HYDERABAD: Childhood, in today’s world, is not as happy-go-lucky as it used to be decades ago.
Children are subjected to severe mental stress owing to intense competition coupled with high expectations from families. Needless to say, this, in turn, results in various physiological issues.
This is where the need for yoga comes in. Yoga is a universal tool not just to keep the body fit but also the mind healthy. Hence, it is vital that it be taught in every school. Moreover, childhood is the time for the development of the body and yoga would help strengthen it and its associated functions, improve coordination and mobility.
Sri Krishnamacharya, often referred to as the ‘father of modern yoga’, encouraged children and women to practice yoga.
“According to him, a person is fit to practice yoga once they are able to eat by themselves. He taught an entire section of yoga, especially meant for children, called Srishti Krama. He specified that this is the first stage in yoga and is associated with growth and expansion,” says Sharmila Taneja, a yoga trainer in Hyderabad.
To keep yoga fun and interesting for children, stories can be woven around asanas, depicting animals, plants and birds, she says.
Asanas for children
Sharmila Taneja recommends half an hour of Viniyoga practice for children of an average age of 12 years with Urdhva Dhanur Asana as the goal posture. Here’s the series of asanas for children as prescribed by the trainer:
- The sequence starts off with a Tadasana Vinyasa, wherein the child is required to stand. While inhaling, they should raise their hands from the front of the body while lifting themselves on toes into a Tadasana. The hands are then brought behind the child’s lower back. On inhalation, the child should go into a backward bend as far as comfortably possible and return to same position. The exercise must be repeated thrice.
- This is followed by savasana for three minutes. Next, the child must lie on their backs with knees folded and feet on the mat. While inhaling, they should raise their hips off the mat and place their hands over the back of their head. Repeat the same thrice.
- The child is then required to place their palms in-line with the ears, with elbows bent towards the body, knees bent and feet on the mat. They then need to inhale and raise their head, shoulders, spine, hips and arch the back into an Urdhva Dhanurasana. Stay in this posture for five breaths or until comfortable. Exhale and slowly return to savasana for three minutes.
- Next, the child is required to lie on the stomach with arms by the side of the body, raising the head, neck and upper body up to the navel into Bhujang Asana, while breathing in. Repeat the same thrice.
- This is followed by coming onto one’s knees and hands on the floor with hips placed over knees and hands slightly away from shoulders. The child is required to draw the shoulder blades together gently whilst lengthening the spine into a natal position and inhale deeply. While exhaling, one should fold their body in such a way that the hips are placed on the heels and elbows and forehead on the floor. Repeat it four times.