Introducing Children to Yoga can Start them on the Right Path

There is a tendency to think of childhood as a time of carefree fun and laughter.  Other than the occasional math text anxiety, what in a child’s life can cause stress?

Well, think back to your own childhood.  Feeling overloaded with homework assignments, pressure to compete with other children in school and sports, lots of after-school obligations.  While these problems may not be on a par with the problems you may have as an adult, but to a child, they may be overwhelming.

But just as you have discovered the benefits of yoga to deal with pressure, children can also benefit from the cleansing practice.

Yoga experts and some child psychologists claim that yoga can help kids cope with any number of stressful situations such as school problems, peer pressure, and self-consciousness, and also teach them self-control and improve their mobility and coordination.

Also, yoga has helped children suffering from attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, conditions that cause children to seek constant movement and stimulus.  By practicing yoga, and learning the tools for discipline, can help children overcome the compulsions associated with ADD and hyperactivity.

However, initially getting children to join in a yoga session is a challenging first step.  Even for children not suffering from conditions like ADD, their general restlessness may make getting them to sit and meditate a difficult chore.  And just because a parent has an interest in yoga won't automatically mean that a child will have the same interest automatically.

A number of yoga experts think that the best way to get children interested in yoga is to let them see you participating and enjoying it, rather than forcing it on them.  When children witness their parents enjoying yoga on a daily basis, in addition to seeing the calming effect it can have on their parents, they will  be more likely to develop a curiosity in the practice.

Many yoga instructors say that a child witnessing a parent performing yoga in the house will raise their interest as well.  The natural curiosity of children, experts say, will make them want to try some of the more "fun" positions in the practice.  Headstands and certain balancing poses, many of which mimic the games the play outside, will spark their interest in trying the poses.

When parents see their children developing an interest in the yoga poses and movements, parents can begin to show them the mental aspects of yoga.  Yoga instructors recommend beginning with breathing exercises that can teach them to relax.  Next, try poses such as the Warrior pose and the Tree pose, two movements that can teach them confidence, calmness and balance.  The idea, the experts say, is getting children to go beyond the mere movements and to get them to think about what the poses represent.  Does the Warrior pose make them feel like a confident warrior?  Find out if the Tree pose makes them feel more poised and proud.  The goal, the experts say, is to get them to mentally identify with the poses and the emotions that they create.

By combining the two feelings, experts say, children will learn how to connect their mind and body, which can bring an improvement in many aspects of their life, from school to outdoor activities.  Children who learn to make the connection between the two, the experts state, will learn to develop confidence in their abilities.

At this stage of their learning, other aspects of meditation and yoga can be introduced to them, such as chants (which play on a child's natural instinct to sing and chant) and the development of an awareness of the world around them.  By getting your child to become aware of the world around them, the sights and the smells and the sounds, learning becomes a more enjoyable experience and helps them develop a confidence from within.

Check out Kamloops Yoga Classes for more yoga info.

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