Articles

Yoga for Children

By Dr. Prafulla Dorle - Dr. Prafulla is a Doctor, senior yoga teacher and yoga therapist from Yoga Vidya Gurukul. He has rich experience in Anatomy & Physiology of Yoga practices, he is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 10 years along with his medical profession.

Yoga for Children

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Childhood is the time to play, to enjoy, and to be cheerful! It is the time when your life is free from worry, stress and tension. The world around is limited and the needs of life are less. At the same time it is the time for development and growth. The time when the child develops habits and the life and lifestyle is moulded. It is the basis of the future health of the individual. The child is full of energy which needs to be expressed in a proper direction.

The practice of yoga during childhood helps for self expression. It develops self discipline and self confidence. The communication skills of the child improve, the child learns to respect others, develops love and compassion. On the physical level it increases strength, improves the stability and co ordination. The balancing and flexibility of the body are enhanced.

The importance of yoga for common childhood complaints is as follows : 

  • Concentration And Memory - 
    The practice of omkar chanting and yoga nidra can help to improve concentration and memory. During infancy even listening to omkar is helpful. The secretion of growth hormone is increased during sleep and the practice of yoga nidra has a similar effect. Growth hormone is the most essential for the normal growth and development of the child. Various connections between different parts of the brain are being developed during infancy and yoga nidra enhances these processes.The practice of balancing poses also helps to develop concentration and memory.

  • Restlessness And Irritability - 
    Most children have this complaint at some time or another. The energy level in children is high and it is expressed in this form. The energy needs to be directed instead for more constructive work. This energy can be controlled by the practice of deep breathing, making the child calm and quiet. Proper breathing will further help by supplying proper oxygen to all the body cells.

  • Behavioural Disorders - 
    Sometimes children are too headstrong and adamant, returning snappish, uncivil answers. Some of them are short tempered and have a destructive tendency. The regular practice of omkar chanting, deep breathing and yoga nidra will help to solve these problems. Even the practice of yoga in a group will help to develop a positive attitude and the spirit of team work. It will develop the feeling of respect and love for each other.

  • Height - 
    Poses like the tree pose, triangle pose, mountain pose, warrior pose and sun salutations help to increase the height during childhood. These poses give a systematic stretch to the limbs and vertebral column. At the same time the calcium metabolism and utilization in the body is improved. Thus it helps to improve the height and also increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles.

  • Respiratory Infections - 
    Respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis, tonsillitis, common cough and cold are frequent complaints of childhood. The practice of yoga improves the immune system and prevents infections. Deep and slow breathing increases the strength of the respiratory system and increases the oxygen supply to the body. The practice of forward and backward bends helps to open the chest and the alignment of the vertebral column. This helps encourage natural diaphragmatic breathing and helps to relive respiratory problems.

  • Digestive System - 
    The practice of yoga especially simple preparatory movements and sun salutations help to improve the metabolism and proper digestion. As a result of improved digestion the over all health and immunity of the child is improved. The proper nutrition of the body is essential for the further development and growth of the body and mind.

Caution

It is true that the practice of yoga is helpful during childhood but it is to be remembered that yoga is a double edge sword and so some precautions need to be considered. The organs and systems in children are not fully developed. The yogic poses should not be maintained for long as it may cause development of abnormal curvature in the soft developing bones. The balancing poses are to be practiced with caution to prevent injuries from falling down. Also holding breath during breathing practices should be avoided to prevent damage to the brain due to lack of oxygen and the practice of bandhas and cleansing processes should be totally avoided during childhood.

At the end it can be said that a proper, guided practice of yoga during childhood will make the child healthier, smarter and more intelligent.

Dr. Prafulla Dorle

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