OM At Home: Bring Yoga into Your Family Time
I don’t know of one parent who isn’t being pushed by busy schedules and pulled by digital overload. Do you? We all have good intentions to truly and intimately connect with our children every day, but our demanding load of daily distractions often get in our way.
We know that our kids crave time to BE with us. And I mean time really spent BEING together - not just DOING together.
Like most families, my family also has a lot of things that we need to DO to keep our lives in order and moving forward. But what might it look like to consciously infuse some of your together time with moments of meeting in playfulness and complete attention, all the while promoting healthy skills? Ideally, this BEING time takes us out of the expected roles of parent and child and brings us into a greater feeling of togetherness.
For me, this kind of connection* can come through bringing yoga into your family life. Of course, I am a Yoga Teacher and at first glance integrating Yoga into your together time might feel like a bit unknown or even overwhelming. For a moment, as I share some of my thoughts, just imagine yoga in a very broad sense as finding ways to connect physically and emotionally by moving and exploring the body.
So, How can you bring Yoga into your hOMe?
Don’t Force It. Family Yoga should happen effortlessly. I started just by doing postures in front of my child and eventually she joined along in the journey. Sometimes her joining looks like climbing on me and sometimes she sits next to me to copy what I do - kids are amazing imitators. When I see her getting interested I try to bring a little more humor into what I am doing…
Be Playful and Silly. Yoga with kids is not calm and quiet. In my house we make a lot of strange animal sounds while we make corresponding postures. We also shout, “Yoga!” when we complete a complex or challenging pose. We play music and make a yoga dance party. My rule is that if we are not laughing or at least smiling while we practice then we are being too adult.
Or make it a Game. During the winter we like to have Yoga Snowball-Fights using the breath and a Ping Pong ball. Lay down on your bellies on a hard surface facing each other and practice passing the Snowball (ping pong ball) back and forth by blowing a deep breath. Your youngest children might benefit from blowing through a thick straw to help concentrate their exhalations. Or make up your own game!
For me Family Yoga is about connecting through breath and body and most importantly through PLAYFULNESS. Practicing in this way allows me to share an essential part of my wellness and life with my daughter. If you are looking for more inspiration, I’d love to have you and your child join me for an upcoming Family Yoga class.
* Did you know that the word Yoga comes from the root yuj which means to unify? Of course this might first suggest that Yoga unifies the body, mind and spirit but I like to think it also brings together people - helping us to see each other as the same.