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Why do family yoga? To both deepen the connection with those you love in a playful way while deepening your stretches in poses with the help of your all too eager family members.

I spent an hour Saturday teaching a family yoga class. My family joined me making it very special. There were 6 families and we started out placing mats in a giant circle with each family grouped together to make family/partner poses easier. The ages ran from 3-adult which created a very fun and dynamic mix of energy. Here is the sequence of the class:

Breathing Exercises

  • We started using slinkies to help us visualize our lungs expanding and contracting with breath.
  • Then each family partnered up to do some back breathing using the slow breath that we practiced first.
  • We began to link body and breath with sunrise/sunset pose – starting in child’s pose, inhale and rise on your knees extending your hands above your head like the sun rising and then reverse the direction ending back in child’s pose.
  • Finally, we did some cat/cows linking breath to each pose.

Sun Salutations

  • Kids helped show their parents how we reach to the sun and then say “hi” to our toes.
  • We hissed in cobra and barked in down dog. The poses may not be difficult but it is sometimes hard for us adults to let go and act like a kid and see the fun in something that we usually take seriously.

We focused more on Downward Facing Dog while listening to “Who Let the Dogs Out”.

  • We lifted a leg to shake our tail. We brought our knee toward our opposite wrist and then lengthened our leg back behind us and then brought our knee toward the same wrist then lengthened it out again.
  • We rested in child’s pose.
  • Then we got wild and flipped our dogs saying hi to our families.

I then led everyone on a sequence with some tropical island flair.

  • We listened to steel drums while breathing like elephants, picking bananas like monkeys, stalking prey like tigers, slinking around like lizards, hissing like cobras and drinking water like giraffes.

We spent the rest of the time doing family partner poses.

  • Sitting on a rock. One person rests in child’s pose (usually the larger adult) while another family member aligns the pant line of their pants with that of the person on the floor and gently sits. The person on the bottom gets a deeper spine stretch. Be careful if you have knee issues.
  • Lizard sunbathing on a rock. Starting in the same position with one person in child’s pose, the second person furthers their stretch by lying down head to head and extending their arms side to side.
  • Down dog tunnels. Everyone lines up side to side in downdog and everyone takes turns slinking through the tunnel and getting back into downdog.
  • Double down dogs. One person gets into down dog. The second person stands at the feet of their partner and faces away. Then the second person slowly lifts their feet onto the sacrum (pant line) of the first and gets into their own down dog.
  • Group tree. Touching palms everyone lifts into tree pose, raising hands into the air.
  • Group airplane. Everyone comes into a circle and gets into airplane with hands reaching out toward each other.
  • Group boat. In a circle everyone does boat with feet touching and holding hands.
  • Group flower. In a circle everyone starts in butterfly pose with feet touching, then slip arms through legs and grab a hold of  the hands next to you.
  • Partner boat. Holding hands facing each other with leg bent, extend legs up together while balancing on sit bones.
  • We ended the group poses with each family creating a unique pose of their choice.

We played a breathing game with each family trying to keep a scarf up in the air with their breath.

And finished with savasana.

It was a really wonderful way to spend time with my family while sharing the joy of yoga.

Some of the resources that I used to help gather ideas for this class were a dvd called Yoga for Families led by Ingrid Von Burg and a great book called Playful Family Yoga by Teressa Asencia.

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