family yogaBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How much impact can family Yoga have on life? Yoga is always praised for its health and emotional benefits. These benefits can extend even further when a family engages in Yoga practice together. Not only can the shared practice of Yoga strengthen family bonds, it can also serve as a tool for parents to teach and share values or ideals with their children.

One of the benefits of family Yoga is centered around the goal of making each practitioner aware of the moment. Practicing Yoga together encourages the members of the family to let go of worries or concerns while focusing on the moments they are spending together. This awareness of the present begins to extend into everyday life, allowing families to make their time together even richer.

Society often speaks of quality when referring to family time. Practicing the different poses, pranayama techniques,  or meditating, with clear, focused minds, provides families with shared moments of incredible quality. Parents are able to interact with their children, completely focused on the present, which is the natural state of young children. This encourages the children to feel safe and secure with their parents, and with the community in general, which also allows emotional balance to develop. Trust is a foundation for a positive relationship between parents and their children. However, trust is not an automatic thing. It must be nurtured. Family yoga practice creates a space where trust can be nurtured.

The breathing exercises (pranayama) in Yoga teach the practitioner how to remain calm even when a situation is particularly stressful. This becomes important in family relationships, especially when parents and children do not see eye to eye. If they are able to remain calm, they are also able to deal with the situation and find a solution that is agreeable to all involved.

Another benefit that Yoga offers families is the chance for parents to share with their children their values, thoughts, knowledge, and ideals. Parents who practice Yoga and meditation, demonstrate a model of balance, calmness, and being in the present. Additionally, they also model listening to their inner selves, while monitoring their physical and emotional health. This practice impacts their day-to-day life and the way they deal with the challenges faced. Just like children will try to emulate the Yoga poses as their parents do, they will also begin to emulate the way their parents tackle life. Parents can practice Yoga to help raise their children into conscientious and well balanced adults, who are in touch with their inner selves.

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