. The techniques can be taught as part of a kid's yoga sequence, or they may be explored independently of a physical practice. Keep the information light and fun to make it more accessible for young minds. Assess whether the complexity of the breathing technique is age-appropriate. For very young children, teaching them to slow the breath is more important than focusing on whether they are breathing through their mouth or nostrils. Layers of complexity can be added later.

A common way to encourage diaphragmatic breathing for children is through the help of a small stuffed animal. Ask the child to lie flat on his or her back. Place the stuffed animal on the belly and encourage him or her to try to lift the toy with their breath without allowing it to topple. After the child masters deep breathing like this, call attention to how this breath affects his or her feelings. Through this simple technique, children can learn to harness the power of the breath to handle any number of stressful situations.


Another useful breathing technique to teach children is Brahmari (Bee) Breath. To teach children to adopt this method, they need only to sit up straight, inhale deeply, and then exhale with a buzzing sound. This pranayama will reduce anxiety. The longer they can buzz like bees on the exhale, the greater the calming effect of this breath will be.


Breath is a life-giving and life-living tool. A child that is capable of regulating his or her breath can control his or her energy. Brahmari Breath and deep breathing with a stuffed animal helper are two of many breathing exercises appropriate for children. Learning pranayama at an early age gives children the opportunity to reap the benefits of breath awareness for a lifetime.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
See our selection of Online Yoga teacher training courses.
See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga teacher certification courses.
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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kids Yoga for Anatomy Awareness

By Faye Martins

If you are a parent who enjoys participating in yoga exercise at home or in a class, then make sure to get your children involved in yoga. Not only can your children benefit from yoga movements that will increase their muscle strength and flexibility, but also, your children can learn more about their own anatomy.

Preschoolers Learn About Their Knees and Elbows

You can have your children perform yoga at home, but you can also suggest this form of exercise to your child’s teacher. Preschool directors want to find fun ways for students to learn about their body parts, and with yoga, a child must understand the directions from a teacher about bending their elbows or knees for certain poses.



Improving Body Balance and Coordination

If you have a child who is slightly clumsy, then yoga can teach them how to stand, walk or run better. An essential part of yoga is aligning the vertebrae in the spine to stand upright before beginning to move the legs and arms. With frequent yoga sessions, your child’s balance and coordination will improve.

Understanding Their Lungs

In addition to improvements in coordination and balance, yoga teaches children more about their internal anatomy. An important part of yoga exercise is breathing, and your child may never have considered how their breathing affects their body. Learning where the lungs are located inside their body can help a child to understand their own emotional anxieties that lead to breathing too fast.



Protecting the Body’s Joints

Your child might not understand why they need to protect their joints with knee or elbow pads while riding a bicycle or playing soccer, but in a yoga class, a teacher can explain the importance of each joint in the body. With certain yoga poses and movements, a child can see how these types of joints work:

• Saddle
• Pivot
• Ellipsoidal
• Gliding
• Ball-and-socket
• Hinge

Learning How the Muscles Move Inside the Body

During yoga movements and poses, your child can see how some of the muscles move underneath their skin. Yoga exercise also helps to tone a child’s muscles, making it easier to notice how some muscles extend while others flex. If your child struggles with weight issues, then building muscle strength will help them to burn additional calories, helping to prevent damage to their sensitive joints.

Understanding Their Skeletal Structure


Children must listen carefully to an instructor as they explain how to move or position their legs, arms, feet and hands while participating in a yoga class. Your child may not realize that they have over 200 bones in their body until they begin to watch a teacher and other students demonstrate a difficult pose or movement.



© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
See our selection of Online Yoga teacher training courses.
See our testimonials to find out what our graduates have to say about our selection of online yoga teacher certification courses.
Please feel free to share our posts with your friends, colleagues, and favorite social media networks.