Yoga for children is a wonderful activity for both the home and the classroom. Kids benefit from yoga in so many ways - it inspires creativity while increasing concentration, physical fitness, mental development, and relaxation. Parents and teachers everywhere are recognizing the value of practicing yoga with their kids. Many of these parents and educators are undergoing kids yoga teacher training so they can effectively incorporate yoga into the daily routines of the children in their lives. It isn't at all difficult for kids to learn the simple and fun yoga techniques. For those who can't allocate the time to do kids yoga teacher training, there are many websites, DVDs and other resources that provide instructions on yoga for children, as well as easy-to-follow diagrams for techniques and poses.!br>
A good kids yoga dvd will show you that yoga poses for kids are designed to be fun and challenging without being too difficult to follow, and they also help kids connect with nature through animated poses. For example, the sunrise/sunset pose takes children's imaginations to the sky and back down into the earth again. The child stands with feet apart and arms stretched up to the sky, reaching far, and then drops the arms and stretches down, like the sun setting. It's easy to understand how a child can imagine he is the sun itself with this playful exercise.
The roller coaster is another fun pose, and one that encourages group interaction and cooperation. Have the kids line up sitting in a row, one in front of the other. Each child grabs the waist of the one in front of him, and when the leader leans to the right or to the left, the others follow. Then the leader throws up his arms to signal the end of the ride. Each child takes a turn being the leader, and at the end of the exercise they all feel as if they've been on a carnival ride.
The flamingo is a more traditional yoga pose which encourages balance while clearing the mind. The child stands on one foot with the other leg extended directly behind and stretches her arms out sideways, while leaning forward. If her mind wanders, she wobbles, which is why the pose is as mentally challenging as it is physical.
An exercise that is ideal for young people who have been diagnosed or have exhibited symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder is the sandwich wrap. Have the child lie at the end of a blanket. Grab that end and roll him into a wrap. Ask him what kind of sandwich he is and make him be a different one each time. Because gentle compression helps kids focus, this is ideal for kids who are very young as well as kids symptomatic of ADD.
While music can be incorporated into any yoga program, one pose in particular is ideal for use with music - the rocking horse. Have the child lie on her stomach with her legs bent upward, and the have her reach back and grab her ankles. When she broadens her chest for a deep breath, she'll feel herself rock backwards, and when she exhales and lifts her feet higher, she'll feel herself rock forward. With time, she can get faster and faster with this exercise, and so it offers a challenge for kids who need it.
Ever feel the need to just scream and let it all out? Well, kids do too, and an exercise that lets you both have a go at it is the roar. You and the child face each other and take turns roaring softly while sticking out your tongue, and with each roar you get louder until you reach full volume. This increases circulation in the lungs while decreasing tension in the body, so everyone feels a welcome release during this exercise.
These poses and exercises can be used both at home and in the classroom, for groups or individuals. For teachers who are willing to try unconventional teaching methods, yoga for children is an ideal classroom tool, and kids yoga teacher training is widely available. Also, a kids yoga dvd is a great way to bring yoga into your home. Help the kids in your life discover nature while learning self-control and body awareness - all with the ancient techniques of yoga.
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Written by Kacy Suther. Learn more about yoga for children with a kids yoga dvd. Offers kids yoga teacher training, yoga poses for kids, more at yogakids.com .
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