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Yoga with your child ? A relaxing and instructive moment

You want to develop your complicity with your child? Improve their motor skills or reduce their stress and help them fall asleep? It’s perfect! You are in the right place! Have you ever thought about practicing yoga?

Justine Varin - Writer

Interview with Annabel Fitzsimmons, yoga professional

Yoga is an age-old practice that is as beneficial for the mind as it is for the body. And contrary to what we could believe, the practice of yoga is not only reserved for the adults, actually, by respecting certain rules and by adapting your sessions, it is completely possible to make your children practice yoga. And this for their greatest happiness!

By the way, we warmly thank Annabel Fitzsimmons who kindly accepted to answer our questions for this article!

Who is Annabel Fitzsimmons?

Annabel Fitzsimmons is a very active entrepreneur, in fact, she is a pylates, yoga and meditation teacher but not only… Annabel Fitzsimmons is also a freelance writer, author and a wellness speaker, not to mention that she is raising her two children and regularly runs.

Annabel Fitzsimmons is a true professional in the world of yoga and that is why we wanted to hear from her so that she could guide us in the practice of yoga with children.

What are the benefits of yoga for kids?

There are many benefits of yoga for kids. Yoga helps teach kids body awareness, breath awareness, and the importance of the mind-body connection. Yoga can help children with focus and concentration, stress management, healthy sleep, and improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

“Yoga can help kids focus, manage stress and get healthy sleep.”

When can a kid start practicing yoga ?

At any age, really. Of course, different ages and stages will require different teachings. There are mom and baby yoga classes, in which moms can encourage healthy movement in their babies’ bodies. Toddler classes are a fantastic way to introduce body awareness, breathing techniques, and focus to children. As children grow older, they can explore different styles of yoga, and learn the many benefits of a yoga practice.

How to start with my kid and which type of exercise ?

As mentioned above, different ages require different teachings, and each teacher will have their own style of sequencing and practice. For younger children, we generally start with basic poses which have names they can connect with and easily remember, like Mountain pose, Tree pose, Warrior pose, Butterfly pose, Cobra pose, Table pose, Cat/Cow pose, Downward Dog, Child’s pose, Corpse pose, and breathing techniques (like the balloon breath or belly breathing) and meditation techniques (like visualization meditations or imagination journeys.) The Sun Salutation (which is a series of poses that flow together in a sequence) is also a great introduction to yoga for kids.

How many (minutes, hours) and when ?

Generally, in the beginning, for younger kids, I tend to keep classes to about 20-30 minutes. For tweens and teens, I’ll teach from 30-45 minutes to up to an hour and a half, depending on the group. As students develop their practice, improve their focus and concentration and understanding of the poses, they can certainly practice for longer.

 

As for the time of day, this will be different for each child or each family. There is no specific time that you “should” practice. I recommend figuring out what works best for your schedule, and this will vary for each individual.

Do you have a routine which can help children sleep better ?

Prior to sleep, it’s recommended that you practice yoga poses that are less active, and are calming to the body. A simple sequence would be Cat/Cow pose, Child’s pose, Legs Up the Wall pose, Supine Spinal Twist, Knees to Chest, and then finishing with some deep breathing and relaxation techniques in Corpse Pose.

What is the difference between yoga and meditation ?

Yoga is often referred to as exercise for the mind and body. There are many different styles of yoga, but all yoga practices involve physical postures, connecting with our breathing, and strengthening awareness of our minds and bodies. Some yoga practices involve a seated or supine meditation component at the beginning and/or end of each class.

 

Meditation can be defined as a practice of training our minds, with the aim of grounding ourselves in the present moment. Like yoga, there are many different styles of meditation, but all involve connecting with our breathing, our bodies, and bringing awareness to our thoughts and thought patterns. Yoga has long been considered a form of meditation in motion.