Since YOUYOGA’s kid’s program will be influenced by the teaching of Marsha Wenig, creator of the YogaKids video and educational curriculum, I felt it important to share what she says and believes on the topic of yoga for kids:
“When presented in a child’s language, yoga can help counter the stress experienced by young people living in a hurry-up world. Our children live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. We usually don’t think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The bustling pace of our children’s lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy—and usually not for the better.”
Wenig explains that yoga can help counter these pressures. Yoga for kids teaches:
- techniques for self-health,
- inner fulfillment
- body awareness with a physical activity that’s noncompetitive.
- cooperation and compassion
- concentration and sense of calmness
Yoga with children offers many possibilities to exchange wisdom, share good times, and lay the foundation for a lifelong practice that will continue to deepen. Wenig notes that when teaching yoga for children, one needs to honor the children’s innate intelligence and use the yoga asanas as a springboard for exploration of many other areas—animal adaptations and behavior, music and songs, storytelling, drawing—it is a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning, informed by the flow of child’s play.
Wenig’s program, YogaKids, combines yogic techniques designed especially for children using Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner, an author and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, describes eight intelligences innate in all of us—linguistic, logical, visual, musical, kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal—and emphasizes that children should be given the opportunity to develop and embody as many of these as possible. In keeping with this theory, YogaKids integrates storytelling, games, music, language, and other arts into a complete curriculum that engages the “whole child.” We employ ecology, anatomy, nutrition, and life lessons that echo yogic principles of interdependence, oneness, and fun. Most of all, our program engages the entire mind, body, and spirit in a way that honors all the ways children learn. When they stretch like a dog, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bunny, or stand strong and tall like a tree, they are making a connection between the macrocosm of their environment and the microcosm of their bodies. The importance of reverence for all life and the principle of interdependence becomes apparent. Children begin to understand that we are all made of the same “stuff.” We’re just in different forms.
Adapted from “Yoga for Kids” by Martha Wenig, Yoga Journal