Doing Yoga with your little ones is such a fun way to connect and its much easier than you think. Even if you don’t practice yoga yourself there are great resources for free online that you can use or you can buy some kids yoga books or practice cards on Amazon to give you some inspiration.
Whenever I teach yoga to kids, the one thing I really notice that gets them engaged more than anything else, is when they have a theme. A holiday theme is one of the best as kids always get excited about holidays! Valentines day and yoga really is a match made in heaven, more so than any of the other holidays because Yoga is essentially about love and kindness.
Another really beautiful benefit of planning a little Yoga practice with your kids to celebrate a holiday is that it can be a nice change of pace from the commercial element that really has taken over most of our holidays. Instead of chocolate and teddy bears, maybe just spend a bit of time having some fun and delve into the experience of love…and the best bit is its free!
Here are a few ways you can practice Yoga with a Valentines Day theme with your kiddos:
This is better done with a group; siblings, friends, cousins, but you can do a short version with just one or two kids as well. Sit in a circle or in front of each other and hold hands. The oldest person in the group starts. In your head, think of someone in the group and then out loud say something that you love about them or that makes you smile (try to encourage the kids not to say the names outloud just in case someone gets left out), once your turn is up you “pass a squeeze” (squeeze your neighbor’s hand) to the person on your left and then its their turn. This exercise helps to create positivity and sends good vibes out to the whole group.
Heart Shaped Balloon Breath
Have your child sit in “Easy Pose” (comfortable cross legs) and place their hands in a heart shape on their belly (place thumb and index finger together palms resting on their belly). Ask them to close their eyes and start breathing deeply into the belly. Filling the belly and feeling it blow up like a balloon on the in breath and feeling the belly go down and the breath come up and out on the out breath. Once they get the hang of that, ask them to imagine their belly filling up like a big red heart balloon and when they breath out this big red heart shaped balloon is floating up into the sky. Now ask them to imagine that this big red heart shaped balloon is filling them with love and when they breathe out they are sharing all of this love out to their family, friends, community and to the world. You can keep doing this for 3-5 mins (or as much as you can manage to keep their attention!)
Yoga Pretzel cards are amazing and if you want to bring Yoga into your child’s life they are such a great thing to have as you can pull them out at any time and make a game out of them. Partner poses like Open Heart, Warrior Friends, Rooftops, Lizard on a Rock Double Dog and Double Boat are guaranteed to get both you and your kids laughing and having fun.
“I am a Person” Sun Salutation
This is such a great exercise for building self esteem and practicing that all important act of self-love. Its really easy to do and you can make up your own moves and add in your own affirmations to speak to whatever your child might need most at the time. The traditional sequence goes like this:
Shout out the words (in bold) while in the pose (in italics) repeat sequence 3 times
- I am a Person – Mountain Pose
- I am Amazing – Extended Mountain Pose
- I am Important – Hands on Hips
- Why…. – Forward Fold
- Not Because of How I Look – Downward Facing Dog
- Or Because of What I Have – Plank
- Or Because of What I Do – Cobra
- Why…. – Downward Facing Dog
- Just Because… – Forward Fold
- I am Me! Mountain Pose with Hands in front of the heart, palms together
Relaxation | Guided Meditation
Guided Relaxation, Bucket of Kindness. This is such a nice exercise to do with your child. It really helps them to get a sense of how important it is to always be kind. This is lovely way to finish your Yoga practice or you can do it on its own, before bed is a great time to read this to them.
This is just a small example of some things that you can do with your child on Valentines day (or any other day!). There are so many excellent resources out there to help us incorporate Yoga into the lives of our children and it really doesn’t need to be complicated. Sometimes, I just roll out a yoga mat in front of the television and put Cosmic Kids on Youtube and hope my son gravitates towards the mat and starts practicing himself and you know what 9 out of 10 times he does!! It’s not the same as practicing with them yourself, which is obviously much more rewarding but it does help to develop their own practice and no doubt they will have lots of fun showing you what they learned!
I’d love to hear/see how you got on with your kids with the above practice or if you made up some Yoga games on your own! You can leave me a comment below or tag me @careyyoga
Happy Valentines Day! xx Alex