Have you heard that it’s 110 degrees here in Phoenix? That’s too hot to even go swimming. What can you do inside with kiddos when it’s too hot to go outside and they have all this energy? How about some yoga?!
Yes, yoga! If you’ve ever practiced yoga yourself, you likely noticed how great it made you feel while strengthening your body and calming your mind, giving you a sense of renewal as you right what might be wrong in your body, mind & spirit. Kids can benefit equally from a yoga practice of their own.
For kids over the age of 3, Moksha Yoga Phx offers kids’ yoga classes on Saturday & Sunday mornings, as well as Tuesday & Thursday afternoons. My 5 year old loves to go to yoga and I find that he is a better participant in class than he is at home. Although, he does like to do yoga at home, too. Which is where most of our yoga practice on the mat happens. The more my boys see how yoga is a part of my life, the more it becomes a part of theirs.
When I get on my mat at home, I must always remember that life is happening all around me, so it’s going to look a lot different there than it would when I’m at a yoga studio. I also remind myself that this practice isn’t necessarily for me, as much as it is for them. What’s the point in being able to do a backbend if I’m going to be grouchy mommy? If I scold and push away while I practice yoga, then my family will likely resent the time I spend with it.
I like to think of my yoga practice as playtime and of course I want to include my boys in that. I put their yoga mats right next to mine, creating one big yoga mat. When I’m in down dog, they like to crawl underneath me and we make a triple decker down dog, or we play London Bridge as they take turns on my back and the bridge is falling down. We have tree pose competitions to see who can balance the longest.
You don’t have to be a professional yoga teacher to teach yoga to your kids. They will most likely follow along with what you do, and that will lead to them doing their own thing. Yoga at home with kiddos is a fun way to get some of that energy burned off when it’s too hot to be outside. #AZSummer
Yoga can even help to cool us off! Seated forward folds can create a cooling sensation in the body. A forward fold stretches the spine and creates space between each and every vertebrae, which increases circulation of both blood and oxygen around the spine and into the gazillion of nerves that run up and down it. This soothes the nervous system and gets us out of that fight or flight reaction. Moving your head below the heart and that reversal of blood & oxygen flow to the brain calms feelings of anxiety and stress, which can be elevated when we get hot. This acts as an internal A/C unit because when the head is cool, so is the rest of body. Sitali breathing is another way to cool off the body. Start by rolling up your tongue like a taco with the tip sticking out of your mouth. Inhale through the mouth, letting the air pass through the passage of the taco. Draw the tongue back into the mouth and exhale through the nose. Repeat this for several minutes. If you can’t make your tongue into a taco, don’t worry because not everyone can. Place the tip of your tongue just behind the two front teeth instead. Give it a try!
Whatever you do with your kiddos to avoid the heat during the summer months, I encourage you to do it mindfully with awareness to the present moment. That is the true practice of yoga. Remember, we only have 18 summers with these little ones to keep our cool while keeping them cool.
Have a baby at home? Try these Mommy-Baby yoga poses!