Susan Verde was an elementary school teacher before she took some time off after her children were born. She was looking for an opportunity to impact children’s lives in a positive way.
“I knew what yoga did for me. I felt like it would be a wonderful way to keep a connection with children, and my kids—while doing something I absolutely love.” Getting certified to teach yoga and mindfulness to children changed her life. The mother of a daughter and twin boys, she also writes children’s books including her latest, The Water Princess.
Create meaning with movement
By doing yoga with your children, you can create meaningful moments of connection through movement, Susan says. “In our culture, kids are stressed about test-taking, relationships and the tech they are exposed to all the time. Parents and kids can benefit by finding their center and their calm, strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility,” Susan says.
She encourages parents to be playful when doing yoga with their kids. Embrace silliness over silence. Get in Downward Dog pose and let your child crawl beneath you. Put your hands on your bellies and take a deep breath together. Or, pretend you are a forest of trees and hold on to each other for balance.
Try Lizard on a Rock
Susan’s favorite pose to do with a child is Lizard on a Rock. A parent is the rock by getting into child’s pose. Sit back on your heels. Toes touch. Rest your chest on your knees and put your arms by your side. Put your forehead on your yoga mat or whatever surface you are on. Line up your sacrum (lower back).
The lizard gently lies on the rock, back-to-back. Hook your arms around your child’s arms to get a good stretch. The pressure on your back feels good, and there’s a great stretch for both parent and child. Practice breathing together. Kids love pretending they are real lizards.
Susan believes the mindfulness of yoga between parent and child can make families more present with each other in life off the mat. “Yoga allows us to connect to body and mind in a non-judgmental way and helps us be kinder to ourselves,” she says.
Learn more about Susan's yoga practice and books on her website.
Listen to our podcast with Susan Verde: Yoga: Not Just for Adults Anymore:
Sandra Bienkowski is a contributing editor to Live Happy and the founder and CEO of TheMediaConcierge.net.