When children have low resistance levels, they tend to fall sick often. Here are a few yoga postures that can help build your child’s immunity.
By Suneel Singh
Children tend to fall sick easily with seasonal weather changes. Frequent illnesses, however, result in low resistance, and it becomes tough for the body to ward off germs when immunity levels are low or when there are ill people around. We can improve our immunity by strengthening the body’s resistance. Yoga is perhaps one of the most effective and natural methods to boost immunity and stay healthy.
Yoga is a union between the mind, body and soul. It is not just a physical exercise but a way of life. A dynamic kriya like the sun salutation or the surya namaskar is excellent for the overall well-being of children. It includes meditation, asanas and pranayama which when performed, benefit the child greatly. Moreover, the practice of pranayama has several mental and physical benefits. It helps clear the lungs and nostrils. It even improves the functioning of the left and right hemispheres of the brain and, aids catabolic and anabolic processes in the body.
Doing these postures will make children more aware of their bodies and make them stronger. More important, it will help them breathe better, calm their minds and, achieve more balance in their lives. As children are extremely flexible, these postures will not be difficult for them to try. But as a parent, make sure your child does not strain any muscle or feel pain while holding a posture. That way, you can enjoy a safe and uplifting yoga session, together.
1. Uttanapadasana (Leg raise pose): Lie down with your palms flat on the floor. Inhale and raise both legs as high as you can, while keeping them straight with the feet relaxed. The legs should be stretched and not bent from the knees. Hold the posture for 3 to 5 seconds. Exhale and slowly lower the legs to the floor. Repeat this 5 times.
Benefits: This asana improves the digestive system and helps cure constipation, piles, gas and other stomach-related ailments.
2. Dhanurasana (Bow pose): Lie flat on your abdomen with legs and feet together and the arms on either side of the body. Bend the knees and bring the heels close to the buttocks. Place the chin on the floor and clasp hands around the ankles. Take a deep breath and raise the head and trunk above the ground in order to lift the legs while pulling hands and legs in opposite directions. Support the entire body on the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can. Then relax the leg muscles and slowly lower the legs, chest and head to the start position. Practice this posture at least thrice daily.
Benefits: This asana aids digestion by stimulating gastric secretions and improves the flow of white blood cells.
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3. Chakraasana (Wheel pose): Lie flat on your back with legs stretched out on the floor. Bend your legs at the knees, and with the help of the hands, bring the heels as close to the buttocks as possible. Bend the hands and place them on the floor beside the temple with the palms facing downwards and fingers pointing outwards. Then, applying pressure on your palms, slowly raise the body and arch the back so that the crown of the head supports the weight of the upper body. Lift your knees further by moving the trunk towards the head. Let the head hang between the arms. Stay in this position for as long as you are comfortable. Then, slowly lower the body so that the head rests on the floor and then, lower the rest of the body. Repeat this posture thrice.
Benefits: This asana tones up the nervous, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and glandular systems.
Caution: While lifting the body, relax the neck and let it hang loose, else you could strain the neck. Those with weak wrists should not attempt this asana.
4. Matsyasana (Fish pose): Lie flat on your back stretching your legs out on the floor with feet together. Then bend the legs in padmasana (lotus) posture while in the lying down position. Supporting the body with the arms and elbows, lift the chest slightly, move the head back and lower the crown of the head onto the floor. Hold the big toes and rest your elbows on the floor. Adjust the position of the head and hands so that the back is arched to the maximum. Relax the whole body, allowing the head, buttocks and legs to support the weight. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Stay in this posture for as long as you feel comfortable. Return to the start position by reversing the order of movements. Do this pose only once.
Benefits: This asana stretches the intestines and abdominal organs, which helps fight abdominal ailments like indigestion. The dorsal region is fully extended in this posture and the chest is well expanded. As it encourages deep respiration, this asana is beneficial for those with asthma or bronchitis. It also gives relief from constipation, tonsillitis and spondylitis.
5. Shavasana (Corpse pose): Lie down on the floor on your back. Stretch out the legs with the feet apart (about the width of the shoulders). Stretch out both arms with hands placed about six inches away from the body. The head and spine should be in a straight line. Gently close your eyes. Relax the body, let all your tension flow out and stop all physical movement. Slow down your breathing, allow it to become rhythmic and relaxed.
Benefits: This asana helps remove physical and mental fatigue. The breathing becomes naturally regulated and controlled, improving the optimum capacity of the lungs. It also boosts the intake of oxygen.
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