Yoga, an amalgamation of exercise and mindfulness, not just enhances physical health, it calms the mind and reduces stress and anxiety, thus doing wonders for mental health as well. Due to its sheer benefits, this ancient practice has become increasingly popular among adults across countries.
But, is Yoga just for adults? The answer is a big NO! In fact, starting the practice at an early age helps a practitioner to reap its lifelong benefits.
So, what is the right age for a child to start doing Yoga?
Anywhere around 7 to 8 years is ideal to start doing Yoga.
How does Yoga help children?
Yoga improves a kid's balance, strength, flexibility and physical capacity. It also reduces stress anxiety, increases focus, memory, thus enhancing academic performance, as per research, cited by Harvard Medical School.
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What are some of the Yoga poses that a child can begin with?
Whether a child or an adult, a beginner should start with easier poses.
Here are some of such poses:
1) Mountain pose (Tadasana)
Standing straight with arms on your side -- that is mountain pose, or 'tadasana'. Although it looks simple, it's a powerful exercise that lays the groundwork for other Yogasanas. Also, it's good for posture.
2) Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
Lay down on your stomach with your hands beneath your shoulder. While inhaling, gently lift your hands and head till your hands are straight. Make sure you put an equal amount of pressure on your both your hands. This is cobra pose, or 'bhujangasana'.
An easy pose, the Yogasana is good for the spine and lays the groundwork for more difficult backbends.
3) Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Come in a tabletop position, with your arms underneath your shoulders and knees beneath the hips. Move your hands a few inches forward. Strengthing your legs, start lifting your hips. Press your heels, stretch your arms and tug in your belly. This is downward-facing dog, or 'Adho Mukha Svanasana'.
An active pose, the Yogasana stretches the hamstrings and chest and lengthens the spine, leaving you energised.
Seated spinal twist
After coming in a seated position, put your right hand on your left knee and your right arms behind your right hip. Gently twist to the right. Repeat the same exercise on the left.
The pose is good for the spine and also improves digestion.
Child's pose (Balasana)
Although a resting pose, 'balasana' is an amazing pose for a beginner to start his/her practice.
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For this, bend your knees and sit on your heels. Gently lower your head and stretch your arms. Close your eyes and take time to connect with your breath. This is child's pose, or 'balasana'.
It relaxes the mind, calms one's breath and is the perfect pose for beginners.