As much as we love our kids, it can be hard keeping up with their youthful energy when staying home with them 24-7. That's why, for Agent G, discovering Family Yoga was a godsend. Especially since she realised that yoga was not just beneficial for us adults, but as good - or possibly even better - for kids.
Scientific studies show that Yoga improves balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in children - something they can benefit from for the rest of their lives. A growing body of research has also shown that yoga can improve their focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior, and reduce anxiety and stress!
Plus, those who've tried family yoga will also attest that each shared breath during your practice helps deepen the connection between you and your children. And importantly, it's a great energy-expending activity without the house-destroying potential of other types of home exercise with kids.
Let Agent G take you through the launch of her family Yoga Journey.
More focus, more concentration, more mindfulness...all ingredients to build an angel child. However, you may find that this evolution takes some work.
Agent G Junior seemed to enjoy his complimentary weekly yoga classes with Agent G at True Fitness (before the Circuit Breaker) so she thought he would immediately take to the Youtube yoga videos online.
5 minutes into the video:
This is so BORING, Mommy.Can we do SOMETHING ELSE?~ Agent G Junior
Children - especially those accustomed to having an iPad around all day - may find it a challenge to simply get on the mat and breathe. To stave off a tantrum, Agent G found these tips, crash-tested them on Agent G Junior...and they worked!
Especially if your tots miss nature and the outdoors, exercise their imagination in a delightful way by pretending to be all sorts of cool creatures together (while actually learning yoga poses). With these youtube tutorials, they can:
Dive with the fish...
Salute the sun with the denizens of the forest...
Or even sneak in some extra learning for the preschoolers and learn the alphabet with animal friends!
As children explore their growing independence, they love the using the power of the word 'No'. And if you tell them you're going to exercise, your kids are likely to use that power.
But if you market the yoga session as an extended playtime, they might be more likely to give it a chance. You could trot out classics like 'Simon Says' or 'Follow the Leader' to get them started on the poses, after which they might realise that what Mum and Dad make look so easy is not that simple at all, and get them intrigued in pushing their own limits.
Or you could use technology to make your yoga session a full-on adventure, with these ingenious YouTube yogavideos taking the family on a whole safari journey
Let your tot be a character in a home-made epic, as you tell a story to accompany your family yoga poses. Need some ideas? YouTube has many free videos where a fairytale/movie is told as poses are performed.
Check out this Frozen 30-minute yoga adventure!
There a Pokemon version as well.
Or for a less conventional escapade, try a Peppa Pig meditation!
If your child is sold on the idea, you can begin!
But before you move on to that handstand, here are some popular, starter-level poses to try with your child:
See who can reach further! Remember to bend from your hips, not your lower back. It's okay to bend your knees if you have tight hamstrings.
Stretch your inner thighs as you rock back and forth with your child. This is a fun pose that will make everyone smile.
Need some blessed quiet time? Sit in this nice meditative posture.
Pretend that you are a tall tree and stretch your upper body by reaching as high as you can.
Work your waistline in this balancing and strengthening pose. Place your elbow on the ground if you can't balance - but for tots with great agility, they might want to try balancing purely on one palm and the sides of their feet.
Your children will likely enjoy pretending to be planes in this pose.
This is a great basic pose for everyone, and a fun yoga alternative to 'London Bridge'. If you take turns with your child to do this pose, you can help each other stretch the back of your legs by using your hands to gently press their heels into the ground.
While your tot is taking a break, you can keep going: Give your kid a ride and add resistance to your pose at the same time, as they perch on you while you row your boat.
Planks don't have to be boring when you can do buddy plank poses while facing each other, like high-fives and shoulder taps.
And that's Agent G's tried and tested guide to starting your Family Yoga journey. Good luck, and Namaste!