Every Tuesday and Saturday from 9:30-10:15 AM, Soul Strong Yoga gets a little louder, a little more playful and the students get a little more...little! Yoga With My Toddler has been a wonderful addition to our schedule & I’m so excited to share more details with you. Whether you’re a regular at the studio, or new to our Soul Strong fam, you may be curious what this 45 minute parent/caregiver & toddler class entails. Check out the interview below with studio co-owner & yoga instructor, Julie Afsahi, for more!
1) What are some of the benefits of Toddler Yoga? How does the class access these?
The benefits of bringing yoga to young children and their caregivers are broad and oh so great. First and foremost, children get to spend quality time with caring adults, adults engaging in meaningful exchanges, play, and conversations. These high-quality interactions foster greater confidence, language skills, and joy in children. Also, the caregiver (parent, grandparent, nanny, etc.) reaps the benefits of tearing themselves away from the busy outside world, getting to stretch, play, laugh, and tapping into their true, bright inner selves. All participants increase both this independent sense of inner joy while also building community and joyful moments shared between all.
Toddler Yoga is built on a foundation of play. Through play, we build a yoga practice. We sing, we dance, we stretch, and we breathe. Children become more mindful of their breath, learning to regulate emotion with deep breathing, even at very young ages. Caregivers also practice their breathing right alongside the children, helping adults breathe through stressful moments with children, a great practice for when the going gets tough outside of the yoga studio. We of course are physically active as well. Did I mention that sometimes we do boat pose all the way through Row, Row, Row Your Boat or bear crawl across the room? It can be a workout!
2) What can a child & parent expect when headed to Yoga with My Toddler?
Yoga with My Toddler is a yoga class for caregivers to attend WITH their toddler(s). This is an interactive yoga class for all participants. Everyone practices together.
Adults and children should wear comfy clothes that you can move it. Get ready for touching your toes, reaching high to the sky, jumping, and stretching. We have all of the yoga props you will need at the studio. No need to bring a mat for Yoga with My Toddler.
3) Any ideas on how to bring the practice of yoga into daily life with a toddler or child? What are some of the biggest takeaways?
Much of Yoga with My Toddler can be brought into the home or even car in very practical ways. We are happy to share the songs with you that we sing and do yoga to in class, which you can play on your own. Families can create a yoga space at home, for children to practice their poses, and invent their own. You can place a mirror in their home yoga space, to watch their bodies take the shape of lions, cobras, and trees. Also, in Yoga with My Toddler, we often have a quiet portion or take savasana - these skills that we build around winding down are wonderful to use at naptime or bedtime. We can also offer book recommendations to purchase or checkout from the library to continue the fun at home. For example, Yoga Bear: Simple Animal Poses for Little Ones by Jane Hinder is an excellent board book your child can use to mimic poses from pictures or for you to read together.
4) Any advice for the parent of a shy child or a child that may just be hesitant about coming to a group class like this?
Children being suspicious of new people, hesitant to join in, or cling to their caregiver is totally normal and totally developmentally appropriate! We absolutely do not force children to do anything they don’t want to do, but eventually, they will want to join in the fun! Through getting down at a child’s eye level, having interesting props, and a back pocket full of engaging yoga activities, we engage even the most timid of yogis.
Remember to sign up for your next class HERE. Recommended age rage: 18 months - 3 years old. $5 per additional toddler. No yoga experience necessary. Drop-ins welcome!
And check out the following links for more information on Toddler Yoga!