Ways to Get a Whole Household Interested in Yoga
As a parent, or even as a child, Yoga is an ideal practice to share with your family. However, given the shortage of time and constant pressures on family members to fulfill school, work, and social commitment it is quite challenging to find ways to encourage your family to participate in yoga.
As a Yoga Teacher, I am always asked “do your children practice yoga?” People have images of me spending glorious Sunday afternoons with my children practicing yoga. In fact, the reality is, my children (three teen daughters, twins aged 16 and 19) have grown up with me practicing and teaching yoga yet do not have their own yoga practice. To them yoga “is mum’s job!” When they were younger, my children attended yoga classes I held at their school and at home would sit quietly with me whilst I meditated or practiced yoga.
What they do have, and this is what I encourage you to develop and share with your family, is an open mind, a flexible attitude to life, the understanding of ‘healthy eating‘, knowledge of self-healing techniques, a caring and compassionate nature, and trust in life. I believe as they get older, maybe have families of their own, they will actively embrace a yoga practice – till then their interest in yoga revolves around seeing me do my daily practice and learning to embrace life on their own terms.
Putting all this to one side, from experience, here are five tips and techniques I have used over the years which you may find useful to encourage your family to be interested in yoga.
Five Easy Ways to Encourage Your Family to be interested in Yoga
1. Find a space in your home where you or any family member can safely practice yoga. This might be a space in the main living room or a quiet corner in your bedroom. In this space, all you need is space to lay down a yoga mat and maybe light a candle, burn incense, and have a few soft cushions. Once here, if your children are young they can sit on the cushions and watch you or even join in at their own pace.
2. Be gentle. There is no point trying to force your friends and loved ones to join in yoga with you. Yoga is a personal journey, there are many forms and branches of yoga and you must trust that each family member will come to yoga in their own time and own path. It is more important for your family to see you regularly practice and live the benefits, then trying to press-gang them into joining a class.
3. Be creative. Yoga has many branches and schools. If your family is into singing, find a local yoga studio which offers Kirtain (devotional songs). Harmonizing with your family through yoga songs and chanting is a wonderful way to uplift and unify your family’s energy. Maybe your child or partner is artistic? If so, coloring in Mandalas, is a relaxing activity you can do together as a family.
4. Be open. Yoga encourages you to be open, to recognize individual differences and see beyond the illusion. Yogic stories and poetry are wonderful tools to share with your family. Stories about Krishna or yoga for children books are colorful and easily enjoyed by all ages.
5. If your child or partner have trouble falling asleep, there are lots of yoga relaxation DVDs or CDs they can watch/listen to, to aid a restful night sleep. After a few nights of restful sleep, your partner may be more inclined to accompany you to your class.
As you can see, it is possible for you to introduce yoga to your family. Yoga is a holistic practice with many shapes and forms to choose from. All you need to do is trust, find a space, led by example and do your own practice; be gentle, open and creative and try other less traditional ideas. The more you live and be yoga, the easier it becomes for your family to accept and try out this ancient practice. I would love to know which tips work best for your family. Drop me a line and let me know.