Children's Yoga: Yoga isn’t just for adults

-Nina Sisodia

Regular relaxation can help children manage stress and anxiety while improving their concentration, focus, and listening skills.

Children’s yoga has become increasingly popular in the West and many schools have integrated yoga into their curriculum. Children’s yoga classes are fun, colorful, and interesting. The classes help kids to relax, concentrate, and improve their flexibility.

Benefits
Recent studies found that children’syoga improves:
Behavior
Physical health
Academic performance
Better attitude toward themselves
Reduces feelings of helplessness and aggression
Builds confidence and self esteem

Kid’s yoga classes begin from the age of 4 until 12. Classes are separated into age groups: 4–6, 7–9, 10–12. Young kids from 4–7 have less concentration and most of the class is spent trying to keep their little minds active and interested. A class for little kids aged 4–6 is up to 40 minutes long. During the class, there are theme based stories which are acted out through yoga postures, and mini sequences are taught to the children. Children learn basic breathing exercises along with relaxation, and mindfulness meditation
The older children’s classes are based more on sequences, understanding how their bodies move with postures, learning how to deal with stress and tension i.e., exams, growing up, school work, etc.

Partner work as well as group work is included as this allows them to understand further the importance of teamwork in a supporting role as well as in leadership. Breathing exercises, relaxation, and mindfulness meditation is taught which further aids with concentration, focus, and calmness.

A typical class
Do & Dont’s
Do place your child in the correct age group class so that your child feels comfortable and not intimidated.
Do consider observing a class to see if you’re comfortable with the activities involved, the instructor’s style, the class size, and the environment.

Do look for a class where the children are having fun and receive positive attention from the instructor.
Do advise the instructor if your child has a medical condition or special needs.
Don’t force your child to join the class if they are not happy!

Relaxation
Child stress is on the increase and one in five children have problems including anxiety and behavioral issues.
Regular relaxation helps children manage stress and anxiety while improving their concentration, focus, and listening skills.
Relaxation can also improve creativity and imagination and build confidence and self-esteem.
Relaxation helps release endorphins, helping children feel happy and positive.

It also helps relax muscles and calm the nervous system whilst boosting the immune system so promoting general good health
Relaxation helps calm children’s minds and sharpens concentration and memory retention so helping them focus.
It also stimulates the imagination and so encourages self expression and self confidence.
Regular relaxation can make a huge impact to a child’s life!

‘Under the Sea’ relaxation exercises
Sea breathing
Lie down on your back, put your hand on your tummy and imagine you are breathing in and out like the
waves. Take in a deep soft breath, and breathe out softly. Keep breathing in and out rhythmically like the
tide…coming in and going out…coming in...and going out. Feel yourself becoming more and more relaxed.

Starfish
Lie down on your back, with your legs and arms apart. Stay very still and imagine you are a sleepy starfish resting at the bottom of the ocean. Breathe in and, as you breathe out, relax your arms. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, relax your legs. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, relax your head. See how still you can be at the bottom of the ocean, resting like a sleepy starfish. Say to yourself, ‘I am calm and quiet, I am calm and quiet.’

Relaxing on the beach
Close your eyes, be very still, and imagine you are lying down on the beach. Feel the warm sand underneath your body. You can hear the waves of the sea. Now, very gently, you are going to relax each part of your body. Start with your feet, let your toes completely relax and become soft. Let this feeling spread gently through your feet. Now, squeeze your legs and gently let them go. Feel all the tension in your legs being released as they become relaxed and soft.

Squeeze the muscles in your tummy and let go completely. Stretch your back as long as you can and relax. Can you feel your back sinking into the sand? Now, let your shoulders and neck become soft, as all the tension melts away.

Squeeze your arms as tight as you can and let them go. Allow your arms to feel heavy as they sink into the sand. Squeeze your fingers into a tight fist and now, uncurl them slowly and rest them on the soft, golden sand. Scrunch your face into a tiny ball and let go and completely relax.

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