I started doing yoga with my daughter when she was in utero and we have been doing it together on a semi-regular basis ever since. Now that number two has joined the fray, he is a regular yogi now too. Yoga is part of our family lexicon, an element of our everyday wrestle and play, and an integral means by which I maintain my sanity.
I generally do yoga with the kids under one of three conditions:
Mommy & Me Yoga
(1) Mommy Desperately Needs It. Imagine its 4:00 PM on a rainy Saturday afternoon. You have been cooped up in the house all day. Bedtime is still AT LEAST THREE WHOLE HOURS away and you cannot bear the thought of inventing one more game, cleaning up one more activity, or breaking up one more fight. Also, any chance you might have had of squeezing in a workout has rapidly diminished and you are grumpy. Now is the time to bust out multiple yoga mats (because yes, everyone will need their very own mat), a yoga video, and some deep breathing and sun salutations. My go to videos for such days are Baron Baptiste's Core Power or Yoga for Athletes. They are both pretty vigorous and only 25 minutes long, so its doable. I encourage the kids to participate and do the sequences with me. We generally have a great time wrestling around and I get the release I was craving.
(2) We Make it to a Family Yoga Class. My favorite local yoga studio offers a 45-minute Family Yoga class on Saturday mornings. The class is so much fun and perfect for cold or rainy days when outdoor activities are going to be a challenge. The class includes kid-friendly yoga poses, singing, games, partner yoga, and my personal favorite: a foot massage given to me by my child while I lay in savasana with a scented pillow over my eyes. Everybody wins.
(3) We Are in the Mood. Sometimes, when we are hanging out at home, it will just feel right and I'll ask the kids if they want to do Family Yoga. If I have gauged the mood correctly, the response is usually enthusiastic and we trundle downstairs to get started. On these occasions I do one of two things: I might just lead us through a few poses together based on my thoughts or the kid's suggestions, or I might put on the Family Yoga video that was developed by Tiffany Belzer. The video serves a similar purpose to attending the Family Yoga class in that it provides some structure for the activity and my kids enjoy seeing the kids in the video participating and doing the yoga poses. My favorite is the partner yoga portion where you can work together with your child in various poses. This offers wonderful bonding time and a few laughs as you wobble through the balancing sequences together.
Family Yoga is usually pretty goofy, nominally relaxing, and more often than not, completely endearing. It can also be a fairly good workout because you generally have at least one kid hanging off you while you do warrior lunges, or climbing on you while you do plank pose. I encourage you to try it, especially the part where you lie in corpse pose and your kid massages your feet.