In our tech-infested world, where our children are drawn ever younger to digital devices, the world of social media and virtual reality why not use Yoga to create an oasis of calm.
Unless your children are extraordinarily obedient, you are bound to face stiff resistance, as you pry away their devices and command them to a Yoga mat. Every cell within you must be wanting to quit as you try and ignore sulky, resentful looks and whiny protests.
If you can persist and get them to sit for a session or two, we don’t guarantee that subsequent sessions will become easier! But at least, they might come to see it as a task their parent has assigned to them, and which they must work at for the stipulated time.
It will take many more sessions until they come to appreciate their practice. It will take maturity and insight for them to realise that thanks to their parents’ efforts they now have a time and space that they can spend in self-reflection and introspection, where they can let their minds wander, their imaginations run free and slowly learn to process their thoughts and emotions and release pent-up stress.
Nothing like starting young
At Pratimoksha, we advise that children start Yoga between the age of 10-13. By then they would have become a little more mature to follow instructions and absorb some of the basic philosophy that guides the Asana practice.
It’s always good to start early, as the body is super flexible and one can achieve postures without the need for any customization. Contrast this with someone beginning Yoga in their middle age. Chances are they might have acquired assorted aches and pains — even one or two chronic issues. With the body not being as flexible as in its youth, the Yoga instructor might suggest tweaking postures to prevent injuries. On a case-by-case basis, a teacher might even recommend Yoga therapy to take care of chronic issues before the practitioner can move into a regular class.
This is, by and large, not the case with children. Hence the advantage of starting young.
Yoga and academics
Since academics is such a large part of a child’s life, Yoga can help in areas such as improving concentration and focus, reducing exam-related stress and tension, and helping the mind cope with trying to absorb information and make sense of it. It can help calm children who are hyperactive, so that they can sit for a longer duration while studying. It transforms children into more resilient people, who in time, display the same flexibility of body in the way they think and deal with people and situations.
Breathing exercises also help immensely. Not only does improved lung function help reach oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, particularly the brain, but it also helps balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Why is this important?
While the sympathetic nervous system is in charge of one’s fight-or-flight response, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to reset, restore and digest. Both work in tandem to keep us safe and in optimum health. An imbalance leads to physical and mental stress.
Yoga is possibly the best discipline that helps keep a body in balance. It offers so many techniques that one can use, depending on a situation, to help restore our sense of balance and thereby our sense of wellness.
Introducing our children to Yoga is one of the best things we can do for them. It’s truly a gift of health like no other.
Pratimoksha offers classes for all ages and levels. For those with various types of ailments and aches and pains, we offer Yoga Therapy that can help you successfully manage your condition, if not entirely rid you of it. The tools of Yoga are varied and each offers a depth and breadth that you will not find in any other form of fitness. If you are looking for the best yoga studio for kids this summer vacation, dial 00971-50-395-5613.