You may be surprised to learn that relaxation and proper breathing is as much a learned skill as is reading a bike! Children aren’t born knowing how to relax and unwind on their own. It has to be taught to them and practiced like everything else children learn! (This may explain why my overtired toddler looks like a tornado when I’d think she’d be passed out on the couch.)
I’ve tried yoga in my home using work-out DVDs and enjoyed it (though I can’t say I reaped all of the relaxation benefits doing it while my girls were awake), so I was excited to participate in a trial class at Moksha Wellness Yoga! (Plus, it was nice to use my yoga pants for actual yoga, right?!) It was so relaxing and a really nice “doable” workout. I felt so relaxed at the end of the workout and can definitely say that it would be a really great activity for a student at the end of a strenuous school day. The teacher was so sweet and encouraging to all of the students (whom she calls “yogis” – how adorable is that?) and gently encouraged proper form, creativity, and relaxation throughout the course.
My oldest is not yet 3 so she is a tiny bit young for the class I attended at Moksha, so we practiced some yoga poses together at home with this adorable Cosmic Kids Yoga Video. My new little “yogi” absolutely loved the poses and how they incorporated her love of animals and imaginative/pretend play! I think some yoga poses and breathing exercises would be a great addition to a classroom as a “brain break” and seriously I plan on adding it as something we can do in our “cozy chair” (AKA a “calm-down corner” for when little ones are feeling out of control.)
Looking for activities that complement yoga?
Service projects/charitable work: Register on Volunteer Houston to make pictures/cards for nursing home patients. My toddler loved this when we did it for Mother’s Day last year and it was such a simple way to brighten someone else’s day. You can make a few or a bunch and either mail or drop off at the requested location!
Spiritual practices: Teach your child a new special family prayer, song or other spiritual/religious tradition! My little one just learned to sing “This Little Light of Mine” and it is just the sweetest thing.
Music: Put on some music and dance with ribbons in the living room!
Art: Let your child decorate an old box with markers. (Bonus: recycle the box when done to incorporate a small community service activity!)
Why Yoga? Truly, anyone can enjoy and benefit from yoga. There isn’t a “type” of person that is more suited to yoga. It’s suitable for multiple ages and levels of fitness! Another benefit is that it is one physical activity which is not competitive. Students work at their own pace and physical skills without the win/lose mentality. Ms. Dalal, the yoga instructor and owner of Moksha, told us that yoga helps children and adults to “develop balance, body awareness, relaxation, strength, flexibility, concentration, muscle tone and suppleness, breath awareness, creativity, confidence and so much more!” (Another plus is how adorable your little one will look in their tiny yoga gear – great for the scrapbook!)
Why Moksha? They offer a free trial class for your child to try it out and see whether it is an activity they will enjoy or not! Moksha has a unique program because they travel to multiple schools and areas to host yoga classes as well as hosting classes at their own studio. This means there are multiple options both during the day and after-school! Classes are reasonably priced and available in one-on-one and small group sessions for ages 3 and up. Her brand new children’s preschool and homeschool yoga class is at the studio (962 S. Fry Rd) on Mondays at 10:15 for ages 3 and up. (Classes for younger students may be available at new locations soon!)
What will my child do in a yoga class? In a 30-45 minute class, students will really work on a wide variety of developmental skills (way more than you might think!). The classes at Moksha are developmentally appropriate for the students with the opportunity for students to be playful and creative throughout the class! Ms. Dalal’s classes incorporate plenty of fun and guided socialization into the “exercises, poses, relaxation techniques, and breathing exercises in a loving and supportive environment”. In one class, students worked on their communication skills, innovation, morals/values, motor skills, self-awareness and more! Ms. Dalal gave us her insight on how yoga benefits whole-child development, stating that it “encompasses physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and social growth for children and adults alike. Combining the power of movement, breath, and body awareness with each class, it is a joy to see children develop balance, flexibility and emotional awareness, enhancing their mind-body connection.”
What was special? Two things that really stuck out to me were how Ms. Dalal encourages every student to create their own “new” yoga pose for the class to try and how she ends the class with talking about what the students are grateful/thankful for! It was evident how special the students felt contributing their thoughts and ideas in the class and I think it is so great that she incorporates great values in her class.
In the comments, tell us your favorite yoga pose!
By Mary West
Mama of two, wife & teacher/tutor; yoga pants expert & yoga rookie!