How to Teach Laughter Yoga to Children
Laughing yoga is a combination of deep controlled breathing, stretching and forced laughter that engages your core and improves lung capacity, even in children. Madan Kataria, M.D., author of "Laugh for No Reason" and founder of Laughing Clubs International, claims that laughing yoga helps build self-esteem and self-confidence 1. When children participate in laughing yoga it teaches them how to freely express their emotions and stay in a positive frame of mind. Teaching children laughing yoga should be simple and fun, with emphasis on breath and intellectual engagement.
Teach only three to five poses at a time. A laughing yoga session for a child should last no more than 30 minutes. Keep children interested by stimulating them intellectually while teaching the poses. If you are teaching the Lion Face pose, have them relate to you how they would roar if they were a lion, how they would laugh if they were a lion. The key is to get them to relate what their body is doing with a visual, adding a funny twist to help them laugh.
Begin your laughing yoga class with ha-ha-ha mountain pose. The ha-ha-ha mountain pose helps encourage children to participate in the laughing yoga class by breaking the silence in the room. This pose is excellent to begin with because it requires no prior knowledge of the pose and always causes an eruption of laughter. Have the children begin by standing with their feet together, toes apart, shoulders up tall and hands on their bellies. Have them inhale and feel their bellies expand; as they exhale, have them force out a ha-ha-ha. Repeat this four to five times and the room is laughing.
Incorporate stretch poses into laughing poses. Add deep belly laughter to standard stretching yoga poses for children, such as rag-doll, frog and butterfly. A simple way to do this is to teach different laughs with different poses. Have the kids help by letting them tell you how the laugh should be for each stretch: for example, a butterfly laughs fast, a frog laughs deep, a rag-doll laughs silly. Chose one child to assign a laugh to a pose and then have the class follow, or give them a free-for-all, letting everyone incorporate their own laugh into the pose.
Teach breathing control by varying the speed and depth of the laughter. Learning proper breathing technique can be challenging for children. One way to ensure they improve their breathing technique is to teach it through laughter speed and depth. Deep slow laughter helps improve deep breathing, while quick light laughter helps improve inhalation through the nose.
Keep it fun. Hold their interest in the poses by keeping the class simple. One pose should only be held for one to two minutes at a time, and there should be free, or down, time in between poses. One good standard move to help children focus is to do wiggle-worms or get the wiggles out in between poses. To do the wiggle-worms or get the wiggles out, have the kids stand frozen like statues and then cue them to wiggle as fast as they can, then call freeze for them to stop. Repeat the wiggle movement two or three times in between each pose.
Have children wear comfortable clothing they can move around easily in. Never make it a competition.
Always consult with your child's doctor prior to beginning any new diet or fitness program.
The ha-ha-ha mountain pose helps encourage children to participate in the laughing yoga class by breaking the silence in the room. One good standard move to help children focus is to do wiggle-worms or get the wiggles out in between poses. One way to ensure they improve their breathing technique is to teach it through laughter speed and depth.
- Have children wear comfortable clothing they can move around easily in.
- Never make it a competition.
- Always consult with your child's doctor prior to beginning any new diet or fitness program.
- laughing image by Lisa Eastman from Fotolia.com