Tatyana Angelova is 50 years old, a nurse and psychologist by profession. He graduated from medical college in 1996, and since 2003 he has a master's degree in psychology at Veliko Tarnovo University. She is training as a yoga instructor for children in 2021 at the Bulgarian Yoga Federation, but Tatiana herself has been practicing yoga for 17 years.
He currently works in a nursery in Sofia and teaches yoga for children in the Lotus Studio and in the capital's 97th Miladinovi Brothers School. Here is what sister Angelova shared about the benefits of yoga for children and adults.
Ms. Angelova, where did your interest in yoga come from?
- I have been doing yoga for 17 years. I had a bit of a break for my second pregnancy and then continued. I was also attracted to it as a philosophy, but more as a way to overcome stress, to move the body, to be flexible, to move the joints and generally to have a better quality of life. Yoga is a non-competitive sport, everything is done to relax the body and mind. At the same time - to be more aware. Through yoga one feels toned.
What he alth effects have you experienced in yourself from practicing yoga?
- First, I became calmer. No matter what happens around me, no matter what "storm" there is at work or at home, I manage to keep a balance. This is mostly due to the breathing practices of yoga. Whatever stress I accumulate during the day, exercise, breathing techniques and relaxation release me from it.
Also, I don't play every day, but four times a week, which is outside of the yoga classes I run for kids. I go to a yoga studio where I like the teachers. Healing yoga, yoga for spinal curvatures, yin-yoga - a variety of styles are also practiced there. I don't have a preference for any of them, I go depending on my free time. Any variety of yoga is welcome for me.
What is the effect of yoga on spinal curvatures?
- We can play with sticks, with blocks, on a wall and the effect on the spine is exceptional. In this day and age, we are all children and adults.
Yoga for spinal curvatures helps to improve our posture and avoid more serious back problems. That's why I want to include this direction of yoga in my work with children. After all, any type of yoga in children helps the proper development of the musculoskeletal system, the skeleton, the muscles and the relationship between them. Mobility, agility and correct posture are very valuable qualities for the bodies of the smallest.
And do your kids do yoga?
- Both, but they were already big when they started. Kakata started coming with me three years ago so that we could spend more time together. Seeing the benefits and feeling good, she now walks on her own. My son is 16 years old, he has been going to yoga for three years like his sister. Now my brother-in-law has also started doing yoga.
Do you only teach yoga classes to children?
- Yes, because I work in a nursery. I also do psychological counseling for children. I always thought that I should give my energy to them. I am convinced that yoga should be practiced from an early age to help their physical and mental development. A child who practices yoga has better concentration and does better in school. Yoga also has a beneficial effect on the nervous and endocrine systems. It also affects the metabolism, digestive and respiratory systems.
Yoga practices contribute to the harmonious development of the two hemispheres of the brain, associated respectively with logic, rationality and creativity, imagination and intuition. Static and dynamic poses help to physically strengthen adolescents, strengthen their muscles, increase the flexibility of their bodies. In this way, they get a good physical tone and feel good.
From what age can children practice yoga?
- The groups I lead at the studio are with children from 3 to 7 years old and from 7 to 12 years old, but even 2 year olds can practice yoga! In the nursery where I have been working for seven years, we do exercises with the children every day. Of course, everything is in the form of a game, the movements are accompanied by sounds, songs, dances.
Even children of 2-3 years are involved in the activities with great interest. If you watch them, they spontaneously sit like a mountain, do a ball backwards on their own and all kinds of other exercises because they are quite flexible and love to move. And when I show them the exercises, they have fun and it's very fun.
Learning the basic exercises is done in an interesting way for them - for each exercise I tell a short story, which helps with execution and efficiency. At each subsequent activity, the children themselves express a desire to show the exercises, they want us to do things they liked. And I give them this opportunity because the children want to express themselves in this way.
In the school where I lead classes from the second term, students enrolled themselves, parents did not force them. Lots of guys come too, not just girls.
How do you deal with a child who is hyperactive and can hardly stand still?
- I give more intense exercises, even jumping and squatting, and the different poses change quickly and flow into each other. Children love this because they have a lot of energy. Through intense exercise, they get tired. Then we move on to breathing, which is again in the form of a game. Finally, during relaxation, they lie calmly on the floor and relax.
Obesity is a massive problem among children. Do chubby kids come to yoga too, does yoga help them lose weight?
- Yes, chubby kids are coming - both girls and boys. But they also do well. Exercises are available for them too. They don't worry. Of course, no one requires children to do the exercises perfectly. Everyone does things according to their abilities. And whether they reduce their weight, I can't say yet.
It takes time. But it is a fact that there are no complete yogas, which means that the practice itself gives balance to the weight as well. However, one needs to practice yoga for a longer period of time, to have persistence. In addition, yoga is about he althy eating and drinking water. Kids keep asking me questions about this topic.
What kind of diet do you recommend for children?
- With lots of fruits and vegetables, with food that is not cooked by frying. I advise them not to eat fast food, although there are more such things in the stalls at school. I talk to them about food from nature, about living food that brings useful substances into the body and gives them energy. While pasta and sweets, packaged food leads to obesity. We talk to the children that they can replace sugar with fruits, honey, dates, dried fruits.
And what do you advise them about the meat?
- We have a love or hate game that I know the kids love their meat. Although I haven't eaten meat myself since I was 12, I'm not pushing them to become vegetarian. My vegetarianism came from suffering from migraines and looking for an alternative way to deal with them. I stopped eating meat, encouraged by the lectures and interviews of Dr. Emilova and Dr. Maria Papazova. It also helped with constipation. In fact, it is from the gut that head problems come. I gave up meat very easily, I don't miss it, and I feel good in general, I don't suffer from migraines either.