Our children suffer from so many ailments due to the abysmal state of our pollution-ridden planet and our atrocious lifestyles, that in recent times Yoga has become quintessential for their Physical well-being and psychological growth. Yoga not only cleanses one’s body but also uplifts one’s mind to a happier state. It helps in shaping the entire personality of a child. The earlier you start the better. They can start by performing the 7 Pranayamas as listed under the section – Great Breathing. The main two Pranayamas Kapil Bharati and Anulom Vilom will ensure that they will never suffer from vision or hearing related problems. They will lead a joyous life, their memory will become sharp and their IQ will remain high. Once children start performing Yoga they will not suffer from baldness and untimely graying of hair later in their lives. As Baba Ramdev suggests, children can start performing Pranayama as early as 3 years old. Only thing is they may perform it for a shorter duration than prescribed in the respective articles. Also, they must perform these on an empty stomach.
Children can start performing Pranayama as early as 3 years old.
Below is the list of Pranayamas. You may click on each link to explore the articles detailing that specific Pranayama. I’ve also explained how it may be performed a little differently for children:
1) Bhastrika Pranayama – This may be performed for 1 minute. It will improve their memory and concentration. They will be able to perform better in their academics. If all children will perform this Pranayama, then all will show great improvement in their studies.
2) Kapal Bharti Pranayama – This may be performed for 5 minutes. Besides the many benefits of this pranayama, it will prevent Diabetes in children. It will protect them from obesity, and reduce kidney, and liver-related issues. As it activates the Pituitary and Thyroid Glands, this will result in an increase in height. They will forcefully exhale, as a result, it will clear their nasal passage and help them fight cold, cough and flowing nose. If they feel tired, they may take a small break every minute.
3) Bahaya Pranayama – Children may perform this Pranayama 3 times every day. This will bring natural glow on their faces as a result of increased blood flow. In addition, this may be accompanied with Agnisar Kriya (as shown below). This will remove any stomach related ailments like gastric or constipation:
4) Anulom Vilom Pranayama – This may also be performed for 5 minutes. This Pranayama is very useful for vision-related ailments. It may also cure insomnia and will elevate their mood.
5) Bhramari Pranayama – This pranayama may also be performed 3 times. This will bring peace of mind in children.
6) Udgeeth and Pranav Pranayama – Each of these may be performed 3 times. It will calm them down and relax all their muscles so as to become one with the universe.
Following the 7 daily Pranayamas, children with specific ailments like those suffering from Thyroid or excessive coughing and cold may perform Ujjayi Pranayama. This also useful for children who stammer.
Children who suffer from nosebleed may perform Sheetali Pranayama. Roll your tongue between your lips and breathe in. Hold it for a while and then breathe out. Repeat at least 3 times.
Sheetkari Pranayama is also useful for nosebleeds and will help in reducing their internal body heat. Press your tongue on the roof of your mouth and with clamped teeth breathe in. Hold it for a while and then breathe out. Repeat at least 3 times.
Following the 10 Pranayamas, children may perform at least 2 Sukshm Vyayam (Small exercises):
Exercise 1: For the Hips – Butterfly is an exercise for the hips. Bend your knees and connect the bottom of your feet. Grab them with both hands by interlocking the fingers. Now make a butterfly wing-like action with your legs. You can repeat this exercise till you start feeling your hips loosening up and relaxing.
Exercise 2: For the Shoulders – Bend your arms and place your fingers on your shoulders. Connect your elbows in front of your chest. Now, while breathing in, rotate your arms up and around your shoulders, all the way back as far as possible. Continue rotating your shoulders, while breathing out, till your elbows re-connect in front of your chest. Repeat this 5 times. First, do this clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
This will make their joints flexible before they may perform some easy Asanas. These are ideal for children up to 12 years:
Asana 1: Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) – Fold your left leg and place it under your hips so that you end up sitting on it. Then fold your right leg and place it over the left leg. Now, while breathing in, raise your right hand above and over your head and try to grab your left hand behind your back. Hold this pose for a moment and while breathing out relax back to the initial pose. This Asana is very beneficial for Cervical Spondylitis, Urinary ailments and Hydrosil in Children.
Repeat the same from the other side.
Asana 2: Garudasana (Eagle Pose) – Stand on your right leg and wrap your left leg around it. Then wrap your arms around each other and try to achieve the Namaskar Mudra. Hold this pose for a while and then return to the initial pose. This might seem simple to achieve but it is in fact quite tough as you have to balance your weight on one foot while twisting your entire body around your arms and legs. Also, this Kriya is very beneficial for ailments related to Hydrosil, urinary track, and Vata Dosha. It also aids in increasing height in kids and their overall health. Repeat on the other side.
Asana 3: Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) – Lay down in Shavasana (Corpse Pose). Make sure your feet are stretched downwards, knees are straight and your hands are placed next to your sides, palms down. Heart patients and people with high blood pressure must avoid performing this Asana. Lift both your legs slowly and turn them towards your head first. At the same time lift your back and support it with your hands. Now lift your legs upwards at 90 degrees from the ground. Make sure your legs are stretched upwards and knees are straight. Hold this pose for a minute or two while breathing normally. Now remove your hands from their supporting position and bend your legs towards your head. Now slowly lower your back down and rotate your legs back to their original position. The Asana ends with you lying down in Shavasana again. This Asana is extremely beneficial for Thyroid Gland, Eyes, and Hair. Your face will always be lit up with redness of extensive blood flow. Youth will always accompany you, wrinkles will not populate on your face and dark circles will not appear under your eyes.
Asana 4: Halasana (Plow Pose) – Again starting with Shavasana slowly raise your legs and rotate them over and above your head. Place them on the ground above your head making sure your knees are completely straight. Hold this pose for a minute or two while breathing normally. You may support your back with your hands if you feel the need. Then slowly return to the original pose. This Asana is very good for stomach related ailments along with Diabetes and Thyroid. It is also very useful in increasing kids’ height.
Asana 5: Chakrasana (The Wheel) – Start by lying down on your back and folding your legs in towards your hips. Raise your arms above your head and place your palms on the floor close to your shoulders, fingers pointing inwards. Now, while breathing in, cautiously raise your entire body, arching upwards, onto your hands and feet. Hold this pose for a moment while breathing normally and then, while breathing out, lower your body to the initial pose.
Asana 6: Paschimottanasana (Forward Bend Pose) – Starting with Dandasana place both your hands on your sides, palms facing down. While breathing out raise your arms around and over your head and then bend forwards so as to grab your big toes with your fingers. Making sure that your knees do not bend, try to touch your knees with your nose. Hold this pose for a moment and then while breathing in relax back to your initial pose.
Asana 7: Tadasana (Mountain Pose) – Stand with your legs together. Place your arms next to each other, in front of you and downwards. Now while inhaling, raise your arms upwards. At the same time raise yourself up onto your toes so as the whole weight of your body in on them. Hold this pose for a while and then while exhaling, relax back down into the initial pose. Repeat this for at least 5 times.
Asana 8: Urdhva Tadasana (Upward Salute) – Stand with your legs close to each other. Interlock your fingers and place them on top of your head. Now while breathing in lift your body upwards so that you end up standing on your toes. Also turn your palms and stretch your hands upwards while holding on to each other. Hold this pose for a while and then while breathing out relax back into the original position. Repeat at least a couple of times.
Asana 9: Supta Vajrasana (Reclined Thunderbolt Pose) – This Asana is for people who do not suffer from a backache or Hernia. It is a little difficult exercise and is only meant for people who perform Yoga on a regular basis and are not suffering from any specific physical ailment. Sit in Vajrasana and spread your feet so that your hips are settled on the ground. Now very slowly lie down on your back. Make sure your knees are connected together and slowly place your arms on your thighs. Hold this pose for a moment while breathing normally. Then slowly raise yourself back up and sit back in Vajrasana.
Asana 10: Matsyasana (Fish Pose) – Still sitting in Padmasana/Sukhasana, slowly bend backwards and lie down with the tip of your head on the ground. Make sure you take support from your arms to get into this pose. Now grab the toes of your feet with your fingers and maintain this pose while breathing normally. After a while slowly but steadily relax back to your sitting pose.
Asana 11: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) – Remain standing on your knees but spread your feet backwards. Now fold your arms in front of your chest, first the left and then the right over it. Again while breathing in bend as far back as possible. Hold this pose for a moment and while breathing in relax back to your initial post. Make sure you do it slowly otherwise you’ll feel dizzy.
Asana 12: Vrschikasana (Scorpion Pose) – The next Asana is again pretty difficult to perform. Sit down on your elbows and knees and toes. Now shift the entire weight of your body onto your elbows and raise your legs upwards. Fold your knees and arch your back as far as possible. Hold this pose for a while and then slowly return to your initial pose. This Asana will make your arms and shoulders strong and increase the flexibility of your entire body.
The following Asanas may be performed by children above the age of 12:
Asana 1: Shirshasana (Headstand Pose) – This Asana is performed by balancing the entire weight of your body on your upper forehead and elbows. Caution for people with high blood pressure and heart problems is not to perform this Asana. This Asana may be performed by fully healthy people and those who have been practicing Yogic exercises for a while. To start, bend forwards and place your forehead on the ground surrounded by your arms so that your elbows are on the sides of your head. Slowly raise your lower body up and extend your legs upwards. Hold this pose for a moment while breathing normally. This Asana may be performed starting from a minute up to 5 minutes. This will improve your eyesight and prevent your hair from becoming white prematurely by increasing blood flow in your head.
You may also attempt to perform Padmasana while doing Shirshasna, also known as ShirshPadmasana.
Asana 2: Surya Namaskar (Sun salutation) – This Asana is one of the oldest, most efficient routines, designed to provide complete cure for your entire body. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes, every part of your body will get exercised by this Kriya. It also involves Pranayama, as your will breathe in and out while performing the various steps, viz., breathing in when bending backwards and breathing out while bending forwards. Take caution that this is not for people suffering from ailments such as heart diseases and high blood pressure. Also, people suffering from Hernia may not bend backwards and those suffering from backache may not bend forwards. If possible perform this routine at sunrise while facing the rising Sun. To complete the Surya Namaskar Kriya one must perform the following 12 steps:
- Stand straight with your legs near each other. Hold your hands in the Mudra of Namaskar.
- While inhaling extend your arms above your head and bend backwards as far as possible.
- While exhaling bend forwards till your fingers settle next to your feet. Make sure your knees are straight and try to touch your knees with your head.
- Extend your left leg backwards while keeping your right foot and arms in place. Now, while inhaling turn your head upwards, arch your back and look up.
- Now move your right leg back next to your left foot. Make sure your palms are in the same place. Also, both your heels must be placed flat on the ground. Raise your hips upwards and try to look at your naval. Breathe normally.
- Next, bend your knees and place them on the ground. Touch your chest on the ground also along with your chin. Make sure your stomach is up.
- Now stretch your feet backwards and raise your chest. Straighten your elbows and look upwards while inhaling.
- Again raise your hips upwards while keeping your feet and hands in place. At the same time exhale and try to look at your naval.
- Bring your left leg between your hands and keep the right leg in its place. Sit on your left leg and while arching your back look upwards. Inhale.
- Next, pull your right leg also next to your left leg and while placing your hands next to them try to touch your knees with your head. Make sure your knees are straight and exhale.
- While breathing in extend your arms above your head and bend backwards as far as possible.
- Return back to the Mudra of Namaskar while exhaling.
Danda 1: Ram Murti Danda – This Danda (Ram Murti Danda) is similar to Sadharan Danda till you’re looking upwards. Starting from the Ready Pose, while breathing in, lower your body down, elbows close to your chest, till your body is parallel to the floor and your waist straight. Then raise your head up and try to look upwards while arching your back. Now instead of returning to the initial pose directly from here, while breathing out, return to it the same way you reached this pose. This will apply stress in your arms and make them stronger.
Baithak 1: Stand upright with a comfortable gap between your legs, arms extended in front of your chest, parallel to each other and fingers folded into fists. Now very slowly lower yourself down while balancing your entire weight on your toes. Do not sit all the way down, but only half squat. Hold this pose for a moment and then while breathing out, return to the initial pose.