14 June, 2008

exercise for kids

Yoga is the right kind of exercise for children as it is gentle, non-competitive and works not only on the entire body, but also the mind and spirit. Children of all ages and physical abilities can perform. Yoga has great benefits for growing children and it is fun too. The children learn to stretch, breathe deeply, relax and concentrate. Yoga develops correct posture, body awareness and self-confidence. It builds stamina, stability and balance. It helps to improve digestion, elimination of toxins and circulation, to keep them healthy and happy - more positive, self confident and emotionally independent.

In one sense its a sad comment that even kids need stress relief in this day and age, but on the other hand its good to see that approaches like yoga are being offered to help kids have a foundation of balance and awareness that will help them shape a world that is not as imbalanced in the future.

I have found that yoga can help counter these pressures. When children learn techniques for self-health, relaxation, and inner fulfillment, they can navigate life's challenges with a little more ease. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity. Fostering cooperation and compassion—instead of opposition—is a great gift to give our children.

Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. Yoga brings that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface.

When yogis developed the asana 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 (Simhasana) 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 kids to yoga's true meaning: union, expression, and honor for oneself and one's part in the delicate web of life.

Yoga with children offers many possibilities to exchange wisdom, share good times, and lay the foundation for a lifelong practice that will continue to deepen.

The yoga asanas are used as a springboard for exploration of many other areas—animal adaptations and behavior, music and playing instruments, storytelling, and drawing.

Gardner, an author and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, describes eight intelligences innate in all of us—linguistic, logical, visual, musical, kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal—and emphasizes that children should be given the opportunity to develop and embody as many of these as possible.

In keeping with this theory, Yoga with kids integrates storytelling, games, music, language, and other arts into a complete curriculum that engages the "whole child."

The greatest challenge with children is to hold their attention long enough to teach them the benefits of yoga: stillness, balance, flexibility, focus, peace, grace, connection, health, and well-being. Luckily, most children love to talk, and they love to move—both of which can happen in yoga. Children will jump at the chance to assume the role of animals, trees, flowers, and warriors. They bark in the dog pose, hiss in the cobra, and meow in cat stretch. They also recite the ABCs or 123s as they are holding poses. Sound is a great release for children and adds an auditory dimension to the physical experience of yoga.

Children need to discover the world on their own. Telling them to think harder, do it better, or be a certain way because it's good for them is not the optimal way. Instead, provide a loving, responsive, creative environment for them to uncover their own truths. As they perform the various animal and nature asanas, engage their minds to deepen their awareness. When they're snakes (Bhujangasana), invite them to really imagine that they're just a long spine with no arms and legs. Could you still run or climb a tree? In Tree Pose (Vrksasana), ask them to imagine being a giant oak, with roots growing out of the bottoms of their feet. Could you stay in the same position for 100 years? If you were to be chopped down, would that be OK? Would it hurt?

When they stretch like a dog, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bunny, or stand strong and tall like a tree, they are making a connection between the macrocosm of their environment and the microcosm of their bodies. The importance of reverence for all life and the principle of interdependence become apparent. Children begin to understand that we are all made of the same "stuff." We're just in different forms.

Yoga is everywhere--and it's a good thing, too! These days, it seems like more and more kids are under more and more pressure. They are overwhelmed with busy schedules, hectic home lives, and increased social pressures. Its no wonder kids are often cranky, clumsy, distracted, unfocused, hyperactive, or lacking energy. But regardless of whether a child's stress is family, peer, or school related, it doesn't have to be a diagnosis for potential problems.

Through healthy, spontaneous and imaginative play kids are able to:

• Explore the world around them
• Express themselves
• Process their experiences
• Build healthy relationships
• Prepare to meet life's challenges

And then there are all the benefits of yoga for kids:

• It helps cultivate a relaxed state of body and mind
• Increases concentration and focus
• Builds self-esteem, confidence, and instills a sense of calm
• Non-competitive
• Develops strong, healthy, flexible bodies
• Provides tools for stress management
• Stimulates imagination
• Increases self-awareness
A typical kids class includes

1. Breathing Easing: Kids Learn new and unique breathing exercises designed to:
• De-stress
• Release tension
• Calm and balance the nervous system

2. Power Poses: The challenging, kick-it-up-another-notch poses
• To energize the body and calm the mind
• To improve focus through physical challenges
• To relieve stress

3. Games and Partner Poses: Tap into the child's innate creative, spontaneous, and playful energies
• In a non-competitive way
• By developing teamwork skills and creative thinking

4. Relaxation Station: Using stories, breathing exercises and visualization techniques, kids learn to
• Rest and recharge
• Generate creativity through visualizations
• Reduce stress
• Develop self-soothing techniques

1 comment:

  1. these are pretty good exercise tips.do know any wellness/fitness centre where i could practice such wonderful excercises?????