“Children are born Yogis,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual Master, Humanitarian, Founder of The Art of Living. Children generally have active lives with multiple classes, course work and other things that keep them engaged round the clock. With multiple gadgets, media, and learning activities calling for their attention, many are seen developing ADHD or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder from a rather young age. In the U.S., about 6.4 million kids in the age group between 4 and 17 years were reportedly diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. The number has incrementally risen over the years.
Can Yoga be the tool to help ground them, calm their nerves, clear their hyperactive minds, sharpen their focus, and channel their energies better? The answer is a resounding yes!
We give you a list of Yoga poses (Asanas) that kids can practice partly for fun and partly for some serious benefits like better concentration, sharper intellect and a blossomed personality.
A side note-Other parents might ask you one day- “How come your children are so fresh always and get so much done in such little time?”
Here are the secrets-
1) Warm up
Kids have more energy than adults. So for warm up, ask them to run around for at least 2-3 minutes. They can run fast and return to the Yoga mat. And if kids are really hyperactive, then you can ask them to run for 5 minutes. The idea is to get their bodies slightly tired enough that they mentally and physically settle down to listen to the instructions of Yogasanas.
Ask the kids to
-Make a Namaste above the head with both the palms stretched up.
-The left foot should be on the floor straight facing ahead. Knees should not be bent.
-The right foot should be tucked into your left thighs.
-Take 2-3 long deep breaths in this pose before they can relax this posture slowly.
To make things interesting, you can ask kids to get a little competitive and check for who can be the steadiest in this pose. A few seconds later, you can dish out the secret-
Here is the secret to hold this pose steadily. In this pose, if you look at one specific point in front of the body, you can easily keep your balance longer.
3) Half Moon Pose or Ardha Chakrasana
-We raise both the hands up straight, palms facing forward
-Biceps touching the ears, and
-Head is up.
-We are looking up towards the ceiling.
-Kids must arc the back a little bit and stay in the posture for a few seconds. Kids must take 2-3 long deep breaths and breathe into the pose.
4) Standing Forward Bend or Hasta Padasana
As kids breath out of the half-moon pose after deep breaths, they can bend forward into Hasta Padasana. In this asana,
-Take a deep breath in and making a Namaste with both palms stretched, bend forward and make a Right angle with your body. Hold this pose for 2-3 long breaths
-As we breathe out, we try and lower our upper body to bring the knees closer to the chest region. It must be kept in mind, that we don’t over exert ourselves in this posture. We do only as much as we can comfortably do without a quivering breath.
-We stay in this pose for 2-3 rounds of breaths and then slowly come up in Tadasana.
5) Plank pose or Makara Adho Mukha Shvanasana
After repeating the cycle of Ardha chakrasana and Hastapadasana, go into plank pose.
- Stay in the plank pose for 10 counts, breathing deeply in this pose.
6) Upward facing dog or Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana
After the plank pose, kids can move into upward facing dog.
-Entire upper body stretched up and looking up.
-Then the only part that touches the floor is ankle and feet.
-In this upward facing dog, they must stay there for 2-3 longer fuller deep breaths in and out or as long as they can stay without much effort.
7) Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Shvanasana
As kids breathe out, we can come to downward facing dog or Adhomukshwa asana. In this,
- make a mountain with your body
- hands touching the floor, toes touching the floor
- Lift the hips up,
- Pressing the heels towards the floor, walk a little forward. Stay in this pose for 3-4 long breaths.
8) Child Pose or Balasana
Kids can now relax in child pose.
- Bend the knees on the floor on the mat slowly,
- slide the hips all the way back,
- Relax the hips on the legs
- Slowly relax the chest on the thighs and head on the mat and
- Both the arms stretched out in front of the body. Then, relax in this child pose for 3-4 long deep breaths in.
9) Butterfly Pose or Badhakonasana
Sit in Sukhasana with legs crossed comfortably. Now for Butterfly pose,
- Make a Namaste with both the feet and come in butterfly pose. Once in this pose,
- Swing the knees like a butterfly. Take 2 deep breaths.
- As we breathe in, catch the toes, look up and slowly bend forward.
- Stay in this posture for 2-3 deep breaths.
- Slowly come up and let the kids relax.
Let the kids sit with their eyes closed for a few minutes
(With inputs from Jai Desai, a Sri Sri Yoga teacher, who trains corporates, youth and children in the art of Yoga)
Disclaimer: This article is only for informative purposes. It is strongly recommended for children and adults to learn and practice these asanas under the guidance and supervision of a trained and certified Sri Sri Yoga faculty.
1) Vrikshasana- www.kidsyogastories.com