Five things to know about family yoga
1. You don't have to be flexible, spiritual or have any experience. Anyone can do yoga. Classes accommodate a wide variety of abilities, allowing you and your little yogi to move at your own pace. One thing is certain: you will both only improve with time.
2. You can take kids of all ages. It's true that your adorable tot in arms or your teen with the pierced tongue won't be turned away. That said, when one tenacious two-year-old stomped on her purple mat shouting, "Mine, mine, mine!" at a class I attended, and another spent most of the class using his mother as a climbing gym, I made a mental note not to take my two-year-old, Sophie, until she is at least three. Also, once a child is 13 or 14, he or she may feel more comfortable in an adult class with you than in one filled with youngsters.
3. You won't get the workout of your life. Yes, you'll get a great stretch session at family yoga, but you may not break a sweat. The most important thing is that you are having fun with your kids, fitting in a bit of exercise and there isn't a TV or video game in sight.
4. You don't need expensive gear. You can practise yoga even in your pyjama bottoms. (Don't tell anyone, but I've done this myself and won compliments for my "hip yogi pants.") While funky tops, shorts and leggings are widely available, don't think you have to sport a certain style or break the bank to sign up.
5. Your kids might think you're cool. Yoga is hot right now, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a celebrity who isn't doing it. Kids, especially preteens, know this, and while they likely won't let on, your cool quotient can't help but rise if you take them to a class. This will also have the welcome effect of elevating your self-esteem.Page 1 of 2 -- Inspire your children to get active with a YogaKids video on page 2
Sometimes kids can get a little out of control. When their energy levels are high it's hard to know what to do to reign them back in. Why not try using the calming effects of yoga?
Marsha Wenig, founder of YogaKids, certified yoga instructor and mother, released a 30-minute yoga video designed just for kids ages 3 to 6. YogaKids: Silly to Calm's aim is to harness childrens' excess energy and to teach them how to use yoga as a constructive outlet.
See the Bunny Breath video clip below and your children will feel soft and fuzzy all day long.
There are lots of fun yoga poses you can try out with your kids at home. Here, Temmi Ungerman Sears, a certified yoga instructor and director of YogaBuds in Toronto, suggests three ways you can strike a pose and enjoy some together time.
1. Double Ice-Cream Scoop (Adho Mukha Virasana)
Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Spread your knees apart, keeping your toes together and resting your forehead on the ground. Extend your arms and spine forward. Your child climbs up on your back, and does the same posture. Together, you both create a double ice-cream scoop. Pick your own flavours for added fun!
2. The Eight-Legged Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Lift your knees off the ground, straighten your arms and legs, and lift your hips and buttocks up to fully stretch your spine. Make sure your neck isn't tense. Now, have your child crawl underneath you and do the same pose. You can then place your hands, or "paws," on top of their hands, or "paws," to further enhance the connection. For added fun, bark in unison!
3. The Family Tree (Vrksasana)
Stand side-by-side, facing forward. You and your child each lift the leg that is farthest from each other. Turn your knee out sideways and place that foot as high as you can on the inside of your standing leg. Your standing legs should be firm, with your thigh muscles lifted upward and your tailbone drawn inward.
Put your arms around each other's back to provide support as you balance. If you and your child feel well grounded (pushing through the standing foot into the ground), place the palms of your outer hands so that they are touching one another and raise your inner arms straight up. Your child can hold your raised arm for more balance.
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