By: Melanie Locke - Contributing Blogger
Yoga has been a popular form of fitness for years, but a recent trend in the yoga community is introducing kids to yoga so that youngsters can enjoy the same health benefits adults have been raving about.
Whether you and your kiddo are yoga aficionados or beginners, this yoga series allows you and your child to bond through movement and stillness while also getting a great stretch. Yoga has the most health benefits when practiced regularly, so consider integrating yoga into your daily routine with your child — a short wake-up series to get the day going or a soothing flow to wind down before bed. Don’t worry if your kiddo wants to squirm or talk throughout your practice. As your practice together grows, they’ll get more comfortable being quiet and still for longer. You may have to instruct your child a little as you go, but let them learn from watching your movements, too.
Child’s Pose: Start with a simple Child’s Pose to settle your bodies and minds. Sit back on your heels next to each other before gently folding forward, stretching your arms out so they reach across the floor while your hips remain sitting on your heels. Practice taking deep, even breaths with your child.
Cat/Cow Pose: After a few long breaths (or whenever your little one starts to get antsy) move onto hands and knees. As you breathe in let your belly drop and tilt your head up towards the sky. As you release your breath, arch your back like a cat and drop your chin to your chest. Repeat the motions with each round of breath.
Tree Pose: This pose might bring out your kid’s silly side as they try to balance on one foot. Start by moving from your hands and knees to standing, rolling up slowly. Once you’re both standing, pick up one foot and press the flat of your foot against the inside of your shin. Once you have your balance, press your hands together at your heart. Don’t forget to do the other side. This is a great pose to practice standing tall and trying again when you lose your balance!
Downward-Facing Dog: Wind your practice down with Downward-Facing Dog. This is another staple in any yoga class. From standing, fold forward until you can press your hands to the ground in front of your feet (bending your knees is allowed!) and then step your legs back until you’re in an inverted-V-shape. Press back through your hands and shoulders and stretch your heels towards the ground.
Corpse Pose: End your practice with Savasana (Corpse Pose). This is how most yoga classes traditionally end. This is a very simple pose — just lie on your back and close your eyes. Take up as much space as you’d like, spreading your legs apart and arms away from your body. If your kiddo needs some grounding to stay still and quiet, take their hand in yours and give it a light squeeze when they get impatient. Start with a few long breaths in this pose and work your way up to a few minutes of stillness with your child.