Yoga facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Statue of Shiva doing Yogic meditation. The statue is in Bangalore, India

Yoga is an old discipline from India. It is both spiritual and physical. Yoga uses breathing techniques, exercise and meditation. It claims to improve health and happiness.

Yoga is the Sanskrit word for union.

Patanjali was a pioneer of classical yoga. He defined yoga as "the cessation of the modification of the mind". (stopping changing the mind).

A person doing yoga will move from one posture (called asana) to another. For example, the "sun-salutation" contains 12 poses of asanas, one after the other, and is said to help balance body and soul. The "sun-salutation" is popularly known as "Suryanamaskar".


Scholars think that yoga was developed by Indian ascetics. Ascetics are people who avoid pleasure. Ascetic practices (tapas) are referenced in the Brāhmaṇas (900 to 500 BC), early commentaries on the Vedas. Several seals discovered at Indus Valley Civilization (~3300–1700 B.C.) sites in Pakistan depict figures in positions resembling a common yoga or meditation pose. The pose shows "a form of ritual discipline, suggesting a precursor of yoga", according to archaeologist Gregory Possehl. Scholars think there must be some type of connection between the Indus Valley seals and later yoga and meditation practices, though there is no conclusive evidence.

  • Jonathan Mark Kenoyer describes one figure as "seated in yogic position".
  • Karel Werner writes that " Archeological discoveries allow us therefore to speculate with some justification that a wide range of Yoga activities was already known to the people of pre-Aryan India".

Important yoga words (Eight Organs of Yoga)

  • Yama: Positive Rules of meditations
  • Niyama: Prohibitory Rules of meditations
  • Asanas: physical postures and movements
  • Pranayama: breathing techniques
  • Prtyahar: controlling the mind
  • Dharana: gazing inward
  • Dhyan: meditation with object
  • Samadhi: meditation without object
  • Dhyana: meditations

Types of yoga

  • Classification based on mind and body.
    • Rajayoga: Emphasizes the most on exercise
    • Hathayoga: Emphasizes the most on exercise of physical body.
  • Classification based on way of spiritual life.
    • Gyanyoga: It is a way of knowledge.
    • Karmayoga: It is a way of work.
    • Bhaktiyoga: It is a way of worship.
  • Classification based on a way of other things.
    • Swaryoga: Emphasizes the most on breathing.
    • Kriyayoga: Emphasizes the most on blending Karmayoga (Tapa), Gyanyoga (Swadhyay) and Bhaktiyoga (Ishwar Pranidhan).'

Some popular Yogasanas

Hatha Yoga, Pawanmuktasana, Zhengzhou, China
Pawanmuktasan (gas release pose) used generally to release the gases in the stomach
Ustrasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel

A yogasan is a pose in which a man can sit. The intention of yogasan is to exercise the body and making it free of pains and problems.

Yogi is a person who has mastered yoga or has achieved great success in yoga. Yogasanas are also called as Asan or Asanas (plural). A Yogi can sit in any asan for a given time.


This yogasan helps to release gas in the stomach.


This yogasan makes the spine more relaxed.

Images for kids

Yoga Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.