Posted on Jan 25, 2021, 7 p.m.
Yoga has been a very beneficial and popular ancient exercise of India. Research by professional psychologists Ingunn Hagen and Usha.S.Nayar had concluded the significance of incorporating Yoga in children’s lifestyles. Yoga can be surmised as a tool to assist children with stress and enhance their development.
For beginners, it is important to guide your child and enlighten them about different asanas and their benefits. A child’s prior physical health conditions must be kept in mind before performing some of the asanas as children with back or joint pain might not be advised to execute some asanas. It is best to consult with a doctor.
In this article, we bring you some of the benefits and 6 simple asanas that can be easily incorporated into your child’s lifestyle.
Benefits of Yoga for Young Children
Some of the benefits that yoga offers for young children are explained below:
1. Helps in improving focus and concentration
Yoga is an extremely effective way to increase focus and concentration in young kids. The breathing exercises involved in yoga and performing a certain asana for some amount of time will assimilate the child’s concentration and focus while they perform yoga. Yoga balances the nervous system and increases the ability to concentrate.
2. Improves flexibility
Yoga certainly helps in improving flexibility for young children as with performing asanas, they learn to stretch and bend. Various poses in yoga help to stretch and lengthen different parts of the body while strengthening muscles and joints.
3. Improves balance
Yogic asanas help in balancing your body using arms and legs. This improves them both physically as well as mentally. This later helps in preventing accidents as the mind as well as the body is perfectly balanced.
4. Makes children aware of themselves
Yoga helps and guides children in learning about their bodies and spending time with themselves. This teaches them self-acceptance and boosts their confidence. They become self-aware and start accepting and loving their body as it is. This leaves a great impact on them and promotes a positive attitude.
5. Relieves stress
Yoga certainly helps in relieving stress and anxiety in young children. Throughout the day, a child is busy with different activities such as studies, co-curricular activities, and fulfilling other daily tasks. Amidst all these activities, a child is likely to develop stress. Performing yoga every day will help in easing stress and keep the mind calm. This increases the ability to cope up with even the most difficult tasks.
6. Promotes an active and healthy lifestyle
There is no doubt that yoga promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for young children. According to Do You Yoga, yoga helps in inculcating healthy eating habits as well as sleeping habits in children. Yoga is a workout in itself that involves the use of various body parts from the neck, chest, arms, back to the thighs, legs, and ankles. This helps a child to maintain a healthy weight.
7. Encourages better sleep
Did you know that your child can sleep well if he does yoga regularly? A study by Frontiers in 2014 had suggested the inculcation of yoga in a child’s daily routine as it can help him/her in sleeping deep and sound. In the world of technological advances, children spend most of their time on the internet which is one of the major causes of disturbed sleep and insomnia. Yoga helps alleviate those disturbances and helps to maintain a comfortable sleep schedule.
Asanas for Young Children
Some of the easy yet beneficial asanas for young children are explained below:
1. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
Benefits: Vakrasana involves balancing the body on one leg. It helps in strengthening the thigh muscles, hips, torso, and leg. It also improves concentration.
How to perform:
- Start by standing straight with arms by your side
- Next, lift the right foot and place it on the left thigh
- Once balanced, breathe and raise the arms above the head joining the palms.
- Back and head must be kept straight and breathing must be steady.
- Slowly exhale by bringing back the arm to the side and resting the right leg.
- Repeat with the other leg.
Note: Initially, the child may become unsteady, in that case, let the child obtain support by performing this asana against a wall.
2. Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
Benefits: This pose is good for strengthening the back by stimulating the blood flow in the spine. The muscles of the neck, back, lower spine, hips, thighs, and arms are involved in performing this asana.
How to perform:
- Get down on your knees and with the support of your arms, in a tabletop position.
- The back and head must be kept straight and the arms and knees must be perpendicular to the floor.
- Lift the torso upwards exhaling so that the back is rounded forming a semi-circle. Keep the eyes on the floor.
- Slowly come back to the tabletop position inhaling slowly.
- Repeat 10 times.
Notes: It is vital to regulate breathing and to remain in a steady, straight position. If the child is unable to round the back, support the back and the belly with your hands.
3. Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Dhanurasana plays a major role in correcting posture. It stretches the entire front body from the arms, neck, chest, thighs, abdomen, and ankles.
How to perform:
- Start by lying on the stomach with arms on the site.
- Bend the knees backward, bringing the ankles close to the hips.
- Hold the ankles with your hands and inhale. Make sure the head is kept straight.
- Hold the position for a minute or so.
- Exhale and come back to the line position.
- Repeat this asana10 times.
Notes: Initially, stretching up to a great extent might be difficult. Do not force the body to overstretch as it can lead to strains and serious joint problems. Practice until it is possible to stretch completely.
4. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
Benefits: Sukhasana helps with correcting posture and strengthening the back. It stretches the knees and ankle. With the deep, steady breathing process involved in this pose, Sukhasana is great to enhance focus, alertness, and concentration. Moreover, this pose is helpful in relieving stress
How to perform:
- Start by sitting straight with shoulders upright and relaxed.
- Hands should be rested on either side of the knee.
- The neck must not be facing any external pressure. Try to keep the head and the back straight without applying force on the neck and shoulders.
- Inhale and exhale on the count of 8+8.
- Sit in the position for a few minutes taking slow, steady breaths.
Notes: This pose must be performed with importance on keeping the back straight and shoulders, neck, and thighs relaxed. Children can close their eyes for increased concentration on breathing.
5. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Utkatasana is popular for its advantages in improving focus and concentration. It also enhances the strength and stamina of the whole body, especially the leg and the abdomen. Children can perform this asana during a short break from studies which will help refresh their minds completely and relieve burnout and stress.
How to perform:
- Stand straight with feet apart at a comfortable distance between them. Raise both the arms upwards and forward.
- Inhale and squat elongating the back.
- Keep the head straight.
- Hold for a minute taking slow and steady breathes
- Come back in the normal position and repeat 5 times.
Notes: While performing if the child faces a headache or migraine, discontinue.
6. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
Benefits: This asana is perfect for cooling down. It regulates heart rate and blood pressure. Shavasana helps in relieving stress and anxiety and boosts focus and concentration. It can also help in aiding insomnia.
How to perform:
- Start by lying flat on the back with lefts apart and arms on the sides and palms must face upwards.
- Close your eyes and start breathing slowly.
- Inhale and exhale with the purpose of relaxation and calming the mind.
- Relax all the body parts and make sure there is no stiffness in the body.
Notes: Do not make your child lie down on a cold bare floor. Keep a yoga mat underneath. Avoid loud background noises as this may affect concentration and focus.
Yoga can be very beneficial for young kids. Yoga’s tremendous benefits are so impactful that it will stay on for a long period of time in a child’s life. Not just physical wellness, yoga also proves to help develop a child’s behavior and personality.
These 6 poses are very simple to perform. If your child is facing any kind of health issues, it is always best to consult a doctor just to be on the safe side.
Teach your children about performing yoga every day and encourage them to regularly and religiously spend some time of the day doing yoga. Help your child in correcting the asanas in the beginning as wrong performance and postures can be harmful. Once they are familiar, incorporate these poses in their daily lives followed by a healthy diet to keep them fit.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
Author Bio: Shristi Patni is a content writer and owner of F and B Recipes. Formerly the Chief Content Officer at Raletta, she is currently working on her second cookbook. She’s known for her articles on topics such as Soul Healing and Transitions Counseling.
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