Press Release: April 07, 2010
Shraddha Setalvad (a yogini from India) reckons she has struck a winning formula linking teaching yoga through stories to help combat obesity and improve the health and wellbeing of young children.
The concept is simple. Make yoga fun. The strong story format combined with high quality illustrations keeps children engaged and thus provides a positive, feel-good experience for a child's introduction to yoga. With pose names like Cow, Monkey and Tiger it is not hard to see how young children who are naturally supple and equally inquisitive catch on quickly.
"We didn't invent the names. That was done 5000 years ago by the yoga gurus," said Shraddha. "Our trick was to link them together into stories that catch the childrens' imaginations."
Their imaginations are stretched as their bodies are engaged and challenged. Each story is meant to be nothing more than fun and then as this happens they unconsciously reap the benefits of yoga and start applying it to their daily lives.
"The children love it. Within minutes the kids are rolling out their yoga mats, barking like dogs, roaring like lions, and hissing like snakes. It is one of the most exciting experiences," she said in an interview.
In a distraction-oriented world it is powerful and positive to educate, motivate and encourage children to learn the fun and active practice of yoga. Yoga is a positive, non-competitive form of exercise that is especially beneficial and non-threatening to the child struggling with issues of excess weight and low self-esteem.
THE STATISTICS ARE ALARMING
Obesity is an escalating problem in the United States and most of the Western world. Most seriously affected by the obesity epidemic are ethnic minorities, with more than two out of every five of these youngsters overweight, and almost one in four are obese. According to two National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANE) Surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), the rate of obesity among adults has more than doubled in the last thirty years; for children, the rate of those who are overweight has tripled
According to the CDC, being overweight or obese places children and adults at risk for a myriad of health problems. Overweight and obese children and adults frequently suffer from low self-esteem, decreased quality of life, and mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and binge-eating (a newly-recognized eating disorder). Yoga, as a treatment for obesity and overweight, has been shown to be an intelligent, gentle, effective, preventative and therapeutic tool.
While yoga classes for kids are wonderful, more often than not, they are almost impossible to find. "I have been teaching classes across Mumbai for a number of years and have been constantly meeting people saying that it was impossible to find yoga classes for their kids nearby " Shraddha said. I was then approached by Soul Indulgences to create an online dvd for the kids and I jumped at the chance. The idea of kids anywhere having immediate access to a structured yoga program was exhilarating.
Shraddha has created four different stories around the poses that the children will follow. Often the children will pretend to be the animal for which the pose is named. For instance, when they are doing Cat Pose, they become the cat.
* Sally Cat wants to be a Tiger: Discover Yourself with Sally - Learning to Accept Yourself
* Noahs Arc : The Rainbow of Hope.
* Saluting the Sun: Tippus Enlighteninin Adventure
* The Lord of All Beginnnings - Ganesha: "The Magical Head"
"I don't want to sound too enthusiastic. But yoga is a huge opportunity to step back to the basics. Children are surrounded on all sides by diversions like electronic games. Yoga can help them be more in touch with themselves," she added.
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