8 Yoga Poses to Practice With Your Kids
Yoga is a way of life. Add children to that, in their naturally curious and playful state, and yoga becomes play. This is a beautiful way for parents and children to connect because parents get to move and stretch their body, recognise the rhythm of their breath and momentarily detach from the monkey mind while children get to play with Mummy or Daddy.
What a trade off!
“The privilege of life is being who you are.” Joseph Campbell
The word yoga means to unite, join, yolk. When we practice yoga, our aim is to unite our body and mind through movement and breath. By focusing entirely on the movement of our body, and the breath that accompanies this movement, we are able to briefly release the thinking mind which allows us to engage in a mindful relationship with our body. We create harmony. We come into the present moment, rather than get lost in the stories of our thoughts.
Children live in this mindful presence between the ages of 0-7. Their brain waves are mostly in Alpha and Theta brainwave cycles, which is the same state that a person is in when meditating. Even as they grow into the years leading up to adolescents, it’s still very easy for our children to drop into this mindful presence and be in their bodies. There is so much we can learn from our little ones.
Take some time over this new national lockdown to enjoy some yoga play with your child(ren). Kids will join in as they choose, sometimes this might mean climbing on or under Mummy, and that’s okay. Have fun! And remember, it’s all about the person, not the pose. Connect, unite, join – it’s the most important thing!
Try out this mini yoga sequence to help you and your children express gratitude.
1. Sun Breath
Stand in mountain pose with your arms by your side and your feet hip-width apart, breathe in as you lift your arms up above your head, bringing both palms to touch in prayer. Exhale and lower your hands, in prayer, down to heart. Repeat 3x saying:
Thank you sun for a new day and all of the choices and challenges you might bring my way
2. Tree Pose
Find a focal point and keep the focus on that to maintain your balance. Stand in mountain pose with your arms by your side and your feet hip-width apart. Inhale as you bring your hands to your heart, palms facing. Exhale like a strong wind blowing through the trees. Inhale as you tuck one foot inside the opposite leg, placing it either on your upper thigh, calf or ankle. For kids, the ankle or calf is perfect. Exhale and see if the wind coming out of your mouth can blow the tree down next to you. Repeat on the other side saying:
Thank you for my strong roots. When the roots of my tree is strong, we can bend with the wind
Come down onto your hands and knees, placing your hands under your shoulders, knees under hips. Inhale as you drop your belly down to the floor, arching your back and raising your head to look towards the sky. This is happy cat, so you can share a happy ‘meow’. Exhale as you round your back, spine to the sky and drop your head down to gaze at your navel. This is angry cat, so you can share an angry ‘hisssssss.” Repeat 5x then come into child’s pose by bringing your bottom to rest on your feet and stretching your arms outward and say:
Thank you for letting me feel my happiness and feel my anger. Both are okay to feel.
Come to sit, lengthening your spine like you have a golden thread coming out of the top of your head pulling you up to the sky. Bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet together for one set of wings. Bring your arms up and give yourself 2 little antennae with your pointer/index finger at the top of your head, creating a second pair of wings. Start flapping your wings, feeling the stretch in your legs, shoulders and chest. Do this for 20-30 seconds while breathing and say:
Thank you for all of the beautiful places on this earth that we can fly to
Come into a squatting position with your feet as wide as the mat. If you can reach your heels to the floor, that’s great! Most children will have no problem with squatting with feet on the floor – this is a very natural resting pose for children. Once your comfortable, hop up making a ‘ribbit’ sound a few times. Children will have a lot of fun hopping around. Let them hop as you rest in your squat, bringing your hands to your heart centre, palms together, pushing your elbows into your knees and lengthening your spine. Together, with your hopping frog, say:
Like a tadpole grows into a frog, thank you for all of the growth I experience every day
After all that hopping around, come to lie on your belly, legs together and place your hands flat on the floor underneath your shoulders resting your forehead on the mat. Inhale as you squeeze your bum, press into your hands, arching your chest and head up. Keeping your elbows tucked into your side, lift up and open your chest. Exhale as you lower down. Repeat and the next time, go ahead and ‘hisssss’ like a snake and then say:
Thank you for all of the mystery and beauty of all life here on this brilliant blue planet
Come to sit with your legs together, extended out in front of you. Bring your legs closer to your chest, so your feet are flat on the ground. Lean back to balance on your bottom, lifting and extending your legs out in front of you. Stretch your arms out in front and balance, engaging your core. Remember to breathe! When you think you can’t hold any longer, hold for one to two more breaths. Relax and say:
Water and land make up our planet, thank you for providing for us. We are all connected
A favourite posture of all children and adults. Lie flat on your back, arms and legs spread out to take up space. Bring your full focus and attention to your breath. Hold hands with your little one if you choose, or cuddle up on the same mat and connect, unite, join. Savasana is a resting pose and a very important posture because it teaches us and our children the importance of resting after exertion. As you end your practice, say:
My heart gives thanks and my heart is a happy heart
If you would like more advice contact Amanda Ashy, Holistic Nutritionist, Mindfulness Teacher, Yoga Teacher (2 – tweens)
Instagram @amanda_ashy Instagram @lokah_lab
If you’re in need of some time away to nourish and unwind, check out Amanda’s offerings for upcoming day retreats at @mama_lab_retreats. Gift yourself with a bit of pampering and shhhhh, some silence.