As a mom of toddlers and a certified yoga instructor, I’ve seen firsthand how fun and beneficial yoga can be — for parents and kids alike. I recently ran a series of workshops for parents and their children, including mother-daughter yoga classes, mother-son yoga classes, and family day yoga, and it was one of the most popular series I’ve ever taught. It was so fun helping parents discover new yoga poses they could do with their kids.
The children had so much fun playing with their parents as we moved through various vinyasa and hatha-style yoga poses. Parents loved the chance to be one-on-one with their children, and children loved having their parent so focused on them. It was an exciting bonding experience to witness. The most beautiful part of the parent-child yoga journey was the laughter, joy, personal growth, and learning about each other that happened.
How Yoga Can Benefit Your Child
Yoga can be so instructive in terms of understanding what our body needs to be healthy. For a child to see and experience the mindfulness that yoga enables in tandem with a parent truly sets a foundation for that child’s awareness of what it means to be healthy — both physically and mentally.
For example, as we breathe in through our nose and out through our mouth, we can pay attention to the rise and fall of our belly. This simple action helps us to recognize how we are feeling, and where in our bodies we might be feeling tension, pain, or stress. With each breath we can cultivate greater awareness, and in turn can allow ourselves to relax. Yoga is also good for your body, as it strengthens and tones muscle, increases blood circulation, improves balance, stimulates your immune system, and promotes better sleep.
Ahead are six yoga poses that can be done universally with any age — including toddlers. I’ve also included a conversation prompt if you’d like to dialogue with your child throughout the exercise. As a reminder: Don’t be discouraged if your child is acting silly or can’t master a yoga pose. The point is to have fun and relax, above all else.
As always, if you are pregnant or working with an injury, please consult a physician before doing these poses.
This article was originally published on Baby Chick.