Movement is great fun and has a positive effect on the child’s development. Limited by quarantine, we find inspiration to exercise together on the home deck. An assistant can be a versatile wooden rocker Good Wood, which we like to call a home playground. Just show it to the kids and they’ll be able to see how you can play with it in no time. In a thousand ways. What’s more – we, adults can also benefit from this game and mindfulness training by serving each other yoga lesson. Ola Puchała, a yoga teacher who is friends with the creators of Good Wood, the author of asana on cards that you can download tells us about what is good for children to move solo or with their parents, and how to practice yoga at home on a rocking chair. here . Bonus: when we exercise, not only our bodies are strengthened, but also our bonds. Joy in motion!
We invite you to read the interview conducted by Maria Krystman with Ola.
Many of us adults practice yoga and we know that it improves our bodies, allows us to relax and control our breathing. What does it give to kids?
Ola Puchała: In fact, the benefits of practicing yoga in children are the same as those of adults. Yoga can be fun for a child. It is also a great way and an excuse to spend time with your parents. Hence, it is very close to the concept of a happy child. A happy child is a child with a healthy, strong and fit body, aware of a calm, relaxed and alert mind; positive attitude. It is a conscious child, knowing what he wants, expressing his thoughts and feelings in a creative and expressive way – this is the educational goal we pursue. There is a proverb: “What the shell soaks when you are young, the smacks you in old age.” The knowledge and experience gained during yoga and meditation exercises will pay off very quickly in the future.
From what age of children can we start with home yoga?
It all depends on the child and its psychomotor development and ability to concentrate. My youngest and one of the most promising yogis was less than 2.5 years old. Generally, the proposed exercises are intended for children from 5 years up.
I like what you said, “Children are born yogis,” but I think yoga requires concentration. Do we also need this concentration from children in yoga?
Mindfulness is a skill that should be practiced, just like yoga, from an early age. Concentration is useful in virtually every aspect of our lives. Let our children be fully present in what they are doing, here and now. If they are in the top position, let them freeze in the asana, as if their body had been frozen. Let the winds, rains, snow, clouds come and go, and let the majestic mountain remain motionless.
Part of yoga is pranayama, or breathing techniques. What is your patent on it, so that the child does not quote the breathing exercises: “nuuuuda”?
Explain to your child what this breath is all about. It is the most important daily activity that provides the necessary energy and oxygen to each cell. You can live without food for a few weeks, without water for a few days, but only for a few moments without breathing. The breath oxygenates and nourishes our body; exhaling relaxes and removes toxins and unnecessary metabolic products.
Use simple breathing techniques during a stressful weekday situation, e.g. a quarrel with a child, an unfortunate toddler’s fall. This is the moment to catch your breath when both the child and the parent are mentally exhausted. Let’s sit close to each other, cleanse ourselves with tears and just breathe: inhale and exhale. The child will see for themselves that focusing on the breathing really helps.
And the breath in the child’s relaxation, such as a summary of movement exercises?
At the end of the class, a balloon breath with your favorite mascot on your stomach is perfect. The baby lies on its back and watches as the belly with the toy and the chest puff up like a balloon filled with air as they inhale and fall as they exhale. And anything can happen with a story that any parent can create – all you have to do is activate your imagination.
Suppose we have a quiet, shy and hyperactive child at home, who is everywhere. Can we serve the same two exercises in a family group?
Yes, the same exercise may have different effects on each child and their body. An example is the above mindfulness exercise. It can trigger expression in a withdrawn child and at the same time soothe nervous and hyperactive children. By learning to do this exercise, both children experience how to cope with their problems, such as persistent thoughts that I am not very good and cool in a shy child, or the need to constantly move around in a hyperactive child.
Can yoga be an alternative to – attention, unpleasant slogan, no fun – corrective gymnastics?
Yes, yoga can be and is an alternative to corrective gymnastics. Conducted consciously by a qualified yoga teacher with anatomical preparation and knowledge of movement physiology, it is a great complement to traditional physiotherapy. It is also worth for a yoga teacher to cooperate with rehabilitation specialists, manual therapists or kinesiotherapists, then the action is comprehensive. The difference between yoga and corrective gymnastics is that it can’t be boring. We replace boring exercises with asanas, repetition with expressive fun in the form of, for example, a movement story.
Exactly – asanas, or given yoga poses, often refer to the names of animals, such as a cow, cat or the famous dog with its head down. This can encourage children! What asana would you recommend for those who are just starting their yoga adventure?
I would start with the position we begin with in our Good Wood yoga tutorial, namely the lotus flower. It is the queen of all asanas and helps you concentrate. It causes us to cut ourselves off from the outside world and focus on our interior. Contrary to appearances, however, this is not a simple setting of the body and mind. Hence, we proposed earlier exercises to relax the muscles, prepare for the lotus. For more details, check out the Downloadable Good Wood Yoga Cards here .
The yoga exercises you recommend for kids in these cards , are performed on the brilliant Good Wood rocker – if we don’t have one, can we also exercise at home?
We can always, but with the rocker it will certainly be more interesting. The child, losing himself in play, will not even feel that he is jogging. It is as if we are adopting poses on a natural wooden playground. Items limited only by our imaginations.
ps You can buy printed yoga cards here .
The material was created in cooperation with the Ładne Bebe portal.