Surviral

Advice for Practicing Yoga with Kids

You can be both a mom and continue to do yoga daily, provided that you can include your child in your practice. It’s fun, stimulating, and gratifying!

I’m not a yoga teacher. I’m a mom who likes to do yoga. I used to be in the habit of doing hour-long classes by myself, but since I had my daughter I’m lucky if I can do ten minutes. In order to satisfy my need to practice, I include my daughter in my sessions in one way or another.

My daughter is four years old, but she has seen me on my mat fairly regularly for the majority of her life. Those who have tried to practice with young children know that this means you generally end up serving as a human jungle gym to your child, which is fun enough for a few minutes but doesn’t allow you to go through many of the postures that really do you good – that is, unless you happen to be a pro at acro yoga! 

Until my daughter was two and half or close to three years old, I never really introduced the idea of doing yoga unless she naturally began to imitate the postures I was doing on the mat, at which point I encouraged and praised her efforts.

I have progressively introduced the idea of doing yoga together by putting out a separate mat for her and inviting her to join me and copy my movements. It works more or less, depending on her mood, but I don’t make a stink about it if she wanders away or is distracted. I praise her when she holds a position or she tries to imitate what she sees me doing, but don’t insist on whether she is doing things right or not.

It should be fun and something we do because it does us good.

Personally, I love that the practice of yoga embraces the feeling of being generous with oneself and towards others. My daughter really loves beginning and ending practice with us saying “Namaste” to each other and sometimes repeating a mantra like “the divine in me respectfully recognizes the divine in you”, but of course that might not work for everyone. Simply do what feels right and comfortable for you and your child. 

In my experience, children will stay more easily on their mat if the yoga sequence is related through a story with playful movements that equate to postures. If, like me, you don’t know where to start teaching yoga in this way, there are some wonderful YouTube channels to follow that do it for you. My daughter and I love Cosmic Kids Yoga the best. Their classes are free, vary in length, and the stories are really fun and are adapted to your child’s taste or mood. It really helps to keep it interesting for her.

I think that what you should take away from all of this is that this should be enjoyable and that kids have the choice to do it or not. As parents, you don’t have to worry or harp on the idea that your child is involved or not.

If they see you having fun doing it, chances are good that they’ll want to try it!

Katrina Knighton | Editor, Osteopath

Osteopath graduated in England. She now lives and practice in the south of France.

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