Yoga with your Child - An Introduction

 

You have a regular yoga practice and want to share your knowledge with your child?

It is a beautiful experience and there are only a few things to be considered before you start practising.

 

Minimal preparation

#1 Creating A Yoga Space

The best yoga space in your home is the place where your child and you feels the most comfortable but at the same time doesn’t get distracted. Often the living room works great as you already have blankets and pillows there.

Keep in mind:

Fresh air: Open up the windows to get fresh air in before you start. In winter when the heating is on, make sure to do this at least 15min before so the room is nice and warm when you start the session.

Clear and quiet space: The younger the kids are, the less stuff should be in eyesight. It makes it easier for your child to focus.

Natural light: Choose a room with windows. If you practice at night, than you can turn small lights on to make it more cosy.

Phones off or away: I use my phone as I control the music with it but generally I advice to leave it in another room or turn it on silent to guarantee quality time with your child without interruption.

Others: I love to lighten up an incense stick and have my singing bowl next to me. Also make sure you and your child have a water bottle in the room where you practise yoga.

 

#2  Materials & Props

You don’t need much - simply a yoga mat and maybe a few items which you have anyways in your home. To make it more fun you can also get  creative and make your own props.

- Yoga mat: of course you can also do yoga on a carpet or outside in the grass but a yoga mat gives your child much more support and it also creates their own little space(cloud, magic carpet…).

- Blankets, pillows, scarves: those props are great for the relaxation in the end or to sit on during meditation.

- Yoga blocks/bricks and yoga straps: Blocks can be not only used for balancing poses as a support, but also in many creative ways such as “rocks in the ocean”.  Yoga straps work great as a “track train” or “balancing  bar” where kids work on coordination.

- Creative props:  You can make your own eye pillows or pose cards.

- Other props:  Soft toys, musical instruments, hula hoops, animal figures, ball of wool, yoga cards, feathers, singing bowl, yoga stories, balls, shells, stones, etc.

#3  When To Share Yoga With Your Child

Each child is different and therefor has different needs. Most children love and need structure while others are happy when you surprise them.

There are really no rules. You can practice yoga anytime: while in the car(listen to yogasongs), before bedtime to calm down, to shift a negative mindset, as a homework break or before homework, when your child if feeling anxious or stressed or just to have fun.

#4   8 Tips For Success

It is crucial to have your own practice, it can be in any form, whether it be a consistent yoga class, meditation, or other contemplative practice. You basically share your knowledge with your child in a fun and age appropriate way.

1) Be flexible

Respond to your child’s current needs.  So don’t be disappointed when you prepared something but your child is not up for it. Try again next time and they might love it. So be flexilbe and change what you have planned to your child’s energy level and needs.  Have an authentic respect for them and listen to what they say.

2) Ground yourself

Take some minutes before you start, focus on the breath, connect with yourself, and cultivate calm and kindness.

3) Have realistic expectations

Kids aren’t as quiet and focused as adults. So don’t expect your sessions to be like your classes at the studio. Instead, expect a lot of talking and questions and enjoy a more playful and active session than you are used to. Also have age appropriate expectations. A three year old might not be able to hold for example the tree pose as long as a 9 year old.

4) Involve your child

Offer your child some jobs before, during and after the session. For example: pick the music, decorate the room, turn the light of before relaxation, blow the candles out or clean the yoga mat at the end. Ask about his experience and if he would like to suggest anything for the next time you do yoga together.

5) Integrate Yoga daily

It is not all about poses. Talk about the yoga principles. You can do that on the way to school in the car or read a yoga book at night before bedtime. Talk about healthy food and cook together.

6) Be safe

Alignment isn’t your priority when teaching poses. The most important is safety and fun. Once their practice continues into adulthood, they will then begin to learn about alignment. So keep it simple and joyful!

7) Be consistent

Repeat the same poses for a while so your child develops a habit of it. Have some key elements in each of your session and even consider some “yoga rules”, for example to sit on the mat when you hear the singing bell.

8) Have fun, love and listen

Be a child. Bark in downward facing dog and hiss like a snake! Be creative, patient, loving and nonjudgmental. Listen to and learn from your child.

The reality is different and that is ok.

Forgive yourself when a planned session doesn't happen. It is a challenge to commit to a home practice in general and with children it is even harder. So be gentle with and kind to yourself. All you have is now. Tomorrow is another now. You got this!

With MY♡GA love,

Claudia

8 Benefits of Yoga for Kids

 

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