With the Kids

Family Yoga for a Happier Household

Namaste friends! For us, family yoga means a less-stressed and much happier mommy (making life much easier for the entire fam); plus better health for all. Less doctors visits and medical interventions mean less environmental impact from our family all around.

I’ve been basking in post-yoga sweet-savasana-bliss since the weekend. Hubs and I celebrated a belated Valentines “date” Saturday night with an AcroYoga and Thai Massage Couples Workshop: talk about a perfect heart-opening experience!

For our family, February is a blissful and busy time. Besides the festivities that accompany the 14th, both my son and my husband celebrate birthdays. I have lots of opportunities to reflect on love and life; my time as a mother, and a wife…it all seems interconnected with my journey as a yogi.

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Family Yoga for a Happier Household

Years ago, I guest blogged for Make and Takes about the benefits of yoga for pregnancy. But yoga is something that the entire family can do together because like most who practice the ancient tradition know “Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function” (those are the Mayo Clinic’s words, not mine).

Yoga improves range of motion and strength, making you less prone to injury in sports or just normal daily activities. (Think, less kinked necks or random aches and pains that “appear” to come from nowhere.) Additionally, yoga can play a role in reducing risk factors for chronic disesases, including depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.

Brandi Allen, who created the Kids Yoga Teacher Training Program at the We Are Yoga Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah (“coincidentally” also the studio I teach at) explains that: “Yoga is beneficial to everybody, but especially children.” Allen has been teaching yoga for 10 years, but also spent 14 years as a child educator, currently working at Montessori Community School in Salt Lake.

Allen says the mind-body connection of yoga can help with obesity and unhealthy eating habits in children. “[Yoga] practice makes children more aware of what they’re putting in their body and how they’re treating themselves.”

Beyond body awareness, Allen says that the relaxation benefits for children are especially important with the stress and pressure kids are subjected to in our modern busy world.

Photo from We Are Yoga“I see so many kids with high anxiety. If children practice yoga, it  allows them to better focus and concentrate with school. It helps with their self-esteem.”

Give family yoga a try!

Photo Credit: Khosrow Shotorbani, We Are Yoga Studio in Salt Lake City, Utah

4 comments

  1. How amazing that you posted this! I’ve been thinking I’d like to try some kind of mother-daughter yoga class. I’m your typical high-stress, high-anxiety, worrywart type personality, and unfortunately my oldest daughter is too. She’s only four, but I see her starting to do things like I do, and I want to give her an outlet for all that stress, something I didn’t have. Now I just need to find a place to go, or at least a good video to start!

    1. @dannyscotland, your comments warm my heart. This post indeed was for you!

      As I mentioned in the comments above, I don’t know specifically of any DVDs for family/kids yoga, so if you can’t find a kids yoga class in your area, those two books are a fabulous place to start (I think I was introduced to them through the reading list for Brandi’s Kids Teacher Training program at the studio.)

      That said, another on the reading list that I love – though it’s not postures but awesome and for meditation and breath work – is called “Peaceful Piggy Meditation.” (Here’s the link on amazon: http://tinyurl.com/a95hgx2)

      I’ve used it a few times in my YogaPlaydate classes, and I love reading it to my kids too. It might be a good fit for you and your daughter.

      Good luck!

  2. We don’t have anything close to us… do you have ideas of Yoga videos that are good for the whole family? I’ve seen yoga for xBox Kinnect – anyone with experience with that and littles?

    1. Great question Marie. I can’t speak specifically to DVD’s or video games, but there are two books I can recommend with poses and activities for families and kids. The first “Yoga for Children” (Simon and Schuster 1992) is by Mary Stweart and Kathy Phillips. The second, and my personal fave, is “Yoga Kids: Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga” by Marsha Wenig (published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

      Both have beautiful pictures and activities; and they’re both just over 120 pages.

      Using the book/s gives kids one more chance to unplug (a major plus in our house with a pre-schooler who especially loves any kind of ‘screen time’) and it’s easy to go at your own pace, without having to worry about the ‘pause’ button on the DVD players if something is or is not working. :)

      We’ve hosted yoga playdates for neighborhood kids with great success based on a bunch of the principles and games from these books… but even a pose a day (even a week!) can have benefits.

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