Yoga for children, why and where to start?
Yoga is known to bring us back to ourselves in the present moment. Physical exercises, work on breathing and concentration postures contribute to the health and well-being of adults. Physical exercise serving the spiritual path to regain unity, the practice of yoga begins with a maintenance of the body to bring more inner peace to the heart of our lives.
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Children also need quiet moments to grow well, to breathe, not to become all red with anger or too full of energy, to know what to do.
In the midst of the din of childhood, a yoga adapted to this phase of life is a pretty attractive option.
The advantages of Yoga for children
- Discovery of the body
- Improved attention
- The energy that circulates better
- Playful postures with animal images (the frog, the butterfly, the fish …)
- Good alignment of the joints
The 7 essential points to start a practice with your children at home
From the age of 4 , a child may be interested in the functioning of his body if learning is fun, he is able to recognize the benefits of breathing or posture. Some already see their parents practice at home, the practice becomes for them a natural mimicry.
Playful and varied sessions : Yoga is a link between the body and the mind, the exercises for children must be varied and fun to capture their attention. They are in the middle of discovering the outside world and they need many stimulations to keep the attention on a task. Yoga becomes for them a game and that without losing its effectiveness.
Short session at home , better a short session followed regularly than a long session every three months. 15 minutes is a good start. Then according to the interest and evolution of the practice, go to 30 minutes.
The equipment :
- For a Yoga session to become a ritual, children and adults need a carpet: for children, opt for color! The new little Yogi can mark his name on the carpet as a sign of appropriation and practice with more involvement.
- A blanket for the end of the session.
The outfit must be flexible and comfortable, barefoot ideally to awaken the sensations. If it’s cold, a pair of large non-slip socks is great.
Naming everything you do, so that the child has verbal cues of practice, it will help him to keep the attention and his desire for application. He can then talk about it more easily.
Have a ritual of entry and end of practice : children love, adults too. It can be a relaxation that begins with the sound of a gong or with a music.
Yoga postures for children
Ground relaxation begins and ends a session. Lying on the floor, arms stretched along the body, the child gently swings his head to the right and to the left, this movement recalls the rocking. Then, the neutral head, placed in the center and deposited on the ground, ask him to close his eyes, however, he said that it is not about sleep. If he is agitated choose a music on which he will be able to pay attention.
Alternate rest and activity
Allow enough time for the child to try the posture while having fun, you will sometimes be surprised at the result. Then return to the relaxation position on the back to the ground or “little ball” called “position of the child” in yoga.
Focus on postures reminiscent of animal or plant representations
To name a few: the posture: the dog that stretches, the cat, the little pig, the butterfly of the small growing plant, the oyster, the turtle, the camel, the elephant, If you have a little practical knowledge of yoga, you can even invent one that will bear the name of the super hero of the moment.
Movements with two
Very playful, children lend themselves willingly, it is still a partner they appreciate, you can of course offer or where appropriate recruit a friend of the neighborhood of the same age unless there is a prime candidate in the siblings.
The dynamics of two is an antidote to boredom, it is better to keep an eye all the same so that it does not become too excessive and not lose the merits of the practice of Yoga.
Examples of two exercises:
In face to face: the exercise of the pendulum.
- Sitting on their knees, the children start sitting face-to-face as if in a mirror.
- Arms open horizontally, palms to the ground, like the wings of an airplane, swing on its central axis from right to left with a careful passage in the center. Repeat the exercise several times.
- Benefits: strengthening the back and balance, pleasure to work with two.
Face to face: the exercise of the boat
- Sit on the buttocks, legs slightly apart, sticking his foot plants to those of his partner. Palms of hands against each other, each catches the wrists of the other.
- Switch from right to left, ironing well on the central axis, carefully.
- Benefits: strengthening and stretching of the back, rotation of the hips and balance. Pleasure of work for two.
- Precautions: Children should not pull themselves hard and abruptly to avoid back and pelvic contractions and strains.
Back to back: rocking back and forth, in turn
- Sitting on the buttocks, legs lying on the ground, palms on the ground or on the knees.
- Tipping back and forth, both initiate the movement in turn.
- Benefits: stretching and mobility of the lower back, very good listening exercise of the other, back massage.
- Precautions: bend your knees if the movements are too deep to protect the lower back.
- Music can help children enjoy exercise.
- Blow a candle 10 times with the mouth: ventral breathing with rapid expiration through the mouth, children can watch their belly move or put their hands on it.
- Feeling the scent of a flower: inspiration through the nose the expiration follows automatically.
- Yawning and spitting fire like the dragon, children can put their hand in front of the mouth to feel the heat of the air projected.
- Make some vowel sounds: A, E, I, …
- Return to relaxation
You can use these pictorial breaths while giving more concrete indications if needed. Choose the breath or breaths that best match the energy of the day to start and / or close the session.
After the last breathing exercise, put a soft music for ground relaxation. Lay a blanket over the body of the little yogi while resting.