About once a day, I unroll my yoga mat. It unfurls along a narrow strip of space in my office. About a foot of it sticks out into the dining room. Normally it’s just me and the cats here and they don’t seem to mind. Depending on the day, I’ll spend anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes on that mat before rolling it up and getting back to work. I feel different when those minutes are up. I feel different on the days when those minutes don’t happen. Those differences are what keeps me coming back. Those differences mean that I’ll squeeze in the 10 minute routine, even on days when 10 minutes may as well be 10,000 because I don’t feel as though I have 10 seconds to spare. And you know what? When I put something else aside to make the 10 minutes happen, the Earth seems to keep spinning. Amazing.
Those differences also remind me of some key elements to our everyday: breathing, stretching, moving for movements sake rather than to get to the next place. Even just 10 minutes of just being, focusing only on the muscles within, the ground below and the breath all around, can make a world of difference. These elements feel like things we can go without. And, technically, we can. We don’t have to focus on breath the way we need to eat or sleep or, even, get dressed in the morning. But enough days without it? You’ll start to notice.
My kids, of course, breathe, stretch, and move for movements sake because these things are embedded in childhood. But I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of yoga for children. So I was delighted to receive a complimentary review copy of Rachel’s Day in the Garden, a new yoga book for kids by Giselle Shardlow. Through a sweet, springtime exploration of the garden with her puppy, Rachel calls attention to the colors all around her and models some simple yoga poses that you can try with your children as you read. Whether pretending to be a caterpillar or squatting down to plant some pumpkin seeds, the story will engage small children who love to both read and move around.
A list of yoga poses in the back of the book offers a great guide to use while reading or later when you feel like everyone just needs a moment to breathe. Some of the benefits of yoga for kids are better sleep and help relaxing, unwinding, and calming down. Pre-bedtime yoga anyone?
If you haven’t introduced your kids to yoga just yet, Rachel’s Day in the Garden is a great place to start.