My Little Warrior
Seeing the look of pure joy on my daughter’s face as she moved into each pose was enough….
My three year old daughter watched my husband and I practice yoga in our living room for her whole life. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when she started mimicking the poses alongside of us. She took great pride in demonstrating poses to us and asking us if we knew their names. Sometimes she’d throw in one of her original poses that she created on the spot, and ask with pure joy, “Do you LOVE my new pose, Mommy?”
“Sure do, Honey,” I would answer and she would smile from ear to ear.
After a few months of watching her model a handful of poses, I considered the two of us taking a yoga class together. I had read all about the benefits of yoga for children- how it builds self-esteem, increases concentration, encourages creativity and respect for others, and helps cope with stress, to name a few. I was hesitant about taking her to a class though because all of the children’s yoga classes that I looked into suggested that children start at age four. I also had no idea if she could adjust to the pace of a yoga class after she was used to the constant movement of soccer, skating, and gymnastics. I decided to take a chance anyway and registered us in the Little Pretzels/Parent Pretzels class at Halifax Yoga and hoped she would have fun. I couldn’t be any happier that I made this decision.
The moment we started the first class, I knew that my daughter and I were going to enjoy ourselves. The class began with a silly song that had us “wiggling our nose”, “smiling”, “roaring like a lion”, and “imagining that we could fly”. Each class my daughter practiced poses, vinyasa’s, breathing techniques, and meditation through guided visualization. Classes were filled with lots of giggles as we played fun games to develop body awareness. Partner poses were a big hit with my daughter, particularly lizard on a rock, double downward facing dog, superhero, and double boat.
My daughter and I got so much out of our yoga classes together. Each week we looked forward to attending the class and it was a great opportunity for the two of us to bond. It was such a rewarding experience to engage in something that that we both enjoyed and to be fully present to my daughter. I loved sneaking peaks at her on her mat and seeing the sparkle in her eyes. You couldn’t wipe the enormous smile off her face as she conquered each new pose. Yoga also provided my daughter the opportunity to slow down and to be quiet and still, something that was important on our bustling weekends. It was amazing to see her come into class with so much energy, and leave looking so relaxed.
Yoga did not stop for us after class either. My daughter loved coming home and practicing handstands and partner poses with me. The Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Seesaw songs (the version from Peppa Pig) went hand-in-hand with our double boat pose and became a regular Sunday song in our house.
The benefits that my daughter and I received from taking yoga together were many. Simply seeing the look of pure joy on her face as she moved into each pose was enough to know that yoga was a great choice for us.
~ Natalie Longaphy