What you may not realize is that yoga is as crucial for you as it is for your child’s growing mind and body. Maybe your child emulated your poses when they were tots, but encouraging them to do yoga as they grow will bring you closer together, all while helping them through the many stages of development.
Give this mommy and me yoga sequence a try and help your little one grow both inside and out.
When children are in school, they hold in a lot, from voices to bodily functions. When they bottle up their minds and bodies, it creates tension. Lion’s pose allows children to let loose. Because this pose works your tonsils, Lion’s pose helps strengthen the throat, voice, and lungs.
1. Sit with your hips on your heels and your palms resting on your knees.
2. Inhale through your nose deeply, all the way to the bottom of your lungs.
3. Then exhale, and as you breathe out, place your palms on the floor in front of your knees, arch your spine, look up, stick out your tongue and roar all your breath out—like a lion.
4. Inhale back to your original position and repeat two to five times.
Also called Cobbler’s pose, Butterfly pose relieves the tension in the lower back and spine. Practicing this pose helps to stretch the inner thighs, hips and groin, which is crucial for your child’s growing muscles. Middle-school girls beginning their menstrual cycles, as well as their mothers, will find relief from cramping when they practice this pose.
1. Sit with a straight spine and your legs stretched out in front of you.
2. Bending the knees, place the soles of your feet together, allowing the knees fall. If you struggle with this, grab a couple of pillows and put one under each knee. Your body will relax more naturally if the knees find a resting place.
3. You can either maintain this position or, if it feels comfortable, fold forward. The folding opens your groin and hips, but if it feels like a little too much, stop.
4. Inhale and exhale for three breaths.
Fish pose is great for opening the heart and strengthening the back muscles. Many yogis attest to its power for improving immune systems and relieving anxiety—both of which are important when children head off to school.
1. Lie back with your hands on your belly, then take a deep breath in and out.
2. Squeeze your legs together and point your toes. Use your elbows to prop yourself up, and place your hands flat on the ground.
3. Lift your chest and belly while letting your head fall gently behind you. After three breaths, come down slowly.
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Yoga is about moving with breath. Once children and their parents learn this skill, many challenges in life become easier. This pose and teaches you to incorporate movement with breath. Once you understand the body/breath connection, you can take it with you when you move to more challenging poses.
Sanskrit: Adho Mukha Svanasana
1. Come into a tabletop position.
2. Spread your fingers and bring your wrist crease parallel to the front of your mat. Press downward into your hands.
4. Place your feet hip-width distance apart and your hands shoulder-width distance apart.
5. Press down and forward through the knuckles and rotate your biceps forward. Squeeze your elbows toward each other and lift the inner armpit.
6. Root your shoulder blades against your back ribs then draw your belly button in toward your spine.
7. Firm your quadriceps and slightly rotate the inner thighs back. Press your heels toward the floor.
8. Relax your neck and rest your gaze toward your ankles.
Tree pose comes in many levels, so it’s accessible regardless of you and your child’s yoga skills. It’s great for increasing balance, practicing mindfulness, and incorporating breath all while staying still. People don’t realize that while they are working on their balance, they are also strengthening their core, which makes many other yoga poses feel a little less challenging.
1. Stand tall, like you are starting in Mountain pose. Breathe in, so that you you’re filling your lungs all the way up like a balloon.
2. Ground your feet and let your head reach up. Find one spot in front of you to focus, this will help you keep your balance.
3. Raise your arms to the sky. From here, there are three variations:
Level 1: Kickstand your left heel against your right ankle. With one foot grounded and the other foot feeling the ground with the ball of your foot, balance should be easy.
Level 2: Place your left heel against your right side calf. Change your left heel for your right. It may help to be near a wall if you or your child are new to Tree pose.
Level 3: Place your left heel against the inside of your right thigh. This is the most challenging level. You may need to shake your grounded foot out between switching.
Remember, trees sway in the breeze, so if your tree isn’t steady, don’t worry. One caution—never rest your foot on the inside of the knee. It can destabilize the grounded leg and cause injury.
Anytime your legs are up in the air, it gives your blood a chance to recirculate. Happy Baby pose allows the muscles in the back to release, the hips to stretch, and the blood to refresh.
Sanskrit: Ananda Balasana
1. Lie on your back and lift your feet in the air. Pull your knees into your belly.
2. Breathe, grab the outsides of your feet by the hands, slightly open your knees, then pull them toward your armpits.
Everyone’s favorite part of yoga is letting your body reap the benefits of the practice, and Corpse pose offers a moment for your muscles to relax and your mind to clear.
1. Lie on your back and find a natural breath.
2. Let your arms rest at your sides and allow your feet to flop to either side. Every part of your body should be relaxed.
3. Sit up slowly to avoid a head rush.
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