RAW food and Yoga have a lot in common: They nourish our health and spiritual bodies as well as honor the bountiful energy that Mother Earth offers.
Kids are naturally so flexible and bendy that adding yoga into their day is a perfect fit. In fact, you have probably seen your children taking Downward Facing Dog, Pigeon and Bridge Pose during their normal play.
Children are in tune with their bodies. They don’t have the stress of a mortgage, work and car payments blotting out the whispers (and screams!) of our bodies asking for a little TLC. Unconsciously, they flip, wiggle and bend into poses that compliment their play and counteract hours of bending over bugs and searching for fairies.
And admit it, you need more yoga in your life, too. It isn’t realistic for many of us to drive to a studio and spend (albeit blissful) hours om-ing away the afternoon. But you can have structured yoga time with your kids. Start the morning off with grace and gratitude with a modified Sun Salutation. Stand by an Eastern-facing window with your sleepy heads. With feet together, inhale both arms over your head. Exhale as you slightly bend to the right, envisioning your torso is between two panes of glass so it stays aligned. Inhale back to center, then exhale and slightly bend to the left. Inhale back to center and exhale rolling down towards your feet, knees bent. Let the weight of your body wake up the back of your legs. Slowly roll back to standing. With hands in prayer position in front of your heart, say “Today is a beautiful day. Each step I take keeps me on my intended path. I live with compassion, truth and light.” Or some such positive prayer.
Breath work is an intrigual part of yoga practice. When your child gets anxious, mad or frustrated, help them focus on their breathing until their emotions settle. Sit or stand facing them. You can hold their hands to deepen the peaceful connection. Together, take an inhale to the count of four. Hold the breath in for a count of four. Exhale to a count of four. Hold the breath out for a count of four. Repeat this patten until your child is calm and you can talk about what upset them.
A friend gave my son a deck of Teresa Anne Power’s cards called “The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids.” Each card has a whimsical illustration of the pose with an instructive poem on the back. Each morning we pull a card and practice the pose throughout the day. It is so fun for him and get bonding time. Children are much more likely to keep healthy habits if you are also taking part.
There are also family-friendly studios that offer age-appropriate classes. In Portland, Kids Heart Yoga (http://www.facebook.com/KidsHeartYoga) holds classes on the Eastern Prom during the summer.
When children learn how to respect the miracle of their bodies from a young age, they are much more likely to carry that into the rest of their life, including what they eat. When you connect within, you only want to eat the most nourishing, vibrant foods!
Do your kids like yoga? Share pics with us!