Partnering up for a simple yoga session is a playful way to help your child keep her mind and body balanced. Even better, it doesn't require much setup, just a nonslip yoga mat and a wide-open space. Shari Vilchez-Blatt, founder and director of New York City's Karma Kids Yoga studios for children and families, recommends getting started with these three poses. "They offer loads of benefits, such as improved strength, flexibility, coordination, and confidence," she says.
Sit on the floor face-to-face and have your child stretch her legs along the inside of yours, as shown (or sit touching feet). Join hands, and keeping your backs straight, move your upper bodies back and forth in a seesaw motion. You should each feel a good stretch in the back of your legs.
Start on all fours facing opposite directions and touching feet. Along with your child, push up and straighten your legs, keeping your back flat and arms outstretched. Have your child lift one foot at a time and place it as shown, keeping her toes pointed. This pose strengthens the core and arms-and it's a great confidence builder.
Kneeling, sit on your heels and bend forward so that your chest rests on your lap. Have your child lie on your back, lining up her waist with yours. If her legs dangle, use your arms to hold her in place (or stretch your arms as shown). This pose will open her chest, strengthening her posture, and lengthen your lower back, helping the muscles relax.
Originally published in the December/January 2013 issue of FamilyFun