Yoga for children
Yoga is not just for adults and the debilitated; it is a great way to usher tiny tots into a healthy regimen.
Parents invariably do not pay much attention to the physical fitness of five-year-olds, as it is widely believed that children who cross the toddler stage are physically active anyway. That may indeed be true in most cases; but it is not necessary that they will sustain that lead for a long time. Soon other pressures - like sedentary habits required for academic work, and irregular and insufficient dietary intake - are bound to catch up and whittle away that advantage.
In such a scenario, it is absolutely essential that you inculcate the habit of physical exercise - as distinct from sports and playground activities - in your child. There is no better way to ensure this than to teach your child Yoga. Yoga moves beyond physical exercise and is a great tool for calming and controlling the mind and the senses. This, as you'll agree, is more relevant in the case of children who, almost without exception, are hyperactive and excitable by nature and need to be reined in.
Yogasanas are unique postures that involve stretching and bending which help in relaxing tensed or contracted body muscles. These poses carried out in slow, rhythmic repetition are extremely beneficial for toning the body and massaging the internal organs. They help in improving the overall immunity by restoring circulatory, respiratory and digestive vitality. It helps wayward children to get centered and more in tune with their inner selves, even if they may not realize it as such.
Yoga is a very gentle form of exercise and there is not much fear of injury or of overdoing it. But it must be underscored here that the postures are highly precise, which need to be synchronized with proper breathing, and therefore need to be practiced methodically. It is best done under the supervision of a Yoga teacher.
Yoga is best taught in school, but if your child's school doesn't than you can teach him at home. It serves a great way to bond with your child, too. Alternatively, you can get his friends or neighborhood children together for a fun-and-games session of yoga to kindle interest in them.
Children can start yoga from age five. A 15 - 20 minute session is enough to get them started. This can be gradually increased to half an hour or more for older children. Starting from simple animal postures to meditating with the corpse pose, small children can enter the rich world of Yogasanas which will help them establish the body-mind-spirit connection. Without doubt, this will see them sail through every sphere of life smoothly.