The benefits of yoga on children were reported and synthesized as early as 2018 in a study review conducted by the Department of Movement Sciences at a University of New Jersey, which concluded in particular a reduction in anxiety in children. and the teenager (Yoga as an Intervention for the Reduction of Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Children and AdolescentsAnderson, Zucker, Kofman and Daneault, James-Palmer published in 2020).
Aware of the benefits of this practice for adults, why do we still hesitate to initiate our children? – They don’t stay focused for long? – they move all the time and maybe you doubt that they are able to enter a posture and stay there?
Their many capacities, sometimes unsuspected
For many of us, adults, we need to constrain ourselves to a moment of calm to concentrate and get into a posture. The child has all the resources to perform these same postures almost without thinking about it. The secret lies in his spirit of curiosity which makes him want to “try” and also, certainly, in a subtle and playful pedagogy of the teaching of the yoga teacher.
While the child is primarily an observer, the desire to share, integrate, and mime, acts as a stimulator and motivates him to become an actor in his own practice.
Encouraged to become aware of the functioning of his body, through various yoga exercises and techniques, the child discovers the possibility of having a certain control over him, in the face of everything that escapes him and everything that can scare him. . While certain postures will soothe the mind and allow the most talkative children to acquire a certain serenity, other postures will concentrate new energy and strength for children who are calmer and more introspective.
What if we tried…
I offer you 2 short sequences, for children from 5 to 12 years old.
One is for high-energy kids who might have trouble channeling themselves. The other is on the contrary intended for children who are more introverted or who lack confidence.
Chain of the intrepid little yogi
I offer you a sequence which is also an imaginary stroll:
- Imagine a large forest of trees. You are a mighty and still oak tree. Join your hands above your head and stand on one foot. Concentrate not to move, and not to fall.
- Change feet when you’re tired.
- Let’s continue our imaginary walk, with an adventurous friend, near the village of the baker, there is a mill with large propellers that turn against the wind. Stand up straight and make circles with your arms outstretched.
- There is a stream below… Our friend gets into his boat to go fishing. We’re on the boat, stay up, get straight, stick your legs and arms to your body and bend your knees as if you wanted to sit on an invisible chair. He sits down in his boat and goes to the middle of the lake.
- Sit on your mat, lift your legs up keeping them together, and raise your arms in front of you. You do the boat pose. Try to balance on your buttocks.
- Close to the woods and his hut, our friend, tired, lies down in his bed and to reassure himself, he rolls up into a ball by rolling up on himself, folding his legs and arms. He listens to the sounds of the surrounding forest. Have fun guessing all the sounds he can hear.
Sequence of the cautious little yogi
- Imagine a bright green forest, join your hands above your head and stand on one foot. You are a mighty and still oak tree.
- Change feet when you’re tired.
- It’s windy and the branches of your oak tree are swaying from side to side.
- Make wave movements with your arms. Top to bottom, left to right.
- Our oak is in danger of breaking with the wind, a proud warrior arrives in the forest. He gets ready by spreading his legs, he puts his back foot across so as not to back down under the force of the wind and his front foot straight. He stretches his back leg and bends his front leg and raises his arms so he can support the oak tree. He makes a line with his arms, one arm in front and one arm behind him. But, he realizes that one arm is not enough so he puts both in front of him and pushes an imaginary tree. He tries to push the trunk away again by lifting his back leg and pushing up on his outstretched arms in front of him. Congratulations ! You have done the 3 postures of the warrior.
- To rest, our warrior kneels and sits on his heels, in the posture of the diamond.
- He leans forward and stretches his arms along his body. He feels good, calm and strong.
- Have fun imagining the adventures our warrior could have.
Points of attention :
Even though children are naturally supple and flexible, remain vigilant during these practices and keep an eye on them in order to avoid “bruises and bumps”.
Good practice to you! Namaste.
Céline Garcia (Céona Shanti) is a teacher of Hatha Yoga (registered RYT 500 Yoga Alliance (500 Hr) and YTT 900), and Yogatherapy, and child Yoga teacher in Reims. She is also the author of Adventures of Shanti, the little Yogia set of children’s stories inspired by the philosophy of Yoga.
His website: ceonayoga.com
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Yoga for children: benefits and sequences to try
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