Physical activity is natural to children and vital for their healthy development. Yoga works on the whole body and is suitable for children of all ages and physical abilities. It promotes strength and flexibility, good coordination and posture. In our nowadays mechanized modern society this is very important as it has become difficult for some children to get the exercise they need in a natural, healthy and enjoyable way. In our increasingly stressful and noisy lives, yoga teaches children how to relax, how to concentrate and how to be quiet and still.
Because children have a short concentration span, time spent learning yoga must be fun. The teacher can take advantage of the fact that any asanas are named after animals, birds and other creatures. You can let the children roar like a lion, arch up into a snake charmer's cobra or be a tree. Use your imagination - practicing the Forward Bend is like closing a book (or making a Tummy sandwich'). The Shoulderstand can appear like the candle on a birthday cake.
A yoga session for children usually should last 45 - 60 minutes. The poses should be chosen to be safe and suitable for children and are held for shorter times than with adults.
When learning yoga, children should be supervised until they understand what they are doing. Headstands and extreme back bends are inadvisable as children's bones are still soft and the neck is vulnerable. After every work pose there should be a rest.
A yoga class for children should include a warm up, yoga poses, rest moments, playful moments, winding down and lying flat and quiet in the Dead Man's Pose in the end of the class.
Meditation too is of great value when growing up, strengthening a child's powers of concentration. In schools where meditation is taught, teachers have observed a great improvement in both class work and in group interaction.