How to create time for family bonding in the midst of all this busy-ness? The key is finding an activity that each family member can enjoy, that also doesn't take up too much time in an already packed schedule. Seems impossible, right? Well, if there is a will, there is a way.
One solution has been tried and tested by many families, and has proven to be successful. It's yoga.
Yoga is beneficial for all ages, and finding one hour per week to take a class together as a family is not too challenging if you make an effort. Family yoga time at your local park or at home is also an option, if a formal class is too much of a commitment at first.
No matter how it works into your family's schedule, or how frequently you are able to do it, read on to learn about the many ways yoga can benefit your family.
Create Dialogue1 of 7
Parents who take their kids to yoga class agree that, aside from being a family activity that they can do together, it creates interesting dialogue after class, as well. Maybe someone liked an inspirational story that the teacher shared, or maybe they practiced next to someone who was especially motivating. Perhaps one family member was challenged by a pose and wants to get feedback. Each instance can inspire an insightful conversation.
Develop a Healthy Body Image2 of 7
Media and society can portray a skewed view of beauty, and it's common to fall into the trap of measuring yourself through physical appearance. The pressure of fitting into a certain image particularly plagues young adults.
Yoga is an opportunity to build confidence on a deeper level, and to not judge oneself on appearance. It attracts all body types, ages, personalities and backgrounds. It also often draws in people who are hungry for a taste of something different and meaningful.
Emily Rios, a yoga teacher for teens and moms says, "Yoga helps this age group to feel more grounded and more whole by helping them to connect their changing physical bodies to a deeper part of themselves–their sprit." From kids to teens to adults, the act of connecting more closely to a deeper self will bring balance and confidence.
Connect the Mind and Body3 of 7
Because yoga draws attention to breath, it slows everyone down and brings them into the present moment. It creates more peace, clarity, compassion, love and patience–and any family can use more of those qualities.
In addition, lessons learned through yoga practice are carried off the mat and into the world. For example, intentional breathing can help you to feel less stress before a work deadline or school test. Being more aware of your body can help you choose healthier foods by observing how you feel energized–or weighed down–after you eat. The refreshed, uplifted feeling you get through yoga can improve your performance in many areas. It lays a foundation for a lifelong practice of strength and mindfulness.
Form Bonds in the Community4 of 7
You may be surrounded by new faces, or practicing yoga with family and friends, but each person participating in the class will leave feeling more connected to one another. Whether or not a class is geared towards a specific age group or is diverse, it creates an opportunity for people to bond. Every member of the family will likely make new friends through yoga. In fact, some parents have even expressed the fact that their kids get more excited to visit with their new yoga friends than actually doing the class itself!
Have Fun5 of 7
Yoga is dance, gymnastics, meditation, acting and visualization all rolled into one. Enhancing strength, flexibility, balance, alignment, focus and concentration, it allows all family members to benefit. It builds stamina and confidence and helps everyone to connect more closely with their inner wisdom and guidance. And above all, it's fun!
Kids especially enjoy the playfulness of balancing like a tree, or the creativity of mimicking an animal. Adults have the opportunity to be more playful, too, such as when practicing handstands and backbends.
Encourage Understanding6 of 7
Finally, yoga parents learn that exposing their family to yoga can help them to better understand one another. It gives the family more insight into a piece of their lives that is special and sacred.
However, all things come to fruition at their own pace, and in their own way, and yoga may not be the path for everyone. Yoga teacher and mom Debbie Berardi says, "Yoga is not something you can force. As much as I would love for my family to have a regular yoga practice, I realize that everyone comes into the practice at their own time."
For those who do resonate with the practice of yoga, and choose to share it with their family, it becomes a positive way of being, of living and of connecting with each other.