We all are familiar with the benefits of practicing yoga – the physical, as well as the mental aspects. But it's not just adults who are taking up the practice. In fact, thanks to its growing popularity amongst children and their parents, the region’s biggest yoga festival, XYoga Dubai presented by Dubai Holding, has developed a specific programme specifically for kids, with activities that can be enjoyed by children as young as three.
Among the nine complimentary yoga classes that will be on offer for children during the event on 16 and 17 March at Dubai's Kite Beach, is Posetivity Kids Yoga, led by Dubai-based yoga teacher, Natalia Hassanie. “Yoga is so much more than a physical workout," says Natalia. "Beyond the physical, yoga helps children develop mindfulness and life skills, which together, help foster a sense of community and interconnectedness amongst our children.” Starting yoga with her own daughter for the first time at the age of two, Natalia realized that there is no age limit to practicing yoga and that eve very young children can be engaged by creating stories they can relate to and then practising the relevant yoga pose. “Toddlers too can benefit from yoga through engaging breathing games and imitating yoga poses.”
According to Natalia, some of the key benefits of making yoga a daily practice for children of all ages are:
- It can help them to avoid a meltdown: Yoga teaches children to become aware of their breathing, which will help them enjoy incredible benefits such as stress relief, impulse control, managing anxiety as well as improving their cardio-respiratory fitness. This encourages young children to manage their feelings in a positive way, and can be a useful technique to employ when a toddler is nearing tantrum territory. For older kids, through exercising the “aware breathing” that they learn in yoga, just for a few minutes before exams, children will be able to focus and concentrate more thus improving academic performance.
- It encourages them to share: Creating awareness about their behaviour and environment, yoga helps children develop respect for themselves, for others and their environment. Teaching them inter-connectedness between themselves and the environment, yoga raises their attention to their behaviour and how their behaviour will affect others. Through awareness, children will be able to reach a balance in their lives, which in turn will lead to compassion towards their surroundings, family & friends.
It sparks their imagination: Due to the age of children involved, many Kids Yoga classes use storytelling to relay postures and also inject fun into the practice. Along with helping children remember their snake and tree poses, this form of storytelling also ignites their imagination and encourages them to share and formulate their own stories.
- It makes them more likely to eat their veggies: As part of the holistic nature of yoga, classes for children also include talks that encourage positive behaviour and habits such as being polite, respectful and listening to others. Specific points about eating healthily and the kind of food they have to consume to nourish their mind and body also take place and help encourage children to form healthy habits from early on.
- It's just a lot of fun! Being a non-competitive activity, yoga provides a fair-play stage for children of all backgrounds (even those with medical conditions such as asthma) to be able to participate according to their own ability. Since there is no winning or losing, children, inclusiveness is encouraged as is cooperation with each. With yoga, children are just able enjoy each other’s company.
There will be a dedicated area for kids at XYoga, which will feature arts and crafts classes along with complimentary yoga classes designed specifically for kids and youth. Children and teens yoga classes at XYoga Dubai Presented by Dubai Holding include:
Friday, 16th March
- Laugh Your Way to Wellness with Prem Amit – 9:30 – 10:30
- Posetivity Kids Yoga with Natalia Hasannie - 11:00– 12:00
- Kids Yoga with Zainab Ali - 14:00 – 15:00
- Kids Yoga with Carla Julian - 16:30-17:30
Saturday, 17th March
- Kids Yoga with Amrit Kaur – 9:30 – 10:30
- Posetivity Kids Yoga with Natalia Hasannie – 11:00 – 12:00
- Kids Yoga with Zainab Ali - 14:00 – 15:00
- Laugh Your Way to Wellness with Prem Amit – 16:30 – 17:30
For more information, see www.xyogadubai.com.
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