Yoga Poses for Family Festivities

By Abby Nagler, Co-Founder of The Little Yoga House – December 1, 2016
photography by Brian Fitzsimmons

The Little Yoga House: thelittleyogahouse.com

Parenting is challenging. Making sure everyone's needs are met (including your own) can often seem overwhelming and exhausting. Stress, anxiety, and chaos are all emotions most parents experience daily, yet we often don't consider that stress can have negative psychological and physiological effects on our children, as well.

Multiple studies confirm that practicing yoga and meditation can provide real, concrete benefits for kids and families dealing with the stressors of everyday life. By emphasizing the importance of being truly present, yoga can foster a new sense of peace during the chaos. Consistent practice in a group class or in the home leads to stronger academic performance, more emotional stability, healthier children, and a stronger family dynamic.

Yoga and mindfulness can seem daunting and a bit unfamiliar for families who have never practiced before, so we have put together a list of a few easy poses to practice together in the comfort of your own home. While most yoga poses create an overall sense of calm in the body, there are certain poses that work specifically to release stress and anxiety. These five poses can be done before bedtime, in the morning, before a big event, during the holidays (when stress and chaos is at an all-time high), or whenever ​feels right for your family.


Lounge Chair

(Seated forward fold with a partner)

Benefits: Forward folds are a great way to calm the brain, which can help relieve anxiety and fatigue. Practicing this pose with a partner not only creates a deeper stretch, but is way more fun! Parents can be the lounger—just make sure to use your hands to hold your body weight!

Partner 1

Sit up tall with your legs stretched out in front of you

Partner 2

Come to seated back-to-back with your partner

Place the soles of your feet on the ground with your knees pointing up to the sky

Gently lift your hips up, lean back, and lower down onto your partner’s back

Place your hands on the ground beside you to help balance

Take a deep breath in, and deep breath out


Eagle Pose

Benefits: This somewhat challenging balance pose can be stress relieving and often healing, due to its ability to take the focus away from the busy mind and more toward what’s happening in the body.

Come to a strong standing pose and take your arms out to a T shape

Lift one leg up and find your balance on the standing leg

Wrap your lifted leg around your standing leg and either place your big toe on the ground (to help with balance), or wrap your toes around your ankle

Give yourself a big hug with your arms or cross one arm over the other, bend at the elbows, snuggle one elbow into the crease of the other, and then raise the forearms perpendicular to the floor.

The make sure the back of your hands are facing each other….and smile!


Puppy Pose

Benefits: This pose is a cross between child’s pose and downward facing dog. As this pose lengthens the spine, it also calms the mind and invigorates the body. Practicing puppy breath while in this pose by sticking out your tongue and panting elicits the sense of play—a wonderful stress reliever.

Place your hands and knees on the floor

Tuck your toes and send your hip back towards your heels

Stretch your arms out in front of you and press your palms into the ground

Lift your bottom up toward the sky


Partner Cat/Cow

Benefits: Cat pose provides a gentle massage to the spine and the belly organs while acting as a great stress reliever. Pairing it with cow pose creates a nice flow, as it stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands, creating emotional balance.

Cat

Place your hands and knees on the floor

Make sure your wrists are under your shoulders, knees are under your hips, and your fingers are spread wide

As you push the ground away from you, arch your back and hollow your belly

Cow

Place your hands and knees on the floor

Make sure your wrists are under your shoulders, knees are under your hips, and your fingers are spread wide

Drop your belly toward the ground, roll your shoulders down your back, pull your chest through your shoulders, and look up toward the sky

Bonus: For added fun/weight, have your little one lay on your back. This will give them a calming back massage and is a fun way to connect!


Legs Up the Wall

Benefits: Legs up the wall is so great because you don't have to be super flexible or strong to practice it, and it is very relaxing and calming for the nervous system. This is a great pose to do before bedtime to help you sleep through the night.

Find an empty wall and sit next to it, with your right hip as close to the wall as possible

Lean on to your left forearm and slide your legs up the wall

Your bottom should be as close to the wall as possible

 
 

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