Yoga for Kids

kida yogaWith the advent of technology, it seems like kids have forgotten to go outside and play. They can always be seen busy with their latest gadgets, pretty much like their adult counterparts. However, since these are their developmental years, a lack of physical activity can be very harmful to them in the long run. Yoga is an ideal workout for kids because it not only gives them the physical exercise they need, but also helps them in developing better focus. Yoga will improve their posture while helping them attain mental balance, concentration and will also help in increasing their inner strength. So, here are some simple yoga poses that kids can easily perform:

Easy pose

This pose forms the basis of many of the exercises in yoga. It is actually one of the first poses that are taught. The p

erson just has to sit with crossed legs and keep their eyes closed. They then have to then breathe in and out, which helps in creating a rhythm and also helps in calming the kids down.

Sunrise/sunset

This is another interesting pose for the kids. For this, they have to first stand straight and take five deep breaths. Then they are supposed to inhale while lifting their hands over their head and

stretch themselves looking up to the sky. After that they have to start exhaling while they will slowly bring their hands down and touch them on the ground. They can then return to the starting position. This yoga pose will help them improve their spinal cord flexibility and their height.

Tree pose

For the tree pose, the kids should stand straight and breathe in and out. Now, the child should put their right leg

on the side of the knee of the left leg. They can now either clasp their hands in a ‘namaste’ position or push it a notch higher. If they want, they can also raise their hands over the head and maintain that position for about 2 minutes. They can also keep their eyes closed for improving concentration. After that, slowly release the body to normal and repeat the same pose with other leg. This po

se helps the body maintain balance and is good for keeping the spine straight. This is an incredible pose for improving the focus of the child.

Butterfly pose

The name itself is enough to create curiosity in kids. To start, the kid needs to sit on the floor and slowly bring their soles together. In the next step, they will need to keep their feet firmly in one place. At this point, the knees will be above the ground. So, bring the knees to the ground. Again, bring the knees up and then take them back to the ground. Repeat these steps. Let them imagine themselves as butterflies and let them flutter.

This one is for their relaxation. After a busy workout, this will help them relax a bit. They just need to lie on their back and keep their arms and leg straight. Also, ask the kids to concentrate on inhaling and exhaling. As much as this is a relaxing exercise, it is also a lesson in concentration. This pose will not only relax their body, but will also give them a free and relaxed mind.

What is Iyengar Yoga?

B.K.S. Iyenwhat is Iyengar Yogagar is the man after which this Yoga form takes its name. It is based on the principles of yoga explained in the Yoga Sutras written by Ptanjali. Iyengar Yoga is essentially a form of Hatha Yoga, but practiced in a unique way. Iyengar Yoga pays more attention on the accuracy with which the various components of yoga are performed. Whether it is the asanas (the postures) or pranayama (breathing control), all have to be done with absolute precision.

The founder of Iyengar Yoga did extensive work to systematize the different asanas (around 200) and pranayama (about 14) in Hatha Yoga. He also proposed many different variations of these classical postures and breathing exercises that started from a basic level and went up to the advanced levels. The stepwise approach of Iyengar Yoga helps the practitioner slowly move from the simpler postures to the difficult ones.

The unique feature about Iyengar Yoga is that unlike any other form of Yoga, Iyengar Yoga uses props. Yes, Iyengar Yoga uses everything from belts, blocks, blankets or any other type of aid that helps is performing asanas. Now, there is another benefit to using these props. It is the reduced risk of injury. Since the tools ensure that the practitioner does the asana correctly, the risk of straining any muscle or body part accidentally is eliminated.

Timing is also as important in Iyengar Yoga as the precision of the asanas. Since each and every step in Iyenagar Yoga is detailed, it becomes really easy for the practitioners to follow. Another important focus of Iyengar Yoga is the sequence. The proponents of this form of Yoga believe that it is very important to follow a certain sequence of asanas and pranayamas in order to achieve the desired results.

This is also the main reason that Iyengar Yoga has become so popular with the masses. It allows every person to perform the most difficult of postures with ease. It really does not matter which age group the practitioners belong to, or how flexible they are. The step-by-step approach of Iyengar Yoga makes sure that everyone is able to participate and benefit from it.

There are many benefits of Iyengar Yoga that range from better physical health to improved mental health. It helps in correcting the alignment of the body and massages the internal organs of the body to release toxins from the body. The breathing exercises help in obtaining clarity of thought and also aid in curing depression.

There is also a lot of literature written by B.K.S. Iyengar that is easily available across the world. Published in 1966, Light on Yoga is one of the most widely read books on this subject. Iyengar Yoga has slowly become one of the most popular forms of Yoga across the world, mainly because of the high degree of accessibility. It makes a common man practice all the postures and breathing exercises without being a yoga expert.

Favorite Yoga Poses

Yoga has several benefits that help in achieving wholesome health and promotes well being. People favorite yoga posescan practice the ancient art indoors or outdoors, they can attend yoga classes or stay back at home and educate themselves. Even 15 – 20 minutes of yoga can help them reap many health benefits. Yoga helps them to improve both their mental and physical strength. Here are some great yoga poses for betterment of their core strength. These poses are incredibly powerful and combine inner strength with mental agility for overall benefit.

Easy Pose

This is the simplest yoga pose a person can do. They just have to sit with crisscrossed legs with their hands on the knees, close their eyes and take deep breaths to relax their body and mind. This is the basic pose for breathing exercises and meditation too.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This asana requires the practitioner to sit in the easy pose with their right hand closing their right nostril and breathe in through the left nostril. Then, using the left hand close left nostril and breathe out of the right one. Do this yoga exercise for at least 20 minutes. This will help them feel fresh and light from inside.

Tree Stand

The tree stand is an easy and beneficial posture, as it helps the practitioners to achieve a good balance of the body and also improves the mental strength. To start with the pose they first need to stand straight. The person is then required to lift up one of the legs and place it on the side of their other thigh. Then they should bring their hands together in prayer position and lift them up above their heads. It is important to stay in that position and breathe. Now slowly come back to the original position and repeat the steps with the other leg.  This pose helps with balance. For example, you need good balance in order to stay safe on your roof when cleaning out the gutters.

Sitting Forward Bend

To be able to sit in this pose, the practitioner needs to have both their legs and back straight. Then they need to lift their hands straight over their head, look up and bend forward, touching their toes. They need to hold this position for a moment and keep their back straight before finally returning to the initial position. This asana can be performed while standing as well. This yoga pose helps in stretching the back and legs.

Savasana

‘Sava’ means corpse. So this literally translates to corpse pose. This is another example of a really easy pose that results in great benefits. Savasana helps in relaxing the body, so it is generally done at the end of a yoga session. For this asana, the person needs to just lie down, with their back straight and arms on the sides. The person now needs to close the eyes and focus while inhaling and exhaling. This exercise helps in bringing the body in a rhythm and also helps in normalizing the breathing after a heavy yoga session. Concentrating on the breathing also allows the person to appreciate their own existence, which is a rejuvenating experience in itself.

Yoga on the Beach is Relaxing

Throughout history, yoga has always been practiced outdoors from the time of its origins. With the modernization of yoga and the lack of enough open space in big cities, yoga has found a way inside studios and gyms. Yet, outdoors remain the best place to practice Yoga. The beach is one such place where you can practice the asanas, meditate, and be calm in the lap of nature. There are many reasons why you should enjoy your future Yoga sessions on the beach.

 

In the natural habitat

On the beach, you will be doing yoga the way it was originally intended to be, out in the open. The nature around you will be a great inspiration to do the toughest of asanas. In a yoga studio, you need music, television and what not to keep yourself from getting bored. Here, you do not need any of those distractions. You have the sprawling beauty of Mother Nature right in front of your eyes. Whether it is the comforting sounds of the waves or the mild rays of the sun, all of it will come together to make it a better experience for you. Not only this, such a kind of experience also allows you to spend time with yourself, think more, and know yourself better.

 

It is all about Breathing

Whether it is the asanas or the pranayama, all the components of yoga have breathing as a big part of it. The sound of the water will help you to breathe rhythmically as well. Moreover, since you are out in the open, you will be able to inhale a lot more oxygen than what you would have been able to in the closed indoors. You will also be able to feel an instant high in your energy, because of all the oxygen that you will be taking in.

 

The Balancing Act

The beach sand is soft, pleasant, and feels great. You do not need a mat when you go to the beach for practicing yoga. The simple reason is that sand is your natural mat. Even if you fall, you are not going to get hurt. Also, since sand on the beach is not laid out like a concrete floor, it is not easy to achieve balance on it. Meditation is not an issue. But, when it comes to the asanas, it becomes a little tricky to get the right balance and hold the posture still. It needs a lot more concentration than it would take you on a level floor. This improves your focus and makes your mental faculties sharper.

 

yoga on the beach

The chirping of the birds and the vast ocean in front of you will always be relaxing. You cannot help but feel a connection with nature. You will feel one with it. Also, once you are done with all the asanas, you can enjoy yourself in the nature’s very own swimming pool. Take a dip, and relax yourself with a quick swim in the ocean. The scenic beauty will be enough to make all your worries melt away.

Different Types of Yoga And Their Benefits

Yoga is not only a workout routine for the body, but the mind and soul as well. In fact, the ancient Hindu scriptures that mention yoga, call for the connection among different aspects of the human existence. These are the physical body, the heart, the intellect, personality and vitality. Therefore, different types of Yoga were practiced to address different needs. In the modern times, the different types of yoga have been made more palatable for the masses, but they are still distinguishable.

Hatha Yoga

This one is one of the oldest and the most well-known branches of yoga. According to many Hindu texts, Hatha Yoga was propagated by Lord Shiva himself. Asana, pranayama and mudra form the cornerstones of this yoga. It believes that the entire human body is made up of a network of channels, each of which is called ‘nadi’. Keeping the ‘nadis’ as the prime focus, hatha yoga aims at purifying and balancing them. It is all about postures that help in channeling energy to the various parts of the body. Hatha Yoga is a complete body exercise and helps in toning the spine, de-stressing, eliminating toxins, and also helps in correcting malfunctioning glands.

Ashtanga Yoga

‘Ashta’ means eight and ‘anga’ means limbs. In theory, the yoga of the eight limbs is known as Ashtanga yoga. The basic idea of this yoga is to know the spiritual self by practicing the eight limbs. The practices include posture, breath control, sense control, meditation, concentration, moral codes, self-purification and absorption into the universal. It aids in releasing tension by massaging internal organs. Ashtanga Yoga is also known to promote mental clarity, improving blood circulation and thus, calm the mind.

Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini is the name of the primal form of energy that is believed to be present at the base of the spine. This kind of yoga is focused on releasing this energy. It is actually like a power in latent form in the human body. The practitioners of this form of yoga believe that the various asanas, pranayama, and chanting of mantras, can awaken this energy and take the human being to another level of self-awareness. The concept of chakras also comes from the belief in the kundalini energy. By practicing this form of yoga, a person can experience improvement in lung capacity, and stronger nervous system. It is also known to purify the blood, which in turn can eliminate many diseases.

Iyenar Yoga

Founded by BKS Iyengar, this can be seen as an offshoot of Hatha Yoga. However, Iyengar Yoga puts a lot of stress on the accuracy with which the asanas are performed. A variety of tools and supporting equipment have been designed by the founder to get the postures right. With the practice of Iyengar Yoga, it is believed that the practitioner puts less strain on the body parts, while achieving the best results. This yoga helps in improving immunity, depression, high blood pressure, pain in the back and neck, builds stamina and concentration, among other things.

Power Yoga

This is a derivative of the Ashtanga yoga and has its roots in the West. As the name suggests, this yoga is more of a workout designed to be more aggressive in the asanas that form a part of it. Power Yoga is popular among gym goers and athletes. This yoga focuses on burning calories, improves metabolism and definitely helps in increasing stamina and flexibility.