Yoga Classes and Programs.
Welcome and thank you for joining the ever-growing number of parents and teachers who are aware of the benefits of yoga for children. Although yoga for adults has been enjoying increasing popularity over the past twenty years or so, it is only recently that we have come to understand how helpful it can be for children, especially in their formative years.
Yoga can counter the pressures of the bustling pace of our children’s lives (school pressures, lessons, video games, malls, competitive sports, and hurry-up world of busy parents), as it encourages developing healthy bodies, relaxation and inner fulfillment that help children navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease. Children suffering from psychosomatic disorders such as sleeping and eating disturbances, and headaches are helped through yoga, which provides exercises that involve the whole body, mind, and spirit.
Fun! Fun! Fun! Yoga is fun because children can play “let’s pretend.” They can pretend to be a bear, bird, butterfly, cat, cobra, dinosaur, donkey, elephant, fish, frog, flower, and other animals, insects, and interesting things. Doing yoga also makes them feel good and they can do it whenever they feel like. After they do yoga postures, they will rest and relax completely, with their favorite light blanket. They are asked to be real still and think beautiful thoughts, like being on the beach, seeing the waves move in and out, hearing the seagulls. Then they do wake-up exercises. As yoga is noncompetitive, each child is encouraged and praised for whatever they can manage to do. It is more important that the child have a fun, positive experience, than a “perfect” one!
Yoga benefits the entire body and mind. When children participate in yoga, they set a life-long foundation for their own well being. Yoga is a non-competitive sport, allowing the child to work at his or her own level. It also complements any sport activity and prevents illnesses. It is an ancient science/philosophy from the East. It is not a religion or affiliated with any religion, and it can be practiced and experienced by all regardless of religious preference. The word “yoga” means to yoke, or unite. Yoga unites the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of a person.
In keeping with the theory of multiple intelligences by author and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Howard Garner, the Yoga for Kids integrates storytelling, music, language, and other arts into a complete curriculum that engages the “whole child.” engaging the entire mind, body, and spirit in a way that honors all the ways children lean.
The length of time for each class varies depending on the age of the child. For 3-6 year old children, 10 - 15 minutes, & 7-9 year olds will extend to 25 minutes.
The length of time to hold postures varies per age also. Generally, 20-20 sec. to 1 minute for children under 6, 20-30 sec. for children 6 and older.
Children are encouraged to close their eyes once they understand how to do the exercise so they can “feel” it, i.e., feel the muscles that they are using and concentrate on the flow of the breath to “relax into the pose.”
Dr. Dunning, a certified yoga instructor, provides verbal instruction, demonstrates the physical postures (which are copied after animals, insects, etc.), and keeps the child focused in a way that she/he can understand and follow them.
There are short relaxation periods (15 seconds or so) after each posture/exercise, and a longer relaxation period at the end of the postures (5-10 minutes).
Bring a rubber yoga mat (unless mats provided by facility), and a light large
shawl to cover up with during deep relaxation.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing made from natural fibers so move without restriction.
*Parents, consult your child’s doctor before starting Yoga, especially if they suffer from heart conditions, hypertension, or other serious illnesses. If they have back pain or other serious injuries, get a diagnosis from your doctor and get their okay before enrolling your children in this program.