Jennifer M describes poses from a book about practicing yoga with children. Originally published in Currents February/March 2004, Children's Corner Column.
Everybody dreads it – a long car ride, plane ride, train ride or whatever mode of transportation you choose for traveling with your kids. Some vacation destinations, however, just do not allow instant gratification and require long journeys to reach the end of the line. Trips like these with children, while worth it once you arrive, can seem like pure torture while still in transit. The children are bored, restless and irritable. At some point, they will have played with every toy, looked at every book, played every game and exhausted your imagination for other ideas to occupy their incessant need for entertainment. What do you do then? How about some yoga?
Marsha Wenig has written a fabulous book about practicing yoga with children. She tries to demystify yoga and has adapted traditional theory to fit the specific needs of kids. She introduces more than 50 poses and gives suggestions for integrated learning, including anatomy, mathematics, language skills, ecology and personal affirmations. In addition, she has created a chart organizing the poses to fit specific needs, such as Bedtime, Before a Test, Energize and In the Car to name a few.
Here are three poses she recommends in her In the Car section:
Peace Breath (p. 25): Close your eyes. Relax your face muscles. Let your skin drape over your bones like a soft blanket. Breathe in. Breathe out, and whisper the word “peace.” Do this three to six times. As you say the word, feel the peace inside you. Send peace to the animals, trees, and plants. Send peace to your family. Send peace to all the people you love.
Butterfly (p. 32): Bring the bottoms of your feet together, with your heels close to your body. Open your knees out to each side. Stretch your neck and the top of your head toward the sky and make your spine longer. Place your hands at the sides of your head and stick up your pointer fingers to make antennae. Pull your arms back – now they’re your wings. Breathe in and out as you flap your wings forward and back. Flap your leg wings up and down, too.
360-Degree Owl (p. 60): Sit as upright as you can. Tuck your arms behind you. Hold each elbow with the opposite hand. Turn your head slowly from side to side, eyes wide open. Can you see what’s behind you?