Every day we are exposed to noise coming from every direction – television, Internet, videos, social networks, computer games, and mobiles….sometimes it can actually make you dizzy. These technological innovations make attentiveness, concentration, breathing and connection to our mind and body difficult. Imagine being today’s child and not knowing the stillness that many of us took for granted growing up. Integration of yoga into their lives could give provide a solution to quiet their mind. How can we do it? Simply and with enjoyment.

Yoga creates a kind of tranquility and sanity that breaks through the noisy reality.  Yoga is becoming more widespread and it is suitable for all ages. There are yoga classes in kindergartens and schools, for children, adolescents and for adults. There are even yoga classes for babies (with their parents, of course).

Yoga is a spiritual philosophy and also physical training originating in the Hindi wisdom, which originates in the Indian sub-continent. The word “yoga” is derived from the root of a word in Sanskrit Yuj – which means “to unite”, and from the word Yoke – which means “to concentrate the attention”. The intention is to unite our thoughts, feelings, imagination with the body. Through yoga we receive the tools to cope with our personal, physical and emotional difficulties as one, as well as providing tools for growth and development.

Balance, flexibility and concentration

The fun of yoga for children is that it combines movement, breathing exercises and concentration, relaxation and guided imagination using curious, challenging and enjoyable games. It is possible to exercise alone, with friends and siblings and of course with parents. It is something the whole family can benefit from.

By making it a game what appears to be difficult at the outset can actually be fun. They may not manage to perform the elephant pose, which requires flexibility (standing upright, lifting the arms to the sky, and then bringing them down to the tips of the big toes), or the tree position, which requires balance and high concentration (standing on one leg with the palms placed together or growing like branches) straight away but with perseverance they will. It is a wonderful feeling when they do it and each time improve, it builds children’s confidence.

The ability to concentrate significantly improves as the mind quiets and eventually children succeed in concentrating for longer periods of time. They gain a better connection to their body and also to their “gut feelings” (this is called intuition).

Breathing for life

Another advantage of yoga is breathing. “What can we learn about breathing? We all breathe”, you will ask with wonder. If we observe babies when they are breathing, you will be able to see that their stomach inflates and then empties, in particular when they are asleep. It grows like a balloon that is filled with air and then empties out. Over the years, when we grow, our breathing becomes shallow, that is to say the majority of us breathe very superficially and less deeply. We do not use the entire capacity of our lungs, but rather utilize only part of their wonderful and natural ability. 

An opportunity to spend time with ourselves

Another advantage of doing yoga is the opportunity to spend time with ourselves without becoming bored. When children do yoga they do not notice the time passing, they do not feel the need to send text messages, to check who has been looking for them and to skip from one thing to another. Yoga exercising enables them a direct connection to their internalness without any external interruptions, which could sometimes mask the natural and simple flow between their internal world and the external world.

In yoga exercising children not only move and hold the body, but they also pay attention to their breathing during the movements. With time and practice, they will learn again how to breathe deeply. It refreshes and renews them, as if it is cleansing the body from the inside out, just like a good shower!

 An opportunity to spend time with ourselves

 

Another advantage of doing yoga is the opportunity to spend time with ourselves without becoming bored. When children do yoga they do not notice the time passing, they do not feel the need to send text messages, to check who has been looking for them and to skip from one thing to another. Yoga exercising enables them a direct connection to their internalness without any external interruptions, which could sometimes mask the natural and simple flow between their internal world and the external world.

The beauty of it is that they can do yoga anywhere – in the park, at home, during examinations (mainly mantras and breathing which helps to concentrate and relax) and there are also exercises that are suitable when travelling in a car. During yoga exercising they free their mind and it seems that anything is possible!

Apart from all of the above, yoga expands horizons as a result of studying another culture. Kids can also teach their parents and exercise together, it is really fun.

Yoga has many advantages: practicing the poses strengthens the body and makes it more flexible, it improves our stability and balance, connects us to our body and improves our self-image. Yoga also helps to cope with emotions, enables us to discharge energy and improves attentiveness and concentration. By doing yoga routinely, one can go to the next stage and study values such as collaboration, inclusiveness, acceptance, mutual respect, and most importantly self-love.

Karin Sella, a kids yoga instructor and biomedical engineer, realized that perhaps there was a more accessible way to help introduce kids (and their parents) to yoga, and to help kids learn and develop in various aspects through the wonderful world of yoga. Along with Guy Meltzer, a fellow yoga teacher and father of two kids, she created YOGI FUN- a yoga kit for kids with lovely illustrations and rhyming instruction cards to introduce kids to yoga in a fun and playful way!

 

 

 
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