Word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root Yuj (To Join, to use, to
concentrate one's attention on) meaning to bind, join,
attach and Yoke to direct and concentrate one's attention on, to use and
apply. Yoga is one of the six orthodox systems of Indian
Philosophy. It was collated, Co-ordinate and systematized by
Patanjali (The pro-pounder of Yoga Philosophy) in his classical work, the Yoga Sutras, which consists of 185
terse aphorisms. The System of Yoga is so called because it
teaches the means by which the individual soul can be united to or be in
communion with the God, and so secure liberation. One who follows
the path of Yoga is a Yogi or Yogin. |
Bhagavat Gita (One of the source books of Hindu Philosophy, containing the essence of the Upanishads), which is the most important authority on Yoga Philosophy, Lord Shri Krishna explains to Arjuna the meaning of Yoga as a deliverance from contact with pain and sorrow.
When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of Yoga, the Yogi by the grace of the spirit within himself finds fulfillment. When the senses are stilled, when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not then, say the wise, is reached the highest stage. Yoga has also been described as wisdom in work or skilful living amongst activities with harmony and moderation. Asanas (Postures) should never be practiced immediately after Pranayama (Rhythmic control of breath). If Pranayama is done first allow some time at least an hour to elapse before starting Asanas. All the ancient commentaries on Yoga have stressed that it is essential to work under the direction of Guru (Master/Teacher).
The practice of Yoga induces a primary sense of measure and proportion. Each unfulfilled area of tissue and nerve, of brain or lung, is a challenge to our will and integrity, or otherwise a source of frustration and death. Yoga is a timeless pragmatic science evolved over thousands of years dealing with the physical. moral, mental and spiritual well being of man as a whole.
Yoga for children is certainly one way to ensure that our children grow up healthy and happy. Of the many aspects of Yoga, Yama, Niyama and Asana are relevant for children. While the principles Yama and Niyama reinforce the universal values such as Truth, Non-violence, Cleanliness and contentment, The Asanas help a growing child develope physically, emotionally and psychologically. In this way Yoga is a necessary complement to formal education. By practicing this wonderful science and art children can blossom into healthy, and well balanced men and women with strong bodies, clear minds and pure hearts.
The role of the Yoga teacher is of foremost importance if Yoga is to be successfully introduced to children. The Yoga teacher must be able to arouse curiosity in the pupils and create in them a desire to learn. He or she must inspire and enthuse the children and should be cheerful in the class. A Yoga teacher must, therefore have physical agility and mental sharpness. The teacher should be a keen practitioner of Yoga. Teachers and parents are often uncertain about the age at which children should commence Yoga practice. Children aged eight years and above are fit to practice Yoga.
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