A Screen-Less, 5-Minute Yoga Flow for Parents and Kids to Do Together
As a yoga teacher who works primarily with children and families, Roni Ben-Yoseph realized that maybe she wasn't the only one with blue-light burnout from looking at a screen every time she taught a class. And while yoga videos and online classes are amazing, she finds that they can reinforce the emphasis on how yoga looks. “The real magic of yoga,” says Ben-Yoseph, “is how it feels.”
So, she created an easy 5-minute yoga flow with no screens meant for parents and kids to do together—after all, yoga means “union,” Ben-Yoseph explains.
What you need to get started: If you have mats, line them up so that the long sides are touching. If you don't have mats, that's OK, too. Then, print out these images (or memorize them!) and get your flow on.
1. Back-to-Back Breathing
Begin seated back-to-back, legs crossed with a tall spine. Take a few moments to consider your own breath. (By bringing attention to your breath, you may notice that it starts to deepen.) Breathe in and out through the nose, inhaling and exhaling fully. Feel your chest and belly expand. Breathe in for five counts; breathe out for five counts.
2. Back-to-Back Seated Side Bends
With your right arm on the floor, bend to your right reaching you left arm over your head and toward the wall. Breathe in for five counts, breathe out for five counts. Switch to the other side.
3. Back-to-Back Seated Twists
With your backs still against each other, twist left—breathe in for five counts; breathe out for five counts. Do the same on your right side.
Come to your hands and knees. Your toes should be untucked and pointing towards the back of the mat (or simply behind you if no mat), and your hands should be under your shoulders. To get into cow pose, breathe in as your belly extends toward the mat, lift your chin and chest and look up at the ceiling. When you breathe out, move into cat pose by transitioning your gaze toward your belly, gently curving your back into an arched position. Move through cat/cow five times each, drawing your breath in and out as you go.
5. Downward-Facing Dog
From your hands and knees, straighten your legs, letting your hips come up high and making your body into an upside down "V". Look towards your feet or knees and inhale and exhale five times.
6. Mountain and Triangle Pose, Facing Each Other
Come to a standing position, with your feet pressing into the earth, shoulders back and arms reaching up. Breathe here for five counts.
From mountain pose, step one foot out, toes pointing towards the front of your mats and turn your back foot out to the side of your mat. (Note: Unless you are the same height, your stances will probably look different.) Stretch your arms out wide, reaching towards the front of your mat as your feet remain grounded, then tip your torso so that your front arm lands on your front shin and your back arm is reaching straight up. Stay here for a five breaths before coming up through center and switching sides—back toes point towards the back of the mat and front toes pointing out to the long edge. Stay here for five breaths before coming back to standing.
7. Wide-Legged Forward Fold, Back-to-Back
Standing back-to-back, step your feet out wide. Inhale and reach up. Exhale and take a wide forward fold, palms on the floor. You will find yourselves looking at each other upside down. Keep breathing, laughter encouraged. Hang out together, upside down, for five breaths and slowly come to a standing position.
8. Boat Position
Make your way down to a seated position, facing one another. Bend your knees with the soles of your feet on the floor and lean back slightly, keeping your spine long and off the floor. Bring your shins parallel to the floor in boat pose.Your arms can come out long in front of you, or you can plant your hands behind you for support with your fingers pointing in (no elbows on the mat). If you're feeling extra strong, you two can bring the soles of your feet together. Hang out here for five breaths.
9. Seated Child's Pose
Draw your knees into your chest, wrapping your arms around your legs and letting your head hang forward for a seated variation of child’s pose. Spend a few quiet moments here.
Ben-Yoseph suggests closing with a hug meditation, inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children. Here is the simplified version that she teaches and practices with her own family.
Embrace and take three deep breaths together.
1. With the first breath, think or say, “I’m glad I am here.”
2. With the second breath, think or say, “I’m glad you are here.”
3. With the third breath, think or say, “I’m glad we are here together.”