Our expert says:
The philosophy of yoga is to give children complete freedom to play and explore and do what they please for as long as possible. It is important not to force them to do anything they don't want to. So let them try a class and decide for themselves if it is what they want to do. If a kid sees you doing your own practice and joins in, then great, if not then don't force it.
As far as starting yoga goes, we teach children from about 5 years upwards. Obviously with young children we emphasize a lot of play activity and have fun. As they grow older we introduce more formal practice. Around puberty, yoga can be of great benefit in helping to smooth the transition.
You would have to find people teaching specific yoga for kids classes as classes and forms for adults are not appropriate to a young child's need.
The form also depends on why you want them to do yoga in the first place. If it for just physical reasons, then a form that empahasizes postures is all that's needed, but if you would like them to integrate the body, mind and spirit and empower their creativity as individuals and human beings, you need to find a class that teachers a more integral style, like Satyananda Yoga or Sivananda yoga.
Great books on yoga for children are 'Yoga Education for Children' vol 1 by Swami Satyananda Saraswati and vol 2 by Swami Niranjanananda. These books talk about a more integral approach to yoga for children. They can be found at www.vedicbooks.co.za
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