Yoga For Kids: Understand The Importance, Appropriate Age, And More

Yoga For Kids: Understand The Importance, Appropriate Age, And More

The essence of yoga lies in achieving harmony between the mind, body, and soul

Dr Hansaji YogendraUpdated: Saturday, April 20, 2024, 11:48 PM IST
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The essence of yoga lies in achieving harmony between the mind, body, and soul. In the present times, our children are often inundated with screens and schedules. To overcome the challenges and health issues that accompany such a lifestyle, yoga provides a sanctuary of calm and balance. Yoga is holistic practice that isn't just reserved for adults seeking peace and physical fitness. It's an approach to well-being that extends its benefits to people of all ages, including children.

Starting early

Starting yoga early allows children to develop physically, emotionally, and socially, setting them on a path towards a balanced and fulfilling life.

Promotes healthy growth of muscles, bones, and joints.

Enhances flexibility, strength and balance.

Teaches effective coping mechanisms for anxiety.

Encourages self-awareness and emotional resilience.

Improves concentration and problem-solving abilities.

Cultivates body awareness and mindfulness.

Encourages healthy lifestyle habits and self-care.

Promotes relaxation and peace. Top of Form

Personally, my own yoga journey began at a very young age. I was guided by my father's wisdom and love for the practice. Together, we explored yoga sadhana which nurtured a lifelong passion in me for holistic wellness. Inspired by my experiences, my son, Hrishi, also took to yoga early on. Through playful sessions, he embraced the practice, discovering its benefits for both body and mind.

As parents, nurturing the well-being of our children is a top priority. But you might wonder, how early can kids start yoga, and why should they? Let's find out more about the world of yoga for children.

Points to consider

Introducing yoga to children is a gift that enriches their lives in countless ways. By starting early and cultivating a love for yoga, we empower our children to lead healthier, happier, and more balanced lives.

Appropriate age: Children can begin practicing yoga as soon as they are able to follow simple instructions and engage in basic movements. Typically, kids as young as three or four years old can start to explore yoga in a playful and age-appropriate manner.

Ideal yogic practices for kids: For children, it's important to focus on fun and engaging yoga practices. Simple asanas such as Parvatasana, Talasana, Konasana, Marjariasana and Balasana are excellent starting points. There are also some kriyas, pranayama, and meditation techniques that can be practiced by children. Incorporating games and storytelling into yoga sessions can make the experience enjoyable for kids.

Practices to avoid: While most yoga practices are safe for children, it's important to avoid strenuous poses or advanced techniques that may strain their developing bodies. Practices involving excessive inverted positions or deep twists should be approached with caution. There are also some pranayamas or breathing practices that are not meant for children below the age of twelve.

Embracing yoga as a family

Whether your children are toddlers exploring the wonders of movement, school-aged kids navigating the challenges of growing up, or teenagers seeking grounding amidst the complexities of adolescence, yoga offers a path for every stage of childhood development.

Getting started: Embarking on the journey of yoga with your kids is simple and joyful. Begin by exploring age-appropriate yoga practices that capture their imagination and engage their senses. From playful poses to interactive games, there are endless opportunities to make yoga a fun and enriching experience for the whole family.

Creating routine: Set aside dedicated time each day or week to practice yoga together as a family. Whether it's a morning stretch session to start the day on a positive note or an evening relaxation practice to unwind before bedtime, find a rhythm that works for your family's schedule and needs.

Incorporating yogic values: Beyond the physical postures, use yoga as an opportunity to instill timeless values such as non-violence, truth, devotion and self-awareness in your children. Encourage them to approach each practice with curiosity and kindness, fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

In addition to yoga, encourage healthy eating habits, regular physical activity and adequate sleep to promote children's overall wellness. Remember that yoga is not only about perfection—it's about presence and participation. By introducing yoga to children from a young age, one can create a legacy of health, happiness, and holistic well-being that will nourish your family for generations to come.

(Dr Hansaji Yogendra is the director of The Yoga Institute. She is also the president of the Indian Yoga Association and the International Board of Yoga)

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