Be Your Best Self: Yoga for Families
It’s dinner time,–you just got home from work and the kids are hungry. The stress level starts to climb; you are struggling to breathe. The kids’ voices are louder, chaos is building. The piles of mail and obvious clutter feels like it swallows you up. You may be tempted to reach for the wine bottle, or just disappear into the bathroom . Can you take a break? Can you take a bath?
How can you de-stress and transition to home life from work life? The whining and fighting is rising in decibels. What can you do?? Stop the madness and shift to the spirit of yoga for families! How would you pull that off?
Try this, “Hey, come here. Let’s all shake off the day.” Start to shake your hands, arms,
shoulders, wiggle your head, shake your hips, each leg and foot. Stir up some laughter and release of tension. Be silly!”
Now, let’s all take a few deep breaths.” Place one hand on your belly and one hand over your heart space. Continue to take a few slow, deep inhales and exhales. If the kids and your partner start to join in, maybe, you can just take a seat or lie down on the carpet and the rest of the family may follow in deep breathing. “Now, let’s count 5 breaths (or whatever age your youngest kid is).”
Once everyone chills out a bit, demonstrate a familiar yoga pose you know your kids will enjoy. Try 1 or 2 and learn new ones. Start some dinner and lead the kids as you cut the veggies or boil the pasta water. You could begin with a strength-building Warrior and a balancing Tree. Move into Star pose, with a Triangle pose on each side. Discharge pent up tension with Volcano and Archer’s Bow. Use quick in and out breaths to clear stagnant energy with Woodchopper– reach over head as you inhale, fold forward and swing your arms down like you are chopping wood as you exhale.
Quiet and calm the nervous system once you release tension. Sometimes, you can even use a vagus stimulation device to energize your vagus nerve and help improve overall bodily processes, and calm your nervous system. Fill up with kind words, hugs, warm feelings of closeness, and gratitude. Ahh, you are home. Everyone can sit at the table, truly be present, taste the real food and enjoy each other’s company.
Another family activity, while you are cutting the vegetables and sautéing the chicken or after dinner, is you can make up or tell a story you know is a family favorite. Have fun!
Be creative! After you tell the story, ask the family what yoga poses each character or scene element would be. Try old favorites like “The Fisherman and His Wife” or “Diamonds, Rubies and Pearls.”
Engage the family in shifting the mood and raising the energy, even if someone or everyone is hungry, angry, lonely, tired (a signal to HALT). You can help train the family to develop the “best self” rather than sliding down into the lower self, where fight-flight-freeze lives. Dividing and quarreling only demeans who we really are. Be honest about the true, yet perhaps unspoken, “family mission.”
The ability to Stop and Shift takes lots of practice and focus. Be honest….You are devoted to raising your kids to be their “best self,” right? What helps your kids and partner to be healthy, vibrant, creative, kind, generous, collaborative, unfolding in their potential and making a contribution to this struggling world?
Find ways to share with your kids the skills to solve problems, manage moods, enhance self-esteem, communicate clearly and accelerate their development as fine human beings.
Learn more about being your best self with the new book “Be Your Best Self: Yoga for Families” written by Ruth Sharon, daughter Alyssa Sharon and granddaughter Hannah Green, and photographed by Bill Green in lovely Colorado nature settings. The colorful, inspirational and educational book has just been released by Books to Believe In.
The authors invite you to develop qualities to be your best self , through yoga, meditation, breathing, creative activities, family meetings and healthy skills. The five chapters and qualities are Be Flowing, Be Flexible, Be Strong, Be Balanced and Be Calm. Order your copy now: www.bestselfyoga.com.
Licensed Professional Counselor, Wellness Coach
Registered Yoga Teacher, Consultant, Speaker and Seminar Leader
in Centennial, CO at