In the busyness of modern life, it’s not uncommon for families to find it challenging to spend quality time together. Between work, school, meals, soccer practice, laundry, dance class, birthday parties and an endless list of other activities it can be hard to find the time.
How to create time for family bonding in the midst of all this busyness? The key is finding an activity that each family member can enjoy, that also doesn’t take up too much time in an already packed schedule. Seems impossible, right? Well how about yoga? Not only do the postures provide numerous health benefits, but they can also act as a way to bring the family back together.
Let’s look a little more closely at the benefits………….
Do as I say and as I do!
As a child, we often learn from the behaviour that our parents demonstrate. By attending yoga class together you’re teaching them to prioritise mental and physical health and relaxation.
In day to day life there is not much opportunity for parents to learn alongside their children; typically, it is the responsibility of the parents to teach. Taking part in a family yoga class gives parents a chance to learn alongside their children, and even sometimes, learn from them. While the everyday parent-child dynamic is important, it can be great to give your little ones a chance to realise that in some ways, you’re just like them.
It’s fun to talk about afterwards. So as well as being a great activity to do together it creates an interesting dialogue….
“I liked it best when we lifted our arms up” “The teacher’s story was funny” “I feel so floaty and peaceful …. do you feel floaty?” “No I feel really hyper, like I have so much energy” “I found that last pose hard” “Me too!!!!!”
The media and society in general can place a lot of pressure on all of us to look a certain way. The pressure to fit into a particular image can be quite intense for teenagers and even younger children. Sometimes even very young children decide that they are not “very pretty” or feel the affects social ostracism if they are not the “perfect” weight. Yoga is an opportunity to develop an inner confidence. A confidence that does not rely on constant self assessments of physical beauty. It allows children to connect to a deeper self, a self that is naturally balanced and confident.
Slow and Still
Because yoga slows everything down and brings our focus onto our bodies and the present moment. It creates more peace, clarity, compassion, love and patience – always good things to have in a family. And the techniques can be used off the mat. For example before a big test at school or a presentation at work we we can use a bit of breath of fire to remain focussed yet relaxed.
As well as connecting with different family members Family Yoga is so great to connect with the broader community. Friends from school can do it together friends from work can come with their children. Always new faces to see and bonds to be made. Often it is the motivating factor for adults and children alike. “I love going to yoga because I get to see my new friends”.
There is so much fun to be had. Whether its the playfulness of balancing like a tree or pretending to be an animal, singing songs or even just trying really hard with difficult poses ……that’s kind of fun too. It’s a pretty happy, playful, joyful hour.
Special and sacred
From Father Christmas to Easter Bunny our culture instills a sense of magic and wonder in children . Yoga allows us to cultivate and grow that sense of awe, wonder and sacredness within us and within each other. To recognise slowly but surely that we are our own Father christmas or Easter Bunny if you catch my drift. It’s a great way to spend time with our families.