What is the difference between yoga poses for kids and yoga poses for adults?
Is there a difference at all?
There is not much difference in the poses for kids and adults. Yoga itself is designed in a way that it benefits individuals of all age groups. However, there is some stress on certain poses which are meant to be a regular practice among kids.
As a beginner, a kid can start with Iyengar yoga which is a beginners yoga and stresses on body alignment. Then the kid can move to different levels of poses or asanas as per their body requirements. It is also vital to teach kids the basics of pranayama (breathing techniques). Practice of pranayama a few minutes a day is best for kids in terms of preparing their young bodies for the different levels of yoga.
The importance of oxygen for breathing can be taught by using the example of a candle and a glass – teach how the oxygen is important to keep the candle alight, whereas when the supply of oxygen is cut, the candle is put out. This lays an emphasis on practicing the right breathing techniques.
Kids can practice poses of Iyengar yoga, vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga and hatha yoga. Power yoga and Bikram yoga are more designed for individuals aiming weight loss. The most common poses practiced among kids are the warrior pose and tree pose, the dog pose and the cat pose. These poses have several benefits when practiced regularly. Kids also need to know the importance of having a balance between the body, mind and soul.
In a typical classroom environment this can be taught by aligning 3 blocks one on top of each other each representing the mind, body and soul. Even if one block is taken off its place the balance is lost. It is important to instigate this thought and practice among kids so that they grow in complete awareness of having a perfect balance between their body, mind and soul.
Kids in a yoga class can work together on different asanas, by learning to spread their body weight equally and balancing the same on another kid who is of their size and stature. They can be taught the importance of breath synchronization by practicing the same in a group.
It is not always important to start off at a higher level. Encouraging basic exercises like lifting of hands, stretching and breathing is important. Meditation and relaxation techniques are other important yoga techniques that have to be encouraged among children. For meditation they can start by practicing the smallest chant ‘Om’. This helps them relax and prepare for their daily routines.
So, if you want your kids to be flexible and at ease at all times, encourage them to learn yoga. The asanas are simple and easy to learn and are always started with basic movements which make it easy for children to learn and adapt to.