Yoga is more than just a type of exercise for your kids – Interview with Kishore Kumar, a yoga master from India

What do you think about yoga? A popular type of exercise in Hong Kong? A nice way to relax yourself? Usually when parents think of kids’ sports, they don’t think of yoga. However, according to Kishore Kumar, a yoga master from India, there are actually many benefits for kids to do yoga compared to other sports.

Kids can do Yoga

Having started practising yoga at the age of 9, Kishore believes that yoga is one of the best choices of exercise for kids, “Kids can start doing yoga at the age of 3. It helps to improve children’s emotional regulation, ease their anxiety,  boost their self-esteem, and improve their memory and cognitive functioning. It can also be a boost to their other sport activities and improve their sleeping quality” says Kishore. “Yoga can definitely help to develop kids’ health physically and mentally.”

Kishore loves teaching kids yoga, “Actually yoga can be a child’s daily routine and a life-long habit. It brings changes to our life till our last breath.” Kishore believes that yoga helps to regulate our behavior and improve our self-learning skills.

(Kids yoga at Prajna Yoga)

More than just a type of exercise

Yoga teachers must be qualified to teach yoga. According to Kishore, there are special techniques when teaching kids. “Teachers have to receive special training before teaching kids yoga. We don’t just focus on yoga postures, we practise breathing and mindfulness meditation as well.”

Speaking of teaching kids, Kishore shared with us one of his most memorable teaching experiences. “Kids can become more confident sometimes. I remember there was a kid who came to my class with his mom. When it came to an advanced posture, he teased his mom saying ‘Mom you cannot do this posture – I can do this pose better than you’”.

Kishore believes that yoga can also help with children’s academic performance, “Yoga can definitely help kids to concentrate in classes and be mentally strong enough to face examinations and other difficulties in their path of life.”

The biggest challenge running a Yoga studio

Kishore started practising yoga with his uncle Ponraj and his Master Yesudas. After completing a Diploma in Yoga from Tamilnadu Physical Education and Sports University, he came to Hong Kong and start teaching yoga in 1999.  The biggest challenge in running a yoga studio in Hong Kong is the high rental cost and expenditure, “The cost of running the studio is extremely high; another challenge is to find new students.”

(Kids flying yoga at Prajna Yoga)

Yoga master’s favourite types of Yoga

Some may be confused by the various kinds of yoga - Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinayasa, Iyengar and Sivananda, etc. Kishore likes Sivananda the best. “I like it because it really works on our energy centers. The more I practise Sivananda, the more I like it. Kids can practise Sivananda style as well. We design Sivananda kid classes to improve their growth physically and mentally.”

(Kishore Kumar)

Mission at Prajna Yoga

Currently Prajna Yoga is a small yoga studio providing basic facilities including lockers, shower and changing rooms. In five years, it is hoping to expand and open a new branch on Hong Kong Island. “Our mission is to teach our students to love yoga and live life to the fullest. Other than teaching students, we also train yoga teachers. We do this because we want to train qualified teachers to spread our knowledge of yoga.”

“Our goal is to provide a venue and methods for students to relax themselves by practicing yoga regularly. It can definitely keep them healthy and stress-free”, says Kishore. “Keeping ourselves mentally healthy is crucial especially during the Covid-19 lockdown.” Kishore also wants to bring yoga into schools in the future.