Yoga for Mums, Dads and all the Family
Yoga is excellent for kids as well as adults, helping us to focus, stretch and discipline our minds, and to have fun in a non-competitive way – something quite rare in today's world where kids feel the pressure to achieve and be busy in all walks of life, including physical activity. Of course, it's also great for helping us to relax and be more patient and tolerant, and to keep our bodies supple.
With our ashtanga yoga classes at Moonfleet Manor proving very popular, we took the opportunity to look at ways of fitting the practice into family life – and also of involving all members of the family in yoga and getting them to reap its many benefits.
• Take advantage of the fact that yoga is so lo-fi and can be done just about anywhere. A yoga mat or two take up virtually no space in the back of the car if you're off on a weekend away.
• Do yoga outdoors when you can – on your lawn, in the park or even on the beach. If you don't happen to have a mat, improvise with a towel or just do it barefoot on the grass or sand.
• Don't think you have to do hours of yoga – even 15 minutes grabbed here and there has a positive effect, and shorter sessions will also have the benefit of keeping the kids interested while they are getting the hang of it. But do wait for a couple of hours after eating.
• Always keep in mind the need to strike a balance between challenging yourself and going at the right pace for you. Remind kids in particular that yoga is not a competition about who can stretch the furthest or maintain a pose for the longest time.
• Pay attention to what's going on in your head while you're doing yoga – like meditation, it may call forth a lot of distracting thoughts that you and the kids will need to learn to release. One technique is to envisage leading them gently away from you, like a dog on a lead – you may have to do this several times until a thought goes away for good.