“Yoga for Kids” … Learning and return to the body and world
Ramallah – (A.M. Qattan Foundation)
On 23 June 2019, the Educational Research and Development Programme /A.M. Qattan Foundation held a workshop on Yoga for Kids, organised in the context of activities and events of the Early Childhood Teachers Forum, the workshop was delivered by yoga Teacher and trainer Wala’ al-Bakri at the AMQF offices, Al-Tira neighbourhood, Ramallah.
At the beginning of the workshop, members of the Early Childhood Teachers Forum defined the common concept of yoga as “relaxation, concentration, comfort, imagination, energy, reflection…” Early childhood teachers said yoga would help children “let off steam, concentrate, calm down, attain self-discipline, and listen.” However, having engaged in the workshop for four hours, the concept began to take shape and extend to expressions, which teachers described as new skills. An educator has to acquire these skills in order to free herself and her children from anything that restricts their bodies. Yoga is a mean that helps teachers become more familiar with their children’s physical and mental needs. It provides a context that helps children find their inner peace, stay in tune with their peers, and interact with others in their surroundings.
Teachers were introduced to yoga through an introductory theoretical presentation on the concept of yoga. Then, they are engaged in relevant physical and mental exercises. In these, they contemplated the physical, psychological and mental impact of yoga on children. They also explored how yoga would reflect on children’s social interaction with others in their community.
Teahers participated in a mechanism for yoga planning and timely division of preparation, warmup and main activities. This mechanism aims at taking account of children’s individual differences and needs within single groups. teachers also practiced how to conclude a yoga activity safely, getting children back to their real world with a new energy.
At the end of the workshop, educator Hazar Abu Quteish said: “I thought yoga was all about a candle, soft lights and quietude. However, I discovered that it was a whole world that offers a lot to children as well as to educators.”
Educator Maryam Manasrah said: “I felt our great need to use yoga with children who are immersed in an illusory external world. They are surrounded by electronic devices and images that keep them away from feeling themselves.”