We’re all busy in our daily lives of work, school, sports, extracurricular activities and social events, but family time is so important. In this day and age it takes time and effort to create more meaningful moments, memories and experiences with our children that don’t involve an ipod, ipad or other device.
Aside from healthy cooking in the kitchen with my children and husband, I love yoga to help bring us closer together and build a healthy foundation within our bodies. The lessons yoga can teach us are gifts that will keep on giving and nourishing us. I have personally witnessed a greater sense of body awareness, and watched both my son and daughter learn how to calm themselves and cultivate an overall greater sense of empathy, caring and understanding for others around them.
Yoga as a family or practicing one-on-one with your child should be an activity that allows children to be completely, wonderfully, magically free to be themselves. Unlike many sports and other extra curricular activities, there are no grades, no gold stickers, ribbons or medals, ZERO judgment or pressure and no competition.
In two words: NO STRESS!
Here is a sample series of postures I do with my both my children that are simple and can be done anywhere, anytime (although my family has incorporated yoga into our bedtime routine). Click the links to see the poses in action.
- Calm Seated Posture
Begin in an easy seated pose with your eyes closed and hands either in prayer pose at your chest or one hand over heart and one hand over belly. Notice your breathing and tap into how you are feeling. Stay here for 5-10 deep belly breaths.
From hands and knees, also known as table top position, exhale and press up rounding your back in cat pose. Inhale and drop your belly towards the floor, looking forward and sticking your bum out in cow pose. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Downward Dog
With your hands and feet on your mat shoulder/hip width apart, lift your body into an upside down ‘V’ position. Let your head rest comfortably and think about creating a long upper body from the tip of your head to you tailbone and a long lower body from your hips to your heels. Breath deeply and stay for 5-6 breaths.
From Downward Dog shift forward with shoulders over wrist and full body engaged in plank pose. Hold 5-10 breaths.
Lower yourself to your belly, rise up through your arms and upper body into a slithering cobra.
- Hop to Frog Pose
From Cobra press your hips back to your heels, look forwards to your hands and hop your feet outside your hands into frog pose.
- Standing Forward Fold
Slowly lift your bum in the air and walk your feet hip distance apart, rest your hands on your shins and breathe relaxing your neck and head.
- Roll to Rise to Standing
Carefully bend your knees and slowly roll your body up to rise.
Carefully step one leg behind you in the air and use your arms as airplane wings for balance. Repeat on the other side.
- Standing Forward Fold
Return to your standing forward fold.
- Seated Butterfly
Lower to your bum sitting with your soles of feet together in butterfly pose. Close your eyes and take a few breaths or bow forward touching your head towards your toes.
Lie together in Floating on a Cloud Pose (also known as Savasana)
Give your child a hug and thank them for practicing with you.
With so many yoga studios and local community centre programs jumping on the yoga train, I encourage you to look around your own community and see where you can attend a family class or register your child for a class of their very own.
I also recommend The Kids’ Yoga Deck: 50 Poses and Games by Annie Buckley for any families looking to do more yoga at home.