Yoga expert Sabrina Merchant on the benefits of yoga for kids

Sabrina Merchant, yoga expert, is a parent in progress, having founded Li’l Yogis last year. Driven by the passion to get the little ones to practice the ancient Indian treatise, Sabrina has now put together the flow of her classes, as they roll out in suburban Mumbai, in the form of a book Ocean Yoga, recently launched at High Street Phoenix as part of the Healthy Parenting Talk.

A chartered accountant by qualification, Sabrina has found her calling in working with children and is a certified kids expert from The Yoga Institute as well.

Excerpts from a conversation for Express Parenting:

Children learn to focus and concentrate better when they practise yoga says yoga expert Sabrina Merchant
What does yoga mean to you?

It is a spiritual journey towards inner self.

What prompted you to take up yoga for children?

I had been practicing yoga for over 10 years when I decided to teach my six-year-old to take it up as well. That is when I realised her lack of flexibility. Children need company, and her friends joined in too. At that point I decided to gain proper qualification in Kids Yoga and thereafter started taking classes. It has been a beautiful learning experience as children teach you aplenty in return too.

All kids don’t like yoga. Some find it boring.

That is the main challenge, to make sessions interesting for kids. Each class has a theme: a desert, a rainforest, an ocean…the asanas are taught in keeping with the theme. I have been conducting workshops pan-India. From the point of view of reaching out to many more children, I have authored a book Ocean Yoga that captures the teachings as they unfurl in class.

Why “Ocean” Yoga?

The two characters in the book are engaged in a story for which the setting is the ocean. Each page brings in an asana. For example, moving in a boat introduces the children to “naukasana”. In the same way, as each session carries learning. The emphasis is on yoga through values.

Shilpi Madan for Indian Express

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