Now is a great time to explore yoga with your kids or whole family. Yoga is a family-friendly activity that you can do with your kids at home on your schedule. And it leaves everyone calmer and more centered, something that we can all use these days. Plus, all you need is a few square feet of floor space and a mat!
You can start doing basic yoga poses and movements like cat-cow, tree, and downward dog with your children. Make it playful and fun. As children and other family members learn the basic poses, they can advance to stringing the poses together into sequences such as sun salutations.
Children like to jump from activity to activity and don’t have the attention spans for an hour-long class. At first, start with just a few minutes exploring basic poses as they grow older they can practice longer. Allow them to go about it at their own pace.
For younger students, you can bring in animal sounds for poses like meowing during cat pose, mooing during cow pose, and barking during downward dog. You can also do poses along with children's songs by changing the words slightly to fit yoga, for example, “Head, Shoulders, and Yoga Pose (instead of toes).” STAR — standing like a star with feet spread apart and arms raised level with the shoulders — is a popular pose with the little ones too.
Breathing is one of the most important aspects of yoga and the key to its calming effects. Show your child how to belly breathe and move her diaphragm. You can also teach different types of breaths. Through this practice, children learn to breathe deeply when they are feeling anxious or stressed.
There are ways to softly include yoga practices into your daily or weekly routine outside of formal practice. You can practice kindness, for example, by holding the door open for someone or by sending a note to elderly neighbors.
Don’t take it too seriously. It is important to establish a structure to follow, but you need to be prepared for the opportunity for creative expression and plenty of inquisitive questions. Enjoy the time together and keep it playful and fun!
Your kids and other family members will begin to see that yoga — in all its forms — is good for their health, happiness, and character development. And as they mature, they may be inspired to study in a more structured manner.
— Missy Melba
Pre-K 4 Lead Teacher
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Missy Melba is a Pre-K 4 Lead Teacher at Jacksonville Country Day School (JCDS). She has been a teacher for 17 years, with 13 of those years at JCDS. She loves teaching because she gets to see how children grow into young adults and remembers them when they were just four-years-old. Missy lives with her family in Atlantic Beach, FL. She enjoys paddle boarding, walks on the beach, and exploring nature while playing with her children.