Do you know what is the priority of many school boards around the world this year? It’s not the new math curriculum and it’s not literacy, it’s student mental health and well-being! As a children’s yoga teacher, I can see how difficult it is for them to cope with today’s challenges. Whether children go to school or study remotely, they experience anxiety, confusion, lack of motivation, and uncertainty about the future. These, in turn, manifest as physical symptoms like trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, lack of movement, eating disorders and more.
How can we help children overcome all of these challenges and take care of themselves, self-regulate, be healthier and do better in school? The pandemic has taught parents and teachers how important it is to perfect a hobby by exposing children to various extracurricular activities. A hobby in the form of arts, crafts, music, yoga, etc. in today’s world can also be a profession in its own right.
We all know how beneficial yoga and mindfulness are. We can teach mindfulness practices, tools and techniques to help children in their daily lives at home and at school.
Lotus pose / Padmasana
Start your morning with this yoga pose which helps deepen meditation by calming the mind and relieving various physical ailments. Here’s how to do the pose:
* Sit on the floor or on a mat with your legs straight out in front of you while keeping your spine straight.
* Bend the right knee and place it on the left thigh. Make sure the soles of the feet point up and the heel is close to the abdomen.
* Now repeat the same step with the other leg.
* With legs crossed and feet placed on opposite thighs, bring your palms together toward the center of your chest.
* Keep your head straight, spine straight, and eyes closed.
* Hold and continue with long, gentle breaths in and out.
* Improves awareness and concentration
* Improves digestion
* Stretches knees and ankles
* Strengthens the spine, abdomen, pelvis, bladder
Child pose / Balasana
The child’s pose can be used as an opportunity to rest between more difficult poses, or it can be practiced for calm and concentration.
Here’s how to do the pose:
* Kneel on the floor and sit on your heels.
* Lean forward to gently rest your forehead on the floor.
* Relax your arms in front of you, palms down.
* Imagine you are a hippo in the water.
* Close your eyes and relax your body for several breaths.
Ants pose / Baddha Konasana (variant)
How to pose:
* Sit up straight and bring the soles of your feet together.
* Raise your hands and raise your arms and bring your palms together above your head.
* Now put your hands under your leg and hold your toes. Lower your knees and slowly bend forward to touch your forehead to your toes.
* Hold for 3-4 breaths.
* When you are ready to release the pose, slowly unscrew your hands first, then sit up to return to the starting position.
* Helps calm emotions.
* Relaxes the nervous system.
Vajrasana (The Lightning Pose)
Vajrasana is a sitting posture. Here’s how to do the pose:
* Stand on the knees, lower legs together and stretched back, the two big toes crossing.
* Lower your body and sit on your heels. Your buttocks will rest on the heels and the thighs on the calf muscles.
* Keep your hands on your knees or close to your heart and keep your head straight.
* Concentrate on the breath and observe the process of inhaling and exhaling.
* You can close your eyes, to concentrate and calm the mind.
* Stay in this position for at least 3 to 5 minutes.
* It’s a good meditative pose
* Slow and rhythmic breathing in Vajrasana can induce a meditative state.
* It increases the efficiency of the digestive system and helps people with poor digestion to easily digest a full meal.
* It helps prevent acidity and ulcers by improving digestion.
Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose / Prasarita Padottanasana
How to pose:
* Start by standing with your legs 3 to 4 feet apart. Folding forward bringing the palms to the ground below the shoulders.
* Use the arms to pull the forehead towards the floor, bending the elbows towards the back wall. Press down on the feet, extending the legs to push the hips toward the ceiling.
* Feel the spine pulled in opposite directions as you press your head down and lift the hips.
* Breathe in and hold for 3 to 8 breaths.
* To release, extend your arms to the sides and return to the starting position.
* Lengthens the spine.
* Stretch the back of the legs.
* Strengthens the back muscles.
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