OliviaPeaceSymbolFaceDesignWEB This post is the first in a series focused on sharing yoga's principles (universal principles, by the way!) with children.  The principles to be discussed are loosely based on Patanjali’s Yamas (attitudes or values) and Niyamas (personal healthy habits), though they are not all represented. I have chosen to focus on those most meaningful and understandable from achild’s standpoint.  If there is one, I have included the related yama or niyama in Sanskrit. Older children will especially enjoy learning these!

These principles can be used individually as class themes or lessons, or touched upon as opportunities arise. Each principle listed provides suggested points of discussion.  Try to use age-appropriate, relevant, real-life examples when discussing the principles, asking the children to come up with their own as well. 

Book suggestions are provided and can serve as discussion starters. For older children, journaling and drawing about a given principle at the end of class or as homework assignment is recommended as wonderful way to help them internalize its message and meaning.



Yoga Principle #1:  Practice Peace

(Ahimsa: Non-Violence)

Surround yourself with love and kindness.  Be gentle and peaceful in actions, thoughts. Be respectful. Show kindness.  Do not harm anyone or anything.  Be tolerant – accept others points of view.

Avoid: mean/malicious thoughts and acts, ignorance, restlessness, swearing/cussing, selfishness, being closed-minded – fear can lead to anger, violence  

Practice: openness, compassion, love, understanding, patience, self-love and worthiness   

Example #1: Instead of wishing the school bully would be hurt, send him peace and kindness in your thoughts and actions and watch what happens!

Example #2:  You listen to your body as you practice yoga poses. If something hurts, you treat yourself with kindness and respect by backing off and going only so far as is comfortable and healthy for your own body, regardless of what everyone else is doing.  

Books: The Peace Book,  Hey, Little Ant,  The Colors of Us,  Dogs and Bugs go Together…they really do!,  Unstoppable Me,  Zen Shorts

For learn more about sharing yoga with children, consider attending a ChildLight Yoga Teacher Training.  Schools might consider our Yoga 4 Classrooms program and seminars.  Trainings are currently being held across the U.S. and Canada.

Do you have other ideas on sharing the idea of non-violence with your children or students?  Please share – we'd love to hear from you!

Related Posts:

Yoga Inspires Discipline and other Values in Children

Karma Kids and The Golden Rule

Bring Children's Books to Life with Yoga