Yoga and children

On 17th July I volunteered my time to teach yoga (and share my Birthday) to the children of Lionwood Junior School, Norwich. It was a delight to the teach these beautiful, gregarious, enthusiastic and energetic 7-11 year olds. In the two hours I devoted I must have taught at least 150 children. Lionwood School is a beautiful modern building with children from all Nationalities, race and religion.

Teaching children is a whole different ball game to teaching adults and one has to make learning a game and of course fun and giggling is obligatory. It was interesting observing the children as they came into the room and the sound of excited giggly children filled the hall. Some children came and sat quietly on the mats, cross legged, with the hands in the traditional jnana mudra, eyes closed and Omming ( I could not help but smile) and so children sat in full lotus position. I asked the children how many of them had practiced yoga and there were few hands that went up. I then asked them ” so what is yoga?” The children being children, hands went up enthusiastically, their answers, “exercise”. “relaxation”, “meditation” and of course all of these are correct.

It was lovely to see and hear how well the children responded to my teaching and to yoga. Asking them to sit quietly with their eyes closed and to lie down and relax, the children seemed to love this and I think that the teachers were surprised at how well the children responded to relaxation. We had some wonderful ‘tree’ postures with lots of children falling down giggling while others were very studious. It is interesting observing children and their personalities and how children learn. I was presented with a hand made Birthday card, had the children sing Happy Birthday to me and three cheers and many of the children came up to me and thanked me quietly and wished me Happy Birthday.

I so wish that the education system would include yoga or at least relaxation as part of the curriculum. Children are after all our future.

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