Doing Yoga With Your Kids

Happy Mother’s Day to all those wonderful moms out there!

There’s no better way for a mother to celebrate tomorrow’s holiday than to actually spend some quality time with those little ones who call her “mom”. (And of course with a little extra pampering from Dad as well).

Whether it’s grocery shopping, diaper changes, or soccer games, mom’s are seemingly always on the go.  Nearly every mom will tell you how this constant motherly activity makes it seem like their kids grow up before they can ever catch a breath.  For all those moms out there, how about allowing yourself to take a time-out tomorrow, and spend some relaxation time with the kids.  Instead of grabbing the kids and your keys, grab the kids and your yoga mat, and get ready for some stress-free fun that doesn’t require you to step a single foot out of the comfort of your own home.

Picture obtained from http://www.drmomma.org

Doing yoga together as a family is a wonderful way to naturally build parent-child bonds and spend some undivided, quality time together.  Yoga can be an especially fun and engaging activity when done with youngsters.  While getting your little one(s) to calm down enough to do “yoga” may sound impossible, by making a few adjustments to your typical practice, yoga can become quite enjoyable for you and the kids.

Teaching yoga to your kids will help improve not only their flexibility and strength, but also their concentration and attention spans (along with your own!).  It will also build their imagination and encourage them to experiment with activities other than those spent plopped in front of the TV.  While yoga won’t completely eliminate youngsters’ rambunctiousness, it will certainly help to release excess energy and calm then down in a positive way.

So hit the mat with your kids and give these moves a try:

  • Cat/Cow warm-up:  For this warm-up, have the kids really visualize themselves as being cats for the entire movement.  As you and the kids raise your chest and extend the abdomen towards the forward, let out a loud “Meow” sound.  Then as you round the back, have them visualize themselves as cats rounding up into a ball.
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose):  With the legs together and arms tucked into the sides, have the kids really imagine that they’re a slithering snake with no arms and legs.  Invite them to make a hissing “HSSSSsss” sound as they work the pose.
  • Downward Dog:  In downward dog, have the kids pretend they are a dog, wagging their tail (buttocks) in the air.  Feel free to add in some barking and just have fun with this!
  • Vrksasana (Tree Pose):  Create the picture of a strong, giant maple tree in your kids’ minds.  Tell them to imagine there are roots growing out of the bottoms of their feet sturdily rooting them to the Earth.  As they gain their balance, have them raise their arms towards the sky.  Inform them that a gentle breeze is blowing their way, telling them to sway their branches in the wind.
  • Simhasana (Lion Pose):  While in the pose, have your kids stick out their tongue as far as possible and make a loud “ROAR”.  Encourage them to let loose and play with the tone of their roar.  Possible suggest that they pretend they are Simba from the Lion King.
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose):  Have the kids come up into a the pose, telling them to concentrate on being as still as possible as they visualize themselves as a strong sturdy bridge waiting for people to walk over.  If you feel very comfortable holding the wheel pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), invite your kids to pretend you’re the bridge and crawl under you.

Practically any yoga asana can be turned into a kid-friendly pose.  All you have to do is get creative and be a little patient.  Go into the family yoga session without expectations, letting go of all possible judgement, and just allow yourself to let loose with the kids and have fun.  Also, make sure to warm up to prevent a family full of injuries!

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Simply Life
    May 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I’m not a mom but that’s great to know and think about for future reference 🙂

  • Reply
    marla {family fresh cooking}
    May 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    We love doing yoga with our daughter! It is so fun watching her learn how to take deep relaxing breaths and also learn balance and body awareness. Yoga is something I hope we take with us throughout our lives. xo

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    May 9, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I would love to do yoga with my kids! I think it’s a fantastic idea, really. That picture of the little girl doing a yoga pose is classic!! I love it. I hope my kids enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

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