The little yogis

Yoga adds years to life and life to your years. Yoga isn’t just a way of exercise, it’s a way of living that aims at a combination of healthy mind and body. A means to unite the self with the spirit of the Universe. Yoga is a popular form of exercise across the globe and not restricted to adults only. From past few years kids yoga has gained tremendous importance specially in school curriculum and after school activities. Even parents wish to inculcate the habit of practicing yoga in their kids.

Some years back childhood was different, it was all about playing on the streets getting messed up in dirt and mud, no digital distractions, lesser stress in schools, spending lots of time with friends and family, a screen-free childhood brimming with energy and joy. But times have changed now, children live in a world of busy parents, long school hours, peer pressure, digital addiction, sports competitiveness, exam pressures, bullying and much more. These influences are definitely stressful for kids whether they express it or not. In their bustling life jumping from one structured activity to another trying to learn new skills and excel creatively in that leaves them with no time to be themselves, enjoy life or make mistakes while experimenting. And that’s quite enough to cause stress and depression in kids.

Yoga at an early age can be the best solution to nurture their childhood amidst all this hullabaloo. It encourages self esteem and body awareness with inner peace and a strong mind. It enhances their physical flexibility, core strength, confidence, coordination, concentration fostering compassion and empathy in them.

In today’s world where young generation succumbs to depression so soon, Yoga is the need of the hour. It helps them stay focused and calm in life, relaxes their mind, increases their immunity and stamina, reduces mood swings, stress and anxiety, improves sleep pattern and much more. All in all an important tool for children’s physical, spiritual and mental well-being.

Yoga is an enlightening and enjoyable exercise for children but it requires patience and dedication. Teaching kids how to balance, stay calm and still with focus and grace isn’t easy but involving them in the activity with fun will do the magic. Let them enjoy the humming sound of Om, let it resonate through their mind and body with added soft music, let them meow during the cat stretch pose which aids in strengthening neck,shoulders and back , a hiss during the Cobra pose would be fun, this pose improves digestion and opens up the lungs, during the Warrior pose that increases stability and improves balance make them feel like their favorite superheroes, while doing Simhasana(The lion pose) that helps kids in emotional stability let them feel the power and strength of a lion through a loud roar, this pose is also said to benefit kids who stutter, the butterfly pose which is extremely favorable for girls as it stimulates abdominal organ, ovaries and prostate gland, make them flutter and smile and feel free spirited, show kids the upside down world through the bridge pose which strengthens the spine, the chest, the hips and leg muscles. These and many other poses like, Tadasana(The Mountain pose)and Vrikshasana(The Tree pose ) which develop balance and strengthen the posture, Pranayam which improves breathing, cardiovascular health etc are suitable for kids and beneficial for them in many ways. The upward Bow pose, the downward facing dog pose and the plank pose are useful during puberty and will help kids get through the teenage years. The power of meditation has its own significance. It channelizes their mind, regulates their emotions and reduces impulsivity , boosts confidence and develops self esteem. Fostering mindfulness in kids helps in their overall development.

Children live in a very competitive world where they try to balance their academic and extra-curricular activities struggling to live up to the expectations of their parents, teachers and the society. This affects their total well being causing frustration, depression, hypertension and anger management issues. We need to nurture children with love, understanding, empathy and compassion. Yoga is the ultimate solution through which children learn to master mind and body at an early stage in life paving way for a healthy and bright future.

Just remember Yoga is a powerful tool to transform your child’s persona but it cannot be thrusted on them. To inculcate interest in yoga you can start with storybooks related to it. There is a wide variety of children literature that deals with this topic in a beautiful way. For example ‘Kaya’s heart song ‘by Lantana Publications talks about mindfulness and its importance for kids, ‘Good morning Yoga’ by Sounds True Publisher that introduces yoga poses in a beautifully illustrated book, this particular publisher has a wide range of children literature on Yoga. ‘Yoga Bunny’ by Harper Collins, an enchanting picture book on yoga poses, ‘You are a Lion’ by Nancy Paulson books that invites children to enjoy yoga poses through animal role play, ‘Meddy Teddy’ by Rodale Kids Publications is a book about a bear who teaches mindfulness through yoga. Yoga teaches self-acceptance so let the child develop interest willingly and relish the process of transformation.

Published in the newspaper

Akanksha Datta

Gurugram

Blogger, Storyteller, Content Writer, Children storybook reviewer.

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