Exploring the sunny world of yoga for kids
Have you often looked at your child’s report card and thrown your hands up in despair? You reason: he has good tuitions, spends all his time at home with his books. Yet his marks don’t seem to reflect his well-intentioned endeavors.
If this is a familiar story, then you must already know the answer to your dilemma: the child is unable to concentrate on academics. While reading about the parts of a flower and understanding the composition of water, the mind of your cherub keeps slipping away for a little walk.
The good news is that while he might not understand how to keep the mind focused on the exploits of Shivaji and Akbar, you know. Just watch his food and physical activity for some time and check: are chips and fried food more favored than greens? Is Facebook winning over a time allotted to a game of catch or badminton?
If students follow a sedentary lifestyle and do not get enough physical exercise, then blood circulation gets affected. Children start becoming lazy. As the body becomes slower, the mind also becomes dull. The result: lots of time with the book, but no retention.
As a parent, you can change that. A little bit of gentle (and sometimes firm) reinforcing of good food and exercise habits will change the way your child works through his study and play time. When the body is well provided for and nourished, the learning and retention capacity increases.
It is necessary for students to do yoga asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation for maintaining a healthy body and mind. Surya Namaskar (or Sun Salutation), a comprehensive and fun-to-do workout, is a set of well-designed and extremely powerful 12 yoga poses. It is the most simple yet effective, yoga pose sequence for children - a great way to start the day by thanking the Sun.
Why Sun Salutation for Children?
Tone muscles: The yoga poses in Sun Salutation individually address particular parts of the body, both anatomically and physiologically. Collectively (as a sequence), Sun Salutation postures help tone the muscles.
Works from within: Surya Namaskar benefits are not only limited to ‘working out’ the body; Sun Salutation also works 'within'. It directly works on the solar plexus or navel which benefits the nervous system.
Research has shown that Sun Salutations, when practiced regularly, have the potential to prevent over a hundred ailments.
Among the many benefits of regular practice of Sun Salutations here are a few prominent advantages:
- Improved concentration
- Enhanced memory power
- Increased energy levels
- Physical strength
- Calm and focused mind
- Happy state of being
- Better immune system
- Higher efficiency
- Increased learning capacity
- Optimized metabolism
While you encourage your child and initiate him on the path of yoga and meditation, it would be beneficial if you also roll out your yoga mat. Stretching together, reaching for the sky and touching the earth… you and your child will enjoy the yoga sessions. While teaching him to navigate through the outer world of skills, competence and adventures of life, you will also be teaching him to explore his inner space. With some help from yoga and meditation.
With inputs by Hetal Mehta, Art Excel teacher & Dinesh Kashikar, senior Art of Living Yoga teacher.