In today’s competitive world children are faced with pressure from all areas of life. Even the physical sports that they indulge in are competitive.
“Yoga is a great way to help children get fit, learn about their bodies and get fit in a non-competitive environment. It’s pleasing to see that a few schools in Kenya are now including yoga as part of their extra-curricular activities,” says Sheila Otieno, a Nairobi Yoga teacher and Mum.
Yoga for kids is different from adult yoga. It is based on exploration through fun and games. A child can practice it alone or as a group. Children as young as two can practice yoga. Starting early helps lay the foundation for a lifelong practice.
“With children, I have learnt to be a bit flexible. It includes music, storytelling and games. I allow them to strike various animal poses or sing certain songs while they hold these poses,” explains Sheila.
Yoga for children involves striking various bodily poses. These are less intense than in other forms of yoga. These poses help a child learn about their bodies while making them stronger and more flexible. This makes them less likely to experience sprains or fractures from falls.
Yoga teaches children to be still. This way, they can breathe deeply and experience calmness. A calm state of mind allows a child to efficiently learn and make decisions. The relaxed state of mind and body that yoga helps a child achieve is ideal for helping enhance a child’s concentration during other learning situations. Children that struggle with attention challenges learn to have increased focus on something. It helps a child learn to channel his or her energy in one direction.
Children’s yoga also involves breathing exercises. These equip children with stress management tools. When in the midst of a conflict, heavy breathing will help slow down a child’s heart beat and thus achieve calmness and get back to their normal mental state.
Yoga benefits more than a child’s emotional and physical well-being. Seeing as children are sometimes allowed to play out their own imaginations, yoga definitely helps boost their creativity by inspiring them to be free and expressive. Working together with other kids allows build their interaction skills and helps build their own confidence in themselves. A child who regularly practices yoga will be generally healthy, happy and positive.
To find out where you can enroll for these classes in Nairobi visit our Info Centre’s Yoga classes for kids