The Benefits of Parent-Child Yoga
Exploring the world of yoga through a parent/child partnership is a bonding step towards increased mental and physical health. Here are some thoughts on why:
Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow:
Yoga is easy to do anywhere at any time. Minimal equipment, space or set-up is required. No fancy clothing needed- just comfortable clothes (yoga pants are nice) and a yoga mat. When your family has extra time, fill it with easy yoga stretches together (versus empty screen time apart.)
Children learn from watching their parents. Participating in parent/child yoga the parent is demonstrating the importance of personal mental and physical health, while also prioritizing the parent/child relationship.
In a Parent/Child yoga class there should be an atmosphere of open-minded acceptance. In life, there are few opportunities for parents to learn along side their child. Most times it is a parent’s responsibility to correct or teach. For parents to work together and learn along side (or even from) their child and “just be” can have a powerful impact on the family. Families benefit from incorporating this atmosphere of open-minded acceptance in the parent/child relationship.
Lighthearted and Playful:
Parent/Child yoga should be playful and fun. Incorporating laughter and levity into the world of yoga, by using lighthearted names is refreshing for any yogi. It is nice to have opportunities to not take ourselves too seriously. Parents and children benefit from laughing together. Parent/child yoga provides opportunities for children to interact with parents without worrying about being wrong.
Leave Screens/Social Media at the door:
Living in a social media dominated word, we constantly hide behind a screen and it is important to be fully present in the parent/child relationship. Setting aside designated time where you leave the cell phone at the door, you are sending the message that being in class together is a priority and very important. This mindfulness approach can be practiced at home.
Practice Positive Communication:
Communication in any relationship can be difficult . The parent/child dynamic can be difficult especially during the child’s adolescent years when there is a drive for more independence. In Parent/Child yoga each partner must speak kindly and clearly to ensure safety (for example the parent/child will practice asking respectfully for more or less pressure in a partner pose).
Yoga helps increase concentration and focus, which is beneficial in many aspects of life, including the parent/child relationship. Simple stretches and breathing exercises are “brain breaks” to use outside of yoga class to help with Homework or any time when increased attention is required.
Yoga is a gentle path of fitness that allows a range of body types and fitness levels to participate. The physical fitness aspect of yoga increases endorphin levels which create a positive, happy emotional state. The parent/child relationship benefits from engaging in a feel-good activity together.
Connection is a vital part of yoga. Connecting movement with breath, connecting with the self and connecting with others. Finding the best version of yourself comes from having space to first center and connect, and then enables one to foster positive, meaningful connections with others. Unlimited benefits occur from taking time to mindfully connect in a parent/child relationship.
The final pose of any yoga class is called Savasana. This pose is “Corpse Pose” or final rest. Ending each class with this final rest is a treat designed to settle your mind, promote relaxation and allow space to come back to your life. Allowing space and taking time for transitions is another aspect of yoga that benefits our home-lives. After all, in yoga and in life, it is all about the journey, not the destination.