Thursday, January 5, 2012

Family Yoga - Going on a Hike!

I need a mental break from the cold so tomorrow we're going on a yoga hike through the Santa Monica Mountains (here's looking at you Point Mugu!). 

Family Yoga at the East Side YMCA in Providence attracts the best 1-3 year old yoginis (and sometimes their wise older siblings) - so as their yoga instructor it is my job to trick them into breath work, interesting postures and lots of fun focus.  Taking a trip into the woods is one of the most rich ways to lay out a yoga class in a cunning way.  We do lot's of pretending.

For example, morning routines make a great warm-up.  Yawning, stretching, brushing teeth, putting on clothes and shoes.  We forward bend, make fun sounds, and let the tension roll away.  When we're ready to rock, a drive in the car or train to the mountain is necessary and helps get the kids off the mat for a moment - allowing them to explore the room within the confines of semi-structured movement.  Once you get the the mountain, it's only up from there!

Stretch the quads (modified dancer) and get ready to climb.  You can use classic yoga postures to inspire each experience along the hike - from watching birds, mimicking trees, and taking a dip in a nearby lake.  Don't forget to eat your lunch in a shady circle of trees you found!

We singe lots of songs throughout any class - and this theme lends itself to any songs about bunnies, frogs, sunshine, fish - it's endless.

What's your favorite part of hiking in the woods?  Maybe it can serve as inspiration for you and your little one on the mat.

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