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Mom and Child Yoga: Heart Opening Pose

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Yoga with children is not exactly a deep meditative experience reminiscent of a quiet moment in the Himalayas. Children are perpetual energizer bunnies, especially younger ones. And the idea of slow movements and connecting to the breath is just not at the pace of their developmental reality.

As a mom, of one or a few young ones, you are probably dreaming of some yoga-quiet-zen moment where the kids sit in lotus and you can chill and renew. You can get to renewal and zen, its all about perspective.

Yoga by definition means to yoke or join. So think of your yoga moment with your young child as an opportunity to join with her and your breath in an expansive way. This posture is more about joy then meditation, but in my book joy and peace are in the same family. If you can go outside, do it. This can actually be done in the snow, or the rain (ok not a down pour). Or if you are lucky like me, in the SoCal sun. The family room is fine too. I just ask that all tv’s, computers, music, etc be turned off. In other words, unplug for this heart opening pose.

Get to the space you want to work in, with your child, and if you can take your shoes off…not necessary. But if it is warm, toes touching the earth or grass is a wonderfully delicious tactile experience. And kids love it! It is also a way of settling in and grounding before the posture.

Feet flat and pressing into the floor/earth. Legs, and back straight and hold hands facing each other. Smile and look at her/him. Enjoy this if only for 1 breath. Take a deep inhale and exhale and then encourage her/him to do it with you while you are holding hands. On the next inhale stretch your arms up reaching for the sky, and verbally ask her/him to do the same. Reach for the sky, fingers stretched, and head facing up.

Pause briefly and then exhale bringing arms down at sides. Repeat at least 3 times. It’s not a race, and doing it too fast could make everyone light headed, so be slow as possible.

You can take turns talking about reaching for clouds or the birds. Bring in a little play element there and let her/him share what it feels like she is reaching for. as you reach up feel your heart center open toward the sky. Allow that heart centered space almost lead the way. All the while keep your legs and feet planted into the earth.

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Keep your eyes open, it will help with dizziness and balance.

After 3 or so times, come back to facing each other and holding hands again. Give her the silent look and vibe of love. Let it radiate from you. And notice his face expression, his flushed cheeks. Take a picture in your mind of how beautiful he is and how lucky you feel to be his mom.

Peace, renewal, and gratitude are really only a few breathes away.

Enjoy, Alisa B. Donner, MSW, LCSW, certified yoga teacher and Co-Founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month and I Am Nourished.

We are not medical experts or providers, please check with yours before starting a new exercise program.

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