Benefits of Mommy & Me Yoga
The bond between a mother and child is very sacred. Cultivating healthy practices that encourage the release of stress and mindfulness is imperative in these times. Here's a story from one of our tribe members, LaTonya, about her relationship with her mini and yoga.
“Mommy, remember you said we can do cat-cows this morning? Meow, meow, meow, moo, moo, moo.”
As my daughter settles onto the purple cushiony mat beneath her hands and knees, her back is arching up and her belly is drooping down to the earth. The anticipation in her smile warms my heart. Is she aware that by doing this activity it is good for her mental health and the longevity of her spine? I am sure that doesn’t cross her mind. The thought of doing an activity that allows her to behave like other animals and the fact that her mom is leading the way, meowing and mooing, is probably what sparks her interest the most.
By waking up in the morning to do three rounds of cat and cows it...
1. Provides a flow of energy by joining breath with movement
2. Aids in the flexibility of the neck and spine
3. Warms up the body to prepare for the day
What a great way to start your day, right? Especially with a kid! Before I can answer her or join her on the mat, another question sings into the air followed by the swift motion of her flipping onto her back lifting her legs into the air.
“Mommy and then remember you said after cat-cows I can go up on your feet, do you remember?"
The sweet questions from a 5-year-old who is already practicing the art of self-love. "Going up on my feet" is a cue she created to replace Acro Yoga. Amongst gaining flexibility, mobility and core strength, Acro Yoga benefits for me and my child have been a sense of play, while building a stronger bond between us through problem-solving.
I introduced yoga to my daughter at the impressionable age of three. A three-year-old that I realized was very much like her mother- full of energy, eager to learn, and loving. With those three factors already on her plate, I knew that getting through certain situations in life might be difficult to navigate if I didn’t find a way to redirect the energy.
When I started my own yoga and meditation practice, it was to cope with mental, emotional, and physical abuse. Connecting with my spirituality, and developing self-confidence and self-discipline is crucial for me. I thought it would be selfish to not share such an ancient tradition that dates to our ancestors of ancient Egypt, with my child.
It was the best decision I have ever made in my life. The bond between us is much stronger than I could ever imagine. Making sure we get our yoga and meditation practice is a morning ritual we have established.
In yoga, there are plenty of poses that she can do "better than me" because her body is more flexible than mine. Therefore, when she can perform a pose better than me she says “mommy this is how you can make it better,” which allows her to be the teacher and me to become the student. What a beautiful cycle always remaining a student even if you are acting as the teacher. Essentially, this type of relationship has become a good way for her to communicate with me about anything.
I live by the motto of "my life’s struggles are my struggles and they are not comparable to anyone’s because it’s the toughest struggle I’ve had to endure." So, as a rather free-spirited soul at times, who am I to tell my toddler that by losing her favorite stuffed animal at the supermarket isn’t that big of a deal? To her it’s a big deal and I must be able to guide her through that phase as smoothly as possible without damaging her by telling her "it's just a toy," "be quiet," or "to get over it."
So, by looking at the full picture and then dissecting it for the appropriate situation, it has assisted me in being a better parent. When we practice Acro Yoga, sometimes figuring out how to get to a certain posture we want to accomplish may seem difficult. I ask her how do you think we can accomplish this pose, she may come up with a way that fits or she may not but it's a good way to engage her mind into the practice to focus.
Little people need healing too and often it is because parents have not yet found a correct way to assist their children through effective healing mechanisms or through emotional trauma. Although yoga may not be for everyone it is certainly a way to enhance a togetherness between mother and child.
The sense of being held to the stigma of "you’re an adult and playing is for kids" doesn’t exist on the mat. Your mat is your own space where no one can pass judgement against you. It is a place to engage in the act of self-love and loving your child while building a bond that will last forever through mindful movement and meditation.
“Sure mommy remembers that I said we can do yoga this morning,” I say as I plop onto the mat beside her.
“Yay mommy!” she says excitedly and gets back to her hands and knees. "Ok now take a deep breath in, lift your head, drop your belly and say moo! Then blow out the candles and curl your back like a cat and say meow!"
Written by LaTonya Sims
Edited by Mya Cato