Yoga and Children

The yoga swing is quite simply one of the very best ways that children can exercise. How many of you remember back to your own childhoods where you could play in the streets, parks, schools and have those old fashioned things called playing fields many of which have now been sold off. Our children spend their time in front of the television or the computer screen and we as parents are simply too busy to organise their lives and provide exercise, or in the alternative we are manically running around from the swimming pool to the tennis court to the cricket pitch to the football pitch and everywhere else, becoming more and more shattered with the need to keep up with our children’s health.

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Of course children should have good food, which is another issue entirely, but I thought about writing this when I saw a yoga swing hanging in my office and a lovely little four year old boy began to play on it. He did not know what it was for particularly, it was something to play on and as all of you may remember children have the very best imaginations. We lose that to an extent as we get older but children’s imaginations are the best, and he very quickly learnt how to hang upside down, swing on it, do the splits, do every form of exercise and he did not need to be taught. He enjoyed it for thirty minutes or so and then moved on. What he did not know but was obvious, was the amount of exercise that he was actually doing and the amount of enjoyment that he was getting from it.

Of course children need to be supervised when using any form of play equipment to make sure accidents do not happen but this was such a lovely, spontaneous use of a yoga swing that I think I have ever seen and I would recommend this to any parent and anyone out there so that their children can simply enjoy life. Take all the right precautions and make sure it is safe but this is just a wonderful way of exercising.

Yoga Versus Age

courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As we get older the debate as to how to keep fit and healthy in old age becomes more critical. In recent weeks the issue of working, old age and living much longer has become the subject of the thoughts of the nation.

How do we all move into our 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and retain health, fitness and mental alertness?

Back in 1947 when the National Health Service and Universal Pension was set up the expectation for a person retiring at 65 would have been to live 2 or 3 years, the burden on the state would have been financially small and the burden on the health service again also small.

In the years that have passed the age expectancy has risen substantially, such that people regularly live into their 80’s and 90’s and centenarians are not uncommon. So what do people do? People need to work and to keep active. There are reports now available that show that simply retiring and doing nothing adds to illness and depression in old age and probably is not the way to go forward.

What part can yoga play in this? It is of course accepted that peoples physical abilities are more limited the older you become. If you have practised yoga throughout your life or indeed practised a healthy lifestyle of walking and gentle exercise throughout your adult life you will enter old age in a much better physical and indeed mental condition to deal with the years that are to come.

The yoga swing can help you with precisely that, the challenges of exercising into old age. Its unique design allows the body to stretch and stress without the full impact of normal forms of exercise. It also allows the various parts of the body, the legs, arms and back, to be exercised gently but thoroughly by the use of its stretching abilities.

Of course younger practitioners may like to inverse and carry out all the more complex yoga moves which are available to those that own a swing but for the older person its installation is simple and its use can greatly help maintain the suppleness well into old age, being a safe way of stretching and exercising the body. This can be done at classes or in your own home with your own installed yoga swing.

Two of the simplest forms of yoga moves, namely the cat pose and the dog pose, can be enhanced and used by those people who have limited movement by incorporating a swing into such poses and allowing the swing to take some of the body weight whilst stretching the remaining parts of the body in the pose.

These are just two simple examples of what could be done, there are many more!

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Children’s Yoga

A question I have been asked is ‘how young can a child start yoga?’

The answer to that is complex, children are growing and you do not wish to put undue stress on their joints at times of growth but for children who have difficulties in growing and also those who may suffer from ADHD and other attention deficit type disorders the use of yoga may well be a very calming factor in how they develop during the course of their childhood.

Kids on the yoga swing

Any child should be the subject of specialist assessment where there are medical and or environmental issues before embarking upon a course of therapy but in my experience children love yoga, they enjoy the stretching and the challenges that go with and in particular they enjoy using an aerial swing which challenges them.

All parents will know just how supple and playful children can be, to channel that play into the use of a yoga swing where their bodies are stretched and they are challenged in a friendly and appropriate environment is, in my view, a very good use of the energy of children.

Every parent will know that schools have now lost many of their playgrounds, our parks are full and houses and flats do not have the size of gardens that they once have. Playing in the streets as I did when I was a child is often no longer an option so what do you do with a child that has a great deal of energy and no where to expend it.

Well the answer to that can be quite simple, I know yoga practitioners who have hung an adult yoga swing in their home only to have it taken over very quickly by the children and young people within their house but we here at Swing Fitness understand this and have arranged for the manufacture of a child yoga swing. Of course all children need to be fully supervised in what they are doing and not left to their own devices but a parent will see very quickly that the use of the yoga swing within the house channels the children’s energy into constructive stretching of the use of their bodies and is good for them and they also learn the discipline of how to brace themselves and enjoy the challenge that is presented.

If you have any doubts then obviously consult a qualified yoga practitioner and supervise at all time the use of the yoga swing when a young person is involved but it does prove, and my own daughter has them in the home and my friends have them in their homes, that they can be great fun and a source of interest and excitement for a child and I would have no hesitation in recommending the use of the yoga swing for children.