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Yoga for children

imageYoga for children

Children have many unexplained and unexpressed problems. They cannot express their problems correctly because their powers of expression and their knowledge of their own psychology is not mature enough. Hence, problems which children have are usually expressed in their behaviour and unless a psychoanalyst analyzes the behaviour of children he will not get an accurate diagnosis. It becomes very difficult for most parents because they are not psychoanalysts, and they consider the problems of their children subjectively. For instance, if a child is arrogant and disobedient, the parents will brand him as ‘disobedient’ but will not go deeper into the cause of the disobedience. If the child does not want to stay at home but wants to be with his friends, good or bad, the parents will brand him a vagabond, a loafer. A psychoanalyst will try to analyze the cause, but most parents cannot do it. It is not because they don’t know how to analyze, but just because they are the parents. They have a kind of prejudice; they are biased.

There is a kind of imbalance between certain tendencies in children from the ages of seven to twelve. Physical growth and psychological growth do not mature together. ‘physical growth’ here is in relation to the brain, nervous system and endocrine system. Sometimes the physical growth is much ahead of the mental growth and many times the mental growth is much ahead of the physical growth, which is the primary basis for problems in children.

As we can see, the pineal gland is very important. In yoga it is known as ajna chakra and it is situated in the brain at the top of the medulla oblongata. It is a very small gland and it acts like a lock. As long as the pineal gland is in good health, the anarchical sexual behaviour does not occur.when the child is about eight years of age the pineal gland begins to degenerate.this decay corresponds to the beginning of sexual maturation,precipitated by the release of hormones from the pituitary gland.many children do not cope well during this transitional period,when sexual awareness is developing.the refore pre-adolescent problems,disruptive behaviour is often envisaged at this age ,such as anger,resentment,or violence,much of which can be directly or indirectly attributed to hormonal imbalance. Sex consciousness should develop when the child is able to balance its reaction in his mind. If the awareness of sexual fantasies develops before he is able to express them, it can hit him hard. He may sometimes have frightening, terrible, fantastic or confusing dreams. At the same time, in his day to day life, he tries to overcome this awareness by behaving in a way that people do not like. Now if the pineal gland is out of the picture too early, the whole confusion starts.The child becomes restless because she is not physically ready to express this new development.

The problem does not stop here,the parents by and large are either unaware or ill equipped to understand these physical changes in the child which results in an aggressive behaviour in them.

In such a scenario,the practice of yoga which can maintain the health of the pineal gland and can give years of life to it comes in handy and becomes very important. This is why, in India, we have been teaching surya namaskara (a dynamic yoga exercise); nadi shodhana pranayama (for health and balance of the pineal gland); mantra (to challenge the child’s distracted mind); Trataka (to maintain the pineal gland).

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Static asanas should be taught after maturity. Until puberty the body of the child- the bones, the nervous system, everything- is growing rapidly, so asanas should be given which involve the growth. After maturity, static asanas and static balancing asanas are very good for them. For children we teach dynamic exercises like surya namaskara and dynamic/static combined, such as paschimottanasana. Static postures like sirshasana can be taught after puberty.

If the children are stooped, then forward bending postures must be avoided and backward bending postures must be frequently practiced.

If the child has congested glands (tonsils, ears) he should practice simhasana, the lions posture.

If children wet the bed, asanas like trikonasana and ardha matsyendrasana must be practiced.

Also the yoga should be adopted and customised for the children.a yoga session for children should include games,fun and challenges.
Even the asanas and pranayama taught should be in an innovative manner for example a set of 10 asanas can be blended in a story and can be practised with a story narration.
Also pranayama,for ex kapalbhatti,or exhalation can be emphasised with the child blowing into his index finger placed closed to his nose as though he is blowing out a birthday candle.

Let us pledge to take yoga to the children and teach them in an effective,fun way….so that they add life to their years.

 

 

BY PRATIBHA AGARWAL

ANAHATA YOGA ZONE

SOURCE-Bihar school of yoga