What is the right age for children to learn yoga?
The experience has been positive, as she observes enthusiasm in Róger and, according to her, she has improved her concentration when practicing relaxation exercises. “I see him excited and that makes me think he feels comfortable, since he does not miss a class. In addition, among the companions have formed a group where there is companionship, “says Véle
Expanding the universe of Paula’s experiences was what prompted Diógenes Ruiz to enroll his daughter in these classes. “The dynamics of the exercises is interesting, because they involve both the mind and the body, but they also learn because they read stories to them,” says Ruiz.
Paula is 7 years old and, like Róger, attends the Alma Yoga Institute twice a week in Managua. “The classes have been good, because in addition to expanding their universe of experiences, they learn to socialize among children,” adds Ruiz.
Learning for life
Experts say that yoga encourages children to relax and have fun while developing strength, coordination, flexibility, balance, body awareness, better attention and self-confidence.
For the psychologist Darrel Borges, any extracurricular activity is important for children, since they discover their tastes and interests. In the case of yoga, he believes that it is a beneficial form of learning “because it helps to relax and express oneself in a beneficial way, not harmful”.
The best age for the child to enter the yoga exercises is from 4 years old. At that age the little ones already know perfectly what can be expected and wanted from them, and they already have the capacity to carry out and control certain movements of the body.
In Nicaragua there are few certified yoga instructors for children. Marcela Morales is one of them. For two years he has been working with children and explains that the methodology is totally different, since the tool is the didactic stories.
“In the class the child is part of the story. For example, if the story indicates that we go to the forest and we find the trees, the children should make that position, as well as fish, rabbits, among others. The child not only listens to the story, but is part of it. Also these stories have a positive message, “says Morales.
For Gema Benavidez, general coordinator of Yoga Urbana Managua, it is important for children to teach them how to breathe because they control their emotions. “A child who is euphoric, angry or excited can also control their bodily sensations and feelings.”
Children are by nature “yogic” and meditative without the need for a teacher. “Children when they go to kindergarten do not understand why their mom is leaving and they are not trained at that moment to understand, so all these types of breathing and meditation practices help them to get into this world that is so aggressive,” she says. Benavidez, who is in the process of certification.
For the restless or active child as well as for the shy or shameful child, yoga helps channel their energy and reaffirm their self-esteem. It will help the more active to learn to relax and concentrate more, while also encouraging the quieter children to lose their fear of others and open themselves to the universe around them.
We know that yoga for children is an activity that stimulates and benefits the development of body and mind , so it is very beneficial, as well as fun, as an exercise for the little ones. A millenarian discipline that helps big and small find balance and channel energy.
But what is the best way for children to practice yoga? Here we see some tips that will help us create the best environment and make the experience rewarding.
The experiences of yoga with children indicate that the best age for the child to begin with the exercises is from 4 years old . At this age, they can already understand perfectly what can be expected and what is wanted from them, while being able to maintain a certain concentration and to perform the postures in an adequate way and without forcing their organism.
Motivation is a very important factor, do not forget that it is a game and not an obligation, so if we gather several friends to practice yoga they will have a great time. But also the company of daddies, moms or siblings is ideal.
The costumes should be comfortable , the small ones will wear loose, light, comfortable clothes (shirt and pants), and in this way it will be possible for them to perform the movements and postures with comfort. On the feet, cotton socks or barefoot if the temperature allows it.
The context should be of a clean, quiet, ventilated and silent environment, of soft lighting. You can use mats or mats so that there is no direct contact with the floor and thus result in a more comfortable and warm experience, apart from avoiding unwanted slips. You can set the mood with slow and soft music that promotes relaxation.
Yoga can be practiced at any time of the day , but the best time for your practice is in the morning, to start the day well, or in the middle of the afternoon, even before going to sleep, to relax and release tensions.
A regular and constant routine, either every day, whether determined days a week, is advisable for yoga to report all its benefits to the little ones. With just a few minutes a day is enough.
More than the moment in which the yoga exercises are carried out, what we should take more into account is that it is not after having eaten food, at least two hours later, once the digestion has been made.
The secret of a good yoga is in breathing . The child learns to breathe properly and deeply, inhaling and exhaling through the nose and not through the mouth. They can be taught to breathe “with the belly”, that is, using the diaphragm to fill the lungs. Before beginning with the postures, it is better to learn to control the breathing.
The positions must be practiced gradually . It is possible that the little ones start practicing yoga too rigid, but that will improve with practice. Both the postures and the movements must be varied so as not to fall into monotony, and not too complicated for them to perform without effort. Remember that it is a game in which we should all enjoy.
One way they enjoy it more is once they have learned the mechanism and they can easily develop positions, that they invent their own positions , putting the name they want. In this way they give free rein to their imagination.
As a game that is yoga, if you practice in a group you have to avoid comparisons (agility, flexibility, correction of movements …) among the little ones and make them see that they form a team where everyone wins.