(Originally published in OM Yoga & Lifestyle Magazine Sep 2017)
Veronica Greene founded Little Greene Yoga® and offers a Certified Children’s Teacher Training package (for 3-5yrs; 5-8yrs; 8-12yrs & Teens & Postnatal Yoga) www.LittleGreeneYoga.com
15 years ago when I founded Little Greene Yoga I would notice a dramatic change in a child’s posture once they started secondary school. This change was down to a number of reasons – carrying extra books, studying, hunched over a desk or the simple awkwardness of adolescence! This posture adaptation is known as ‘forward head syndrome’.
About 5 years ago I started to see this same postural imbalance happening among my 8-12 year olds. This coincided with the availability of various affordable electronic tablets. These devices are now part of everyday life, unfortunately so is this posture, now often referred to as ‘text head’.
Children’s spines and bodies are now developing problems that can be avoided – their abs (stomach) and pecs (chest) are now in a permanent shortened position; sternocleidomastoid (neck) is shortening; the scapulae (shoulder blades) flare out to the side and the muscles of their upper back are weak and over stretched. This not only causes pain but limits the movement on the diaphragm and the functioning of their lungs.
The following 5 asanas, should be included in every child’s yoga class to counteract the effects of modern life.
The postures will open the chest and abdomen, lengthen the neck, strengthen the upper back and stabilise the shoulder blades.
The instructions for the postures are as you would speak to a child. Remember to make it fun, work them into a game as the kids are not going to want to do them just because it’s good for them!
Opens chest and allows for full expansion of the lungs and diaphragm
Opens chest, helps stabilise shoulder blades, lengthens spine, abdomen, hip flexors and works legs & arms
Works whole body but importantly helps strengthen the shoulder blade stabilisers
Opens chest, shoulders, groins, abdomen while strengthening muscles of the upper back & arms
Effectively targets the lower trapezius, among others
Veronica Greene is a fully qualified Iyengar Yoga Instructor (2008) to Junior Intermediate I Level. Prior to this she completed a Yoga Therapist Diploma with the Kevala Institute (1999). She is a qualified yoga instructor for children (2002), a Registered Senior Teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals (SYT) and a faculty member of Kids Yoga Academy.
Veronica has a vocational course coming up on the 23rd February, find out more here!