Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Kids Yoga Pose

Kids love yoga! What do they learn and how do they benefit? Kids love to learn traditional poses while focusing on qualities like how to be proud and peaceful in Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II.

Practicing Kids Yoga, Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II

Step the feet 3-4 ½ feet apart on a mat or non-slippery surface. Turn the right foot forward and leave the left foot turned towards the left. Bring the arms parallel like wings to the sides with the palms facing down towards the earth. Look over the right shoulder. Inhale to fill up the chest and on an exhale, bend into the right knee, keeping the right knee over the ankle. The arms stay active and strong and the core stays active. Stay in the posture for 3-5 rounds of inhales and exhales. It is best, especially with young kids, to keep the cues simple and to allow room for their own expressions for them to feel successful and proud.

Warrior II is also similar to a warrior holding a bow and arrow. On an inhale, raise the hands to the sides, and on an exhale bringing the left arm forward pretending to load the bow. Inhale, pull back on the
bow and exhale to sink a little lower in the front knee bend standing strong, peaceful and proud.

Warrior II could represent many things in kids yoga. The stance is similar to standing on a surfboard and balancing while riding the face of a wave. Kids can move through a sun-salutation, bringing their arms overhead diving into the water, then jump on their surfboards, catching a waves and riding up and down the face of the wave.

They could also move into other ocean related poses like fish, seal, half-pigeon or crow pose to represent a seagull to bring the sea to life!

Kids yoga is fun, imaginative, and spreading like wild-fire! At a time when kids tend to be over- scheduled and sedentary, and mindless activities like video games and television are part of their daily lives, yoga, provides opportunity to be active.They learn to be balanced and proud in tree pose, how to be playful and
loyal in downward facing dog and practice being strong and peaceful in warrior poses. In crow pose, they learn to flip their world upside down and be open to new perspectives. The use of props, aromatherapy sprays, games, music, and food, create a “full-sensory” learning experience.

One approach to teaching kids yoga is to include stories, legends, folktales, and games to teach lessons of patience, compassion, self-love, loyalty, and relaxation. The students “act-out” the stories with yoga poses that represent the different characters and qualities in the stories. They love creating their own poses and teaching them to their peers.

In one traditional story, shared by Tayo Kids Yoga curriculum, kids learn how to to find peace within their hearts in the midst of chaos. In the story, the king asks his people to paint the “perfect portrait of peace”. He chose two similar paintings capturing a lake, mountains and the sky above. The first picture represents peace in all of its’ splendor including a glassy lake, puffy white clouds, and the sun bringing warmth and color, a “perfectly-peaceful” existence. The other picture depicts a stormy painting of the same mountain, mirrored lake, angry skies, with the addition of a mother bird, warming her nest and babies in a bush near an angry waterfall.

The kids discuss which painting the king will choose and why and act out various poses, like mountain pose, warrior pose, fish pose, and other related poses. The king rewards the painter that created the painting with the mother bird near the turbulent waterfall. The students share opportunities in their own life when things felt unstable and turbulent and how were are able to “burn” off worries and fears, and come back to a feeling peaceful.

Kids yoga classes include traditional yoga poses, sun salutations, and time allowed for students to create their own poses. Breathing techniques and resting postures are also taught. They also learn compassion, kindness, and respect for themselves and others. Various breathing techniques and meditations are useful for school-aged kids when taking tests, learning to be more mindful, and for overall happiness and most of all, we have a ton of fun!

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Their are so many opportunities and variations for kids to learn yoga postures through stories, sun salutations, games and music. Teaching the gift of yoga to the young is so rewarding for both the teacher as well as the students. I learn how yoga brings meaning and release in their own minds and bodies, and they learn how it has transformed and inspired mine!


Christi Iacono

In Rhythms Yoga- Contact christi@inrhythmsyoga.com for more info. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com for class schedule and privates.

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