Saturday, January 3, 2009

What is Kids Yoga?

Children are natural yogis--depending on your idea of yoga.

For children, yoga is almost counter intuitive, which is why is it so beneficial. Children of all fabrics must find some form of discipline, organization and focus in order to practice yoga even if it looks like child's play from a distance.

Songs, stories, toys and projects help stimulate the right brain so that asanas make more sense, but the challenge of yoga for the young is not necessarily physical balance and stability.

It seems that many adult yogis find focus, balance, and quieting the mind more of a goal rather than a state of being in their own practice--what do we then expect of children? Yoga, unchanging, unflinching, is the union of focus, balance and breath: mind, body and spirit.

When children are on the mat, the energy, meaning or intention behind yoga itself does not turn into something it is not like heavy metal, karate or swimming. The class make look A LOT different from an adult class, but the unity of yoga does not change.

It is very normal for emotions to show themselves in a yoga class for kids of all ages. For the child who loves to slouch, sitting up straight may bring up negative feelings at first. Upon weekly repetition, those feelings may become more benign and then eventually transfer into very positive feelings. What a beautiful possibility to offer a child, not only the process of physical change but emotional transformation. The more we practice letting peace unfold naturally instead of demanding it be more imminent, the more are we in alignment not only with yoga but love and family.

Yoga is something new. How does your child react to something new and different, something he or she does not understand? It is very helpful for parents of child yogis to appreciate these ideas in comparison to those preconceived about children's yoga. Sometimes yoga will be joy and peace and sometimes yoga will be disappointment and frustration--both are opportunities for growth and development. The commitment is to wellness; if it is of value for your family, your child will know.

Shanti Shanti Shanti, Om Om Om, Peace Peace Peace

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