Do your kids get enough time to relax and renew every day? With overexposure of television, social media, and video games, your kids need downtime to relax and clear their little minds. Help cure common problems of fatigue for you and the kids with a not-so-traditional technique, but one we recommend: restorative yoga. Practicing one or two restorative poses with your child, before dinner or bedtime, sets the tone for the evening. It will relax, connect, and energize you both.
Restorative yoga is described as a supported, conscious body/mind relaxation practice. When supported with props, the body relaxes and releases tension and stress. Props being blocks, pillows, blankets and bolsters. When used with these poses, restorative yoga reduces the risk for strain, injuries and pain (great for kids!). This type of yoga also helps strengthen the immune system, promotes healthier sleep, balances energy, and builds confidence and self-esteem. And good news for kids, it increases concentration, focus and attention span!
Start with 5 minutes, and after some practice work up to 10. Try the ‘legs up the wall’ pose. Sit sideways on one or two folded blankets with one side of your body as close to the wall as possible. Pivot on your bottom, placing your back and shoulders on the floor, and legs up the wall. To move closer to the wall, bend your knees, lift your hips and slowly inch forward toward the wall. Use an eye pillow or wash cloth and cover your eyes. Breathe deeply, and relax. When you begin to feel uncomfortable, after five or so minutes, come out of the pose. Do this by slowly sliding off the blankets and bringing your legs to to the floor, lying on your side. Take a moment to rest before sitting up.
When in position, the important places to check for tension are neck, lower back, abdomen and jaw muscles. When you are in the pose you can watch the sensations of the body; soften, open and release tension. Moreover, focus on your breathing when posing; practice a long, slow inhalation through your nose, followed by a long, slow and gentle exhalation. Witness the quality of breathing, through the beginning, middle, and end. Practice this often, and soon you will see the day-to-day quality of life improve for you and your kids.
Praveena Chinthaluri teaches prenatal, postnatal beginner and intermediate yoga classes at Downtown Yoga in Pleasanton, CA, www.pleasantonyoga.com. She is a trained restorative yoga teacher and mother of an eight year old. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org , or on facebook at Yoga with Praveena.