“It is important that yoga is experienced by the child as a game”. Word of Chiara Iacomuzio, yoga teacher who wrote the book “YOGABIMBI”, Red editions! together with Maurizio Morelli.
“There are many activities that can be done and it is not just the classic animal positions, which children love anyway”, explains the yoga teacher. “There are for example some games to learn breathing or to relax”.
So what to make the children do? How to approach them to this discipline? Here are some games and exercises recommended by the expert to do together with children from three to 11 years old.
1 – When the mind is like an agitated monkey: focus on the breath
Mind is something incredible. It takes, it goes, it travels, it doesn’t stop. Sometimes it’s quieter, sometimes it’s an incessant whirlwind. Even in children. “Today’s children hardly know what silence is and often shy away from it” explains Chiara Iacomuzio. What to do when the baby is upset? How can we help him to regain serenity and contact with himself?
It is necessary to explain to the child that, even if sometimes his head is full of thoughts and worries, it is absolutely normal, it also happens to you. Then when we have the impression that the mind is a restless monkey, jumping from one side to the other, from one thought to another, and we can’t rest easy, here’s what you can do. It is a trick that comes from yoga and helps bring the head back to the present.
You have to focus on your breathing, wherever we are. Just stop and watch the air coming in and out of the nose, the navel rising and falling. It will be enough to calm us and the monkey in our head.
2 – The Tibetan bell: the rule of the Ahisma
“Children always love it,” comments the teacher. We invite the bell to ring. But first let us remind the children of the Ahisma rule: you must have love and respect for everything, therefore also for the bell. “When we ring it, we will do it with kindness: at first, we will greet the bell with a bow, then we will strike it gently, without striking it, and we will listen in silence to the sound it produces; we will reposition the bell in the center and thank it with another bow in the end, letting the partner sitting next to us play it in turn “. It is repeated with each child, who will have to play it in turn, following the instructions.
3 – Breathing with ping-pong balls
This exercise teaches children a better dose the breath. They are placed in pairs (depending on how many children there are), lying on their stomach, face to face, with arms outstretched and hands touching. It asks to start an imaginary soccer match, in which the ball can only move with the breath. To avoid dizziness, don’t breathe too quickly!
4 – The breath of the sea
We use our fingers to plug our ears and exhale, paying attention to the sound of the breath, which will resemble the waves of the sea. Let’s make these waves come and go, savoring the pleasant feeling of calm they emanate.
5 – The breath of the candles on the cake
After taking a deep breath, he holds back for a moment and then blows himself as much as possible, as if to blow out the imaginary candles of a cake. To promote awareness of the breath and make the air visible, you can use pinwheels, balloons, feathers …
6 – The little boat that travels on the waves
Give the child a colorful boat and invite him to place it on his abdomen. Suggest to observe the movement of the body, which causes the navel to go down and up and tell the story of the little boat which, “carried by the waves of breath, will visit many distant places and will eventually arrive on the shores of a beach in India. colored skin will see it coming, pick it up and start playing with it “. Advise the children to keep the boat on the bedside table at home and to try the relaxation exercise even before falling asleep.