Living / 6 March, 2018 / My Baba
Practising yoga with my three children, aged 5, 9 and 12, is a simple way for us all to slow down and spend quality time together. We live in London, where the pace of life is fast and there are constant distractions. Yoga helps us to rebalance and centre ourselves. Our little yoga sessions are golden moments of laughter and play, which give me the opportunity, as a mother, to really notice how my children are, to listen to and be mindful of them.
I have chosen three poses to help you kick start your own family yoga practice. The poses are taken from the yoga book for children that I am writing and are part of a fantastic and fun game, where children learn yoga poses beginning with every letter of the alphabet. You will learn A is for Angel Wings, B is for Boat and C is for Crescent Moon.
Make your family yoga practice as simple and easy as possible! Have a look at the photographs of each pose, read the instructions and then give them a go. It’s as straight forward as that! You can use blankets or towels if you don’t have yoga mats at home. Of course yoga can be enjoyed anywhere. You could try practising Boat by the seaside or Crescent Moon in the garden, whilst looking up at the real moon. Angel Wings is a good pose to practice when your children or someone they know is feeling sad and needs some love and care.
Encourage your children to be aware of how their bodies feel in each pose. Angel Wings will stretch and increase the flexibility of their shoulders as well as opening their chest and encouraging deep breathing. Boat is a wonderful balance, which will increase their core strength and focus. Crescent Moon will give them a lovely side bend of the spine, as well as strengthening their arms and legs.
There are visualisations for each pose to help your children develop their imaginations. The ability to create mental imagery has been shown to reduce anxiety and build resilience in children. There are also ideas and questions for you to discuss and reflect on as a family. I hope these will initiate some interesting and inspiring discussions.
By introducing your children to yoga you are giving them a gift for life, as it will help them build a strong and flexible body, achieve a peaceful and relaxed state of mind, sleep well, build their self confidence and improve their focus, concentration and memory. By practising together as a family you will strengthen the bond and connection between you all.
If it is more comfortable, you can try holding your arms behind your back with your left hand holding your right elbow and your right hand holding your left elbow.
Close your eyes and imagine the colours and patterns of your Angel Wings.
Angels are loving, compassionate, kind and forgiving. Who do you know who needs the help of the angels? Can you send them your positive thoughts and good wishes?
What is kindness? How can you be kinder to yourself, the people in your life and your environment?
Imagine you are a boat, sailing across the ocean, balancing above the waves. Where are you sailing to? What new countries would you like to discover? What weather do you meet? Is it calm or stormy?
Look at a map of the world or a globe. Where have you been and where would you like to go? If you were planning an ocean voyage around the world which route would you take and which countries would you visit?
Do you enjoy adventure? What stops you from being more adventurous?
As you bend to each side, imagine you are the moon reflecting the light of the sun towards the Earth. From the moon you can watch the Earth spinning in space. It is your home and will be the home of your children and the children of your children. What can you, your family and your school do to protect the Earth?
I would love to hear about your experiences of sharing these yoga poses with your children.
Thank you to Vanessa Berberian for the beautiful photographs.