Yoga Sequencing for Kids - Part 2

However, the yoga that parents do may not be appropriate for kids.

It is important to take children's stage of development into consideration when crafting sequences for kids yoga classes. Children's bodies are still growing. Their bones are softer and their ligaments more elastic. Asanas that give healthy stress to the bones of an adult can overstress a child's bones. Movement that involves maximum range of motion in an adult joint can overstretch a child's ligaments, leading to long-term instability in the joint. While it may seem that kids can run and play forever, adult yoga classes — typically an hour to an hour and a half — can cause fatigue in a child. And while many adults enjoy doing yoga in a highly heated room, a child doing that practice in the same room is considerably more prone to heat exhaustion.

Yoga Sequencing for Kids

Kids playing yoga

Many simple and popular yoga asanas are contraindicated in the broader literature on children's physical fitness. For example, in the California Department of Education's (2009, 292–97) Physical Education Framework for California Public Schools, several positions that mimic or are identical to basic yoga asanas are listed as contraindicated for all children in kindergarten through twelfth grade, including: Utkatasana (Chair Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), Halasana (Plow Pose), Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), the arm position of Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose), and Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose, often called Butterfly Pose). In several instances the recommended alternative appears riskier than the contraindicated position: a high lunge with the knee projected beyond the foot is the alternative to Baddha Konasana, while a slumped expression of Marichyasana A (Sage Marichi's Pose) is given as the alternative to Uttanasana. On strength training, the biomechanics of which are similar to some repetitive actions in yoga such as Plank-Chaturanga, the American Association of Pediatrician's position is that “children and adolescents should avoid the practice of weight lifting, power lifting, and bodybuilding, as well as the repetitive use of maximal amounts of weight in strength training programs, until they have reached Tanner stage 5 level of developmental maturity.”4 At the other end of the caution continuum, we find many professional fitness organizations and yoga styles that advocate positions and practices that are widely considered risky for children, including bodybuilding with resistance weights, doing yoga in an extremely hot room, and stretching to one's greatest ability.

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