Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teaching Yoga to Kids :-)

Every time I teach Yoga to kids I feel renewed. Teaching them is always a new experience to me. Even after teaching thousands of children till now, yet I learn something so different and new every time I come across a new child. I feel that every new kid brings with him or her a new expression, a new vision, a new idea and a new motivation for life.

In this month of November I taught for four days in two separate Children’s Yoga Camp at the Yoga Institute and I am so grateful to have this opportunity. I am always amazed to see the extraordinary abilities of these small and little ones. In one of the camp I started the camp by asking them “what is Yoga?” and I was so surprised by their brilliant answers...they said mam..’Yoga is concentration’, someone said ‘Yoga is meditation’ and another said ‘Yoga is a way to connect to God’…well these were the answers from kids who were around six to ten years old!! One little boy said with gleaming eyes ‘Yoga is to be wise’. Another kid said ‘Yoga is a way to cure diseases’!! After, I made them play a memory game standing in a circle where they were around 30 of them with around 10 trainee students. Everyone had to say their names aloud and then I asked the kids to give me at least 10 names. It was astonishing to see the kids come one by one and say out the ten names. Such is their memory!

The kids had a lot of fun imitating a tree, a lotus, a fish, a tiger, a snake, a rabbit, etc. It was a treat to see them do these asana with great enthusiasm. Kids have a tendency to get distracted and bored quickly if they do not feel involved and motivated by the teacher. So at every point I would encourage the kids by asking them questions and teaching the asana by putting them into a story. Kids are very imaginative, so it is great to make them imagine or visualize a story with animals and plants while making them do asanas.

I made them learn to say all the eight steps of Yoga with examples, stories and sharing. While teaching them Niyamas I asked them that how could we keep our mind clean, and trust me they gave marvelous answers to me. Like, ‘ by reading good things’, ‘by praying’, ‘by not seeing or hearing dirty things’ and one eight year old girl called Rayna with a cute bandana on her head said ‘ we should not think anything bad because germs can enter our brain then’. I found this answer so profound that it put me into thinking. Kids make things so simple and we adults sometimes make things so complicated. We all sang and danced, colored the Diyas, did potting of plants, played so many games, went for nature walk and did juggling. Thanks to all the trainee students of the Yoga Institute!

Every time when I teach, I learn. I learn to keep my heart and mind open. And I learn a lot to express, to feel, to imagine and to appreciate every time when I teach the little wonders of the world. They teach me to be patient, because to deal with children while making them do Yoga, especially the ones whom you do not know at all can be very demanding on your mind, as you have to forbearingly listen and answer to all their questions. But at the end there is a sense of achievement and joy that I get when I nurture them with moral ethics and value education. It is so much important to teach values and ethics to kids in a practical way to bring peace and love for the next generations to come.

As a Yoga teacher it is so essential to be aware and vigilant with your own behavior and moral conduct in order to educate the children whole heartedly. It is so insane to see when the kids are being exposed to alcohol and smoking by their own parents. Like the last night when I was eating out in a restaurant, I was deeply upset and stunned to see a father holding a glass of alcohol in front of his own five year old child. It has become so normal to drink and so normal to drink in front of children!! Sad. Very sad. We are already seeing so many serious problems in the world due to the consumption of alcohol, especially when we lose control over ourselves under the influence of alcohol. And sometimes children get adversely affected by this as their minds are so sensitive. But then, I know I have to practice the Parikarmas and alot of Vairagya! May we all get wiser for the welfare and the well being for ourselves and for our future generation.

The children do not know the difference of rich and poor, of black and white, till we adults teach them. Let’s teach them that being poor or rich does not make a person's character. It's about the values that we carry, the humility that we show and the love that we spread which makes a man's character. It is not about in which country you live, which liquor you have in your bar, which car you possess, how much jewellery you own, which skin colour you have or which parties you attend.

I thank my gurus and my parents to guide me to educate the little children with yoga ethics, values and lessons on morality. This will go a long way...I have faith that the good that they learn today will be passed on by them to the generations to come...and the cycle continues:-) forever and it is my responsibility, your responsibility and everyone's responsibility to educate each and every child around you.


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