By Didi Anandarama
A session of yoga is a very rewarding experience for the children. The children enter an atmosphere where there is cleanliness and order, beautiful objects of decoration, good ventilation, pleasant scent, soothing lighting, peaceful enlivening music and a radiating yoga teacher welcoming the children.
Yoga sessions do not put stress or demand on the students for excelling or achieving results because yoga is an inspiration for the inner self. It is a moment to ‘step out’ of the hectic life style that children are subjected to all day long. During the yoga session they can be themselves, relax, recover, recharge their energies and feel revitalized and good.
Similar to other successful learning experiences of students it is to a great extent the teacher who is the key in facilitating a joyful and rejuvenating yoga session. Training teachers to be yoga teachers for children includes for the teachers to take up regular yoga practice and some basic elements of Neohumanist Education.
Why teach yoga to children?
Children becoming familiar with yoga will have a sense of active self-help for all round good health. They learn to give attention to certain parts of the body during the exercises and will have a better understanding of body and mind interplay. They learn to improve their concentration by improving their breathing and body posture. They learn to relax at will and feel calm, composed and self-confident. They learn to manage their energies, improve their relationships and flow with their own creative self-expression.
The age groups
The age groups that go well together are: 3 to 6, 7 to 10, 11 to 13 and 14 to 16. By the age of 16 the young teenager is ready to practice the yoga for adults.
What do we teach?
“I Love Yoga” book is available now and it has a collection of breathing exercises, warm ups, playful and challenging yoga postures, yoga games and explanations for these practices. All the suggested yoga activities are well tested in our classrooms. Mary Jane Glassman director of Morning Star Kindergarten in Denver, USA who is also a certified yoga instructor with experience teaching adults and children provided most of the text for the yoga poses.
The methodology of Yoga Instruction
The yoga session includes, besides the yoga poses, teaching children proper breathing during the yoga exercises, warm-ups, self-massage, relaxation, guided visualizations and simple quiet meditations.
In the spirit of the yoga atmosphere of peacefulness and quiet there are extensions of singing songs, reading poetry or an ongoing story, storytelling and dramatizing, discussions and art and music. Even a planed service project can be an extension of a yoga class. Yoga for Children Teachers Training was recently given to teachers by Didi Anandarama in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. There is a basic introductory course for 6 hours. A certificate is given after 60 hours of training and the teacher providing a portfolio of acquired skills in teaching yoga to children.
Love for learning
Warm-ups Yoga Postures