Parent-Child Yoga: 6 Great Asanas for Family Fitness

Yoga is wonderful tool that increases the bond between you and your child. It helps your family connect better, get healthy together and stay happy as a unit, mentally and physically.

By Jayalakshmi S

Parent-Child Yoga: 6 Great Asanas for Family Fitness

A child’s growth and education start with the development of the body, mind and senses. T Krishnamacharya, the father of modern yoga, emphasised that children must be introduced to the practice of yoga when young to ensure holistic, physical, physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual growth.

Children are naturally flexible, inquisitive, and like to do what their mother does. Use this to your advantage and bring in a bit of yoga into your child’s daily routine. Roll out your mats and benefit from yoga the fun way.

1) Tree pose (vrksasana)

This is a fun pose because the chances of tipping over and getting lost in a fit of giggles are high! It strengthens the legs and helps improve balance and concentration.

Steps to do it with your child:

  • Stand facing each other with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold your child’s right hand with your left for better balance.
  • Raise one leg and place the sole on your thigh or calf (never on the knee).
  • Get your child to do the same.
  • Focusing on an object in front of you will help you stay balanced.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Related video: 8 Super Yoga Poses For Busy Moms

2) Warrior pose (virabhadrasana)

Stand alongside your child while doing this pose and tell her she should be as confident as a warrior. This pose strengthens the thigh muscles and the core.

Steps to do it with your child:

  • Stand with your feet together, arms by the side of your body and back straight.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg, left leg turned slightly away.
  • Look straight ahead.
  • Inhale, lift your arms up above your head and bring your palms together.
  • Simultaneously bend the front leg such that the knee does not overshoot the heels.
  • Keep your heels firmly planted on the mat.
  • Exhale and straighten the leg, bringing your arms down.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Note: Give your child specific and positive feedback such as, “Wow, Ananya, you’ve bent your leg perfectly!” This will get her to join you every time you’re practising your poses.

Also read: 8 Super Yoga Poses for Busy Moms To Do At Home

3) Cobra pose (bhujangasana)

Lie down at a distance of 2 feet from your child to do this pose. Encourage her to hiss like a snake to make it fun. This pose strengthens the shoulders and core muscles. It increases flexibility, improves breathing, and prevents asthmatic attacks and chest congestion.

Steps to do it with your child:

  • Lie on your stomach with your feet apart.
  • Place your palms beside your shoulder; rest your head on the ground.
  • Inhale and raise your torso up till your navel is off the floor.
  • Ask your child to look at the ceiling.
  • Maintain the pose for 10 to 30 seconds, inhaling and exhaling steadily.
  • Come to the original position slowly, exhaling deeply.
  • Repeat the pose 3 to 5 times.

4) Bow pose (dhanurasana)

Bow pose can be a lot of fun with a little partner. This pose stretches the front of the body, ankles, thighs and groin.

Steps to do it with your child:

  • Lie down on your stomach with your chin on the mat, hands resting by your sides.
  • On an exhalation, bend your knees. Place your heels together, your knees hip-width apart.
  • Reach back with both hands and hold onto your outer ankles.
  • On an inhalation, lift your heels up toward the ceiling, drawing your thighs up and off the mat. Your head, chest, and upper torso will also lift off the mat.
  • Lift your chest up and bring your shoulder blades together as much as possible.
  • Gaze forward and breathe softly.
  • Hold for up to 30 seconds.
  • Release your ankles.
  • Exhale and lower your thighs.
  • Place your right ear on the mat and relax your arms by your sides for a few breaths.
  • Repeat.

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5) Happy baby (ananda balasana)

Share a story with your child about how you saw him in this exact pose as a baby and you’ll win over his attention! This pose is simple and grounding. It gently stretches the inner groin muscles, opens the hips and stretches the spine.

Steps to do it with your child:

  • Lie on your back at a distance of 2 feet from your child.
  • Breathing deeply, fold your knees over your chest, spreading them apart.
  • Stretch your hands and hold on to the outside part of your feet.
  • Position your ankles above each knee, so that your shins make a right angle to the ground.
  • Hold the outer part of your feet with your hands.
  • Push your tailbone down towards the mat as you stretch your spine.
  • Ensure your hips do not come off the mat.
  • Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • To get out of the pose, exhale, release your feet and place them on the mat.

6) Cat-cow pose

Face your child or do the pose beside him. The cat-cow pose is a set of 2 poses done alternately. Make it fun by meowing and mooing alternately with him at the start and end of the pose.

This pose helps increase the mobility of your vertebrae, releasing pressure on the spine. The cat-cow pose also strengthens your back and abdominal muscles, as well as your arms.

Steps to do it with your child:

Cow pose:

  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
  • With your fingertips pointing straight, place your hands firmly on the mat.
  • Place your shins and knees hip-width apart.
  • Inhale as you lower your belly towards the mat.
  • Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
  • Roll your shoulder blades out.

Cat pose:

  • As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling. Tell your child to mimic a cat stretching its back.
  • Drop the crown of your head towards the floor, but don't force your chin to your chest.
  • Inhale, coming back into cow pose, and then exhale as you return to cat pose.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.
  • To come out of the pose, sit back on your heels with your torso upright and relax.

Doing these poses together will strengthen the bond between you and your child. Your child will look forward to these fun-filled sessions, which will give them a breather from their gadgets. Let yoga bring vitality into your life which is the essence of a happy household.

For the strengthening of the Anga (limbs), Yoga Asana practiced with long inhalation and exhalation is important. To reduce the disturbances of the mind, to gain mental strength and to increase longevity, Pranayama is necessary.

                                              – T Krishnamacharya, Father of Modern Yoga

The author is a trained yoga and Kettlebell instructor.

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