* I have more than 3000 hours of children yoga teaching experience in schools in Quebec (Montreal, South Shore). My little yogis and yoginis are of age group 3 years to 12 years.
“Tie two birds together. They will not be able to fly even though they now have four wings.” It is not through extra power that one will achieve, but by finding balance and harmony in the body as it is."
Yoga for children combines dynamic movements, postures, breathing exercises and meditations into an integrated and holistic program of physical fitness, education and social and self-awareness.
Yoga, adapted for young school children develops, language, good listening skills, cooperation, powers of observation and body awareness. It teaches school children about nature, their environment and inspires their imaginations. It prepares them for breathing techniques used in yoga. They learn by playing, singing, moving and imitating. This is an ideal time for children to begin a yoga practice.
As they grow, children can easily follow the teacher’s instructions by learning the names of different body parts, their locations and function. As children learn the names of the postures and movements they develop a yoga vocabulary. They can use their yoga poses to play games, take on the qualities of different animals or use their imaginations.
When yogis developed the asanas many thousands of years ago, they still lived close to the natural world and used animals and plants for inspiration—the sting of a scorpion, the grace of a swan, the grounded stature of a tree.
When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on its qualities. When they assume the pose of the lion for example, they experience not only the power and behavior of the lion, but also their own sense of power: when to be aggressive, when to retreat. The physical movements introduce children to yoga's true meaning: union, expression, and honor for oneself and one's part in the delicate web of life.
The use of animated poses and basic stretching exercises promote strength, flexibility, coordination and body awareness. Breathing and visualization techniques teach kids how to focus, relax and develop self-control.
When it comes to relaxation, some children have a difficult time closing their eyes One thing that encourages a child to relax is visualization. Thinking of something that they really like and imagining being like these things. Focusing out on belly breathing and listening to soothing and relaxing music.
Yoga for Children
Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that is noncompetitive. Fostering cooperation and compassion—instead of opposition—is a great gift to give our children.
Yoga offers children the same health benefits as it does to us adults, but it offers them something far more important. It offers them mindfulness.