I’m certainly not an expert, but I love yoga. I practiced yoga before children. I practiced yoga during pregnancy. I practiced yoga on the back patio as my toddler pushed trucks and dug up my flowers. I practiced yoga as my husband watched the kiddos and I rushed for some “me-time” at a local studio. But I have never practiced yoga with my children. When Reno Moms Blog and Saint Mary’s Fitness Center offered me the opportunity to attend a parent child yoga class, I jumped at the chance. And my daughter was beyond thrilled to be included in what she’s always seen as “mommy’s exercise.”
Saint Mary’s Fitness Center offers Family Yoga focusing on concentration, self-esteem, and coordination Wednesdays at 3:30 or Sundays at 3:00. You do not need to be a member of the Saint Mary’s Fitness Center to attend class; however, if you are, class prices are offered at a discount. Classes are available to anyone, but they do ask you to register beforehand.
We attended Sunday, May 12th. The studio is lovely – a great big room with windows, mirrors, and hardwood floors. There were about 10 people there including mothers and one-two of their children. The instructor, Corey Jones, had a very calming presence and welcomed the group by encouraging the children to try their best and to remember to be quiet, much like the adult classes are.
Corey led us through a series of poses and stretches that lasted 45-minutes. Some stances were relatively simple for both my daughter and I (downward dogs, warriors, laughing baby); some were difficult (crow). My daughter eagerly embraced experimenting with each. Corey roamed the room and helped the children perfect their forms. There were some giggles, but mostly, the children really focused and gave things their best. The timing was perfect; rapid enough that the children didn’t seem to get bored, yet slow enough that there was time to hold a pose or slip into a stretch. The class gave me, as an adult, a mild workout that felt wonderful and seemed to fly by for my 6-year-old. Corey’s class was excellent for beginners (such as my daughter) and those who have been practicing for a while.
Prior to the end (corpse pose, where you lay on your mat and breathe), Corey asked the children to crowd around her mat. She had a mason jar filled with a purple fluid and gold glitter. With her makeshift snowglobe, she told the children how our minds had lots of thoughts swirling around, like the gold glitter. She encouraged them to watch as the glitter floated to the bottom. You could see the children visibly slow down and it expertly set the proper tone for the final meditation.
I love the concept of sharing yoga with your child. Children love to show off their acrobatic skills like jumping, handstands, etc. (how often have you heard “Watch me!”?). They also love imitating animals, and since so many of the yoga poses are named after animals, it’s totally fun for kids. While yoga can be strengthening, uplifting, and meditative, it really should be FUN! Corey nailed this perfectly and I loved experiencing this with my daughter. It was great to show her that a fall on the face in crow pose is perfectly OK – because we tried, and that’s what matters – but it’s also the perfect time for a good laugh. The best part of the entire experience was looking over to see my daughter’s smile. Regardless if she was doing a difficult pose or a pose that came easily, she’d flash me a huge smile. I think it’s safe to say she now sees yoga as something she can do, not just a “mommy” thing. I appreciated this bonding experience with my sweetie and look forward to next Sunday when we practice together again!