Yoga and meditation for children, its a beautiful world

This morning I had the honor of observing my son’s class at Montessori primary school. A beautiful collection of 3-6 year olds, doing their own ‘work’, moving freely from table to table, friend to friend and making their own choices. Then at 9.30am a smiling Indonesian yoga teacher arrived and children who wanted to participate took their mats outside to meditate. Yes you heard me right, little meditators.

Recalling when I was three, I had permanent ‘ants in my pants’ and couldn’t stay still. Yet here they were, hands in gyan mudra, focusing on the breath in eyes closed silence. I meditate at home and always hide myself away to avoid disturbance from my four year old. Tomorrow I’m going to do a short meditation with him.

Whenever I practice yoga at home with him we go through the ‘animal’ asanas. A cat stretch turns into a giraffe’s neck and then an elephant stomping through the jungle. It reminds me to have fun within my own practice.

In an age where there never seems to be enough ‘time’, where children are expected to attend school and a plethora of ‘extra curricular activities’, its a wonderful gift to teach little ones meditation and yoga.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati wrote a wonderful book called Yoga Education for Children .

“Children have a native sense of personality,” states Swami Niranjanananda (he entered the tutelage of Swami SS aged 4). “Grown-ups can’t understand this nature and try to mold the child in their own image. But children are not conditioned beings. They have their own ways of recognizing, understanding and learning information, situations, subjects.”

This thought led to the opening in India of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (BYMM), a yoga school for children, taught by children.

“The aim of BYMM” explains Vikas, Director of the organisation, but who insists that all decisions are taken by the kids themselves, “is to propogate the philosophy of yoga to children in a way that is not scholastic. If a child a taught by a friend, probabilities are, he will pick up the subject faster.”

We’re working on including some fantastic family experiences in our Soul Sanctuaries spiritual offerings so stay posted for programs which include all the family.

(i) If you’d like some ideas to practice with your little one at home     http://www.yoga4kids.org/

(ii) If you’re a Yoga teacher interested in learning Yoga for Kids in Bali then click here http://rainbowkidsyoga.net/one_week_retreats.html

(iii) If you’d like to read some more of our blogs: http://soul-sanctuaries.com