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Creating calm in children's minds through yoga

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Japanese children
are at a greater risk of getting irritated and need to relax a bit more. Education system in the country makes entrance exams compulsory for the children at age 12, few unlucky ones at age 6, putting an added pressure on them to compete with their peers and be exemplary academic performers. This extra pressure at such a young age irritates the kids, moreover the fear of ijime or bullying only add daily stress to little lives, which might later develop into depression.

A 2006 survey by the Benesse Educational Research and Development Center shows around 60 % elementary, junior and high-school students getting irritated, a 2-to-4% point increase over results from 1990. While, a health ministry study of 600 junior high-school students, found one in four under depression.

Seeing their children depressed at such a young immature age, the parents explore different options for making children wind down. Yoga and massage have emerged as the most useful for depressed kids. Yoga offers a variety of benefits for children, including stress and anxiety reduction. Yoga makes them relax and forget about ‘all that’ just for a second, and focus on themselves and learn how to relax.

Simplest of physical exercise to relieve stress is deep inhalation and exhalation. It has been noted that since they started taking to yoga, the kids like to show their yoga poses to their friends, because they feel so proud of what they can do.

Reiko Asano, a yoga instructor who runs a studio called Baby Lotus in Futako-Tamagawa, Tokyo, says yoga is good for autistic children and those with Down’s syndrome. She says she has introduced different kinds of yoga that kids have to do with the help of stuffed animals, songs and games. Kids enjoy doing these. Few of her exercises are really amazing like the one in which she asks the kids to make a pizza than asks them to sprinkle slices of olive across the whole slice. Whole process of pizza preparation is applied in her exercises. Finally, the pizza is put into the oven. Quite amazing!

Tree pose is another relaxation exercise, that includes lifting right foot from a standing position, bending right knee and pressing foot against the inside of left leg, and finally putting palms together over head.

Finally comes the electric circle to make kids realize that all of them are connected to each other, to allow them to calm down.

Kids massage is another approach used to help children relax through physical touch in which kids, under the supervision of a fully trained adult, learn to give each other massages. One session lasts spans 30 minutes, and involves about 10 massage routines. Kids learn how to stroke, pat and rub each other on the back, shoulders and the head. The actions bear child-friendly names such as ice skating, bakery and hairdresser. Kids massage could be a helpful to develop communication among children.

Parents feel that yoga is different from other after-school activities as it’s not competitive.

Yoga helps easily irritated children to control their anger, as it gives them the tools to deal with stressful situations and calm down. It helps participants tame their aggression and feel more confident about themselves. It is useful in stopping negative feelings from amplifying.


Via: The Japan Times

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Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem Jagyasi

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Dr Prem Jagyasi
Dr Prem Jagyasi
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