Yoga improves our overall happiness by bringing together body, mind and soul through physical movements, breathing exercises and meditation.When we look
after ourselves, we become more focused at work, more present in our relationships and have improved mental and physical health.
Yoga isn’t just for adults. Children’s yoga is becoming more popular and the benefits for kids are far reaching.
As a kids yoga teacher I see the positive effects every day. Kids develop empathy and compassion for themselves and those around them.They have an increased awareness of their emotions and learn effective strategies to self-calm and refocus. Confidence lifts, shyness is reduced and kids experience less stress and anxiety at home and at school, leading to better focus in classroom and more resilience in the playground.
The word yoga means “union” or to join together. Practicing family yoga is a wonderful way to connect and bond with each other.All it takes is patience, an open mind and a little imagination.
Here’s a fun yoga practice that boosts happiness for the whole family:
1.Pranayama – Back-to-Back Breathing
Sit cross-legged with your backs close together. Breathe at your own pace and notice how it feels.Can you feel the movement of each other’s breath? Now sync your breathing pattern, breathe deeply into your belly for the count of four and out for the count of six.Complete three to five breaths together.Repeat, this time with your eyes closed. Afterwards pause to notice how you feel and how your mind has responded then share your thoughts with each other. This nurturing practice enables you to connect to yourself as well as your child.
2.Asana – Partner Boat Pose (Navasana)
Sit facing each other, feet on the ground, knees up and holding hands. At the same time you and your child raise a foot off the ground and push them together from toe to heel.Now do the same with the other foot, try to keep both feet off the ground.This pose requires communication and cooperation.The trick here is to push with even force and to keep hold of each other’s hands.Look into each other’s eyes and smile.
3.Yoga Play – Partner Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana)
Start on your hands and knees, take a breath in and straighten your legs coming into the Downward-Facing Dog position.Ask your child to place their hands about a hands length from the back of the mat and then step their legs up onto your back.Stay here for five breaths or as long as you can hold it.This power pose strengthens just about all areas of the body.There will be plenty of laughs whilst attempting this pose, it’s almost impossible not to smile when you are upside down.
4.Relax – Legs Up The Wall (Viparita Karani)
Sit with your hips close to the wall and slowly turn and lie on your back so that your legs rise up the wall turning your body into an L shape. Your child does the same next to you.Reach out, hold hands and place your other hand on your heart.Stay here for 3-5 minutes, close your eyes and enjoy this this simple restorative pose.Feel your heart beat slow and the stress drain away.
5.Reflect – Journal a gratitude list
Take time to reflect on all the good things that you have in your life.With your child make a list of everything you are grateful for.It can be anything so let your child express any ideas they have.This insightful exercise shares what is valued and what makes you both happy.Read it to each other and then do more of what’s written on the list.
Time is the most precious gift that we can give another person.When the time we give our family includes a peaceful practice that connects deeply to each other.It creates a sense of togetherness and lasting happiness.
SCHOOL HOLIDAY FAMILY YOGA WORKSHOP – OCTOBER 2018 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
If you have enjoyed these practices and are interested in learning more book yourself into Inner Child Yoga’s school holiday Family Yoga workshop.
It takes place on Friday 12th October between 9.30am – 10.30am at Sona Yoga, 65 Belmore Road, Randwick.