by Alicia Chapman Mauldin, Certified YogaKids Teacher
Around the holidays we get the opportunity to see family and friends we have not seen in a while. After the initial excitement wears off, the kids are often looking for something to do. If it is cold, outdoor activities are limited. That is when we can pull out some yoga! The beauty of yoga is that it does not require a lot of space to do, it can be quiet (which I love) and promotes cooperation (which I also love).
Partner and group poses are especially fun to do. We like to share yoga poses with our friends that might not do yoga on their own. My daughter may do a pose with her cousin, or we may pull all the cousins into a room to do a few poses together. Since many people associate balance poses with yoga, it is great to start with Tree pose. After everyone tries to balance on one foot, we then come together in a circle, press the palms of our hands against our neighbor’s and help each other balance on the opposite foot. This is a great subtle lesson to support each other while improving physical balance.
Once the kids are excited for yoga, we move to some poses that feel good. In Standing Partner Stretch, two kids stand back to back and take hold of each other’s hands, then step forward a tiny step and gently lean away until both people feel a stretch in the chest and shoulders. Cooperation and trust are essential for the success of this pose.
Sit & Twist is another great pose. This one is done sitting on the floor facing a partner. The right arm reaches forward and the left wraps behind your back – then reach forward and find the arm your partner put behind their back. Breathe and twist. While seated, try Row Your Boat pose. Balance on your sit bones and lift your legs off the floor. This pose strengthens the stomach, back and shoulders. Now try it with your partner, face your partner, feet touching, hold each other hands and with cooperation and communication, lean back, lengthen your legs and press the bottoms of your feet to your partner’s. Hold tight and stay afloat in partner boat.
From boat pose, keep holding hands but bring the feet to the outside of the arms and allow the legs to open and come to the floor preparing for Seesaw Triangle pose. One partner leans forward while the other leans back. After a few breaths, switch and then gently rock each other back and forth. What a fun way to stretch the legs!
These are just a few partner yoga poses, but there are so many more! You can also turn many yoga poses into partner poses with a little creativity! So, turn the television and video games off this holiday season and do a little yoga instead. It will benefit your children physically and mentally, and will help foster healthy relationships with family and friends! Learn all these poses in the book, YogaKids: Educating the Whole Child, available in the YK Shop!
- Forest of Trees
- Standing Partner Stretch
- Sit and Twist
- Row Your Boat
- Seesaw Triangle