There have been various assumptions that Yoga exercises are not favourable for adolescent children. However, Bihar School of Yoga believes that Yoga can help children overcome the problems being faced by them during the growing years.
There have been a lot of cynical assumptions that Yoga exercises are not favourable for adolescent children because their nervous and glandular system is still growing and Yoga might interfere with their natural growth. However, Bihar School of Yoga expresses a different view on this theory.
Yoga Controls Puberty Related Problems
Pratibha Agarwal, Power Yoga Trainer in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India believes that Yoga can be practiced by children from 8 years onward. She explains that puberty in children set in between the age of 7 to 12 years and because physical and mental growth during puberty does not mature mutually, it creates imbalance between certain tendencies causing erratic behaviour in children.
Problems related to early onset of puberty is another factor that is of great concern in adolescent children. This can be physically and emotionally difficult for them to handle and at some stage, can also develop into an underlying health problem. ‘Behavioural problem, arising due to early puberty can be controlled through the practice of yoga’ asserts Agarwal.
Prolong Life of Pineal Gland to Delay Puberty
Early onset of puberty can be tapped by delaying the degeneration of the Pineal Gland. The Pineal Gland is a pea sized organ located between the two hemispheres in the centre of the brain. Its function is to produces melatonin and influences sexual development. When the sexual hormones like progesterone and oestrogen kick in, the pineal gland calcifies and reduces production of melatonin. The pineal gland starts decaying when sexual impulses surfaces. As long as the pineal gland is functioning, release of sexual hormones will be kept at bay. Bihar School of Yogaand similar minded research institutions recommend prolonging the life of the pineal gland and increasing the amount of melatonin in an adolescent’s body. This theory says Agarwal, makes a lot of sense because it is scientifically proved and that is why it is said “yoga is a science which has stood the sands of time”.
Bihar School of Yoga recommends simple yoga practices like Surya Namaskar, Nadi Sodhan Pranayam and Shambhavi Mudra with visualisation and Trataka through which pineal gland can be kept active thus delaying the process of early puberty.
Yoga Practice Helps Other Adolescent Problems
Besides puberty, adolescent children also suffer from psychosomatic disorders which affect their sleep and eating patterns. They suffer from severe headaches, develop wrong posture like drooping shoulders and build up stress due to peer group pressure. To help children get over these disorders, an exercise of body, mind and soul is required. Yoga postures with the right breathing and meditation is the best way to transform the child’s mind and body in perfect balance. This helps them to be alert, confident, flexible, strong and above all healthier. During yoga classes, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner-self and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them.
Special Yoga Classes for Children
Having said that Yoga is favourable in adolescence, Agarwal believes that Yoga classes for children should not be combined with adults because the techniques applied in Asanas (postures) for adolescent children should be structured differently keeping in mind, a little creativity and reasoning to make it more interesting and exciting. Story telling during certain Asanas(postures) that have names of animals also adds up to an interesting feature. Affirmations like ‘I am strong like a warrior’ in Virabhadrasana posture or ‘I am alert like an eagle’ in Garudasana posture is another method that is recommended for children.
A favourite ending of the yoga lesson is concluded with each child stating one good thing and one bad thing which they did during the last 24 hours. They are then guided to breathe out (exhale) the bad things and inhale the good things. When adolescent children learn techniques for self-health, relaxation and inner fulfilment, they can navigate life’s challenges with a little more ease.
Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that is non-competitive. Fostering co-operation and compassion instead of opposition is a great gift to give our children.