Making your kids do something is the fastest way for them to hate it. So now what?
You can find a million reasons why children should play sports and just as many that talk about why children should practice yoga. The bottom line for both is don’t force it. Yoga is no different than soccer, hockey, basketball, football. Someone introduces us to this idea or sports, exercise, moving our bodies, feeling strong and powerful and over time we grow to love or hate it. With a nurturing environment to practice yoga the hope of all yoga instructors is that you will find space in your body and mind for a regular yoga practice.
Yoga is not an Olympic sport, how and when we as parents, adults and caregivers introduce yoga to the young humans in our lives can make or break future yoga
Meeting kids in their learning space at the time and place they choose is the greatest way to a child's yoga success story. It is true some parents will tell you yoga class is the only time during their day they get to be away from the kids for a little “me” time. What if we could share some of those positive benefits of adult yoga with our kids?
A great place to start is with family yoga classes. Many are short in length, 30-60 minutes and can include opportunities for you as a parent to play, sing, dance and practice yoga in a space that is fun and safe for both you and your family.
What to expect from your first family yoga class? Let’s start with what not to expect. Don't expect your child to be listening and following directions the whole class. It's just not realistic, they also most likely won’t like a game, song or pose and let you know it. Every teacher and class will of course be different. One thing you can be sure of is family bonding. As adults we are modeling the behaviors we want to see in our children, go with the flow, don’t judge and be open minded.
Yoga doesn’t stop when class is over. You can pick up a few tips and tricks to take home with you like mini-mediations and keep the yoga going. The trick is to not force yoga or the ideas of yoga on the children, bring yoga to them slowly, like asking them to try a new vegetable. Chances are they won’t want to eat the vegetables, then maybe a bite next time and then in a dish as opposed to a side. Think of kids yoga in a similar fashion. Little by little without forcing anything you begin to create excitement, joy, love and a yoga practice.
Not every family yoga class is alike. Research your local yoga studios and family offerings and be willing to try different teachers, classes and studios. High energy, singing, yoga, play, stories and opportunities for bonding are all key elements of a family yoga class. Don’t expect to do a headstand in a family yoga class but do expect to sign and be silly. Family yoga classes are taught to the children, remember back to when you were a child, we are all big kids inside and heading into a family yoga class requires you to reconnect with your youth.