By Grandmaster Akshar
From school to tuition, sports to recreation, extra-curricular to homework, children’s schedules are as hectic as that of any adult. Their blossoming minds are hard at work, absorbing information in a myriad of fields. They are surrounded by new experiences and observations that affect them at various levels.
A parent may wonder how to fit into this sensory adventure that their child experiences and enjoys. Though Yoga may seem to suit an adult’s taste, the facts of its connection to children is fascinating:
• It is a form of knowledge that was designed to be imparted to children of very young ages.
• It prepares the budding mind for a life of perfection and fulfilment.
• The physicality of asanas is best suited and achieved by children due their supple bodies.
• It builds a strong connection between the body and mind at a very early stage.
• It reduces anxiety and stress which is very commonplace in children of our current time.
• The child develops a character that is balanced, harmonious and filled with positivity.
• The physical exertions which they easily perform and enjoy helps build their self-confidence and improves their body sensitivity and coordination.
• It sharpens their memory.
History tells us that this sacred task of moulding these young spirits was tasked to a guru. Within the sacred shade of the gurukul, little minds were given this ancestral wisdom that would take them down the path of perfection. We may still uphold this tradition.
Parents are the perfect guides who could assimilate the role of a guru and use yoga to form an unbreakable bond with their young ones. Here are a few Yogic activities you can perform with your young ones to nurture them and the bond you share with each other.
It is a subtle introduction to the physical aspect of Yoga. It is the playful side of yoga where children and adults alike practice asanas and other physical movements to develop the taste for yoga and to introduce the body to this new form of physical growth. It opens up the mind and creates new channels within it, developing the sensors of the body and its physical capacity as well.
Asanas are the perfect tool to mastering the body. They give the practitioner the ability to control their bodies both during movement and stillness. Performing Surya Namaskar every morning with your child is an ideal way to bond with them, simultaneously working on the health of all those involved. Each asana is unique in its positive effects on the human mind. The asanas stated below are especially beneficial for children. You may begin your child’s journey with these easy asanas and help them build their curiosity to explore a lot more and add to their repertoire of asanas.
• Begin by standing in Samasthithi.
• Lift your right leg off the floor and balance your body weight on your left leg.
• Place your right foot on your lift inner thigh.
• Place it as close to your pelvis as possible.
• You may support your foot with your palms to bring it in place.
• After you find your balance, join your palms in Pranam Mudra at your heart chakra.
• Raise your Pranam towards the sky.
• Straighten your elbows and ensure that your head is in between your arms.
• Focus your gaze forward.
• Repeat the same with the alternate leg.
Inhale and exhale normally while practicing this asana.
Formation of the posture:
• Lie down on your back.
• Bring your upper body 45° off the floor.
• Pivot your body weight on your hips and lift your legs 45° off the floor.
• Try to prevent a bend in the knees.
• Keep your arms parallel to the ground and pointing forward.
• Tighten your abdominal muscles.
• Straighten your back.
• Hold the posture for six counts.
Inhale before raising the upper body and legs.
Hold the breath while holding the asana.
Exhale as you lie down.
Practice of various asanas is an explorative adventure for the child and is essential for their physical growth and mental well-being.
This is the aspect of yoga that takes responsibility for the child’s mental growth, their all-round personality, character nourishment and peaceful, calm outlook. A parent’s involvement during this practice is a divine bond indeed.
• Sit down facing away from each other.
• Rest your backs against each other.
• Cup your palms, face them upward and place them on your knees.
• Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
• Breathe calmly with deep inhales and exhales.
• Ensuring that you’re facing away from your child helps them lose self-consciousness.
• Resting your back against each other shows support to your child at a subconscious level, making you the guide for their inner journey.
This practice helps your child grow holistically, taking into consideration the various facets of human development. It further strengthens the connection between parent and child and is equally beneficial for all the participants involved.
Yoga is a great gift to the human life. It is beneficial for all ages and stages for life and is hence the best medium for connection of spirits.
(The writer is a Yoga Master and lifestyle coach.)