August 10, 2018 ∙ 8 minutes reading time
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular, as everyone knows. In most cities there are numerous yoga courses (e.g. Yoga Munich).
In our hectic age, many people have realized how soothing and healthy can be the regular practice of yoga.
Numerous scientific studies have also proven the therapeutic effects of yoga: With this ancient teaching from India, both physical and psychological complaints can be cured or alleviated:
Reduction of muscle and joint pain especially in the back and neck area, fighting hypertension, obesity and hyperlipidemia, depression, sleep disorders, eating disorders etc. – the list is endless!
And now there is a new trend: yoga for children.
At first you might think that this is another eso thing for over-motivated mothers, or?
Not at all. New studies show that even our smallest children benefit from this practice.
In addition to the Improve muscular performance demonstrably builds yoga in children tensions off, improve the coordination as well as the concentration.
We have investigated this phenomenon and would like to introduce you to the positive effects yoga has on our offspring what age Yoga for kids Makes sense and how yoga for children differs from normal yoga.
The benefits of children’s yoga
If you have children yourself, you have probably already noticed that the computer age also determines the everyday life of our children.
Even the youngest play with mom’s smartphone and many children and teenagers spend their free time playing video games on the computer or maintaining their social media accounts.
That leads to lack of exercise and postural problems.
A typical picture of the computer age! | Source: Pixabay
Add to that the pressure to perform at school or numerous extracurricular activities that over-motivated parents are teasing their kids.
The little ones are almost overwhelmed from birth: they have to perform well at school, play sports successfully, learn an instrument, master one or, at best, two foreign languages, etc.
Our children’s schedule is often more packed than that of a top manager!
Therefore, more and more children are already stressed and even develop depression.
And unfortunately our children lose the ability to experience themselves, to let their imaginations run wild, to just play.
Another phenomenon in our society is children with ADHD etc., children who cannot rest, have difficulty concentrating or even show aggressive behavior.
Yoga for children offers an excellent balance here.
The playfully designed exercises of the children’s yoga help the children to achieve a stable physical and psychological balance.
It improves the motor activity, the body sensation and the body awareness. The muscles are stretched and strengthened, the children become stronger and more flexible.
The yoga exercises help to get a straight back, the coordination, strength and endurance are improved.
Yoga exercises can also help overweight children and adolescents lose weight.
And the good thing: there is yoga no competition, as well no pressure to perform.
Our stressed children can relax with yoga! | Source: Visualhunt
Through the breathing and relaxation exercises, the children learn to relax and reduce stress. simultaneously take learning ability and concentration too.
The exercises also help to ensure that social coexistence works better.
For example, discover the current range of courses for Yoga Cologne here.
For which children is yoga suitable and from when can my child practice yoga??
Basically, every child can practice yoga.
Do you have a real fidget philipp at home who can’t sit still? Or worse, your child has ADHD?
Then yoga can help your child, to relax, to relax.
Many child psychologists and doctors expressly recommend this mixture of physical and relaxation exercises.
Yoga can help to improve the rapidly fluctuating attention in ADHD children, according to a study by the child and adolescent therapist Nicole Goldstein.
In return, if your child is rather calm and shy, more activating exercises can help your child, to become more confident.
At what age does yoga make sense for children?
There are also no age restrictions Children’s yoga: Many mothers take their babies with them to mother-child yoga after birth. The mother’s inner peace is then transferred to the baby.
Many toddlers imitate the exercises and imitate them naturally.
But children’s yoga only really makes sense from the age of four or five. Before that, the attention span of the children is too short, up to 4 years only a purely playful approach is possible.
At 5/6 years, a switch between yoga exercises, stories and games is well suited. Elementary school children can then already follow a "real" yoga class, e.g. also with yoga for beginners exercises.
Meditation or deep breathing exercises are more for children from ten years of age.
Psychologists are of the opinion that the brain is not sufficiently developed beforehand and that the children are unable to meditate consciously.
The differences between children’s yoga and adult yoga
There are basically two approaches to yoga with a child:
- The playful method, which can be combined with other elements (singing bowls, music, telling, letting off steam, drumming, massage, dancing, movement games etc.). This way of teaching children’s yoga is particularly suitable for toddlers.
- Pure hatha yoga: In this case, the classic yoga exercises are adapted to the needs of children, so that children can really enjoy it.
In order for a classic Hatha Yoga class to be child-friendly, some special features must be taken into account.
The initial relaxation is usually shorter. | Source: Pixabay
A "Normal" yoga class (e.g. Yoga Leipzig) usually consists of asanas (yoga positions), breathing exercises, deep relaxation, possibly meditation.
- In children’s yoga, the initial relaxation is typically somewhat shorter
- There are fewer breathing exercises
- Sun salutation and warm-up exercises are more important
- In the asanas, the yoga positions, children demand more variety, children cannot hold the asanas for so long, so they have to be varied
- The deep relaxation is also shorter. Children cannot keep their eyes closed for so long. It is often good to enrich your deep relaxation with a fantasy trip
- Meditation with children is typically quite short or is left out
- However, children are more flexible and agile than adults, certain exercises are easier for them and they progress faster
Also in teaching style A children’s yoga class differs from a "normal" class (which also applies to special yoga for pregnant women):
- The yoga teacher has to be even more present
- The announcements must be very clear
- You cannot “complete a fixed program”: spontaneous responses to the children are particularly necessary
In yoga for adults, the postures are explained in detail. However, children love it, the trainer imitate, and prefer to do the exercises themselves immediately.
If an adult makes the dog looking down, the teacher explains exactly the foot and hand position in advance. Small children, however, jump directly into the dog and bark loudly!
It is of course helpful that many yoga positions have very descriptive names that appeal to children: cobra, cat, dog, etc. You can go into the animals and their properties, invent stories and games.
Children should too Effect of the asanas be explained.
However, one should forego overly complicated technical terms, but rather emphasize the concrete benefits for the children: For example, if you do this exercise, you can sleep better etc.
With older children it can be a bit more demanding.
Older children or adolescents lose the fun of yoga when they are bored because the exercises are too easy or too childish.
After all, they’re also used to that athletic performance asked of them. So a little performance thinking doesn’t hurt.
What does a typical children’s yoga class look like??
As I said, a topic can be chosen for the lesson or the exercises can be embedded in a story (for example: trip to India, Indian yoga etc.).
This is particularly suitable for smaller children. This approach is of course not a must, it can also be simply taught classical yoga.
The demand for yoga classes for children is increasing. | Source: Visualhunt
Regardless, a typical children’s yoga class looks like this:
The hour usually lasts between 45 and 60 minutes and consists of the following parts:
Early relaxation: It is about letting go of all parts of the body and relaxing, deep abdominal breathing is learned.
Breathing exercises: Above all, children are taught rapid and alternate breathing. This helps with difficulty concentrating and brings new energy.
Sun salutation: Sun salutation is particularly popular with children. The sun salutation is a sequence of movements in yoga that consists of a total of 12 movements. These exercises are carried out one after the other and are particularly good for children’s urge to move.
The sun salutation can be accompanied by a poem or a song.
Here is an example from Lena Raubaum!
The sun salutation – by Lena Raubaum (with movements)
Good morning, dear sun, I want to greet you.
Good morning, dear sun, I will enjoy this day.
Dear hands, are you awake? First I want to stretch myself properly, (Raise arms)
and then I bend down, (Bend your upper body forward)
to wake up your feet. (Hands next to feet)
Good morning, right leg to see you, that’s nice. (put right leg back)
I put the left leg next to you, (put both legs back)
then I look like a board!
I greet my knees, legs, stomach and forehead,
think about it love belly. (Put your knees down, then lay on your stomach)
I lift my head and my chest too. (Raise chest and head)
To whom do I send another greeting?
the butt, from now on up ‘! (Extend Popo up -> dog looking down!)
Between the hands the right foot. (put your right foot forward between your hands)
Hello knees, nice to see you!
The left foot added, (Put both feet between your hands)
I make my back round. (Bend upper body)
Good morning, dear world, (Arms up)
I am alive and well. (Fold your hands in front of your chest again)
Copyright Lena Raubaum
Follow after the sun salutation the asanas (yoga positions).
These include in particular headstand, shoulderstand, plow, fish, forward bend, cobra, grasshopper, bow, swivel seat, crow, standing forward bend, triangle, dog, cat.
Depending on the age, some asanas (e.g. headstand) have to be replaced (e.g. dog).
The sounding names of the asanas "Sun salutation", "cat", "dog", "dragon", "Tree", "mountain" or "lion" appeal to the children’s love of imitation.
The terms give you an idea and make it easier to understand your body position. And for yoga teaching, it’s easier to make up a story about it.
The sounding names of the asanas are well suited for children. | Source: Visualhunt
The asanas train motor skills and your own body awareness, and also promote concentration and learning behavior.
Finally comes the deep relaxation – This can be the classic deep relaxation yoga or also autogenic training, it can also be replaced by a fantasy trip.
A meditation is not yet suitable for small children and should be replaced by a concentration exercise.
There is a risk of injury?
The risk of injury in children’s yoga is very low. Unlike other sports, yoga only works with your own body.
In addition, most children have a healthy body feeling – they instinctively sense how far a posture is good for them or not.
Conclusion: Just let go and relax.
This is becoming increasingly important for our little ones, who unfortunately have to cope with a much too stressful everyday life.
Yoga is therefore the ideal pastime for them!
If you come home from work stressed in the evening and expect a crying child who just doesn’t go to bed go then you should try out children’s yoga right away!
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