10 Ways Parent-Child Yoga Can Help Your Family

Allowing parents to “just be,” and to work with and learn alongside, or even from, their child can have a powerful impact.
Allowing parents to “just be,” and to work with and learn alongside, or even from, their child can have a powerful impact. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Be sure to come meet Margot Brinley of Guru Girls at the Ultimate Playdate during The Southern Women’s Show on Friday, 8/26 and Sunday, 8/28 from 10am - 1pm at the Spotlight Stage. And don’t forget to grab your discounted tickets by using the promo code MOMSCLT16.

is not just for moms and dads - the benefits of exploring the world of yoga extend to the entire family and can be a bonding step towards increased mental and physical health. Here are some thoughts on why incorporating parent-child yoga can help the whole family.

1: Anywhere, Anytime, Anyhow

Yoga is easy to do anywhere at any time and requires minimal equipment, space or set-up. No fancy clothing is needed- just some comfortable clothes (yoga pants are nice) and a yoga mat. As a family, it can be easy to fill a little extra time with some easy yoga stretches together, as opposed to empty time on a screen.

2: Modeling

Children learn from watching their parents, and by engaging in yoga parents demonstrate the importance of prioritizing personal mental and physical health. In addition, parents prioritize the importance of the parent-child relationship.

3: Acceptance

In the parent-child dynamic there are few opportunities for mom and dad to learn along side their child. In many situations it is a parent’s responsibility to correct or teach. Allowing parents to “just be,” and to work with and learn alongside, or even from, their child can have a powerful impact. The family may benefit from incorporating this atmosphere of open-minded acceptance in the parent-child relationship.

4: Lighthearted and Playful

Family yoga should be playful and fun. Incorporating laughter and levity into the world of yoga is refreshing for any yogi. It is beneficial for parents and children to laugh together and parent-child yoga is an opportunity for children to interact with parents without the worry about being wrong.

5: Leave Screens/Social Media at the door

Living in our world dominated by social media, where we constantly hide behind a screen, it is important to prioritize time to be fully present in the parent-child relationship. By setting aside a designated time, where cell phones are left at the door, parents are prioritizing and sending the message that being in class together is important.

6: Positive Communication

Communication in any relationship can be difficult when there are conflicting needs. The parent-child dynamic can be difficult, especially during the child’s adolescent years when there is a drive for more independence. Yoga necessitates that each partner speak kindly and clearly to ensure safety (for example the parent-child will practice asking respectfully for more or less pressure in a partner pose.)

7: Increased Focus

Yoga can help to increase concentration and focus, which is beneficial in many aspects of life, including the parent-child relationship. Using some of the simple stretches and breathing exercises can be used as “brain breaks” outside of yoga class to help with homework or any time when increased attention is required.

8: Fitness Compliment

Yoga is a gentle path of fitness, which allows for a range of body types and fitness levels to participate. The physical fitness aspect of yoga can provide the endorphins to help create a positive, happy emotional state. The parent-child relationship can benefit from engaging in a feel-good activity together.

9: Connection

Yoga emphasizes the power of connection; connecting movement with breath, connecting in with the self, and connecting with others. There are many benefits that occur from taking time to mindfully connect in with the special parent-child relationship.

10: Transitional rest

The final pose of any yoga class is called Savasana, also known as “Corpse Pose” or final rest. Ending each class with this final rest is a treat designed to settle your mind, promote relaxation and allow space to come back to your life. Taking this time for transition is another aspect of yoga that can benefit our home-lives. After all, in yoga and in life, it is all about the journey, not the destination.

Margot Brinley, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, 200 hr. RYT and ”Grounded Kids” Yoga Instructor, has spent the past 25 years working primarily with adolescent girls and their families in therapeutic settings. Margot has come to appreciate the mental and physical health benefits of preventative programs, such as yoga.