YOGA IN PAEDIATRIC PRACTICE
Dr. Prafuula Ronghe*
Amravati *
The antiquity of traditional medicine goes back to over 4000 years, as evidenced in the ATHARVAVEDA (the science of life). The aim of traditional medicine according to Charak is to maintain the health of the healthy person and relieve the sufferings. A part from this spiritual philosophy, yoga has been utilized as a therapeutic tool to achieve positive health and control and cure diseases. This concept is promoted in Hathayoga and Patanjali yoga. Interest has been evidenced in this direction by many workers and studies on the effect of yoga on psychosomatic disorders and development.

In Paediatric practice, yoga can play a very important role. Right from conception till pre-school years, mother will act as a yoga teacher, and afterwards during childhood and school age teacher teaches yoga practice. Mother is taught yoga before conception. The months of carrying fetus are precious to mother as well as to fetus. Yoga provides a positive environment for the growing fetus right from the conception. If the mother practices yoga, during antenatal period, there will be healthy fetal development and maximum chances of normal delivery and healthy newborn. So, the new born is prevented from birth injuries and complications of drugs, etc. Practice of yoga in post-natal period increases amount and duration of lactation which will be beneficial for infants and mother. Benefits of Yoga:
  • Development of normal milestones such as Physical, Mental and Social
  • Minimum behavioural problems
  • Normal, Body defense mechanism
  • Increase in concentration due to pranayama
  • Develops intelligence, memory, learning ability and therefore total personality

Yoga in Neonate
Mother is thought to elicit neonatal reflexes such as rooting reflex, Doll's eye reflex, Moro's reflex, grasp reflex, trunk-in-curvation reflex, cross extensor reflex, placing reflex and walking or stepping reflex. Due to stimulation of proprioceptors tone in the muscles gradually develops which will help for normal development of milestones.

Yoga in Infant
From 1 month to 5 months old infant is placed in prone position, he tries to lift head and neck muscles. These muscles are gradually toned-up (like Bhujangasana). From 4 to 5 months infant tries to reach for an object and puts it into mouth, like toys, its own foot (like Pawanmuktasana). From 6 to 7 months, turning in position from supine to prone and vice-versa by extending the limbs. (Shavasana and Makarasana). From 9 to 10 months, sit-up alone without support. (Sukhasana); creeps or crawls (Majarasana, like a Bear). 12 to 15 months, the child gradually walks with or without support (Tadasana).

Pre-school years
Various simple asanas are done by imitation of asanas posture of parents or yoga teacher. Early school years and school years. Mother must teach Yamas and Niyamas to the child. These cultural, relaxing and meditative are taught along with pranayama practice. Starting yoga when young children, gives the best foundation in life, with their natural flexibility and sense of balance, they usually find it far easier to adopt the posture than adults. They can make rapid progress in performance. Majority of children are naturally adventurous. They all need a little encouragement. It will help them to get into the correct position, but take care never to force their bodies into an asanas. Because the bones and muscles are still developing. Most children can mimic to anything that they observe. If they see the parents practicing asanas regularly, they will join and imitate what they do. Generally, the problem is of concentration, as a child's attention span is not normally very long. To stimulate their interest, it is essential to make the session of Yogabhayas enjoyable. Make use of this fact, their many asanas are named after animals, birds and other creatures. Let the child rear like a lion or arch-up like a snake. Practicing the forward bend is like closing a book, the shoulders stand is like the candle on the table. It is also most important to learn how to breath correctly in the supine position by placing a rubber duck on his abdomen and let him see how the duck swims as he breaths gently in and out. Meditation is of great value for the growth and power of concentration. In schools, where meditation along with yoga is taught, teachers have observed a great improvement both in class work and group interaction.

In adolescence
Practice of yoga will help to develop normally by regulating the functions of hypothalamus, pituitary glands and autonomous nervous system.
References :
  1. A.P.I. Text Book of Medicine, 1992 Edn. Yoga in Medicine.
  2. Paediatric therapy 6 th Edn, Harry C. Shirkay Behaviour Therapy.
  3. Psychiatry in India by Dr. Alan D'Souza and Dr. Mrs. D'Souza.
  4. Improvement in static motor performance following yogic training of school children, Telles S. et. al. percept mode skin ills, 1993, Jan 76.
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