How to inspire your child to do yoga?

In topic

Education / Parenting / Yoga


Sadhguru, in line with the yoga question, I remember for last year we concentrated on children. So, my question is what types of yoga can children do, and what are the benefits, specific benefits and how to inspire them?


Duration: 14 min


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8 min read

How to inspire your child to do yoga?

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

Questioner: Sadhguru, in line with the yoga question, I remember for last year we concentrated on children. So, my question is what types of yoga can children do, and what are the benefits, specific benefits and how to inspire them?

Sadhguru: How to…?

Questioner: Inspire the kids, the children to do yoga.

Sadhguru: Not just last year, even for this Yoga Day, our focus is on children and on soldiers in the country.

I don’t know, in the last one year how many soldiers in the country have died, I don’t have statistics. But in the year 2015, over 18,000 children did not die, they committed suicide, and over 7,000 of them were below thirteen years of age. There is no greater disaster in a society. When our children start committing suicide, we are doing something fundamentally wrong, something very fundamentally wrong. I don’t know if there are similar statistics in other countries, but there is some statistic. How bad it is may depend from society to society, nation to nation, it may be different. But in all these countries where they are striving from poverty towards affluence, unfortunately this is happening.

When our children start committing suicide, we are doing something fundamentally wrong

In India one of the main reasons, why it’s happening is because in India passing mark is ninety-eight. So, we focused on children last year, and I think we touched a little over 35,000 schools across the country teaching them a simple – wait, wait, wait, the problem is much bigger. Thirty-five thousand schools in this country is still a drop. We taught them what is called as Upa-Yoga, which is very easy to transmit. Something that’s easy to transmit and easy to practice is important, when it comes to children. One thing is, the numbers are big, so it must be very simple. If it is complex system of yoga, if it’s highly sophisticated system of yoga, the delivery will be minimal because delivering very complex systems of yoga, which are transformative, but if we do not deliver them properly, it could be very damaging. It can cause much damage.

So, the simplest form of yoga which is called as Upa-Yoga. The idea is, one thing is to bring a chemical balance in the child so that – see, essentially suicides are happening because emotional, you know, big waves of emotion happen, and at that moment it feels like it’s better to die. Many times in many people’s lives, they might have felt like this, but it passed. You didn’t take action. Yes or no? Many moments when something really went wrong and you were emotionally upset, you feel like “I must kill myself” but, no action, it passed. That moment passed, after that of course you want to live. But unfortunately, for some people, their emotions are sloshing so much at that moment, they actually took action, and unfortunately they are also efficient.

Nobody knows the statistics of attempted suicides. In India, nobody will tell anybody, “I attempted suicide”, because only recently this law was […] repealed, otherwise in India it’s a crime to – attempted suicide means you can get seven years in prison. I’m saying, someone attempted suicide means he needs compassion, not punishment. He needs tenderness and care, not punishment. But attempted suicide had seven years imprisonment. Only now a few months ago, it was taken off.

So, with children this is not a joke, this is an unfortunate reality. Very unfortunate reality, that little children who must be bubbling with life think of taking away their own life is unimaginable, isn’t it? So, the most important thing that needs to happen is we need to reform, recreate our education system. But that is not one day’s job, that needs dedicated people. By bringing in a new system, it’s not going to work. The people, who conduct the system, must have love for what they’re doing.

Teaching or handling of children cannot and should not be done in a professional way

Teaching or handling of children cannot and should not be done in a professional way. A teacher, a doctor, a guru, a spiritual, one who transmits spiritual process, they must do what they are doing because of the commitment and dedication and the love that we have for the people around you. It can’t be done professionally. But there are millions of teachers, how to get them to that state? That’s a long way off. So, the simple thing we can do is equip the children to be able to survive the teachers and the system, that they have sufficient balance, they can handle the madness of our so-called education systems, because it’s quite inhuman.

It’s not inhuman because it’s difficult, it’s inhuman because of the way it’s conducted. I think it’s too bloody easy, it must be made much more difficult. Children must learn to stretch themselves beyond their limits. But it’s the way it is done. Who is doing it, is the question. When someone is joyful, you can stretch them as much as you want, and they are fine. When you don’t know how to keep them joyful, if you stretch them they will break. Yes or no? So, one thing is to bring yoga so that children are equipped to handle this.

What type of yoga? A simple form, as simple as possible, so that it’s easily transmitted without distortion and they are able to practice in a very simple way, and if they deviate ten – twenty percent, there is absolutely no harm. Because, if you teach highly sophisticated yoga – above all their skeletal system is growing up – without knowing what is what, I see all kinds of asanas are being taught in the schools to the children. When your skeletal system is still growing up, if you do certain type of asanas, your skeletal system can get twisted out. So, till you become fourteen years of age, there are certain aspects of yoga that you should not do, because that is designed for adults. There are certain types of yoga that girl children should not do, because of the nature of their biology. But without any of these things, common prescriptions are being done to everybody.

Till you become fourteen years of age, there are certain aspects of yoga that you should not do

So, this is [upa yoga] very carefully calibrated system of yoga which helps in the development of the child physiologically and psychologically. Above all, it is focused towards bringing a certain level of emotional balance. This will not just avoid a disaster of suicide – believe me, for most human beings whatever intelligence they have, whatever competence they have, whatever capabilities they have, only a small percentage of that finds expression, because they are not emotionally totally balanced. They always fear unhappiness, misery, disappointment, depression may take them over. So, they will only go at that pace, because there is no balance.

From anything to anything, from the simplest thing to the greatest things we do – even if you have to ride a bicycle, if you have no balance you go like this [shaky], you can’t look here, you can’t look here. But if you have balance, you can leave your hands, look at everybody, do the mischief, everything you can do because you have balance, isn’t it? Same goes with life. If you have balance, at a time you can do many things. Otherwise, if you don’t have balance, you’re doing one thing, you can’t do another thing.

So, this is a most fundamental thing that needs to happen at an early age to everybody, that you bring them to a certain sense of psychological balance and emotional balance that they won’t slosh – you create a chemistry of balance. If this happens, they will get to explore their intelligence, their competence and their genius in many different ways. If this one thing doesn’t happen, you will see even if there is enormous capability, it goes unexplored for the fear of suffering. This is true with eighty-five percent of humanity, that they do not explore the full depth and dimension of their competence, simply because they are not emotionally balanced.

And this is equally important for the soldiers. They must be emotionally balanced. So, this year we are focusing on children and soldiers. To inspire the children, the teachers must be practicing yoga and the effect, the positive effect of the yoga must show. If they look at the teacher and think, “This is one thing I don’t want to be”, no, that is not called inspiration.

I see it is happening both here in Samskriti and also in Isha Home School, a certain number of students every year, want to come back to the school after they’ve finished and they want to work as teachers. This means teachers are inspiring, for sure. If you look at your teacher, it must be like this, “Oh, I want to be like him or her.” If this doesn’t happen, nobody is going to do what the teacher does. Once the examination is over, we don’t even want to remember we were in the damn school.

For most people, this is the experience, they never ever go back. They spent almost twelve years, a significant time in their life, twelve years in the school, most people never ever visit that school, because they escaped. That’s not how it should be. This is the place where you grew up, you should always want to go back and see how you can contribute, how you can do something, if it was an inspiration. If it was a torture, you don’t want to go back there for sure.


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