By Melati Mohd Ariff
KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 (Bernama) -- Like the adults, children today are under tremendous stress.
Not only they have busy parents, their daily routine too is packed!
Homework, endless after-school activities and the pressure to score as many 'A's as possible in examinations all add up to their stressful life and makes them miserable.
And just like the adults, kids today too can turn to Yoga to help them relax.
COMPLEX HEALTH CHALLENGES
"Kids today are facing many of the same complex health challenges as adults including depression, obesity, high blood pressure and anxiety.
"The side effects of medication and invasive procedures can be daunting for children and their parents," said the yoga master from Ancient Yoga Consulting (AYC), Elanggovan Thanggavilo, 37 in an interview with Bernama here recently.
According to him, the ancient science of yoga therapy may be the new way to help kids to stay healthy and active.
"I have found that the yoga can help to counter these pressures. When children learn the techniques for self-health, relaxation and inner fulfilment, they can navigate challenges with a little more ease," he explained.
In general, he said, yoga therapy has been widely accepted as an effective method of treatment for a variety of ailments, largely due to its unique ability to treat a person mentally, emotionally and physically.
In fact, he said, yoga is now made mandatory in the Western schools and in the schools of some Asian nations like China, Japan and India.
AYC KIDS YOGA PROGRAMME
Elanggovan who started learning yoga at a tender age of 11 said the therapist at AYC yoga has come up with a special programme for kids that can be practised at home.
"Yoga can become a part of a child's life like brushing the teeth daily. Yoga therapy takes it a step further by tailoring the kind of toothbrush used and the technique by which the child brushes," he explained.
He added that kids as young as two years can attend yoga classes.
"Practising yoga at a young age can enhance self-esteem and awareness of the body.
"Fostering cooperation and compassion instead of opposition is a great gift to our children," explained Elanggovan.
According to him, children derive enormous benefits from yoga.
"Kids (2-6) and children between the ages of 7-12 are introduced to yoga in a very effective manner. Concepts like duty, awareness, self-expression and self-confidence are taught through games, stories and discussions.
"Exercise, meditation, relaxation and concentration techniques are effectively dealt with during such workshops," he added.
According to this yoga master, the richness of yogic techniques when taught systematically and consistently to the kids over a period of time can bring far reaching results in their being and personality.
"Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination and body awareness. This training would also make a stronger foundation for them as they grow up as adults," he added.
VALUE OF YOGA POSTURES 'ASANA'
According to Elanggovan, when the yogis developed the yoga postures (asanas) thousands of years ago, they still lived close to the natural world.
The yogis, he said used animals and plants for inspiration, for example the sting of a scorpion, the grace of a swan and the stature and strength of a tree.
He said when children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking its qualities.
"When they assume the pose of a lion (Simha Asana) for example, they experience not only the power and behaviour of the lion but also their own sense of power.
"Upon practising Gradu Asana (Eagle/Hawk Pose), the kids will be able to sharpen their view and mind. The physical movements introduce them to the true meaning of yoga," said Elanggovan.
LOTS OF SATISFACTION
Yoga with children, said Elanggovan offers many possibilities to exchange wisdom, share good times and lay the foundation for a lifelong practice.
"All that's needed is a little flexibility on the adults' part, as I quickly found out when I first started teaching yoga to pre-schoolers, yoga for children is quite different than yoga for adults," he said.
Elanggovan's first experience teaching yoga to kids between the ages of two and six years and a group of primary school children (75 of them) took place five years ago at his hometown, Klang.
"But after two classes with a group of two to six year olds, I had to seriously evaluate my approach. I had to learn to let go the very practice I had been preaching for years," he explained.
Among the changes made were introducing the use of music and notes besides a more fun approach in teaching.
"I also prepare a revision form for parents to monitor their children doing their training at home.
"A special seminar is also held for parents and guardians so that they can better monitor their children," he said.
According to Elanggovan, AYC recently launched a special workshop for nursery and primary school teachers to help teach and guide yoga for kids.
Those who are keen on this yoga program can contact Elanggovan at 012-9188619 or e-mail at elanggovan@
For detailed information on yoga, please visit www.ancientyogaconsulting.com.