Yoga is a sanskrit word that means “union”—union of mind, body, and soul. Not only does Yoga have wonderful physical benefits, it can also help calm the mind, and soothe the soul. As a Together Counts™ Ambassador, my family and I have had a blast exploring ways to get active and the benefits various activities offer.
Below are just a few benefits of Yoga:
- Improved Posture
- Building Strength
- Bodily Awareness
- Positive Self-Care
- Deep Breathing
- Inner Calmness
Yet, if you are anything like me, the word “Yoga” conjures up images of complex poses and can feel like an intimidating endeavor to take on personally, yet alone with your entire family! Well, the good news is that you can start out with a few very simple poses – very simple stretches. Once you have gained momentum, you can branch out and incorporate new poses to stretch and strengthen in new ways. Remember, the goal is to start slow, tune into how your body feels, and relax.
Children naturally love to move and explore with their bodies. Yoga is a great way for families to spend time together, take care of themselves, and incorporate positive thinking into their busy lives.
There are many simple yoga activities that parents can facilitate with their children at home. Below are a few simple poses that can help you get started. Try to hold each pose for a few slow breaths. You can also say the affirmations that go along with each pose for a positive mood boost!
On a soft surface get on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are underneath your shoulders and your knees are lined up with your hips. When you breathe in lift your head and arch your back. When you breathe out, round your back (like a rainbow) and lower your head. You can say the affirmation, “I am nimble like a cat.”
Start out by sitting tall, with your legs stretched in front of you. Slowly reach forward and try to touch your toes. If you can’t reach your toes, find a comfortable place for your hands to rest on your legs and feel the stretch. You can say the affirmation, “I am powerful like a river.”
Stand with your feet firmly on the ground. Visualize roots growing from your feet deeply into the ground making you feel grounded and centered. Start out with your hands together at your chest. Next raise your foot and place it on the inside of your thigh. Keep your hands together while raising them towards the sky. You can say the affirmation, “I am strong like a tree.”
Sit with your legs folded underneath your body. Once you are comfortable, move your arms behind you so that they stretch out along the side of your body. You can say the affirmation, “I am still like a rock.”
You will be amazed at how much your children will enjoy these simple poses and want to try more!
Here are some more helpful resources:
Mariah Bruehl is a parent, educator, and author of the book Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder. With over 15 years’ experience working in the field of education and a Master of Science degree in Education from Bank Street College, she brought her expertise online, creating the Parents’ Choice Gold Medal award-winning Web site Playful Learning. In 2011 she launched the Playful Learning Ecademy, which offers engaging online learning experiences for kids, parents, and teachers.