7 Family-Friendly Yoga Poses For Stress Relief

Are you trying to build a healthy and happy family? Then, family yoga is the way to go. Together with your family, try out these seven simple yogasanas.

By Shashwathi Sandeep

7 Family-Friendly Yoga Poses For Stress Relief
The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships – TKV Desikachar, yoga teacher

Yoga, which originated in India, is spreading around the world. More and more people are beginning to realise the benefits of practicing yoga. One of them is Ryan Giggs, the famous British football player. In an interview given to Mark Bailey, published in the Financial Times (12 May 2017), Giggs says: “I started yoga after missing a big Champions League game against Bayern Munich [in 2001] through injury. I changed my car; I changed my bed for better posture. And I started yoga. It helped me get another 10 years out of my career. Yoga was first about injury prevention, but later, for me it became about recovery.”

Yoga benefits families not only in terms of health, but also in many other ways. “It strengthens the bond between family members and helps you deal with fears and anxieties together. It helps you encourage, motivate and inspire each other. Apart from that, it gives you the opportunity to learn about each other’s strengths and limitations, build confidence and trust,” says Sarvesh Shashi, the founder of Zorba – a Renaissance studio, a fitness chain with branches across India. 

But can yoga specifically help children? Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director at Atmantan Wellness Centre, emphatically believes it does. “The combination of yoga and music can be fun for children as they continue to enjoy their present moment in abundance. Together the family lives a playful and light-hearted life, which is especially good for children. It boosts their physical and mental stamina while enhancing the overall well-being of the family. Practicing yoga from early childhood helps children become self-confident and they learn how to set goals. Nowadays, various yoga techniques are also being used to prevent and treat different diseases that affect children in the growing up years,” he points out

So, here are a few asanas that you can practice with your family to reap the benefits of good health and have fun together! (Inputs from Dr Manoj).

  1. Partner tree pose: This pose requires you and another family member to stand next to each other holding your head and back erect. Hold each other’s hands or put your arms around each other’s waist (to maintain balance). Shift your weight onto the inside leg (the one close to your partner’s leg). Now, bend the other leg and place the foot on the inner thigh or calf of the leg on which you are standing. Switch sides and repeat.
  2. Downward-facing dog pose: This pose resembles the alphabet V upside down. Stand on all fours with your arms shoulder-width apart and palms placed firmly on the floor, and knees hip-width apart. Now, lift your knees off the floor until you’re able to straighten your legs.
  3. Double easy pose: Sit comfortably in a cross-legged position. Ask your child to sit on your lap and take a few deep breaths together or close your eyes to meditate. If you find sitting on the floor uncomfortable, use a cushion or a yoga mat to sit on.
  4. Warrior pose: To encourage your child to do this asana with you, tell her that both of you are going to pose like great warriors! Stand erect with your feet together, arms by your side, and look straight ahead. Inhale as you lift your arms over your head to join the palms. Now, extend one leg forward and plant your foot firmly on the floor. Bend the leg, while stretching and straightening the other leg. Exhale and straighten the legs as you bring your arms down.
  5. Cobra pose: Children may find performing this asana fun. Lie on your stomach, place your feet a little apart, and rest your head on the floor. Inhale and raise your torso off the floor to stare at the ceiling. Hold yourself in this position for 30 seconds, while you inhale and exhale. Bring your torso back to the floor while exhaling deeply.
  6. Happy baby: Lie on your back. Take a deep breath, bend your knees and bring them to your chest. Spread your knees a little, and raise your lower leg to position your ankles directly above the knees. Reach around the outside of each knee and hold the outside portion of your foot. Now, stretch your spine. Exhale deeply while coming back to the normal position.
  7. Cow pose: Stand on all fours. Place your arms such that your wrists are directly under your shoulders and plant your hands firmly on the floor. Position your knees under the hips. Now, as you inhale, lift your sitting bone and chest up, allowing your belly to sink towards the floor. Also, lift your head to stare at the ceiling.

Before you begin, there are a few precautions you need to take. According to Sarvesh: “First of all, make sure you are on an empty stomach. Also, do not rush from one posture to another; give yourself some time in every posture — minimum of 30 seconds to a maximum of 5 minutes at the beginner and intermediate level. It is also good to have an expert guide you for a safe and fulfilling session.”

Still not convinced? Perhaps reading Dr Manoj’s views can help you make up your mind. “Yoga is a creative form of expression. It provides children with long-term benefits, instils qualities like compassion and calms their mind. It definitely enhances their social, emotional and physical well-being, and must be a part of their routine from a young age. Even toddlers can be trained to do yoga to improve their attention span! All this can be achieved in a fun and meaningful way if you practice together,” he says. Sarvesh adds: “As parents, we instinctively know when our children are feeling stressed or unable to pay attention. Find a way to introduce pranayama. Once they experience how yoga can transform as well as challenge, they will gradually begin to practice it on their own.”

*According to Dr Manoj, children aged 6 years and above can practice these seven yogasanas.

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