Yoga with family offers a way to make a deeper connection with your loved ones. We share practical ways to bring the generations together on and off the mat.
There are many documented benefits to practicing yoga with family members, whether that’s with younger children or teenagers or with older relatives. Yoga is a perfect activity which can accommodate every generation and what’s more, you’ll amplify the effects of inter-generational activity because of yoga’s focus on mindful connection. We hope that you find inspiration here to start sharing yoga with your family. Yoga with family should feel joyful, playful, expressive and spontaneous. You can begin to introduce yoga in subtle ways: sneak in a stretch or two when out on a walk or at a beach. Pause to express gratitude or to breathe mindfully or introduce family rituals.
Yoga with Children
Yoga with your children is a great way to share something that you love. It is important that when first introducing yoga to your little ones, you make them welcome but don’t force them. You can ask them how they feel and if they want to make some shapes or do some breathing with you. It’s fine if they’re not ready or want to dip in and out. By being playful and fun, you’ll encourage them to join you. By doing yoga alongside your children, you will also be letting them know that you think it is important to look after yourself both physically and through taking rest.
Yoga with children is really fun and you can begin to support your children’s yoga journey by allowing them to come and play wherever you are doing yoga, inviting them to copy you if they would like. If you are doing an ‘animal’ pose – share the name and ask them if they think it looks like the animal and ask them to think about the qualities that a particular animal embodies. You could also ask them to feel proud and powerful in the warrior poses.
MFML teacher Jyoti Manuel has classes for all ages and ways in which you can practice along too.
Taking yoga with children off the mat
Yoga with your children can also take place off the mat. When going on walks, ask your children to observe what they see and how it makes them feel. If they get irritated or frustrated, you can ask them to check in with how their body feels; this is also great for siblings who start to pick on each other. You might want to begin each day by whispering an affirmation into your children’s ears and ask them to do the same.
Yoga with Teens
Teenagers like to assert their independence and may not want to get involved in yoga. Persevere! Yoga gives teenagers precious breathing space. It helps them to regulate their reactions and emotions at a time when everything is changing. If you sense reluctance from your teenager, you could suggest that they help by supporting a grandparent to do some yoga. Alternatively they might want to do some yoga with friends. Robin Watkins-Davis’ class is a great way for teenagers to energise on mornings that they are feeling sluggish.
Yoga with older relatives
So often, when we hear the term family yoga, the emphasis is placed on parents practicing with younger children. Sharing yoga with the older generation is every bit as enriching. Practicing yoga with your older relatives is a great way of supporting them to remain active and mobile. In addition to this though, yoga supports cognitive function, balance, co-ordination and a greater awareness of the body in space. These are all skills that become more challenged in older people. Doing yoga alongside older relatives also offers you the opportunity to create a space in which to really listen to each other. Share your concerns and frustrations at the ageing process. Try this class from Andrea Kwiatowski and her father to inspire you.
Yoga is wonderful to share with family members from every generation. Post your photos in the movers group and share your experiences of sharing yoga with your family on social media and tag us in with #movementformodernlife. Even better, let us know how many generations you have practicing together.