Om at Home 8

Parent-Child yoga to help you slow down and reconnect one breath at a time. Advice from wife, mom and author of 
The Yoga Pants Years, Dana Wisniewski.

With school back in session, you may be searching for simple ways to slow down and reconnect with your child in-between the homework, PTO meetings, soccer games and the fast-paced frenzy of life with little ones.

If you are longing for a slower pace, as well as looking for ways to help your kids pause from the craziness of life, consider infusing parent-child yoga poses into your daily or weekly routine.

With minimal setup – just a yoga mat and some floor space – yoga can help your child with focus, balance, and self-regulation (calming down). For parents, yoga is excellent for reducing stress and adding in flexibility and movement, a necessity if you sit down at the computer for large parts of the day.

1 / Sunbathing Rock

Benefits: Opens the child’s chest and strengthens his/her posture. Lengthens and relaxes your lower back muscles.

How to: Sit on your heels and bend chest forward. Have your child lie on your back, lining up his waist with yours and stretch your arms in front of you. Modify: Use your arms to hold him in place if your child is too small to touch the ground.

2 / Double Down Dog

Benefits: Builds strength in the child’s upper body. Promotes focus and balance.

How to: The child steps up and rests their feet on the low back of their grownup in Down Dog, making an “L” shape with their body. Modify:  Have little ones simply do down dog under your down dog pose if they are too small.

4 / Partner Tree Pose

Benefits: Improves balance and promotes concentration and cooperation.

How to: Stand next to each other. Hold hands or wrap your arms around each other’s waist. Shift weight to stand on your inner leg. Lift the outside leg and place the sole of your foot above or below your knee. Reach your outer arm up to the sky. Switch sides and repeat the steps. Modify: For little ones, face each other and hold hands as you mirror the pose.

/ Partner Gate Pose

Benefits: Stretches the shoulders, waist and back – areas that get sore from carrying heavy backpacks or sitting at a desk all day.

How to: Kneel on the floor about a leg’s length apart from each other. Stretch your inner leg out to the side towards each other, and press the foot to the floor. Lift your outside arm and lean towards each other until you can grab each other’s hands. Hold and breathe come back to kneeling position. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

5 / Partner Boat Pose

Benefits: Strengthens the abdominals, hip flexors and spine. Stretches the back of the arms, shoulders and hamstrings. Aids in digestion. Promotes cooperation.

How to: Sit facing one another. Bend your knees, press soles of feet together, and grasp each other’s hands or forearms. Stay here for a few breaths. For full boat, slowly lean back while keeping feet together, lengthen legs and extend feet upward.

6 / Namaste

End your practice by honoring the light in yourself and others – you might describe it your child as the space inside of you that is wonderful and unique.

Benefits: Fosters gratitude, stillness and love.

How to: Sit up tall, back to back. Bring hands together at your heart for a few breaths. Slowly bend forward and say “Namaste.”