Hey folks! Let me ask you yoga lovers out there a crazy question: Have you ever thought about practicing yoga with your kids? I know what you're thinking. “Um, no. My kid would NOT stay still long enough for that!” or “No way. That's my time.” I get it, I do, but hear me out. What if you don't have the time and/or money to make it to a yoga class outside the home? Or, have you ever even thought that maybe, just maybe, your tot could benefit from yoga as well?
I'm not a seasoned yoga practitioner by any means. I started doing yoga around this time last year when I was pregnant with my second daughter and have done it sporadically since she was born. Try as I might to distract her, my older daughter, who is 4 now, has always shown an interest whenever I pop the yoga video in. Sometimes she pays attention for most of the routine, sometimes she only lasts for 5 or 10 minutes before devolving into a crazy person trying to climb underneath me during downward facing dog. But, I have noticed a few positive, reoccurring things when she does yoga with me, which I have included in my list below, and I'm hoping after reading this post you might give practicing yoga with your kids a chance too!
Can NOT for the life of me remember what this "pose" is referred to as right now! It's on my beloved prenatal yoga video; the one where you bend over one leg with your arms outstretched, lift up in the center, then bend over the other leg, repeat...Help me out, here! ;)
*You both get to relax. Ok. So depending on your child's age and attention span, you may not be able to relax as fully as you would by yourself, but desperate times call for desperate measures, amiright? Plus, if your kid is a little bit of a spaz like mine, it will do him/her some good to have some down time and it should...
*Help kids to focus. Every kid is different and no, if you have younger children, they will most likely not pay attention the whole time, but I have been amazed by how much Myka focuses when we do yoga together. She gets really into it sometimes. And some days, it's like she's a completely different child!
*You get to spend quality time together. I know, I know. Yoga is supposed to be about being still and focusing inward, but, no matter how “intuned” your kid is, chances are they will talk at some point. Take this opportunity to help them with their positions/postures and talk about what's been going on in your and his/her day.
I love the idea of doing yoga together as spending quality time especially if you have other kids and may not otherwise get a chance to spend as much time with the one you are doing yoga with. This can be especially true of siblings that have younger or older siblings. Having a special time set aside for just them when either the baby is napping or the older kids are at school is important!
(Butterfly Pose-Baddha Konasana)
*You can make it fun and somewhat educational by incorporating animal poses. Chances are if you have a child that you are trying to do yoga with, they are too young to be going to school yet or you're planning on homeschooling etc. If they're a bit reluctant about the whole yoga thing or you just need/want to make it more interesting one day, including animal poses is always fun! What little one doesn't love animals? We use a nature-based, homeschool preschool curriculum sometimes and I have noticed that at least a few units use animal yoga poses and Myka always loves doing them!
*You and your little one get to learn something new together. In today's society, I feel like this is something rare. However, in my opinion, I feel like learning together will provide a bonding experience that you are both more likely to remember AND that you will likely remember more of what you are learning together!
*You are promoting good habits in both yourself and your child. Practicing yoga together provides the perfect opportunity to teach your children why it's important (and ok, contrary to popular belief by some!) to take “quiet, personal time” out of the day for themselves. This is especially true if you or your children happen to be introverts. We need time to recharge! Yoga may be just the thing you and/or your child need to get through the day without becoming grouchy!
Do you do/have you done yoga with your children? Did I leave any important benefits out in my list? I'd love to hear your stories and suggestions in the comments below!