Yoga for kids and families

While searching online one weekend for something to keep my seven-year-old daughter entertained on a Sunday afternoon, I stumbled upon my new favourite fitness trend: family yoga.


The class I discovered was at a place called Yoga Buttons – a Vancouver studio designed just for kids. While they offer occasional adult classes, most of the schedule accommodates a younger crowd. There are classes for babies/parents, toddlers, school-age kids and teens.


What caught my eye, though, was the family yoga class – a chance for parents to learn and experience yoga along with their kids. Count us in! As a fitness professional, I’m all for keeping kids entertained with physical activity.


I suggested to my daughter that we give it a try. She happily agreed and ran off to get dressed in her idea of the quintessential yoga outfit: colourful undershirt, comfy leggings, headband. (Just added to my shopping wish-list: Lolë for kids.)


We were the first ones to arrive for class, so we settled onto our yoga mats to do some colouring (a surprisingly restorative activity in itself).


Once the 60-minute class began, I knew we were going to love it. Picture yoga for grown-ups but with stickers, stuffed animals, bubbles and a game of freeze dance to Gangnam Style. OK … it was nothing like yoga for grown-ups.


But all the yoga fundamentals were still there. Our cheerful instructor, Leigh, taught us deep Ujjayi/yoga breathing, and we practiced the technique using small stuffed animals perched on our abdomens. We worked on balance. We performed familiar yoga poses, such as Down-dog, Tree and Eagle. And some new ones like Elephant, Parrot and Frog.


By the time we settled in for Savasana/final relaxation – the kid-version includes bolsters for pillows, blankets and story-time! – I felt like we’d run the gamut of a well-rounded yoga practice.


My daughter and I got some exercise, and we were both feeling comfortably grounded. Plus, I loved being able to share my enjoyment of yoga with my child in a class geared to her age and interests. I’m hoping to see family yoga become a bigger trend this year and beyond. Namaste.

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