Healing Through Family Time
Wow. What a wild ride it has been. And to think, this is only the beginning. I'd like to take this time to acknowledge how confusing, uncertain, and mind boggling this time is. Especially for our young children. For many, these past two weeks has been filled with ups and downs; flood gates of emotion bursting in and rushing through. But what about your little one(s)? How are they feeling? Often times we want to cover up the hard/difficult emotions/conversations and package it up in a nice pretty bow. Especially when it comes to our children. Many of us have this "perfect" idea that we want our child(ren) to be happy 100% of the time. As beautiful as that sounds, it is not realistic. We are all human and have a fast array of emotions we can feel on a day-to-day basis. Although it can be hard and uneasy, I encourage you to check in with your child. Ask them how they are feeling. Tell them how you are feeling in an age appropriate way. Being vulnerable and telling your truth is not a sign of weakness, I think it is actually quite the opposite. If we can be vulnerable and tell our truth, our children will see how we handle times of hardship and stress; how we handle the waves of emotions and challenges that rush through us and over us. It is okay to show them you are afraid, uneasy, and uncertain. You are human. We need each other. We need to connect.
Prior to the Shelter in Place ordinance, I have been working on a personal practice of gratitude which begins as soon as I wake up. What are three things I am grateful for? This simple yet profound practice has really carried me through the confusion, uncertainty, and craze I have been feeling. In no way does this practice take away all the confusion and sadness. But, by practicing gratitude, I choose to focus my time and energy on the positives in my life; what I can do, and how I can serve others. How can I help others through this time? What positives can I make of this situation? Some thoughts that came to mind are...
"care for yourself and others"
"connect with yourself and one another"
"nourish your relationships with our loved ones"
Although this is a challenging time, I have taken on a mindset to nourish my mental health and well being, be of service to others, and ponder the thought Can the world heal during a pandemic? I'd like to be hopeful. In addition to adding free Live Online Yoga and Mindfulness for kids, I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to connect and nourish our relationships with our children and family. What better way to do this than yoga? Below, I have shared a list of Family Partner Poses as a fun means of connecting and playing with our families. The wonderful thing about these poses is that they can be done not only while we practice social distancing, but any time of year! At the end I will also add some great resources for additional yoga flows, mindfulness resources, and books all geared towards children. My hope is that when this pandemic is over, we will have nourished our most important relationships by spending time with one another and are vulnerable, even with our children, about communicating our feelings in an age appropriate way.
Hope you enjoy these poses, mindfulness resources and books! Please share comments and photos! I'd love to hear how your family yoga time went!
Family Partner Poses:
(Each pose requires a minimum of 2 participants)
Starfish on a Rock:
Great for relaxation
Participant 1: Curl into a rock position on your knees (resting your head down on the mat is the most comfortable position).
Participant 2: Sit at the foot of participant one. Lay down with your back arched against participant one (as depicted in the image). Stretching open like a starfish (arms and legs spread open and hanging to the sides). Compete 3 big yoga breaths together, or as many as you would like to do!
Don't forget to switch! Parents can rest on kiddos too! Just be aware of how much weight is being placed on your child(:
Double Down Dog:
Great for building strength
Participant 1 (The base): Get into down dog position. The base person requires strength to hold up one or more participants. Keep gaze towards feet.
*Avoid if you have lower back pain.
*Older children can be the base too! Kiddos as young as 5 years old have held me up(:
Participant 2: Place hands down in front of participant one's hands. One foot at a time, place your foot onto the lower back of participant one. Keep your gaze looking behind you and push through your hands!
*If you are looking for a challenge, add another participant on participant two! Make sure you continue to shoot your bum high into the sky and push through your hands. Do not rest any weight on the head.
Great for teamwork
Participant 1 & 2 (Base): (Likely to be parents or older siblings) Get down on hands and knees with hips and shoulders touching one another. If you are a grown up and partner is a child, get down onto forearms. (As seen in picture.)
*Avoid if you have lower back pain.
Participant 3: Place hands in between the shoulder blades of participant 1 & 2. Once stable, lift one leg and place knee on the lower back of participant 1. Distribute weight evenly between both hands and place second knee on the lower back of participant 2.
*This can be done with 3 or more people. Adjust as needed
*Grownups, you can be at the top too! Just pretend and place a tiny bit of weight onto the back of you child(;
Great for building focus and balance
Everyone: Hold hands in a circle. Grow your branches by lifting up your arms towards the sky. Carefully lift one leg to your thigh (most balance required), shin (less balance required), or ankle (like a kickstand on the ground).
*Avoid placing your foot on your knee.
*Don't forget to switch sides!
Great for building focus and trust
Hold your partner by both wrists. With straight legs, lean away from one another so that you are holding one another up with straight arms and legs. As you lean away, bend your knees into a squat (invisible chair) position. Hold for as many breaths as you would like.
*To come out of the pose, continue to lean back and stand up.
Great for core strength and balance
Sit facing your partner with your knees bent like mountains. Facing your partner, hold hands and bring your toes to touch. Simultaneously with your partner, slowly push and lift the same side leg into the air. Repeat on second leg. Once you have found your balance straighten legs, arch back, and chest towards the ceiling!
Reverse Warrior Heart:
Stand back-to-back with your partner. Step your left leg forward. Bend your left knee towards 90 degrees. With your right hand hold your partners right hand behind you while straightening your left arm directly in front of you (Like Warrior II). Move your left arm up and over head, connecting with your partner at the fingertips (like a heart). Open chest towards the ceiling. Breathe and switch sides.
Great for stretching and support
Sit in a back to back position with your partner in criss cross apple sauce position. Inhale to elongate your spine and reach both arms up over head. As you exhale twist to your right placing your right hand on to your partners left knee, left hand on your right knee. Breathe and switch.
Great for flexibility and fun!
Child: Lay on stomach and grab ankles for basket pose. Hold tight and don't let go!
Adult: Grab Childs hands and feet (like shown). Prompt child to breathe out as you lift them up. Next, prompt child to look at something in front of them, opening their chest towards that object. It can help to do this pose in front of a mirror so your child can see themselves!
*It is always fun to pretend or actually put light objects on their backs, "inside" their basket!
Great for core strength and fun!
Adult: Lay down on floor with knees tucked in towards your chest. Make sure lower back is pressed into the floor for support.
Child: Steps forward with feet right underneath adults feet.
Adult: Place feet on hip bones right where your child's legs enter the the hip joint. Hold your child's hand. When holding hands, do not interlace fingers rather cup one another's hands.
Adult: Lift your child up into the air pushing through the feet. Keep lower back pressed into the floor. Encourage your child to push straight down into your hands so that their arms are parallel to your shoulders. You can guide them with your hands as I was trying to do in they picture.) Remind your child to keep legs straight pointing toes towards the wall behind them.
*The goal of this pose is to strengthen their core. They can achieve this by moving there body to be parallel with the floor. To build strength, try letting go of one hand and encourage them to hold their arm out like an airplane or 'T' shape. Of course switch and do both sides!
Other Wonderful Yoga Resources:
Alo Yoga, a yoga clothing company, has started a non-profit to make yoga and mindfulness accessible for kids, families, and teachers. They have short yoga and mindfulness videos as well as worksheets fro older children.
Yoga Pretzel cards are a fun resource to try out different yoga poses and mindfulness activities!
Mindfulness Apps and Games:
I have yet to use these cards but am purchasing! Their values match those of Humble Warrior Yoga so think these cards would be a wonderful fit.
During one of our pop-up events last year, I was introduced to this calming kit and thought it was beautifully created with thoughtful intention behind each piece in the kit.
This app allows you to rent books (even audio books) from your local library through your phone or on your Kindle!