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Yoga for Children

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm

ANNOUNCER: For these children, exercise doesn't necessarily mean playing games.

GAYLA, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Yoga is not a competitive sport. Kids can learn yoga when they're this big and they can be doing it well into their old age. Whereas, probably dodge ball they wouldn't play when they're in their eighties.

ANNOUNCER: And yoga for children not only improves their fitness, it improves their focus.

JENNIFER, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: The little kids have a shorter attention span. We give them a structure in the class and just the very fact of them having to follow instructions and pay attention to what we're doing is an exercise it's practice, you know, to focus for 45 minutes on, you know, any one given thing. It's a challenge.

ANNOUNCER: As for actual poses, there are some dos and don'ts.

JENNIFER, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: They love handstand. They love I think to be able to change their perception, go upside down. It's very empowering I think also, that pose.

GAYLA, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Headstand is not advisable.

JENNIFER, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: If we go on our necks and we wobble those vertebrae are so delicate and fine that it's not the greatest architecture, unless you have the musculature, muscular support to help.

GAYLA, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: So until they gain more physical awareness and strength we decided nix on the headstand.

ANNOUNCER: And these teachers say yoga has much more to teach children than poses and focus.

JENNIFER, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: We have what's called a Yoga Code, and the Yoga Code is based on yoga principles that talk about non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, self-control and being unselfish, to yourself as well as to the community that you are in.

ANNOUNCER: But the teaching doesn't always come from the adults in the room.

JENNIFER, YOGA INSTRUCTOR: Whoever my students are I learn from them. And especially kids. I feel like I have learned an incredible amount of patience and the ability for myself to focus and engage with them where they're at rather than trying to move them where they're not ready to go. So that's been a lot of fun for me.

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.

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