The Little Yogis
Yoga is believed to have the innate ability to heal, strengthen, and transform the body and the mind. Moms practise pre-natal and post-natal yoga for a healthy pregnancy, but classes with kids is also garnering its fair share of fans. Fitness has suddenly become a great bonding ground for moms and babies.Mumbai-based Ravinder Kaur and Jasmeet Kaur, who started Yogazoo way back in 2007 to popularise the practice of yoga among toddlers, children and their parents, believe that the practice is a complete form of education that aids the holistic enhancement of the child. The duo has formulated unique, fun-based programmes to channelise the individual needs of every child, right from the age of eight months.
Ravinder says, “A child emulates his or her parents. We encourage the mother to let their child be. Practising yoga with the mother not only builds deeper bonds but also helps in making yoga a habit.” Their programme caters to three age groups: 8-18 months (Baby Yogazoo), 2-6 years (Pre-schoolers) and 7-14 years (Yuktaha Yoga), and is based on the mantra ‘Atha Yoga Anushasan’. “Yoga begins with discipline and leads to a harmonious personality. The habit of practising yoga, if taught early in life, leads to heightened physical stamina, balanced emotions and elevated intellectual and creative skills,” explains Jasmeet.
The method of teaching at Yogazoo is more ‘play-way’ that works best for children in initiating them into this practice, holding their attention and keeping them glued to it. Blogger, fitness trainer and winner of Mrs India Delhi-NCR 2018 and Mrs India Superfit Goddess 2018 titles, and a mother of two, Neha Bangia Gulati says, “The key is to keep it simple and short. Kids are more flexible than adults, but they are not so swift. Become a kid yourself, teach them in a fun way and correct their postures, but by degrees.” Neha’s son Evan, 7, started showing interest in yoga when he was five while her daughter Mira, 3, is brave enough to try a headstand.
The benefits are many. Deepa Sehara says her son Milind, 10, who had some health issues when he was two has been practising ‘Anulom-Vilom’ for past couple of years and is now healthier, happier and more agile. She was initiated into yoga by her son. “My son makes me sit and practise with him, almost daily.” The glow on her face is proof that she loves this.
Yoga enthusiast and mother to a three-year-old, Arathi Ayyangar, says, “Children happily imitate their parents. They aren’t fearful and love and trust in doing something in the company of their mother.” Arathi practises ‘Bhramari’ and ‘Pranayam’ with her daughter Adhrita because these are easier. There are many innovative additions to make the staid asanas interesting. Like Neha says, “I have added some twists. To make it more quirky, I add storytelling and some hula hoop to fill in because it’s not easy for kids to follow a long session.”
Similarly, Yogazoo has many themes centred around providing holistic learning. “The dimensions of our class are essentially methods or themes that we use, to make the learning more contextual,” says Jasmeet. The best takeaway for the duo is to see some of the top-notch schools of Mumbai lap up their innovative yoga programme.But certain precautions must be observed. Yoga guru and founder of Vashistha Yoga, Dheeraj Vashistha says, “Children should initially try focusing on leg balancing and standing asanas, and avoid forward and back-bending exercises.”
Benefits of mom-baby yoga
❖ Aids the holistic enhancement of the child
❖ Practising yoga with the mother helps build deeper bonds
❖ Helps in making yoga a habit
❖ The habit of yoga, if taught early in life, leads to heightened physical stamina, balanced emotions and elevated intellectual and creative skills