“Who am I, the child asks, looking at the blue, blue expansive sky?”
The many aspects of YOGA! Did you know that Ayurveda (Science of Life) is considered one form of Yoga and is a sister to Yoga? They work together to provide a foundation for a peaceful, balanced and happy life. So it makes perfect sense to introduce the principles of Ayurveda to kids while doing yoga. Children understand and can use the language of nature to explain natural living. It is based on things that are observable, for example, experiencing things as either hot or cold, dry or damp, light or heavy or sweet andY – Yoga, O – Opens, G– Grounding, Good Life A – Ayurvedasour and so on.
This means observing the five elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether. Earth is the solid form of matter, water is the liquid state, fire is the radiant form, air is the gaseous state and ether is called “space”. We are made of these different elements in various combinations which form our body type or “dosha”. There are three doshas 1) Vata 2) Pitta and 3) Kapha with each dosha being a combination of two elements with one more pronounced than the other. For example, Pitta is primarily the fire element with water as its secondary element.
Our dosha determines our body type, personality, sleeping patterns, food we eat and the best exercise or yoga to do. Each child is a unique combination of the three doshas and when in a state of balance the five elements are life supporting in nature and in our bodies and when imbalanced lead to disturbances of health.
A teacher can devote a whole class to one “element” and bring all of them into a series of classes as an introduction to Ayurveda. Children can naturally describe the elements e.g. feel the heat of the sun which is “fire”. They quickly understand their dosha and how to balance it (law of opposites) which for the pitta child is not staying in the sun for long periods of time or eating spicy foods.
Vata (air/ether) children require different postures from a Pitta or Kapha child in order to maintain balance and health. The two things that vary for each “child” type is the degree and exertion used during the asana.Vata children often need grounding to stay balanced due to the amount of air in their body. So Mountain pose, butterfly, Warrior and Baby Pose are good to do. Pitta children feel more balanced, keeping their energy serene doing bridge pose, cat cow pose, downward dog and corpse pose. And Kapha children who benefit by keeping the body moving and soft like to do tree pose, cobra pose, bow pose and bridge pose.
Specific yoga poses for one’s body type (dosha) is just one aspect of “Ayurveda” and its link to “Yoga”. As parents and teachers we can bring these unifying principles to a family yoga class at home or in a school or community class. Learn more about balancing your family with Ayurveda and Yoga.