“Namaste is what we say to the good in you and the good in me, sing Namaste, everyday, and the world will live in harmony.”
We are sitting with our hands in prayer, our spines are tall and straight and our hearts are open. We are singing together to open our Waiheke Yogi Kids class.
We draw our shoulders back and open our happy hearts to the world, smile and greet each other with Namaste. We know that the love in our hearts is seeing the love reflected in the hearts of our friends beside us and across from us.
We light the candle and reflect on the flame, that we know burns brightly in all of our hearts. Representing our goodness and our inner beauty.
We ring the bell which brings us back to our breath and this very moment.
Borrowing the Buddhist ritual from Thich Nhat Hanh, some of us have become Bell masters, ringing the bell three times, calling us back to ourselves and our own and innate goodness.
We are now ready to begin with our positive affirmation. This week we are super heroes, super good at everything we do…And so the class flows to breathing practices (pranayama), postures (asanas), games, meditation, relaxation and singing. With happy smiles, brave hearts, clear heads and strong bodies we embrace another week of yoga.
There are so many reasons why yoga is good for our children, you may have picked up on a few already. I would love to explain a little further some of the many benefits of yoga with children.
My name is Premaloka and I am a mother of six divine children and a dedicated Yogi and yoga teacher to both adults and children.
I have witnessed first-hand the profound benefits of exposing yoga and its many systems to children from a young age. Yoga has been a part of my life since childhood and with my encouragement, my children have woven the thread of yoga through their everyday life. They are beautiful human beings that practice awareness, mindfulness and kindness always.
Come and explore with me some of the techniques we use in yoga to ensure that our children are happy, strong, healthy and balanced human beings. Comfortable, within themselves, secure in the fast paced world we live in.
The first thing we need to understand is that yoga is not just about postures and breathing.
Yoga is about emotional, physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is about discovering and loving the goodness within ourselves. It is about being aware and mindful members of the world we live in.
With yoga we discover a way to use the tools we already have, to maintain healthy, happy hearts, minds and bodies.
Yoga teaches children how to be aware of their breath, how the breath not only keeps them alive, but healthy, physically and emotionally. That by developing an awareness of their breath they remain mindful and are able to cope better, emotionally, with the many curve balls life throws us.
Yoga uses postures to help the children remain strong and healthy, externally and internally. To remain flexible and develop balance. To keep the energy flowing within the body, to regulate hormones and to help prevent injury in sports and play.
We sing and chant in class because children love to, their hearts respond to this aspect of Nada Yoga which helps them navigate anxiety and uncertainty. It helps them to discover their own voice, whilst being calming, connecting them to themselves and bringing about a deep sense of well-being.
We play games adapted to yoga, that teach them about cooperation, communication and kindness. Encouraging them to laugh and smile.
We meditate on sounds, pictures, images and the breath. This helps the children to relax and befriend their minds, improving focus, concentration and simply being still.
We use visualisations and relaxation to develop their imaginations and rest the body. This aids children in connecting positively to their emotions and releasing tension.
We use stories to explore kindness, truth, nonviolence, gratitude and Honesty.
As parents our biggest ambition in life is to help create happy, balanced, kind, emotionally and physically well children. Children who are passionate and mindful members of our universe.
Yoga helps us to realise this ambition by engaging and honouring the minds, bodies and spirits of our children.
As well as her yoga classes, Premaloka is a partner in the Happie Project – an organisation working towards keeping children happy.Â Equipping them with a creative resilience toolbox and enabling them to turn the key and release the beauty within them selves. One of the Happie Project initiatives is to introduce yoga, mindfulness and a confidence in their own voice, into mainstream education in New Zealand.