Learn About Yoga

Why Should Children Practice Yoga

My adventure through the world of yoga has led me to want to take some kind of training. Last year I decided that I would attend the Yoga Baby and Yoga Kids Teacher course at Sunshine Yoga School in my home country: Portugal. Afterward, I would decide if I would continue my training and take the 200hrs YTT course that I intended to do in India. Long story short, I am going to India in May. Yeeeey!

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But now let’s focus on Yoga for children. Now that I have taken the training in Yoga Baby and Yoga Kids I can better understand the importance of Yoga for our children and future adults. So here we go.

Let’s start by thinking about the Yamas and Niyamas. And now you are thinking “What the hell are you talking about Jo?”. But let me explain:

The idea that yoga is about the asanas (postures), to learn to focus and be aware and mindful and calm for the time that we’re on the mat is, not totally wrong, but really incomplete. Yoga is a way of life and we should carry this state of being with us when we leave the mat. And there is so much more to it than the asanas. But I will only talk about the Yamas and Niyamas and explain the other 8 limbs of yoga on another day.

Yamas and Niyamas are the first two practices (of a total of eight) of Yoga according to Patanjali. Who is Patanjali? To make things simple is the person who wrote the guidebook of classical yoga – the Yoga Sutra.

The Yamas and Niyamas are often seen as moral codes or ways of ‘living the right way’. Putting it simply the Yamas traditionally guide us towards practices concerned with the world around us and the Niyamas are the practices concerned with ourselves.

The Yamas are:

  • Ahimsa (non-harming or non-violence in thought, word, and deed)
  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (celibacy or ‘right use of energy’)
  • Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding)

The Niyamas are:

  • Saucha (cleanliness)
  • Santosha (contentment)
  • Tapas (discipline, austerity or ‘burning enthusiasm)
  • Svadhyaya (the study of the self and of the texts)
  • Isvara Pranidhana (surrender to a higher being, or contemplation of a higher power)

Although the practice of yoga as other benefits in children, if we just focus on the importance of bringing this “moral codes”, this Yamas and Niyamas, into our lives, why should we wait until we are adults to start learning to live this way? Basically, with the practice of yoga,  we are teaching our children to live in this world respecting the other and oneself. What a beautiful thing that is! Today’s children are the future leaders of this word. How amazing it would be that they grow up with this kind of life values that are currently lacking in many of us adults.

P.S. If you liked this post and have children or know someone who has children and doesn’t know if yoga is the right way to go, share it with them!

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