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.
Here at Mind Body Fitness we know Dads, and we know how hard
it is for dads to make time to exercise.
They are usually (not always!) the ones with a more demanding work schedule,
and they often don’t feel the same pressure as women to uphold a certain
standard of physical attractiveness. Maybe
this is society’s way of saying “yes, men, you are the ones who have to bring
home the bacon, and therefore you are not required to do anything else?” I
couldn’t disagree more.
Last month everyone seemed to be talking about the “Dad Bod.”
If you are not familiar, an essay written by a sophomore at Clemson University declared
that girls prefer the Dad Bod, a body that says “I go to the gym occasionally,
but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza
at a time.’ Why America is so quick to embrace the
sentiment of one random college student is beyond me…None the less, I am here
to encourage men to say NO to the Dad Bod.
Why is sporting a mild beer belly such a bad thing? It doesn’t even have to do with your looks,
it’s your overall health that is at risk.
Your abdomen is most dangerous place to carry fat. If you start with a
small beer belly at age 30, it will most likely turn into a large gut by age
40. This can lead to heart disease, high
cholesterol, decreased lung function, and diabetes. These are huge risks that men, especially dads,
should not be putting on themselves or their families.
Am I suggesting all men should have a 6 pack? No way! There is a way to strike a healthy
and realistic balance between Meat Head and Dad Bod. My husband is a prime
example of a man who leads a healthy lifestyle while maintaining a full work
schedule, AND also enjoying life’s indulgences. He works out moderately (cardio,
strength, or yoga) 3 or 4 times per week, eats predominantly healthy foods Monday
through Friday, and allows himself beer and pizza in moderation. He is by no
means a gym rat, but he knows that staying active is good for him. And yes, he
wants to look decent in a bathing suit… Which he does! No pot belly or flabby
arms… and no 6 pack either. Just a
healthy, toned physique, and hopefully the longevity to go with it.
My suggestions for Dads who want to avoid the Dad Bod?
- Start slow if you’re a beginner. Just aim or 2
or 3 days per week to start. Some
exercise is better than none!
- Work out with the family. Take the little one
out in a jogging stroller or bicycle on the weekends. Play some soccer or a game of Frisbee.
- Start by eating healthy on weekdays. Avoid
refined sugars, processed foods, and alcohol as much as possible Monday through
Thursday. Then let yourself indulge a
little on the weekend. But maybe 4
slices of pizza instead of 8?!
- Do it for your family. They need you to be
healthy and happy. Keep in mind… to your kids, you are a hero! Superheros don’t
typically have beer bellies. :)