Pin It
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice

By
Tips for starting a family yoga practice via Tommy Wong

As parents of a curious toddler, my husband and I are always looking for fun, active things that we can do as a family. We try activities that don’t involve screen time, buying lots of equipment or driving for hours. Yoga has become a natural fit for us.

 

Family yoga is an interactive practice that we can enjoy together. It’s non-competitive and healthy for our minds and bodies. We can do it anywhere and use our imaginations.  And we can each participate at our own levels. For example, my husband is a human pretzel, I’m stiff as a board and our daughter has a short attention span. It’s not perfect, but we give it a go!

 

Watching our daughter laughing and acting out animals warms my heart. I feel good about the idea that I am hopefully guiding her to lead an active life and develop coping strategies to manage the challenges in her life.

 

There are many “right” ways to practice yoga. It is an ancient practice that includes breathing, meditation, physical postures, character education, and relaxation. Enjoy the benefits of yoga by making up your own practice that works for your family.

 

Ten ways to start practicing yoga as a family:

 

1. Start small.  Practicing yoga for five minutes a day is better than an hour a week. Look for ways to take “yoga breaks” with your family throughout the day. For example, a physical break might be to reach up high and then bend to touch your toes. Next, step back to Downward-Facing Dog Pose, and lastly, relax back into Child’s Pose. Stay there and take a few deep breaths. Keep it simple.

 

Our daughter in Downward-Facing Dog Pose at the park.

downdog brown bear

 

2. Incorporate yoga into your life. Think of yoga as a lifestyle, not just something that you practice in a class once a week. Imagine your child doing a breathing exercise to prepare for a test at school. You could schedule regular volunteer events as a family, or your children could donate their birthday gifts to a child in need. Organize family quiet time to reflect and rejuvenate.

 

3. Be safe.  Choose a space clear of potential dangers. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and practice barefoot—or not. Do whatever works for your family, but please be safe.

 

4. Be creative.  Kids yoga is not as formal as adult yoga. Encourage your children to use their creativity and invent their own poses. Asana (physical postures) were invented centuries ago by people living in the mountains of India who mimicked their surroundings.  The purpose is to have fun with movement, which naturally increases their body awareness.

 

5. Take it with you.  Wherever you go, take your yoga practice with you—to the park, on holiday, to the campground or to the beach. On our recent trip to the Botanical Gardens, our daughter spontaneously dropped into a plank, cobra pose and dog pose. It’s a great way to build strength and flexibility on the go!

 

Our daughter in Cobra Pose at the Botanical Gardens.

 Anamika upward dog

 

6. Be flexible.  Create the structure, communicate your expectations and suggest a topic for your family yoga experience.  Then allow room for spontaneity.  Cater to your children’s needs and interests.  Some days, your children might be in the mood to practice yoga for thirty minutes or more, and other days, they will get distracted after five minutes.  Follow their lead, and they will come back for more.

 

7. Consider their different learning styles.  Think about how your children learn best.  Do they prefer background music? Would they like to see the poses demonstrated first? Do they want to see pictures of other children practicing yoga? Would they do best by creating the poses themselves, or do they need to practice one-on-one at first?  Your child will love the yoga experience if he or she feels safe, successful and engaged.

 

8. Choose a topic.  Basing your yoga session on a particular theme or topic helps children to build connections, integrate their learning, engage in meaningful experiences and have fun. You could “act out” a book, play a kid’s yoga video, pretend to go on a yoga adventure or read a yoga-inspired book.  Get your children involved in the planning of your family yoga experiences.

 

9. Re-live your trip. Our daughter loves re-enacting our zoo trip through yoga poses, which help to build her memory skills through physical activity.  Her favorite animal yoga poses are giraffe, elephant, tiger, and bear. Think of ways to re-live your family fieldtrips through movement. Add music and props, too.

 

Our daughter in Elephant Pose at Crissy Field in San Francisco.

elephant pose

 

10. Create a ritual.  Just like brushing your teeth, build your family yoga practice into a daily or weekly ritual. It might be lighting a candle in the morning, having a few minutes of quiet time, practicing a breathing technique, talking about what everyone is grateful for at the dinner table, or engaging in physical postures together. Our daughter knows that “yoga time” means bringing out her little yoga mat and getting out her yoga books. Then we end every yoga session in a resting pose. Take time to rest and relax.

 

For more inspiration with sample yoga sequences, check out my articles and free resources on the Kids Yoga Stories website. I would love to hear about your family yoga session. Feel free to email me at giselle at kidsyogastories dot com.

© 2013, Giselle Shardlow. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Arranged Marriage 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Are French Kids Better Behaved Because They are Spanked?

Should spanking be part of your parenting toolkit to have well behaved kids?

10 Things Not to Say to Parents of Multilingual Children

Have you been guilty of any of these?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Giselle Shardlow is the author of Kids Yoga Stories. Her yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun. Giselle draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi and mom to write the stories found at www.kidsyogastories.com or on Amazon worldwide.

Leave us a comment!

10 Comments
  1. CommentsOlga   |  Wednesday, 12 June 2013 at 10:46 am

    I love Giselle’s blog and it has inspired me to start practicing yoga with my daughters. So much fun! Thanks for these great tips!

  2. CommentsKids Yoga Stories – Spanish Kids Yoga Summer Giveaway   |  Tuesday, 18 June 2013 at 2:09 pm

    […] 10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice […]

  3. CommentsKids Yoga StoriesChildren's Yoga Books Giveaway - Kids Yoga Stories   |  Tuesday, 02 July 2013 at 4:21 pm

    […] 10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice […]

  4. CommentsKids Yoga StoriesMusic and Story for Kids Yoga Contest Giveaway - Kids Yoga Stories   |  Tuesday, 16 July 2013 at 4:13 pm

    […] 10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice […]

  5. CommentsKids Yoga StoriesVisit Mexico City through Kids Yoga » Kids Yoga Stories   |  Friday, 19 July 2013 at 8:50 am

    […] Haven’t tried yoga with your family yet?  No worries.  Here’s 10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice. […]

  6. CommentsKids Yoga StoriesFamily Yoga and Travel Books Giveaway » Kids Yoga Stories   |  Tuesday, 23 July 2013 at 4:07 pm

    […] 10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice […]

  7. CommentsYoga   |  Monday, 12 August 2013 at 4:33 am

    Its actually a great idea to start a family yoga practice as it can inspire everyone in the family to do yoga exercise and stay fit and healthy.

  8. CommentsKids Yoga Stories: Books to Teach Yoga to ChildrenKids Yoga Adventure Videos Review and Giveaway » Kids Yoga Stories: Books to Teach Yoga to Children   |  Thursday, 03 October 2013 at 1:24 pm

    […] 10 Tips for Starting a Family Yoga Practice […]

  9. Comments"Sophia's Jungle Adventure" and yogi Gabriela - Trilingual Mama   |  Thursday, 04 December 2014 at 4:42 am

    […] and other recommendations are further developed here and here: Giselle from Kid Yoga Stories and Tips for starting a family yoga practice.  And her favorite pose? Resting pose! Mais oui! Find Giselle Shardlow and […]

  10. CommentsConsejos para practicar Yoga en familia | YogaParaTodosBlog   |  Monday, 14 September 2015 at 9:20 pm

    […] cuáles se te facilitará la tarea depracticar yoga en familia. ¿Sueles practicar las diferentes asanas de yoga con tu pareja y tus hijos? ¿Te resulta divertido? No dejes de contarnos cuáles poses sueles practicar con tus […]









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Unfortunately, the school and community are no longer there. The farm is being sold and there are tentative plans for a new iteration to be set up in Costa Ric...
From How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000
HI! I love your website! Just read your review of books that teach about culture and food! I can't wait to try some of the recipes you've share...
From Armenian Recipe: Apricot Tart
Please, refrain from using "western /western society" for anglosaxon countries. Western can be Mexico and Spain as well, anything on the west side of the world is western ...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
We've tried to make use of, but It doesn't works by any mean...
From African Parenting: The Sane Way to Raise Children
I'm back. Sorry, I stopped caring for this magazine for a while and forgot to discuss the meat of the matter. This article, as well as the linked article from 2011, fails to discuss cultural norms ...
From What Confused Me Most about Brits
Fascinating. I have been to Germany and met this guy who was soo rude! This article explains everything!! Since all Germans are so terribly rude it should come as no surprise that I should have met ...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@ Josep. How could you possibly comment on how Germans treat people if you have never even been there? A three-day stay in Berlin and a one day stop-over in Frankfurt was enough for me to see the ut...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I am trying to find a Sikh triangular Nishan Sahib flag and haven't found one. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag
I have tried to buy a Sikh triagular Nishan Sahib flag and had no luck. Do you know where I can find on...
From Vaisakhi Craft: Make a Flag

More Columns