Children Hold Yoga Poses Longer by Counting Out Loud
Jul 22, 2018
An eight-year-old student in class yesterday held tree pose for more than a minute simply by counting out loud. Typically, children pop out of poses quite quickly. They are in and out and on to the next thing. Yesterday, I invited the students to count how long they could hold Tree (Vrksasana). I suggested 30 seconds, but one girl kept counting. She counted and counted, right up to 62! The "rule" for counting in poses is that you have to count to the same number while holding the pose on the other side. She did just that. We went for a second round and this time, while the other children were falling out of the pose and starting over, she counted right up to 100!
We then did the same thing in Eagle (Garudasana). Holding a balance pose for a minute or more develops focus and concentration along with strengthening the nervous system and the postural muscles needed to hold the body in place. That good posture promotes confidence.
I don't recommend children under age 7 hold a pose that bends the spine out of neutral for more than 30 seconds. This includes backbends, forward folds and twists. This isn't likely to happen anyway. When a young kid springs up into Upward Facing Bow (Urdvha Dhanurasana) a.k.a. The Wheel, she will stay for about 3 to 5 seconds before crumpling back down to the ground.
Standing poses such as Triangle (Trikonasana), Hero III (Virabhadrasana III) and Tree (Vrksasana) are stable poses with the spine in a neutral position. These are perfect for children to hold for a minute or even two!
Kids often appreciate the challenge and it helps them develop strength, body awareness, confidence, and calm.
Check out this video with a 1-minute tree pose challenge as part of a 5-minute yoga break.