Old McDonald Does Yoga Too

Kids live in the same busy world that we do, why not share your yoga practice with them. Children are inherently flexible, but they can also enjoy many of the other benefits of yoga. They can learn how their bodies move, how to relax, and hone skills to aid them in dealing with life’s struggles. Yoga helps improve body image and awareness, while improving their concentration and attention spans. Yoga is also a good physical activity for children who are not interested in physical or competitive sports. And most of all, it’s fun. Kids are natural yogis.

Here are some ideas on how to build a yoga practice at home with your kids:

  • Create a space for your family to practice yoga. You will need an area clear of obstacles and distractions. Perhaps provide your kids with their own mats if they show an interest. Outdoor yoga is also great in the summer.

  • Let your children choose music for the session or create a playlist in your iPod that starts with your children’s selections but ends with your choice for relaxation.

  • Create a sequence that flows through animal poses and incorporates a relaxation at the end. Encourage your children to make the animal sounds while they are performing the poses. Try poses like the cat-cow stretch, cobra, downward facing dog, puppy pose, and corpse pose (though you might want to give it a more kid-friendly name).

  • Let kids make up and name their poses. My boys’ favourite is "Exploding Volcano." Picture that one … 😉

  • Keep session short and sweet, ending on a good note.

Do not expect the experience of doing yoga with your children to match that of your personal yoga practice. Your kids will likely talk, ask questions, laugh, and make animal noises. This is a part of their practice. In fact, often stories are interweaved throughout the poses in children’s classes. Doing yoga with kids can be a rewarding experience as long as we let go of our expectations regarding how yoga is supposed to be done. Relax, have fun, be creative and enjoy the time with your kids.

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