Author Topic: yoga for a 9 year old boy  (Read 9025 times)

David Williams

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yoga for a 9 year old boy
« on: September 18, 2009, 07:36:30 AM »
Hi David,
This is Pavel ( from the Czech Republic.
I don't know if you remember me - when you were
with your wife were in Prague some three or four
years ago, we went to see some interesting places
here, especially Prague's castle).
 Thank you for the articles on your web, they are very inspiring.
In one of them it's mentioned you said, that ashtanga can be done
by anyone 9 - 90.  I know it is probably an explanation of ashtanga
like a system that can be done by everyone who is interested,
but i would like to know what you really think about the nine year old
child, because one woman attending my classes would like to bring
her son with her, because he has practiced some yoga for children
before, so she thinks it shouldn't be a problem for him :-)
Well no problem for me, but is that OK when he is so young
and i mean, when he is still in growth?
Thank you for your opinion.
Have a great time.

Dear Pavel,
Of course I remember you!  Nice to hear from you.
About the boy-
1st- make sure he wants to do yoga, not because the mother is seeking child care while the mother does yoga.
 Explain that yoga is a daily practice.  Tell the boy, not the mother (the mother can be present, of course) that you will teach him only if he sincerely wants to do this daily, with holidays (Saturdays, full moon, new moon).  As you understand, because you are asking this question, every person is delicate, particularly a 9 year old child. He should practice daily in your presence or with you.  He should only practice alone when it is impossible for you to practice together.  On those days, he will do a minimum of 3 of Salutation A, 3 of Salutation B, and the the sitting finishing postures.  He can do more if he wants but this is sufficient.  This amount takes about 10 minutes and is the "daily minimum" according to Guruji who told me this many years ago.
You should be paid a fair price one month in advance.  He will come on the "ashtanga calendar schedule".  If he misses without notifying you, he is expelled with no refund.  These were my condition with Pattabhi Jois exactly.  I was never late to class.
If the boy wants to start daily practice with you,
1.  Teach him Salutation A.
He must do it 10 times.  Then teach the 3 finishing postures.
Explain that yoga is "no thinking".  Total focus on the bandhas, the breath and the asana.  No thinking or it is simply exercises based on observation of the external appearance of yoga.
At the end, corpse for 10 minutes. Mindfulness of the breath, "om on the inhale, om on the exhale."  No thinking.  Explain to him that this is yoga.  Yoga is meditation.  Meditation is the space between the thoughts.  Increase the  space between the thoughts with awareness of the breath and continuous om with the flow of the breath.
2nd class- 10 of each salutation and finishing postures. 
3rd day- 10 of each salutation and the first 2 standing postures.
Add 2 postures each day, if the boy has the stamina, except Friday and he can learn 1st series in a month.
After 10 days, reduce to 5 of each salutation.
After 20 days, 3 of each salutations is sufficient unless more would be therapeutic.
This is the fastest possible pace.  Most people will go much slower.  It doesn't matter how long it takes to learn all of the asasas.
This is exactly the way that I learned from Pattabhi Jois more than 35 years ago.
FOR SAFETY of the neck- OMIT CHAKRASANA- the somersault roll over the shoulders after supta trivikramasana and NO SETUBANDHASANA.
Nothing should ever hurt.  Explain to the boy that every move, every breath should feel good.  Build core strength with the bandhas and strong breathing.  Gently, enjoyable stretching while doing the deepest possible breathing will lead to the greatest flexibility without tearing tissues and making scar tissue.  If something hurts, he should immediately tell you. 
You as the teacher are responsible for monitoring his energy and prana.  While practicing, his prana should continually increase with each move, each breath, like increasing the bars while charging a phone.  Stop his practice if he starts to fatigue. Do not tire him out doing yoga.  It will destroy his motivation to do it again tomorrow.  Do finishing and corpse so that the maximum energy goes to rejuvenation.  It doesn't matter how many asanas he does.  He needs learn how to do the optimum amount of yoga for that day.
You will introduce him to this awareness. 
On the monthly program mentioned about....that is the fastest possible pace.  Most people will go much slower.
The greatest yogi is the one who does the practice that is the most appropriate for that day.