Love makes you innocent like a child. A child is the most receptive person. Keep the child within alive. A child never tires of hearing the birds sing, never gets bored looking at flowers. – Amma
What is the best gift for our children? We live in a busy world. Our children are affected by the stress of extra classes, competitive sports and busy parents.
Yogasana practice can help counter these pressures. Learning techniques for health, relaxation and inner growth, children are better able to manage life challenges. Improvements in self-esteem and body awareness are achieved by non-competitive activity that fosters cooperation and compassion.
Yogasana offers many such benefits. It enhances flexibility, strength, coordination and body awareness. It assists neuromuscular development, balance, posture and alignment, the immune system, relaxing the body and promoting better sleep.
Yogasana calms and clears the mind, relieves tension and anxiety, and improves concentration and relaxation. It also enhances team skills and social interaction, at the same time as supporting individuality and self-expression.
In yogasana, children get to exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. Yogasana brings the inner light of children to the surface, and supports a sense of universal connection.
When yogis developed the asanas, they lived closer to the natural world—the sting of a scorpion, the grace of a swan, the grounded stature of a tree. When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they attune themselves to nature.
Children will jump at the chance to adopt the postures of animals, trees, flowers or warriors. The teacher’s role is to step back and allow them to bark in the dog pose, hiss in the cobra, meow in cat stretch, allowing them the freedom to play and have fun.
Iyengar says, “Children love speed and variety. Once they are motivated to perform asanas with different combinations, they are inspired to do more. Children are blessed with innocence and freshness. Through yogasana, it is possible to skillfully transform their vitality and competitive spirit into useful forms of energy. Yogasana channels their thoughts and makes them responsible citizens of the world.”
Amma says, “There is no difference between the Creator and creation, just as there is no difference between the ocean and its waves.”
Paramahansa Yogananda says, “The wave is the same as the ocean, though it is not the whole ocean. So each wave of creation is part of the eternal ocean of spirit. The ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot exist without the ocean.”
Bringing students into the present moment is a most basic requirement for learning. Yogasana promotes a relaxed, peaceful and receptive state of being. As Amma says, “A real yogi is one who can maintain a peaceful mind in the midst of any crisis.” And Yogananda says, “Stillness is the altar of spirit.”