Last term I told my Little Lotus class that I often face-plant during my personal practice. This was met with shock and surprise. Showing kids that we fall over, even as adults, is really important. It demonstrates that it’s OK to fall; all you have to do is get back up and try again – an important life lesson.
Practicing yoga with kid’s increases bonds, builds self-esteem and helps create strong families. All you need is a bit of space and a willingness to give it a go. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, have a look at these five fun partner yoga poses…
Together breathe as one. Start in the hands and knees position with your little yogi under you in the same pose. As you both breathe in round the back and the shoulders, dropping the head (Cat). As you breathe out, slowly drop the belly and lift the head (Cow). Repeat this movement for five breaths. This moving meditation warms the back up and provides a beautiful connection between parent and child as you move together.
2. Seated spinal twist
This wonderful poses stretches the spine, shoulders and hips and can help release stress. It takes a bit of coordination. Sit crossed legged facing each other. Place your left hand on your child’s left knee and help your child do the same to you. Place your right hands behind your backs around your waists and reach for the hand that is on the knee of the other person. Breathe in and both sit up tall, straightening the back and turning the head to the left. Stay here for three full breaths.
3. Tree pose
Get ready to wobble. Stand next to each other with your arms around each other. Place the heal of your outer foot onto the ankle of the inner foot and stretch your outer arm parallel to the ground. If you are stable, challenge yourselves by lifting the foot up your leg, making sure you don’t rest it on the knee joint. Stay here for three breaths. This hugging yoga pose increases balance, focus and builds trust between you and your child.
You’ll know this one. Start on your hands and knees, take a breath in and straighten your legs coming into the Downdog position. Your little yogi then places their hands about a hands length in front of yours and then steps their legs up onto your back. Stay here for five breaths or as long as you can hold it. This awesome power pose strengthens just about all areas of the body. There will be plenty of laughs whilst attempting this pose, it’s almost impossible not to smile when you are upside down.
5. Childs pose
Time to slow down. Kneeling on the floor with knees wide, run your hands along the mat until they are fully extended and lower your head. Your little yogi lies along your spine, with legs stretched long and arms out to the side. Lying back to back your breathing will sync. Take five long breaths and feel your bodies moving together as one.
The key to successful partner poses is patience. Give lots of praise and clear communication. Kids have wonderful imaginations so if your little yogi wants to give a variation, let them lead the way and see how creative your practice becomes. Have a go and see what happens….
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
For more information about fun partner yoga poses to do with your kids, please contact the expert contributor.