School breaks can be a nightmare, trying to keep your kids happy without tearing your own hair out can feel impossible, let alone having any time to yourself or your personal yoga practice. Yoga is a fantastic way of grounding down and helps you stay calm when it all get's a bit...much, but it can feel impossible to find the time in the holidays.
For many of us, it's just not possible to leave our kids and go to our favourite yoga class so what are our options?
Depending on the age of your little ones and their level of mischief, you have a few routes to go. If your kid is really little, fitting an online yoga class around nap time will give you that self-care time that you most definitely deserve! You can check out our online studio timetable here. This may also work if your little one is not so little and can amuse themselves for 45-60 minutes (if you're lucky, you may have someone who can take your kids out for a while to give you a little peace and quiet, ice-cream anyone?).
If you can't get any alone time but still need to get your regular yoga fix then our best suggestion is recruit some small yoga assistants to get involved with your practice. Including your kids in a fun and engaging way makes for a fantastic family activity and can improve your bond as you have to rely and trust each other. Family yoga promotes connection, teamwork and screen-free time, win, win, win!
Not only that, challenging your children's balance, strength and motor skills can be incredibly rewarding for them and if practiced regularly, they too will enjoy the benefits of yoga! For more reading on the pros of yoga click here.
Kid Friendly Yoga Ideas
We wanted to give you options so that you could create your own practice that works best for you and your little ones. Ulitimately you know them best and you will know what engages them and what they just will not be interested in. Feel free to tailor these suggestions in a way that your kids will enjoy.
Kids love it when they recognise words and shapes, so incorporating poses that are either named after something they know (animals work great) poses that resemble a shape that they can name e.g. downwards facing dog makes a triangle, if you want to turn it into a competition between siblings (which possibly isn't the best idea if you don't want to start WW3 in your house...) you can reward the child that guesses the shape first!
Our Favourite Kid Friendly Poses
- Downwards Dog
- Happy Baby
- Child's Pose
- Table Top
These poses all have fun names that most kids would recognise or can be an opportunity to learn a new word! Many of these also have interesting shapes that will engage young minds as they try to work out how to get into each pose!
Our Favourite Kid Friendly Partner Poses
Put your kids to good use and turn them into the perfect yoga assistants! If you've been struggling with balance in a certain pose that you haven't yet mastered then your kids can be the perfect balancing support you need. You know what they say, if life gives you kids, turn them into yoga props!
Most little ones will feel enormous amounts of self-pride and confidence if they feel like they are helping you This can do wonders for their self esteem in the future and promotes happy, healthy two-way relationships in the home. Making helping you fun and rewarding can only be a good thing, right?
You can also mix it up and support them in a balancing pose to keep them engaged and having fun, they learn to trust you and find balance...and we all need more balance in our lives!
For Kids Supporting You:
- Warrior III
Have one kid holding your extended back leg to support your balance and if you have more kids to spare, ultilise them by holding their shoulders with your hands, arms outstretched in front of you. Ideally your torso, arms and legs will be parallel to the floor but work with the props you have, they can have a mind of their own.
- Dancer Pose
This well known pose can be tricky to balance in so have one kid stand or kneel (depending on height) in front of you and rest one hand on their shoulder. Use the other hand to reach back and hold the foot of the same side bending in the knee and squaring your hips to the front of the mat.
- Half Moon Pose
This pose is tricky to master by yourself but with the addition of small helpers, it should be easier (provided they are happy to help). Have one child curl in in a ball or table top position and rest one hand on their back, hips and torso facing sideways. You should be leaning towards them. Raise your opposite leg so it is parallel to the floor (another child can assist you with this) and lift your remaining hand towards the sky.
Swap who is supporting who!
Poses to practice together:
- Back To Back Chair Pose
- Back To Back Seated Twist
- Flying Superman...although this one can only go one way!
- Twin Tree
- Double Plank...If you're up for the challenge
Unleash Your Imagination!
Spark your creativity and create your own yoga story sequence using the poses!
We love a journey into the jungle...
To get to the jungle, first we have to climb a … mountain!
Whats the first animal you see? Lizards!
More reptiles? Cobras …
What’s all around? Trees!
What’s moving in the tree? Frogs!
Maybe we can fly to the canopy like those .. butterflies!
You get the idea, creating a story is exciting and a wonderful way to learn and ignite your kids imagination!
Need An Extra Incentive?
We all need a little extra motivation and it can be great fun to turn up the heat and challenge your little ones to see who balance the longest in a pose. Tree pose is an excellent kid friendly pose to test their balance. Whatever incentive works for your kid, use it! Lollipops, toys, books, doesn't matter and while you're at it, take a treat for yourself. Running your own pop-up yoga studio is hard work!
Your safety and your kid's is the most important thing, have fun and challenge yourself but know when to stop, you know your body's limitations so don't injure yourself! Kids are resilient and falling over is a part of yoga, but it is wise to call it a day if things are getting out of hand. You can always try again tomorrow!
Using kid friendly resources such as books and videos can be an excellent way of keeping your little ones attention and stimulating their minds. Plus it takes some of the hard work off of your shoulders.
Yogamatters have an incredible range of books, our favourites include:
We also love Maria from Boxmoor Yoga (she came to our Yoga and Wellbeing Festival last year - If you haven't already got tickets for this Summer's Festival what are you doing?)
We are also in love with Once Upon A Time You...(Mat Yoga edition) by Maria Oliver. A yoga adventure where you choose the story, sign me up!
Ultimately everything you do now is preparing your little one to be the epitome of the perfect yoga buddy later down the line. It's a long term investment but it is definitely worth it and it might just keep you all sane this Easter Holiday!
What is your kid's favourite yoga pose? Let us know in the comments!