By: Michelle Finerty
Family yoga is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family, incorporating the breathing, mindfulness, and physical benefits of yoga with the fun, creative spirit of your family.
Yoga has many benefits for adults and children, providing a foundation of mindfulness and body awareness as well as a physical outlet for channeling energy. As a parent, yoga instructor, and yoga practitioner, I’ve found that doing yoga as a family is a great way to give my children the tools to handle the ups and downs of life, connect to their body, and tune into their emotional and mental state on a regular basis.
If you decide to try a family class, the good news is that there are many places that offer family yoga classes. On the downside, they aren’t always at the time and day that fit your schedule or they are only offered for a short time period and then you need to find ways to incorporate what you learned into a regular practice at home. However, with a little extra preparation and an open mind, there are many fun ways to incorporate family yoga into your home.
1) Create Space
The first step to creating an at home family yoga practice is to find a space free from distractions, offering inspiration for all, with room for everyone to move. In my house, we use the loft area which gives us plenty of space and has pictures and art projects that are inspiring to all of us.
2) Find a DVD or Online Class
Ready to embark on your exploration but not sure how to start? There are a variety of options available to establish and maintain an at home yoga routine. You can borrow a DVD from your local library, buy a DVD from Gaiam or a local store, or explore the variety of audio and video classes online. Gaiam makes it easy with the assortment of yoga DVDs, Gaiam’s Yoga Studio App, and downloadable Yoga Rising series, so you don’t have to go it alone.
3) Have Fun!
One of my favorite aspects of yoga with my children is that it is fun! We breathe and move amidst giggles and creativity in creating poses. Remember that this is a voyage of discovery for your children and they will have their own preferences. I was concerned about keeping the practice easy for them and realized after doing a more advanced DVD with my kids that they wanted more of a challenge and were bored with what I was giving them. On the other hand, I’ve seen many children lose the love of yoga by having to strike the perfect pose instead of going with the creativity their imagination had wanted.
As with everything, it takes time to start something new, and when adding kids to the mixture, flexibility is key. Give yourself and them the time and space to explore the poses and breathing exercises yoga has to offer, and remember to embrace the fun and creativity that evolves, creating a deeper bond and understanding for all involved.