Yoga path to sound mind, body
In yoga-savvy China, children’s yoga classes are the latest trend, and is picking up fast. Four-year-old Chinese Yammie Lau has just learnt to say namaste with a deep breath. Reshma Patil reports.Updated: May 01, 2008 23:07 IST
In a kung fu dominated society, yoga is emerging as a powerful tool for parents to groom their children. Four-year-old Chinese Yammie Lau has just learnt to say namaste with a deep breath.
“Yoga is helping my once passive daughter to develop personality skills,” says Yammie’s mother Jacqueline. Yammie attends a weekly children’s yoga class straight after her school in Beijing.
In yoga-savvy China, with its variations from mountain yoga to hot yoga, children’s yoga classes are the latest trend, and is picking up fast. Young mothers can be seen enlisting four-year-olds to teenagers for a session of asanas. At the Yoga Yard’s four-week sessions for kids, teacher Angela Gervan asks pupils to reach up and touch the sun and the sky, to make them practise sun salutations. The “warrior” poses, which the class cheerily practices, are actually virabradrasana for strength, balance and power. And, in the end, the children relax with the “starfish” pose, a child-friendly word for savasana.
“There’s a growing interest in Chinese and expatriate parents to introduce kids to yoga to develop creativity and release the pressures they face,” says Angela, who studied yoga in Mysore and also taught children yoga in Tokyo. “I even have a 10-year-old Chinese-Canadian student who helps teach younger kids.”
Since it is difficult for kids to pronounce Sanskrit words used for different asanas, teachers have used a novel idea to make students remember their moves. “We use animal names for asanas,” says Sherri Rao, a teacher at Fine-Yoga.
The trend is more visible in Shanghai. Many kids’ yoga classes advertise the advantages of developing strength and intellect through yoga.