At school and with the family, the practice of children’s yoga is spreading. The postures favour the concentration, the calm, as well as the balance and the awakening.
In a small room with exposed beams, nestled under the roofs, the children removed their socks and spread their carpet. Lying on the ground, they begin their yoga workshop.
At the sound of relaxing music, without hurry, they rub their joints and relax. The teachers, takes news from the participants: “In what part of the body do you feel good today? For one, it will be “the legs”, for the other “the head”, for the third “the whole body! ”
After this introductory time, the workshop continues with yoga postures adapted from its traditional form. In the middle of the year, the children already know them well. There is “bamboo,” where one stands upright, with his hands clasped above his head; “The cat”, where one stretches his back while putting the buttocks on the heels; “The river”, where one lowers the upper body to the legs while catching his toes.
A playful side
“The postures include elements of nature and animals that speak to children immediately,” says the teacher. In children’s yoga, there is a playfulness more assertive than in the practices offered to adults. More movement too, because little ones need more movement and change of position. ”
For the last ten years, yoga for children has been developing and attracting more and more teachers, educators and parents. “Yoga is not a miracle recipe, but it offers a tool to remedy the growing difficulties of children: mainly hyperactivity, insomnia, blows, inattention …”, says Élisabeth Jouanne, kindergarten teacher, yoga teacher, who offers the exercises of the “Your yoga break” in the Apple of Api magazine.
In her class, the teacher regularly invites her students to small yoga breaks, “sometimes five to six times a day,” between the different activities. Children thus learn to become aware of their breathing “by inflating their belly, like a balloon”, to stretch and unlock their joints “chasing the clouds and catching the sun, all up there”, to feel in their body “as in a reassuring house”, like the turtle.
“Children spend a lot of time in the community. We adults would not be able to be as much in a group. Yoga helps them to come back to themselves. These mini-sessions, sometimes of a few minutes, make it possible to develop a better relationship with one’s body, oneself and others, to catalyse the overflow of energy, to improve concentration and attention.
“In the past, some inspectors could look at yoga with suspicion, but the situation has changed,” said Sophie Flak, president of the Research on Yoga in Education (RYE) association. Today, this structure trains 500 teachers and education staff each year. “This is still a very minor practice, but one that is progressing strongly, all over the country and in all walks of life,” she says.
It is thanks to its benefits, highlighted by research, that yoga has pushed the door of schools. “Neuroscience has demonstrated the importance of taking the body and emotions into account in education,” explains Sophie Flak. For a long time, the body has been the forgotten one. To rehabilitate it, the practice of yoga is ideal. ”
In families, too, yoga is installed with profit, offering a time to meet, relax, slow down … To start, there are now many books that can be browsed with his child by letting him choose the postures and exercises that tempt him.
Each day “yoga break” needed. “It’s a family-friendly proposition, with very short exercises that kids can do all by themselves, by putting their magazine on the floor,”. The magazine plays on the dimension of play, the pleasure that children have to explore their bodies, to imitate movements. “The idea is not to look for the perfect gesture but to have fun. To play yoga, “.
Still, for parents, even motivated, offer a little yoga on the carpet of the show is a small adventure. What to start with? How much time to devote to it? How to prevent the child from getting hurt? “We must not worry: children feel their limits much faster than adults and they will not try to overtake them”.
For the choice of postures, we can trust the child, who will go to the gestures and symbols that attract him and return to the exercises that are good for him. “You have to plan short sessions, not put pressure on yourself and do not try to correct the child,” expert advises.
Every family will find the right moment to practice. For starters, it is better to avoid bedtime when everyone is tired. We can choose Saturday morning, where the family rhythm is often calmer, or offer a week-long yoga break to your child when he comes home, “a bit like an airlock that allows you to leave school time. to prepare for other things, suggestions. The main point, insist the practitioners, is that yoga at home is “a pleasant moment”, where we find pleasure to be together.