Adult participation is always encouraged in my toddler yoga
classes. Yes, it helps to make the little ones more comfortable and open to
explore, but it also helps the grownups find their own mind body connection. I
often hear the parents say things like "I should be doing more yoga."
Or "Man, this feels so good!" So I say, DO MORE! If you have no time to
devote to yoga without your kiddos, try a family yoga session. Here are some fun ways to create a family practice that will benefit both you and your
Chair pose/Wall sit
This is an awesome way to strengthen the core and lower body, and if you know
how to sit on a chair you can do it! Try out a wide legged chair pose side by
side with you child. Imagine you can sit way back in a tiny imaginary chair. For
a little more support try chair pose using the wall (a wall sit).Take 5 to 10
deep breaths together.
Tree in the wind
For balance, work on your tree pose together. First the child can strike a tree
pose as the adult moves all around them like "the wind." The goal is
to stay balanced and strong as the wind whooshes all around you. Then switch
roles and allow your child to dance like the wind and knock you down.
Everyone enjoys the thrill of going upside-down.
Children and adults can practice this hand
stand modification at the wall.
down dog “L” shape with your body by placing hands on the floor and feet on the
wall. For extra excitement bark or howl like a dog!
Sunning on a rock
This is a wonderful restorative pose for child and adult. The adult sits on
their heels with bent knees as the child stands behind. Your backs should be
touching. Nice and slow the child can lay back as the adult
takes a child’s pose (rock). Let your child sun on the rock for 5 to 10
You are never too young (or old) to enjoy a foot rub. End your practice by
using some scented lotion to massage your child's feet. And then switch and
allow them to rub yours. Not only will it be relaxing for both, but it's a
wonder sensory exercise for the kiddos. I love the lavender scented lotion from
The most important thing is to be creative and playful in your practice. There are hidden games inside the asanas. If you make your practice flexible and inclusive, the whole family can reap the benefits.
There are major incentives to using your buttocks properly....not just to look good in your favorite jeans. If your glutes are firing properly
they can improve posture, increase pelvic floor strength, and protect your
joints. We live in a very "seated" society which tends to create "dumb"
asses. They just don’t know how to engage because we have not taught them to do
so. Sitting for long periods of time can re-position the natural tilt of the
pelvis and stretch out already weak gluteus muscles. Compare the tribal poteriors
below to a typical western booty. It is easy to tell which one is going
unused. I am just being cheeky and overgeneralizing a bit, but keep reading to find out if you have a dumb ass...
Test Your Ass
While walking normally, place your right hand on your right
butt cheek. Ideally your gluteal muscles will be working while you are walking.
If you do not feel the muscle engaging as you walk, then your buttocks is
probably not firing properly. Most likely you are pulling yourself along with
the front leg and putting most of the work in the quadriceps (front of the
thigh). Repeat on the other side. You also may notice that one side is much
better at engaging than the other. You can use the same touch test when
doing a lunge.The gluteus muscle of the
back leg should feel firm and engaged to the touch.
Another thing to note is the position of your pelvis. In our seated society we
are often tilting the pelvic bowl backwards and losing the neutral tilt of the pelvic bowl. This not only takes the work out if our glutes, but puts strain on
the pelvic floor, the lower back, and the hip joint. The illustrations below
show the correct, "neutral" position of the pelvis. If the pelvis is positioned
correctly, then your glutes will be properly firing.
Cultivating a Smart Ass
If you feel your ass needs some educating (many people’s
do), then you can start by consciously engaging your glutes on a regular basis.
When walking or running think about pushing off the back leg instead of pulling
yourself along with the front leg. If
you work out or practice yoga, engage the glutes of the back leg whenever you are
in any lunging pose (Front/back lunge, warriors, high lunge, low lunge). When
doing squats (or simply standing up from a chair) put your weight way back in
your heels, don’t over tuck the tail, and imagine your sits bones are pulling
away from one another. You should feel
your buttocks engage!
You can also work on finding the neutral curve of your lower
back. Make sure you are not super tucking your pelvis on a regular basis. If you have to sit for long periods of time
at work, take breaks to stand and walk around.
Try some cow/cat tilts by extending and flexing your spine. You can do this movement seated, standing, or
on all fours. If you stand sideways in
front of a full length mirror you will be able to observe the tilt of your own
pelvis. The goal is to have a slight curve of the lower back. Try not to over
tuck or over arch.
With time and patience a dumb ass can be taught! And a smart
ass looks good in jeans too… so fire up that booty.