As Yoga becomes more popular throughout the world, there is a pressing need for a good book on Yoga for children, which is authoritative, appealing, informative and enjoyable.
This book fulfills this need admirably. It traces the roots of Yoga in mythology and legend, and includes many stories and tales bringing out the quality of, and inspiration for, the postures. It also stresses the links of the postures to the natural world - trees, mountains, flowers, animals. The book lays emphasis on the universal moral and ethical values implicit in the practice of Yoga such as non-violence, truth, self-discipline, simplicity and contentment. Besides, it highlights the geometrical forms and precision in the postures, so that children can relate to these abstract concepts through what they have learnt in their body movements.
Each Yoga posture is explained through photographs, drawings, stories and detailed instruction with figures illustrating several stages in performing the posture. Important 'dos and don'ts' and the benefits of each posture are also given.
The highlight of the book is a detailed section meant for parents and teachers comprising specific guidance on keeping the children practising Yoga creatively, enjoyably and safely.
Swati and Rajiv Chanchani have been studying and practising Yoga under the guidance of Yoga chary a B.K.S. Iyengar since 1975. They have been teaching Yoga to people from different walks oflife for over twenty-five years. This has included a long tenure at the Welham Girls' School and The Doon School, Dehradun.
Currently, they run the Yog-Ganga Centre for Yoga Studies, located in the quiet foothills outside Dehradun. Their two sons are now vounz men who continue to nractise voza.
The authors thank Srineet Sridharan, Zarina Kolah, Anjali Nandi, Nachiket Chanchani and students at the Welham Girls High School for posing for the photographs, and Shri Subhash Patil and Shri Homyar Mistry for taking the photographs. We thank Lauren Fogel for proof reading the manuscript.
The manual for parents and teachers has been inspired by an unpublished article titled "Yoga for School Children" by Smt. Geeta Iyengar. With the author's permission we have reproduced parts of this article where appropriate.
Finally, we are ever grateful to the sisters of C.P.S.. Ashram for constantly supporting us on the path of Yoga.
I was, indeed, delighted to go through the typescript of Yoga for Children, written by Rajiv and Swati Chanchani. Both of them have been my pupils for a long time and have practised yoga regularly and sincerely.
After having observed at our Pune institute the techniques of imparting the knowledge of Yoga asanas to children, the authors began teaching Yoga to children first under the auspices of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, and later on their own.
On the basis of experience in .teaching Yoga to children between the ages of 7 and 18, and keeping in view the specific problems or difficulties faced by them, the authors have undertaken the task of putting their perceptions in a book form.
As I read the text, I observed the interesting and exhilarating way in which the authors have explained the eight-limbs of yoga. They have also introduced seventy five asanas along with relevant stories to educate and motivate children to build up an ideal character and to improve their physical health and mental well-being.
Nature has gifted children with the ability to quickly recover from injuries. Hence, teachers need not be afraid while teaching them asanas. Moreover, they have an in-built instinct which helps them to react instantly to avoid injuries and muscular damage. They love speed and variety. If children are made to perform these asanas with different combinations and permutations, they get inspired to de more and more.
In addition to the qualities of speed and variety, children are also blessed with innocence and freshness. There is no jealousy or malice in them. Through Yoga, it is possible to transform skill- fully their vanity and competitive spirit into useful forms of energy. Yoga channelises their thoughts and makes them responsible citizens of the world.
I am glad that two of my pupils have taken the initiative and brought out this book with stories and diagrams to convey the message of each as ana on an educative level. These asanas can easily be taught in schools on a mass scale as well as in small groups at home or in clubs.
For children, who are custodians of each nation in particular and the whole world at large, I feel Yoga is the essential product of the twenty first century to lead them to perfect physical health and mental well-being.
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