You might be thinking that yoga for children sounds a little peculiar as children are already super active, always playing, running and jumping. But it is also true that the pressure on children is increasing day by day. They need to perform well in studies, sports, dance, music and whatnot. Apart from this, the rising popularity of video games and the internet has resulted in a massive shift in lifestyle. Children now don’t prefer playing on the streets but staying at home or in gaming parlours. This makes Yoga important more than ever. The special thing about Yoga is that it not only gives a fit body but a calm mind and soul too. Making children practice Yoga will inculcate in them this discipline early and will prepare them for the challenges that they might face later in their lives.
Benefits of Yoga for Children
- Often as adults and young adults, we face difficulties in day to day life due to rising competition. We constantly compare ourselves with others and might often lose our peace of mind. Yoga teaches children qualities like self-acceptance which is difficult to develop as an adult.
- Practising yoga from a young age inculcates discipline and a healthy lifestyle.
- As we are constantly surrounded by distractions, yoga helps in gaining an enhanced focus and patience. This is not only beneficial in making children better in studies and sports but it helps in developing courage and sharpens decision-making ability.
- Yoga is excellent to boost mental health. It makes the children feel optimistic and prevents panicking even in trying situations.
Yoga creates a flexible body which will prove to be beneficial for an entire lifetime. Here is a list of top seven asanas for children:
Vriskshasana or Tree Pose
As children, we are never stagnant and are brains are continuously thinking of new and exciting things. However, this can also develop into impatience and poor concentration. Practising Vrikshasana regularly helps in gaining the required tranquillity and mental steadiness.
How to do Vriskshasana?
Step 1: Stand straight. Lift one foot, hold it with your hand and pull it up to the other foot’s thigh till it rests on the thigh as high as possible.
Step 2: Now try to balance the body on the other foot while keeping the hands by your side.
Step 3: When the body is balanced, slowly raise the hands, stretching them high up in Namaskar position.
Step 4: Stay in the asana for a few minutes and then practice it with another leg.
- It helps in improving concentration significantly.
- It strengthens the knee, calves, thighs and spine.
- It induces calmness in the whole body.
- Do not practice vriskshasana if suffering from vertigo, variable blood pressure, insomnia or migraine.
- Practice the asana under the guidance of a yoga trainer to avoid any injury.
- Do the asana carefully if suffering from a knee injury.
Shirshasana or Headstand
Shirshasana is also known as the king of all asanas. It has been described by different names in ancient texts. For instance, Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes Shirshasana as Viparita Karani. The asana is especially beneficial for children as it provides numerous benefits which one might stay devoid of otherwise. Also, it is easier for children to practice this asana as compared to adults.
How to do Shirshasana?
Step 1: Lock the fingers of both the palms and making a triangle with the forearms, keep them on the ground.
Step 2: Place your head in between the lock while the rest of the body should be making the mountain pose.
Step 3: Slowly bring your legs closer to the head by walking towards it. Try distributing weight equally to both your arms.
Step 4: Now slowly lift your legs up and straighten your back. As a beginner one can practice it by taking the support of the wall.
Step 5: To come back, fold your legs by bending the knees. Then bend your hips and put the feet back down to the ground.
- Shirshasana redirects the flow of blood towards the head region and provides benefits like enhanced memory, better concentration, stronger hair and it sends a wave of calmness across the body.
- The asana strengthens the arms and shoulders and makes the body ready for other advanced asanas like handstand.
- It also helps in curing digestive system related issues.
- Shirshasana must be strictly practised under the guidance of a Yoga traitor as children being fickle might twist their neck.
- The asana must be avoided if suffering from conditions like injuries of neck and back, heart problems and kidney problems.
- Shirshasana is not a beginner’s asana and hence must be practised only when the child is deft in other basic asanas.
Mandukasana or Frog Pose
Described in the 17th century Hatha Yoga text called Gheranda Samhita, in Mandukasana, the body is shaped like a frog. Though the asana is an easy one, yet it provides many amazing benefits.
How to do Mandukasana?
Step 1: Sit in Vajrasana and clench your fists with the thumb inside.
Step 2: Place the fists beside the navel.
Step 3: Inhale deeply and while exhaling bend forward and look straight.
Step 4: Hold for some time and come back to the initial position.
- Mandukasana is an effective asana to release stress and anxiety. It enhances the absorption of oxygen and vitamins in the body.
- It helps in better functioning of the liver and kidney and detoxifies the body.
- The asana improves the functioning of the digestive system.
- It is also considered an amazing asana for controlling type II diabetes.
- Do not practice this asana if suffering from stomach ulcers.
- The asana should be practised carefully if suffering from any knee injury.
- Do not practice mandukasana with a full stomach; rather there must be at least 4 hours gap between meals and the asana.
Dekasana or Airplane Pose
Considered as a variation of Virbhadrasana III or Warrier Pose III and Tuladandasana, Dekasana is an advanced balancing asana.
How to do Dekasana?
Step 1: Stand straight on your yoga mat and stretch your arms up in Tadasana.
Step 2: Slowly lift one leg and stretch it backwards while bringing your hands in the position of an air plane, lifting them above the body with palms facing towards the ground.
Step 3: While stretching the leg backwards, bend your back and look straight. Try making an angle more than 90 degrees between the legs.
Step 4: Stay in this pose for some time and then repeat the asana with another leg.
- The asana helps in strengthening arms and legs muscles.
- It stretches the spine and helps in improving posture and hence is especially beneficial for kids as the wrong posture in childhood might stick along with you for an entire lifetime.
- The asana helps in directing the energy generated in the body towards the third eye and can help open the spiritual window.
- The asana should be practised carefully, under the guidance of a Yoga trainer if suffering from any injury of knees, hips, lower back, ankles or shoulders.
- Since the asana is a balancing asana, it must be practised after other beginner asanas to avoid any toppling and injury.
Bharmanasana or Table Top Pose
Bharmanasana is one of the basic poses which helps in balancing the energy of the body and makes the body ready for other intermediate and advanced poses.
How to do Bharmanasana?
Step 1: Start by sitting in vajrasana on a flat surface.
Step 2: Stand on your knees, bend and keep your palms on the floor taking the shape of a four-legged animal.
Step 3: Keep both the legs and both the hands parallel and equally spaced. Straighten the spine making it parallel to the surface and look down.
Step 4: Remain in the pose for some time while feeling the whole body and then come back to the initial position.
- The asana being is a beginner pose is essential as it raises awareness and helps in transitioning to other balancing asanas.
- The asana can help correct a wrong posture.
- It is good for the abdomen and digestive system.
- The asana should be practised carefully if suffering from a knee injury or joint problems.
Chakrasana or Wheel Pose
Chakrasana is also known as Urdhva Dhanurasana and also forms a part of the Ashtanga Vinyasa series. The acrobatic asana stretches the back like a wheel. It strengthens all the parts of the body and can save from any unwanted injuries.
How to do Chakrasana?
Step 1: Lie down on a flat surface. Bend your knees, bringing the feet closer to the hips. There must be some space between the feet.
Step 2: Lift up your hands, placing them near your head with fingers pointing towards the feet.
Step 3: Slowly lift your body up putting greater pressure on your feet than your hands. Lift up the head as well and push the abdomen outwards so that the body takes a wheel-like shape.
Step 4: Remain in the pose for some time, after which carefully bring back your head and then rest of your body back to the surface.
- The asana is very beneficial for children aspiring to increase their height. The asana stretches the spine to a good extent and helps in elongating it.
- Children often suffer from allergies and bronchitis. The asana is quite beneficial for the respiratory system.
- It helps in strengthening the bones.
- It shouldn’t be practised if suffering from any injury of back, wrists or ankles.
- Since Chakrasana is not a beginner asana, it should be practised only after a warm-up session to avoid any ligament tear.
- The asana must be strictly avoided if the shoulder is dislocated.
Garudasana or Eagle Pose
In Hindu mythology, Garuda is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu and is known as the king of birds. Garudasana is an intermediate asana. Satyananda Saraswati, a famous Yoga guru said that the palms should take the shape of an Eagle’s beak in this asana. Another variant of Garudasana in which the body is bent forward is called Vatayanasana or Horse Pose.
How to do Garudasana?
Step 1: Stand straight on a flat surface. Bend your knees a little and curl left (or right) leg over right (or left) and balance the body on one leg.
Step 2: Now when the body is balanced, curl the left (or right) hand over right (or left), making the Namaskar pose with curved hands.
Step 3: Stay in this pose for some time and then repeat the asana with the other leg.
- The asana makes the body flexible by stretching the muscles of hands, legs and shoulders.
- It helps in detoxification of the body and improves blood circulation.
- The asana being a balancing asana helps in developing concentration and inducing patience.
- The asana should be practised carefully if one suffers from recurring headaches, migraine, variable blood pressure and obesity.
- Be careful in case of any shoulder, ankle or knee injury.