This guest post was written by Meera Watts, a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, mom, and founder/owner of Siddhi Yoga International. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes, and others. You can find her on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Kids can get pretty fidgety and even hyper when they are stuck waiting with you at places like the bank, coffee shop, or grocery store where they are bored yet have to be on their best behavior. While we have grown accustomed to waiting around, that’s not really something our kids enjoy at all. So how can you help them to relax when you’re out and about? Not only will they feel better if they are calmer in these situations, but it will also make your life easier as you try to complete your errands.
We can teach our children how to grab some mindful moments in these situations by practicing on the go yoga moves. You probably know that doing a few neck rolls while waiting in line is good for you. These little tricks are easy ways for our kids to address their irritated feelings. What’s even better, they can be done discreetly so nobody will even notice that they are doing them. Yoga can be discreet but still extremely helpful when we bring focus and intention to the process, which is the secret to a successful yoga practice anyway. Next time you are running around with your kids and they are getting antsy, show them some discreet yoga poses to make them feel happier and calmer right away.
While this isn’t a pose, it’s still really important and effective when it comes to relaxing the nervous system. Belly breathing will calm your children down right away and prevent ongoing, chronic stress. It will also help them with poses when they are not able to find the space to do a full yoga set. Ask your kids to practice their belly breathing at home, in the car, and while waiting in lines.
To do this pose, you want to sit up in a chair. Really straighten yourself so that you are sitting up high and proud. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Relax the belly fully and start breathing into it slowly and deeply. It might help to put your hand on your belly and focus on bringing the air to that space. Deep belly breathing allows you to get oxygen into your lower lungs, which is beneficial for a variety of health reasons.
Seated Spinal Twists
There are a variety of ways to do a spinal twist. Often, it is done on the floor lying down or sitting up with one leg out in front and the other knee bent. If you are looking to be discreet, though, you can do this on a chair. You can even do it while standing. Any type of twist is a great way for kids to take a moment and calm down. As a bonus, it also helps with digestion.
Sit up tall in your chair. Put your left hand on your right knee. You can hold the right side of your chair with the right hand. This will give you some leverage to stretch deeper into the pose. Take three breaths here–it’s even better if you breathe deeply into the belly. Come back to center and repeat on the other side.
While your child is sitting down in a chair, get them to take either side of the chair with both hands. This gives them leverage to do the pose. Tell your child to exhale and lift their chest as though they are a lion, arching their back just as you would in a tabletop position. When they breathe out, tell them to bring their chin to their chest, widening the back of the shoulders at the same time.
Opening Your Shoulders
Shoulders tend to get tense for anyone if they are anxious, excited, or scared. This actually sends a message to your brain that there’s a reason to be stressed out. This can cause a release of chemicals that make your child feel even tenser. Getting your shoulders to relax can essentially help the whole body relax.
Bring your hands together behind your back. Have your arms stretched out so they are straight. Inhale and bring the shoulder blades together. Lift your hands up to the direction of the ceiling. Make your shoulders wider and lift the chest to the sky. You can repeat this exercise several times.
Sitting Cow Face Arms
This is another beautiful pose for the shoulders. Get your child to bring their right arm behind their back and the left arm behind their head. Ask them to join hands together. Tell them to breathe deeply. Switch arms and repeat.
Sitting Hip Opener
A lot of tension sits in the hips, it is important to release it. Not only is it where we carry stress, but when we are tense it can cause pain in the lower back. Direct your kids to bring the right leg up and onto the left knee. As they inhale, have them bend forward for more stretch. They should breathe into their belly. Repeat on the other side and enjoy the stretch.
Kids are great visualizers, so doing Mountain Pose will feel like a fun adventure for them. You may also be shocked at how still they can be when they try. This pose can be done anywhere, and your kids will a chance to really focus and calm down their body and mind. Mountain Pose is simple and also very discreet–perfect for on the go yoga. When your child melts into the pose, it can serve as a way to deeply focus their mind. There is big element of balancing in this pose. Have them think of weight being executed to their feet evenly to achieve balance.
Standing with feet hip-width apart, stand with a tall, straight back. Your hands should be facing forward and shoulders over your hips. Focus on being in this pose. Ground yourself and find the balance. This is a great place to be still and destress through breathing and just being in the moment. See video here.
All of these fun on the go yoga poses can help your child in the midst of stressful situations no matter where they are. They will also ease any tension in their body. What’s wonderful about all of these poses is that they can be done anywhere and serve as a way of rejuvenating and calming your children.
Which is your child’s favorite on the go yoga pose?
*This post was sponsored by Siddhi Yoga International.