Family Yoga Night

I can’t imagine a better way to create connection with your loved ones than putting together a family yoga session.

Our gym holds family yoga on a weekly basis, so instilling the same regularity in a home practice only makes sense. While I do enjoy the gym sessions, it’s age-based, and they do not include partner poses. Sometimes the lack of something inspires us to create our own perfect practice.

Here are some ideas:

Start with breath
We all know how to breathe right? And if we are teachers of yoga, no doubt we’ve had the talk with our kiddos about deep breaths through the tough times of life. So for family yoga night, spin that breath work into a fun ‘om’ harmony. See how beautiful you can harmonize as a family.

From sitting to standing
Usually, your practice will begin in seated position, so to get to your feet, work in a yoga pose skit of the weekend activities. Will you be walking the dog, feeding the cat, climbing mountains, planting trees, going for a boat ride, buying a pet turtle? See what I’m doing here?

Sun salutation
After you’ve reached standing position, it’s time to get the blood flowing. Introduce the sun salutation flow, and then let each person in the family attempt to lead that flow. You will definitely be warmed up by the end of this part of your practice.

Partner poses
The body of your session will be partner poses. Oh my goodness. This is going to be fun. Each of these poses combines stretch and touch, and some require balance. Relying on your partner to help you loosen your limbs! You can start with floor poses and work your way up to standing. And if you need any additional ideas, just enter a search for kid-friendly partner poses in your favorite Internet search engine.

• Rib-Splitting Seated Triangle

 

 

• Buddy Boat

 

 

• Sailboat

 

 

 

• Back to Back Twist

 

 

 

• Double Dog

 

 

 

• Open Heart

 

 

 

 

Family savasana
After the final partner pose, move everyone into savasana. One idea for this time of mindfulness, is to take your family on their dream vacation. Once you’ve led the relaxation of all body parts, and eyes are closed, verbally direct your loved ones on an imaginary journey to their ultimate vacation. What are the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings involved on this journey? Provide a soft voice instructing them in their choices to be made. Have them tuck this idyllic vacation away for future retrieval in chaotic moments.

After you’ve connected in this time of movement and mindfulness, you can spend the rest of the evening relaxing, maybe choose a meaningful movie to watch together, cook a healthy dinner together, or just spend time reflecting individually about the practice you’ve just shared.

My experience with yoga has taught me that mindfully slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching, are all practices we NEED to incorporate regularly. We all carry tension throughout the day, even our littles. When we practice as a family, we teach our children, and we learn their needs. What a loving way to spend an evening.

**Partner Pose photos are from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture**

Love what you are reading? Check out the Kidding Around Yoga website, or better yet, sign up for a KAY teacher training and spread the love of kids yoga in YOUR town!

Como explicar que es Karma Yoga en la escuela?

Muchos de nosotros trabajamos en escuelas, ludotecas, etc, y aunque nuestras clases son muy divertidas y llenas de risas y actividad nunca debemos olvidar que en el yoga para niños también esta la parte de Karma Yoga.

A veces creemos que ya porque alguien realiza esta maravillosa práctica sabe que es esto cierto?. Pero como podemos explicarle esto a los pequeños? Y no solo eso, a nuestros alumnos dentro de una institución. No sabemos realmente como los educan en sus casas, tal vez para ellos esta parte de dar y ser compasivos no exista.

Como sea nuestra labor como maestros de yoga es dar los mejores consejos y ejemplos que podamos para el beneficio de nuestros alumnos y la comunidad.

Me puse a pensar la manera de darles ejemplos sencillos de como ser compasivos y hacer cosas buenas por los demás. Así es que aprovechando que era época de fiestas Decembrinas y al ver que la mayoría de mis alumnos pedían regalos a Santa y en el caso de México a los Reyes Magos hice una clase basada en ese tema. Que por cierto, nos fue muy bien!!! Vimos DICHAS con las posturas de camello, caballo, elefante, estrella y luna, que corresponden a los animales que llevan Santa y Los Reyes Magos, y al final les pregunté que habían recibido de regalos. Obvio todos súper emocionados contándome. Y ahí fue cuando decidí empezar a introducir este tema. Empecé diciendo que recordaran siempre ser agradecidos con lo que tenían e incluso con lo que
no. Es decir, que importa si tenemos tan solo diez juguetes! Al principio decían muchos que ellos entonces querían diez más! Entonces les pregunte que si habían pensando en aquellos niños que no tenían ni uno. Siempre hay que pensar que lo que tenemos es grandioso, no sólo en lo material sino en el que tengamos una familia, una casa, tal vez una mascota, una escuela y muchas cosas! Porque hay muchos niños en muchos lados del mundo que no tienen las mismas posibilidades que ellos, y que en lugar de sentirnos mal por lo que no tenemos hay que ser solidarios y ayudar justo a los que más necesitan. No pasaron ni 20 segundos cuando la primer pequeña levantó la mano contándome que ella cada año donaba juguetes a los niños que no tenían, y de ahí surgió otro – Yo También! mi mamá y yo juntamos ropa para llevarlas en el invierno a la gente- así pasaron como seis niños más! Y los que no lo hicieron escuchaban atentamente. Eso me hiz super feliz! porque vi que es algo que si podemos enseñar a nuestros pequeños para crear una mejor sociedad llena de amor y compasión con el otro. Terminé por felicitarlos a todos por sus maravillosas acciones y motivándolos a que nunca dejen de hacerlo. Yo también les conté la mía claro de como en Navidad mi hija y yo hicimos bolsas individuales con alimentos para la gente que ese día en la calle no tenía que comer, porque sino como puedo pedir ejemplos de acciones si nosotros como maestros tampoco lo hacemos!. Cierto?

Finalmente vi que no fue tan complicado, después de todo el Karma Yoga es algo del día a día y que de alguna manera vive ya en cada uno de nosotros, solo es cosa de no dejar que esa parte se opaque por otras que no valen tanto la pena.

Si quieren saber un poco más de Karma Yoga aquí hay una breve explicación:
https://yoga.guiafitness.com/karma-yoga.html

NAMASTE

Hibernation Hatha

The darker days and colder temperatures of winter make us all want to hibernate, right? Well, maybe. Sometimes when kids have less outdoor time during the winter months, they get restless! One way to deal with this is to let them get their energy out so they are ready for their Secret Garden (which we can call our Hibernation Haven/Cave/Station). Another way is to create a relaxing ambience since kids often respond so well to their environment: set the lights low or bring in artificial candles, nightlights, paper lanterns, or glow-in-the dark star stickers to light up the room.

But wait! If they aren’t quite ready to plop down and unwind, a little pre-hibernation prep is in order. Explain to your yogis that some animals fatten up by eating a lot before winter comes. Then play a version of Toe-ga with pom-poms  or some other small objects to represent nuts. Put on music and, using only your toes, see who brings the most nuts back to their cave (yoga mat). A variation on this activity can be done with kids walking around in downward dog and picking up the ‘nuts’ with one hand or toes. It makes for an even more challenging game!

Are they still bouncing off the walls? Ask them if they know what some animals do instead of hibernate. If you live in a place where there are particular animals that leave or nest there for the winter, you can use this as a clue. If they don’t know the word migrate, this is a great opportunity to teach it. Let them move across the floor in groups as birds, butterflies, whales, or some other animal that migrates; use traditional yoga poses or make up poses or moves for each animal. Dance teacher Kate Kuper has created a sweet little song for kids to practice ‘flying’ across the floor as birds. It’s a great way to teach spatial awareness and turn-taking. She doesn’t mention migration in it, but you can adapt it to the theme.

Are we ready to relax in our hibernation stations yet? Or are there some wiggles left in your yogis? The next idea you can spring on them is this: what are some ways to deal with the cold (besides fattening up, as mentioned above)? Move around to warm up! Curl up, seek shelter, blow into your hands. Maybe start with a dynamic song to help them get their body heat up. Some Kidding Around Yoga favorites of mine are: Every Little Cell, Here Comes a Little Yogi, and Yoga Slide, but any song that fits the mood should be good, even if you just do a game of Freeze Dance. Tell them that some animals adapt to winter rather than hibernate or migrate. Many adapt by growing thicker fur, seek shelter, or stay active; humans are animals too! They can use physical activity to stay warm in cold weather, too.

Next, a little hand-warming pranayama helps to wind down the mood. It’s simple: deep breath in followed by a slow exhale into cupped palms. Repeat a few times, then prepare for a short huddle. Do your yogis know about how penguins huddle together for heat? Do a group huddle, perhaps with each kid in a standing pose to add a little challenge and focus. Emphasize respect and gentle contact to prevent kids from crashing against one another or knocking others down. In light of that, it might not be the best activity for very young kids – use your judgement on that.

Finally, when all are ready to enter their Hibernation Haven (or cave, or station), have them lie down and imagine their warm, cozy lair where they can rest from the bright chaos of their day. Make it your own as you talk them through it…or rather, let them make it their own as they imagine what is most relaxing and restful for themselves. When they come out of hibernation, it might be nice to add Bear Breath; I use the guidance for this pranayama from Yoga Pretzels (cards) by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish.

If you’re able to, supplement the class with a book on hibernation and winter. I know that I love to curl up with a book on dark, cold winter days. And of course, as a yoga teacher, please remember to give yourself a moment to ‘hibernate’ on your own, even if it’s just a moment to rest, close your eyes, and let go of all effort from your body and mind. You deserve it – teaching kids yoga takes a lot of attention and vivacity!

Open Your Heart for Happiness and Health

February is full of hearts; heart candy, heart arts & crafts, heart decorations and hearts all over greeting cards. They say Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark created holiday. Meh…I say who cares and celebrate the heart-ones in your life. While you are at it, open your heart wider. That is, open origami heartsthe space that contains it, your chest area all the way through your ribs to your collarbones. Go ahead, try it. Spread your arms out wide and take a deep breath, expanding your belly, your ribs and expand in the chest. Hold it for a second, and then relax. How did it feel? Did it feel calming and peaceful, make you feel more open, make you feel more exposed, or possibly make you feel courageous? All feelings are acceptable and all come from releasing tension and opening your heart space. Yoga classifies the poses that accomplish this as heart openers, and as backbends.

But why even bother with backbends? Many of us hunch our shoulders forward: on the computer, texting on a cell phone/scrolling through Facebook, doing the dishes, and even when playing with our children. This closes off our heart space when what we need to do is open and free it. A person who is depressed, anxious, withdrawn, or just going through an emotional or tough time also unconsciously closes up their heartteach kids yoga space by crossing of the arms, hugging their arms, along with hunching their shoulders and dipping their heads. This closing is constricting to our breathing and our blood flow, not to mention it creates tightness in the muscles in the front body.

When we wake in the morning the first thing we do is either stretch our arms overhead or put our arms behind our head and inhale deeply. Without even telling our body to do this, it already knows to act in a way to open us up, getting us ready for our day. Stretching through our front body eases our circulatory system, extends our breathing and helps combat the tightness contributed to a hunched over posture. When we do heart-opening backbends, we open the heart space which also means we expose it. This can makes us feel vulnerable. But if we can push pass that, we are actually opening ourselves up to giving and receiving more love. Why? Because we are leading with our heart in these poses.

Let’s walk through the Cat/Cow Pose, a gentle backbend, to see how breathing and stretching in a Yoga pose helps to open this heart space. Most people might not see 24777719856_941849c1e8_oCat as a heart opener, it looks like the opposite of a backbend. But, the rounding of the back, lifting out of the shoulders, and curling of the head inwards helps to relieve the tension in the neck and upper back that often keeps us from letting our heart space open. Remember that since this is a “closing” movement of the body, Cat is done on an exhale. While the chest expands into Cow it is the inhalation of the breath in to the chest that accomplishes this. Space is created in the chest by stretching the most often ignored strips of muscles in between the ribs (the intercostal muscle). Keeping these muscles supple helps the rib cage expand on the inhalation while you reach your heart forward opening the front side of your body. Your head is lifted with a soft gaze forward or up. You still stay lifted out of the shoulders, but now the shoulder blades slide down your back creating more space. This is considered a baby backbend, and it is the foundation for what the other backbends are built on.

Other backbends to open our heart space include the Sphinx, Cobra, Locust, Up Dog, Camel, Bridge and Bow Pose. Heart opening backbends not only strengthen the 13093317824_c2280f0030_zphysical body. Backbends also strengthen the heart chakra by bringing energy into the heart space. Briefly, this chakra helps to bring about selfless love and compassion. When it is closed off we may feel anger, resentment, bitterness and depression. This does not serve us well and it certainly doesn’t serve others.

So you see, it is better to have an open heart…physically and emotionally. Happy Valentine’s Day! Or should I say, Happy Open Heart Day!

A Sense of Belonging

A few years ago, I participated in a course called “The Happiness Program.” One of the activities we did was to go to every member of the group, look them in the eyes and say, “I belong to you.” The whole situation brought out awkwardness, shy smiles, and some giggles. After all, what does that really mean to ‘belong’ to everyone? At first it might sound like surrendering your power to other people, but as the course progressed, it became more clear that it was about acknowledging how profound power can be shared and activated in a communal way.

In a kids’ yoga class, I find it best to rephrase this idea.  In the age of smartphones, I thought it would be appropriate to take the word ‘selfie’ and recast it as the acronym S.E.L.F.I.E. and break it down to some facets of sangha: Sharing, Energy, Learning, Feelings, Inspiration, and Entertainment. How does this define a sense of belonging? All these aspects of sangha reflect how the yoga class is not just for isolated individuals, but for a group of kids that ‘belong’ to that class each time they come together.

Depending on your class and your own yoga practice, you might find your own creative ways to break down the concepts of S.E.L.F.I.E. Feel free to modify some of the ideas I mention here. All the ideas support one another. For instance, Sharing involves using your Energy perhaps to Inspire or Entertain. Sharing can also be about helping others in their own Learning. Working with Feelings can release stuck Energy or even Inspire someone to take action to Learn or Share something with a friend.

If you prefer not to mention smartphones in class, just use a few of the concepts and create your own acronym! Your yogis might be too young to have or care about smartphones; on the other hand, if they are older kids (and especially if they are teens), they probably know a lot about smartphones and selfies.  However you combine these concepts and put them into context, they are all about yoga as a communal, rather than a solitary practice. Here I’ll share just a few ways to combine these ideas in pairs.

Sharing and Learning: What better way for yogis to learn than by sharing what they know? Let them work in pairs or small groups so they can take turns leading one another in their own unique version of Sun Salutations. If they’re fairly new to yoga, wait a few classes until they are comfortable with the elements of a sun salutation. Otherwise, give them some time for free practice so they can create their own sequence, then allow enough time afterwards for each person in the pairs or groups to lead their fellow yogis.

For younger yogis, I find that partner poses work best to explore the concept of learning through sharing; this way, they can focus on one or a few poses, rather than a complicated sequence. If the kids are familiar with some kid-friendly partner poses, I let them choose. Otherwise, I usually use yoga cards that illustrate partner poses; pair the kids up and either show the entire class one card so everyone can do the pose at the same time, or pick out 3-5 cards to circulate around the class so that each pair has a chance to try each one.

Energy and Feelings:  A lot of people think of yoga as a tool for relaxation, but it can also be a tool to energize a tired body and mind. Yoga can also be a way to navigate the spectrum of human emotion as it affects a person’s energy. Kids know that when you’re sad, you’re usually tired and when you’re angry or excited, you seem to have more energy. The challenge is to help them identify these feelings or energetic states, then manage them in a constructive way.

Some of my favorite ways to help young yogis work with their emotions and energy are by adding these elements to the practice: sun salutations, pranayama, and laughing yoga. Sun salutations are not only a great warm up to use at the beginning of class, but also a great way to lift up tired yogis. Younger yogis especially love going a little faster with each round of sun salutation! The activity above also energizes a class as yogis talk and guide each other their own unique salutation.

Pranayama practiced can be included during the sun salutation if the kids know how to use ujjayi breath. Otherwise, there are so many creative ways to bring pranayama into the class. What does pranayama mean? And what does it have to do with emotions, energy, and sangha? You might know that the breath is linked to the mind and emotions; we can manage emotions and energy by changing our breathing and this can help kids relate to one another with clear minds and calm attitudes. A simple example: imagine a time when you were angry. Was it a time that it would have been easy to be friendly or to make a good decision? Probably not! The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, try some of these breathing techniques so that your anger or frustration don’t make you forget to be kind and gentle with others.

Inspiration and Entertainment: When I myself was just a teen, I found myself in a yoga class where the teacher led us into Scorpion pose (Vrishchikasana). My knees began to bend as I lowered my feet towards my head. The teacher came over and slowly guided my feet toward my head until soles rested on crown. What a feeling! When I was steady, he looked up at the others who stood watching and said in a half-joking tone, “Come on, let’s all work on it. Yoga is not a spectator sport!”

While some might be inspired by another student achieving a difficult pose, another might feel intimidated or discouraged. If you have the time and the means, allow for a yoga photo day so that your yogis get some time to take photos of each other doing favorite poses. If no cameras or phones are available to do this, allow them to draw the poses by hand or let them find images of yoga poses online or in magazines.  It could be a posture that they simply enjoy, or one that they have worked on and are proud to be able to do; they could also choose poses they want to do but struggle with, or even poses that they dislike but want to try anyway. Find a way to display the photos, on a wall if they are printed or online if they are digital. Then go around the circle at the end of class and let students mention a pose that inspires them. Keep the photos on display for weeks or months if you can and refer back to them from time to time to help the kids reflect on whether or not their ‘pose of inspiration’ changes over time.

A more appropriate activity for young yogis involves sharing stories. Young children need inspiration from their peers as well as their mentors, role models and teachers; they also thrive on entertainment to keep that inspiration alive. Just as kids’ yoga has been on the rise, kids’ yoga literature has been riding that same wave. There are now many inspiring and entertaining yoga books for young people. If you have access to some, allow for time in class for yogis to form small groups and read the books to one another. At the end of class, each one can share something from the book that inspired them. Alternatively, reserve some class time for each yogi to create their own BLISS, a short yoga story that they tell with postures to accompany.

Interaction: If there’s one thing that I both enjoy and lament about yoga for adults is that it can be so solitary that it is often isolating. People show up to class, roll out their mats, silently follow the teacher’s guidance, then pack up and leave, often without saying much or making eye contact with anyone else. Sometimes that’s what I look forward to, while other times it feels lonely. Teaching kids yoga has inspired me to reflect on how sangha can be spontaneous, fun, and creative! I owe so many teaching ideas to kids I’ve taught–they aren’t just my yoga students, but I also belong to them as their teacher!

 

 

The Light in “The Last Jedi”

Yog. Or yog not. There is no try.

There is so much yoga embedded into the world of Star Wars. The Force is akin to Om, Jedi principles match the eight yogic limbs, and the shapes of droids happily lend themselves to poses perfect for little ones. From mindfulness to pranayama to asana, the options for Star Wars themed yoga classes are about as wide as the far, far away galaxy. The latest installment of the series, The Last Jedi, features an era of renaissance for the Rebellion. On the brink of rebirth and revival, the characters offer many memorable messages that can be implemented into your work with little yoda yogis.

“Ben, when we touched hands, I saw your future. Just the shape of it, but solid and clear.” – Rey

The vision that Rey has is of Kylo Ren’s heart in the purest state. Seeing beyond the vrittis of his conflicting thoughts, she is able to see his core essence – and being solid and clear, it is much like a crystal quartz. Swami Karunananda’s Crystal Bowl Exercise is a fantastic way of highlighting this for your students and children.

In a clear container (glass or plastic), place a clear quartz crystal. This crystal represents the true self – the core of your being. Take a water bottle and pour water into the container, leaving at least one inch of room at the top. The water is the mind. When the mind is clear, we can easily see the crystal, or the essence of self. Next, begin to add drops of food coloring to the container. You can associate emotions to the colors: yellow as joy, red as frustration, green as jealousy, blue as sorrow. As the drops of individual colors settle, use a spoon to stir the contents of the container. When more colors are added and begin to mix with one another, the crystal becomes more difficult to see, but not impossible. Next, add sand to the container. Sand could represent very tough emotions (fear, anger), or even the little moments of day to day life (thoughts, to-do’s, etc.) that add up tremendously over time. Stir the contents once again. The mixture of color and sand in the container will become translucent or possibly even opaque. Can you see the crystal when the mixture is being twirled by the spoon? It can be tricky. It may even remain difficult to see when the contents settle. So much “stuff” has been added to the mind. But does that “stuff” change our true self? When ready, take the crystal out of the container. It will have some of the “mind” left on it – water, perhaps color, maybe a bit of sand. Using the water bottle, pour clear and clean water on the crystal. Just a tiny bit will remove the “stuff”, and there, just as before, will be the crystal – the pure self.

This visual shows that Kylo Ren (and everyone else within our galaxies) is good at their core. At times, the “stuff” makes it more challenging to see the pure self, but that does not change the fact that the pure self remains. In her video Raja Yoga by Lalita, Kidding Around Yoga teacher Lalita Vigander describes: “we identify with our thoughts instead of our true selves. Our natural state of calm emanates our true selves – our crystal.” Sinking into and identifying with his painful thoughts keeps Kylo Ren in role as the antagonist. Rey, awakened to her Jedi spirit, invites Kylo Ren to detach from pain and embrace calm. She sees the real him. The way of the Jedi invites us to approach our minds with peace and clarity. This exercise can be done as a demonstration in front of your students, or with each child mixing their own container and finding the hope of their unchanged core – their clear crystal.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda

How will we know if we never try?! This mantra can be helpful for yogis of all ages as they approach new asanas. Wheel, candle, and all crow pose variations may seem intimidating to newer practitioners. Failure is a First Attempt In Learning. It means you tried something new! And to be a Jedi, one must make many efforts. Encourage your yogis to try and try again. Whether success comes or not, there is always a lesson that will unfold.

“She cared more about saving the light than seeming heroic.” – General Leia Organa about Amilyn Holdo

While in charge of the Raddus, Vice Admiral Holdo advances her plans to bring the team to safety. When met with disbelief and rebuttal, she quietly persists, not letting the fears or doubts of others influence her decision making. Our little yogis are always looking up to us. Are we modeling the practices that we’re teaching? Are we always staying our true course? Know that wherever you are, young eyes are watching you and looking up to you. If you live your truth, they will live theirs.  

Additionally, when General Leia expresses this admiration for the Vice Admiral’s perseverance, she notes the selfless attitude that Holdo has. The Vice Admiral was more concerned with serving the greater good than being recognized for her leadership. This is a perfect opportunity to tie Karma Yoga into your teachings. Karma Yoga is about selflessly giving back to others with gratitude for what you have. Holdo was graciously thankful for her friendship with General Leia, and when it was her turn to steer the ship, she honored that companionship by doing what was best for the Alliance. What can your little yogis do to save the light? Perhaps this is taken literally – turning off electronics at home or in the studio when they are not in use, or perhaps figuratively – preserving positivity, empathy, and kindness within the community. What acts can you assign as OMwork for your students? How can we encourage them to selflessly save the light?

“This is how we win. Not by fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.” – Rose Tico

Much like the characters in Star Wars, we live in turbulent times. Focusing our energies and our efforts on preserving these ancient practices that keep us grounded and on track will move our universe forward. Unconditional love is a result of a steady yoga practice, just as it is in the practice of the Jedi.

“We are the spark that will light the fire…” – Poe Dameron

Sharing the practices and benefits of yoga with the young people of our world is such an amazing gift. Love and light are qualities that don’t diminish. By sharing them, they grow. We, as yoga teachers, are the spark that will light the fire of future generations. Let us rise to the occasion with full force. May we embrace this incredible opportunity. We are laying the foundation for a world full of peaceful children. After all, in the words of wise Yoda, “We are what they grow beyond.”

Namaste and may the force be with you, always!

Tired of Bedtime Reading? Try Bedtime Yoga!

Bedtime can be a hectic time in any household, as kids wind down before going to sleep (or not). Bedtime yoga is a relaxing option to help kids settle down and get ready to rest.

Yoga offers a relaxing way for kids to get centered and meditate before bed. It encourages calm breathing, and can help them release energy and work out any anxieties and stress that they’ve encountered during the day. With reduced stress, anxiety, and tension, children may better sleep through the night, giving parents a chance to sleep through the night, too.

Yoga can be a segue to other bedtime routine activities, calming children down and helping them become more centered before it’s time to read or talk about the day. Or, you can practice yoga in bed as children are closing their eyes to sleep. It’s possible to do some yoga poses in bed, however, the difficulty can depend on the mattress type. Hybrid mattresses typically offer enough support for basic poses without as much bouncing as an innerspring or sinking as a memory foam mattress.

Starting a bedtime routine with yoga can give the entire family a chance to reset at night, using simple poses to relax and unwind before bedtime. You can dim the lights, play soothing music, and breathe together as you practice simple yoga moves as a family, relaxing your minds and bodies.

Yoga Poses to Try During Your Bedtime Routine

These basic yoga poses can be done by most children, or modified to make them easier if needed. Work through this routine for progressive relaxation, finishing the last few poses in bed if you’d like.

  • Sun breath: Inhale as you move your arms over your head and exhale as you move your arms back down. Encourage mindful breath as you work through this pose.
  • Bird pose: Concentrate on balancing as you rest your body on one foot, lifting the other foot behind you.
  • Mountain pose side bend: With your arms clasped together over your head, inhale, lengthen your spine, then exhale, and bend to one side, repeating on the other side.
  • Butterfly pose: Sit on the ground, pressing the soles of your feet together. Roll your shoulders back and focus on your breath.
  • Downward facing dog: Stretch out as you bend forward at your hips and place your palms on the ground. Spread your feet out and put your hips in the air.
  • Cat pose: Get on all fours, inhale and look up, dropping your spine. Then exhale and round your back, then tuck your chin.
  • Child’s pose: Move from the cat pose into child’s pose, pressing back into your knees to rest.
  • Corpse pose: Lie in your back, taking in slow, natural breaths. Focus on your breathing and close your eyes if you’d like to.

Alicia Sanchez is a researcher for the sleep science hub Tuck.com with a specialty in health and wellness. A Nashville native, Alicia finds the sound of summer storms so soothing that she still sleeps with recorded rain on her white noise machine. Tuck Sleep Foundation is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources.