Friday, February 25, 2011

Yoga for Kids

Back in the day, parents would try to wrest their kids away from the TV and ask them to play in the park. In this generation, we try to hide the iPads, block downloadable apps and ask them to do some yoga. 

Yoga engages a child's imagination and playfulness. It boosts confidence and self-esteem. The poses keep the bones healthy and the muscles active. It also teaches balance, focus and relaxation. 

Children can begin yoga as early as possible through guided play. However, structured breathing or pranayama should only be introduced to ages 8+. Here are some fun and simple ways to teach your kids yoga and get their butts (and yours) off the couch.

Fly, Fly Butterfly
Baddha Konasana. Lie on your back, drop your knees to opposite sides with the soles of your feet touching. Stretch your arms overhead. Flutter your wings (legs) to loosen hips. Breathe for 5 counts.

Stand Like a Tree
Vriksasana. Stand upright. Lift your right foot with your right hand and, bending the knee to the side, place your foot on your inner thigh. Stretch your arms overhead, palms together. Look ahead and breathe for 8 counts. Repeat on the other side.

Downward Facing Dog
Adho Mukha Svanasana. Kneel on all fours with hands directly beneath shoulders and knees beneath hips. Look down at your hands and press the palms down to the mat, spreading your fingers like a starfish. Tuck your toes under, drop your head. Rise on your toes, straightening your legs and pushing your hips to the sky. Breathe for 5 counts.

Hungry Crocodile
Nakrasana. Lie face down on the floor and press your legs together so they make a long tail. Point your toes. Press your hands down on the floor beside your chest, with elbows bent. Now lift your head and upper chest and stretch out your long tail. Balance on your stomach. Show show your teeth by stretching out your arms and fingers and giving a good crocodile roar. 

To add to the fun, paint faces so that you really look the part! Namaste, everyone! :)

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