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:


Birth, Loss and In Between

Life after devastation

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?

The West's Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

How the West sleeps is different from the rest
p5rn7vb

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!

8 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 […]









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.

p5rn7vb
Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!




A Book that Celebrates Cross-Cultural Friendship

A great pick for back to school season

My Daughter’s 10 Favorite Multicultural Books

Does your shelf have these kid favorites?

I was Diagnosed with Cancer at Age 37 while Abroad with Kids

Illness in a foreign country can be scary but it taught this mom a different meaning of family.

Huge Giveaway for Eid: Tea Collection, Little Passports, Little Pim, Dolls, Books, Music & More

Win almost $300 in prizes from awesome globally-inspired children's products.

5 Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

Healthy smoothies for summer your kids will like.

3 Beautiful Children’s Books That Take Place in the Himalayas

Beautiful children's stories from Nepal to Tibet

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

How I Made My Forgotten Native Language My Child’s Strongest

I started off by speaking dodgy Cantonese. No word for remote control? No problem! ‘Pressy thingy.’
[…] Arabic to them from birth, they did not actually speak much Arabic beyond a few sporadic words. They understood him perfectly but they always responded in English. In order to safeguard Ar...
From How Bilingualism Can Fail in Multilingual Families
I think they let them run while while young because of how oppressed they will be when grown up. They must think of it as some sort of compensation as what is to com...
From Cross-Cultural Differences in Discipline in Japan
Hi Meera, I was so excited to find your site. I am passionate about promoting India-centric books for children and select and review the best of Indian books. Perhaps you would like to share the inf...
From Travel to Mumbai, India with 5 Children’s Books
Acostumbro cada tarde buscar articulos para pasar un buen rato leyendo y de esta forma he localizado vuestro articulo. La verdad me ha gustado el articulo y pienso volver para seguir pasando buenos...
From Help Us Giveaway a Soccer Ball to Kids in Ethiopia!
Annika, your insight in your children's personality obviously not only benefits the bilingual aspects of their lives. Single language families will find your thoughts also quite helpful. I wish we h...
From 8 Tips for Encouraging Bilingualism in Different Personality Types
Thank you for this great article. I wish I'd had it earlier. I felt pressure to move our child out of our room and did so when he was 6 months. I thought it crazy that the youngest most vulnerable p...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Also consider that Kenyan mums are likely to have had a warm attached relationship with their own mum with breastfeeding, carrying etc so they are not having their own childhood hurts regularly pres...
From How African Moms Can Teach You To Be a Better Parent
[…] InCultureParent | Ramadan Craft says: July 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm […...
From Ramadan Star and Moon Craft
[…] to make people think breastfeeding (a) in public and (b) for a longer period of time, is abnormal. In India 95% of newborns are breastfed, and 77% of that number are reportedly still breas...
From Breastfeeding Around the World

More Columns

p5rn7vb
p5rn7vb