If you’re stuck at home “social distancing” with the extra burden of a daycare-free toddler on your hands, we feel you. You, too, know that calling tantrums “intense” isn’t even a slight exaggeration. Usually, when a tyke hits, say, the 2-year mark or so, coming up with creative solutions to keep them occupied without having a meltdown becomes less of an occasional need and more of an everyday challenge. Though bribing your clever one with special snacks and extra screen-time will likely work, there’s another (healthier) alternative: yoga. Yes, really.
Not only can all those vinyasas tame your nerves and help you unwind after a stressful day — some poses can also give your wild child a chill pill. Plus, a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that youths (young adults, in this case) who attended Bikram classes for eight weeks showed improvements in balance, strength and flexibility. But that doesn’t mean you should be sending your tot off to hot yoga (that’s not advised, and would probably rile them up more anyway): A more recent study published in January 2018 in Experimental Physiology showed it’s the yoga asanas or poses that have the benefits — not the heat.
Rebecca Dalley, personal trainer, yoga instructor and co-owner of Downtown Yoga SG, explains that while there is little research specifically analyzing children and yoga, there have been several studies — from Harvard University, for example — that have found the practice to be a complementary tool that decreases stress related to the constant stimulation and pressure that children face. “Practicing yoga on a regular basis reduces sympathetic responses [fight or flight] and affords children the opportunity to be more self-aware while increasing the function of the parasympathetic nervous system,” Dalley tells SheKnows.
Sounds way better than planting kiddo in front of Moana for the millionth time. Here are some poses to try with kids — they’re bound to help you both relax.
A version of this story was originally published in September 2017.