Confession: I used to hate yoga. I never understood the hype and would (silently) curse my way through a class when I (very begrudgingly) agreed to tag along with one of my friends. That was back in my hardcore running days when a workout wasn’t a workout unless my heart rate was pushed to the limit and I came back a sweaty mess. That was also back in my kid-free days when, as it turns out, I had no idea what true, never-ending stress and worry felt like. But, at the beginning of this year, I wanted to focus more on my health and fitness again and I wanted something that didn’t take place in -40 degree weather (aka running). So I signed up for a month-long trial at my local Bikram (hot) yoga studio. I felt like I had died about 20 minutes into my first class but, after a few classes, I was hooked. Whilst the physical benefits are great (flexibility, muscle tone, etc.), what really took me by surprise were the mental benefits. I come out of each class calmer, happier, and more relaxed, and I can definitely tell that I’m able to manage my stress better and sleep better during those times I’m doing a lot of yoga vs. those times that I do none. Another thing I have loved about yoga is that it sparked a curiosity in Isabelle and it’s something we can truly do together. Most forms of exercise don’t offer that – either I’m getting a workout whilst my kids are in the stroller (running, biking, blading), or I can help my kids learn a physical activity but I’m not actually getting any physical benefits out of it because they’re still so young (teaching them biking, swimming, etc.) Yoga is our mother-daughter time when Nicky is napping and I love that I’m building a foundation for Isabelle that teaches her body awareness, meditation, and stress management. Once Nicky is a little older, I hope he’ll join in as well – he already does on occasion but mainly just to show off his downward dog skills haha.
For any other parents out there who are thinking of starting yoga with their little ones, I wanted to share the top 5 things I’ve learned when it comes to mommy and me yoga. And make sure to read to the end to learn where we got these sweet matching yoga outfits from.
[ 1 ] Start super slow . And have very low expectations. Even just sitting on your yoga mat together and practicing a few breaths everyday is a good start. Then slowly start adding a pose here and there when you feel they’re ready. Kids love to practice the same thing over and over again so let them work on that one pose for a while before introducing something new.
[ 2 ] Keep poses simple . You want to make sure that you give your kids poses they can easily do themselves. The act of holding a pose is hard enough for a toddler / preschooler as is, so the poses themselves should be as easy as possible. Some poses that work well for young children: downward-facing dog, cat pose, cobra pose, tree pose, upward salute, child’s pose, corpse pose, bridge pose, easy pose, and hero pose. Once your little one has mastered these solo poses, it’s fun to try some couples poses as well.
[ 3 ] Be consistent . Kids love routine. Do the same poses in the same order every day (or whenever you practice). They’ll be more likely to stick with it if they can anticipate what’s coming.
[ 4 ] Let them be creative with poses . Their postures aren’t going to be perfect (or even close to perfect) and that’s okay. Sometimes they’ll take a pose and make it their own or come up with something completely unique. And that’s okay too. It’s about having fun as well as finding that inner calm and focus.
[ 5 ] Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen . Some days it works well with Isabelle, some days she loses interest pretty quickly and I just continue without her. Forcing something is a surefire way of making your child lose interest quickly so let them adjust to yoga practice at their own pace.
And now let’s talk about the mommy and me yoga gear we’re wearing in these photos. Everything we’re wearing (as well as the yoga mat) is from Jill Yoga and we are loving every piece. They just launched their newest collection which includes several mommy and me styles. You know I love a good #twinning moment, so of course we had to try out these galaxy print leggings (mine, Isabelle’s) and matching zip up tops (mine, Isabelle’s). Isabelle is obsessed with pink and purple right now so Jill Yoga’s latest collection is definitely up her alley. I am also really loving their solid black pieces for women. I love, love, love the crop top sports bra that goes up higher than most. And the high-rise yoga leggings are a perfect weight for fall. Nice and high to hold that mom tum in place and with a little extra thickness for cooler weather. They actually make really nice everyday leggings as well. And I’m not usually a fan of crop sweaters (I have a wide back and shoulders so I find crop tops accentuate that more than necessary), but the funnel neck cropped sweater has won me over. Perfect for heading to the gym or during your warm up.
Do you like to practice yoga with your kids? What do you find works best for you?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jill Yoga. All thoughts and opinions are my own.