When my kids were babies and toddlers, I’d fantasize about all the amazing things I’d be able to get done while they napped—finish up a work project, clean the kitchen, nap and get in a lovely yoga session.
Um, yeah. It rarely worked out that way.
I know how tempting it is to think that if you don’t have the perfect conditions for a yoga practice there’s no point – after all, it’s supposed to help you be more Zen, right? And how can you be Zen if your kids are crawling all over you?
But here’s the thing: Some yoga is always better than no yoga. Kristin McGee, AcaciaTV’s yoga expert, concurs: “’A downdog a day keeps the doctor away,’ I always say.”
So even if you don’t have 30 minutes to really dive in, and the kids are zooming around the room, roll out your mat and bust out a few poses. You’ll do much more than stretch out your limbs.
“One of the goals of yoga is to stay focused even with outer distractions, so a semi-chaotic practice is actually deepening your practice,” McGee says.
You will likely have to get creative, McGee admits, but that’s just an added benefit.
“I’ll play a game with my son to see how many times he can run under me while I’m in a backbend or crawl under me in plank.”
The other cool thing that happens when you do yoga in front of your kids is they benefit. They can sense the shift in energy that you’re creating; they’re drawn to it and it affects them too, McGee adds.
“They may be running around or clamoring for your attention at first,” she says, “But after a while they want to join you, or they settle in to doing their own thing because they recognize that what you’re doing is important.”
They will also get the message that yoga is something they can do for themselves. On a recent trip my kids, who are now 5 and 7, watched me do a few poses while we were waiting for the shuttle van to pick us up and take us to the airport. They didn’t even seem to notice what I was up to. But once we got to the gate, I looked over at them and one was doing a half-down dog while the other was doing a standing twist.
I can promise you this: Even when you think they aren’t paying attention, they are paying attention. Let them see you taking care of your mind, body and spirit. It’s the best way you can teach them to do the same.
If your kids are younger, how have you been able to keep your yoga practice going? And if your kids are older, how has seeing you do your yoga benefited them? Leave me a comment here or start a conversation with me on Twitter.