New Year’s is a great time for everyone—not just adults. Kids enjoy making New Year’s resolutions just as much as their parents do. Whether they want to improve their reading or get faster on the soccer field, goals can make the New Year seem all the more exciting. One way to ring in the new year is with a revitalizing yoga sequence that you can do with your kids. Teach your children to feel the vibrations of the universe and to be open to what the world has to offer with a heart-opening yoga sequence. Heart-opening sequences are poses where you bring your chest forward and let your heart shine. Practicing these poses with your kids is a great bonding activity to bring you both closer together. Through this sequence they’ll see that, though you’re together, you practice on you own. It helps kids feel like solo play is a normal and natural part of life.

Every yoga pose does something amazing for the body, but heart-openers are particularly important in today’s world. Kids and adults are alike in many ways, especially when it comes to technology. Many of us spend hours bent over looking at computer screens. Heart openers are backbends, which are essentially counter poses to the slump of our daily tech life.
Here are a few heart-opening yoga poses for you and your child to try.
Sphinx pose
Sanskrit: Salamba BhujangasanaSphinx pose
Step by step:
Begin by lying on your stomach on your yoga mat. Put your elbows under your shoulders and make sure your forearms are parallel. Inhale, and lift your torso upward, like you’re trying to push your heart up to the ceiling.
Cobra pose
Sanskrit: Bhujangasana
Step by step:
If it’s within your ability, raise up to Cobra pose from Sphinx pose by rolling your shoulders back and lifting yourself up, so that you’re resting on your hands instead of your forearms. Keep pointing your toes and reach back with your heels while your heart still works to move forward.
Fish pose
Sanskrit: Matsyasana
Fish poseStep by step:
While you and your child lay on your backs, lift your bottoms enough to slide your hands beneath you. Pull your shoulder blades together, inhale and lift your chest and head up off the mat. Open your neck so that the crown of your head barely touches the mat.
Wheel pose
Sanskrit: Urdhva Dhanurasana
Step by step:
Wheel pose is a pose to work up to, but if you can do it, it has endless benefits. Similar to Fish pose, your head will likely graze the ground. Start on your back and with your knees bent. Put your hands behind your head so that the palms land close to the ears. Lift your lower body up using your leg muscles. End by lifting your chest off the ground with just the strength of your arms.
It’s fun to see how quickly and easily kids can pop into the pose. Make sure everyone’s alignment is correct for safe practicing.Wheel pose
Bridge pose
Sanskrit: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Step by step:
If Wheel pose is too difficult, try Bridge pose. It accomplishes most of the same movement without hurting the back. For this one, lie on your back and press your feet into the mat. Exhale, and then lift your hips to the sky. Roll your shoulders back, then under your body. Make sure your feet and thighs stay parallel. Take your time as you come down.

Practicing heart-opening poses regularly will:

  • Strengthen the back muscles
    Strong back muscles are crucial to kids and adults. As we age, we slump. Women in particular have overstretched abdominal muscles that need support from a strong back. These back muscles also help with your child’s posture.
  • Stretch the torso
    The front side of the body spends a lot of time scrunched up. Unless we take a moment to actually stretch it, our flexibility will weaken.
  • Improve focus
    Perhaps this is true of all yoga poses, as holding poses are natural concentration builders, but backbends tend to be more challenging to hold. When you and your kids spend time holding those poses, it helps train the brain to focus on the task at hand.
  • Help with breathing issues
    Your respiratory system works to supply oxygen to every part of your body. Most of us don’t breathe deeply enough to let that happen, though. Yoga helps train your body to breathe when it is challenged—a lesson every child could benefit from. When you’re in a heart-opening pose, your lungs are expanded and your body can fill with oxygen.

     

Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for our live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and SO MUCH MORE!

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Kidding Around Yoga Justice Information

 Company Justice Statement

We stand with you, our Black family. At Kidding Around Yoga, we are a worldwide multicultural community committed to bringing the teaching of yoga to children and families worldwide. Our aspirations have always been to treat all humans with dignity, respect and care. We recognize that aspirations and intentions are different from impact. Our good intentions have not diminished the impact of our lack of understanding. We acknowledge the harm experienced by Black people and people of color within our organization. We have been blind to the ways in which white supremacy culture has been at play within our materials, structures and communications. We are deeply humbled and saddened to start to realize the extent to which BIPOC have been harmed, undersupported, ignored, dismissed, asked to perform emotional labor for free, and otherwise not held in the ways we aspire to hold everyone. We appreciate those who continued to point out to us our blindspots, even when we failed to listen or honor the wisdom they were bringing. We apologize. We know it is not enough. We are committing to strengthening our anti-racist actions, to continue looking deeper into our structures and personal biases, and to make ongoing changes to embody the teachings of yoga.

This is a time to wake up, to speak up, to stand up. This is a time to fight for what is right and educate those who are still in the dark. Every Black life matters. We all recognize that these are not new issues, but this IS a new opportunity to be allies and agents of change, in large and small ways. Let us not hide from this challenge or wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting. We each have a voice and a responsibility to fight for a better, more just and peaceful world. Join us as we listen, as we learn, as we change, and as we do what we do best: share the ancient and powerful practice of yoga and meditation with children across the globe.

In addition to the ways in which KAY supports bringing yoga to all children, we specifically recognize and commit to the following:

► Our materials and content need to be reviewed and updated. Some existing content contains ideas or themes rooted in racist structures we are now becoming aware of. These have caused harm and discrimination, and we are committed to a thorough review and action steps. We will give updates as to our actions regarding these materials.

We also recognize that we have not fully understood what cultural appropriation of yoga looks like. We understand that, in certain instances, we have used yoga in a way that has diminished its roots and caused harm to the culture from which it arises. We are undergoing a deep review of our materials and marketing, in this light, and will give updates as to our actions as a result of this review.

We also recognize that asking our Black teachers to share what they are doing to guide themselves through these “trying times” was felt as insensitive by many teachers. It was not our intention to cause harm in this way, but we understand how this is emotional labor, and that teachers need to be compensated for this. We will compensate any teachers we call upon to support us in this process.

We acknowledge the lack of Black leadership within KAY, and are actively expanding the leadership team to include and elevate Black wisdom and voices. This week, we are delighted to welcome Shawandra Ford and Camelia Brown onto the leadership team. We will continue to expand our team in the coming weeks.

We are revamping our KAY4ALL training to include specific anti-racist training. We will make it mandatory and included for all trainees and trainers. Meanwhile, KAY Leadership is undergoing anti-racist trainings themselves, which will be ongoing.

We are in the process of allocating resources to support scholarships for BIPOC trainees, to fund classes in underserved communities, and to offer financial support to organizations upholding anti-racism and helping make yoga accessible and available to BIPOC families.

In order to move forward and accomplish the mandates listed above, we have created a Justice Task Force. The JTF will identify and implement the changes needed within KAY. The JTF consists of seasoned and new team leaders committed to serving to create an anti-racist culture within our organization.

We will be adding tasks to the list, as we grow and evolve in our understanding of what needs to be done. We hope you will join us in doing this work in your own lives.

We are open to feedback, but we understand that it is no one’s job but ours to look, to learn, to digest, and to take action. We stand by our commitment to become an anti-racist organization whose work uplifts, supports and learns from Black wisdom and leadership.

Please email info@kiddingaroundyoga.com if you wish to reach out to us in regard to this statement, whether it’s feedback, an offer to join our efforts, or you want to be kept up to date with these promises. 

Namaste,

Kidding Around Yoga

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