I grew up as an asthmatic child which I never overcame until now. Since adolescence, I suffered regular onsets of Dysmenorrhea every time I have my monthly period. I was also diagnosed with Scoliosis late in my college years. I usually sought for medications for temporary relief and alleviation of pain whenever there were sudden attacks. But these are the painful realities I have to live with, moving on with my busy and aggressive life. Realization has one day taught me to take my lifestyle into another dimension, the gift of Yoga.
My very first yoga experience was a personal practice at home. Access to Yoga Classes in my hometown, Pampanga was nowhere to be found; yet my eagerness for a healthier me provided the spark and got me started. I easily fell in love with it as I immediately enjoyed its health benefits. Indeed, it was love at first practice.
In 2013, Radiant Child Yoga held its first Yoga Teacher Training: Radiant Child Yoga Program 1-3 and Adapting Yoga to Differently-Abled Children in Manila. Excited, I inquired and enrolled in the program. Getting certified was like hitting two birds with one stone. It definitely helped me deepen my yoga practice and belief, at the same time gave me the opportunity to share my happiness and the gift of Yoga experience especially to the kids.
Radiant Child Yoga believes that “A child is naturally radiant, joyful, and full of innocent wisdom. The deeper purpose of teaching children yoga is to help them maintain their natural wisdom and radiance; or if their light has been dulled by events in their lives, to help them regain their inherent state of being.” Many are aware about Yoga, but Kids Yoga is a novelty to most people. So, “What is Yoga for Children?” People often ask, “How do you teach Yoga to kids if they are fidgety, rowdy and lack focus?” “Are they ready for Yoga?” or “Can they really do Yoga?” My answer is ABSOLUTELY! Yoga for Kids is a bit different to that of Adult Yoga but its benefits are the same. It is Fun and Engaging because it involves games, songs, stories, and a whole lot of imagination.
I introduced and started Yoga for Kids-Teens in my hometown, Pampanga. I already held classes for different age groups and also hosted a Free Yoga Event. The Kids and Teens were so radiant, joyful and amazing! In this generation, where gadgets play a big role in their everyday lives, seeing them sweat, become more aware of their bodies, chant and sing from their hearts, work together and appreciate meditation was just PRICELESS!
In my Yoga Teacher Training I also learned more about Yoga and how it can be connected and applied in my work as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Some of the important factors linking Yoga to Speech-Language Therapy are breathing and posture. In yoga, breathing exercises (Pranayama) and poses (Asanas) help improve posture, deepen mind-body connection and also relax the mind. Furthermore, breathing & posture are as important in speech-language therapy because they are essential foundations in speech production.
In my practice as a Speech-Language Pathologist, I always provide multi-sensory & holistic teaching approach because most of the children also have motor planning concerns and sensory issues aside from having speech & language difficulties. When I started incorporating Yoga, I observed its immense benefits. Whenever the kids feel stressed, anxious or frustrated, I remind them to do "Balloon Breathing" which provides a calming & relaxing effect thus helping them regulate their emotions better. In addition, Yoga Poses (Asanas) like the tree, snake, crow and dog poses heighten their body awareness, help organize their sensory system and improve their body coordination consequently, improving their focus & concentration on the activities or tasks. Furthermore, Imagination, Critical thinking and Social skills can be targeted during Yoga stories, games and creative/fun activities. Yoga hand-in-hand with Speech Therapy can further the child’s speech, language, motor, cognitive and social development.
Yoga totally changed my life. I call it my miracle and happy pill! I was able to benefit from it not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. I want to share the overflowing euphoria Yoga has given me and hopefully inspire more people to live a balanced, healthy, mindful and happy life. Yoga is for Everyone and Happiness is best when shared.
Aira Kristina "KARA" M. Basmayor, CSP-PASP, is a full time Speech-language Pathologist, a Certified Yoga Teacher for Kids & Differently-Abled and also the Center Director at Let's Talk and Learn Therapy Center. She regularly posts informational and helpful articles for parents and teachers at the Let's Talk and Learn Therapy Center FB Page and LTLTC Blog.