When body meets pillows tranquility ensues.
Offering children the gift of relaxation using different poses from Restorative Yoga practices is one of the biggest gifts we can share with them.
Deep relaxation is not a privilege, it’s a necessity, and planting the seeds of relaxation in a child will result in an empowered child.
When our body holds stress, it can be expressed in different ways such as impatience, anger, irritation, frustration, indigestion, headaches, or poor elimination. When we ignore the state of stress and let it built up, it can lead to disease.
Restorative Yoga is a practice that enables the body to get into the ‘Rest and Digest’ state. This means that systems in our body relax the muscles, breathing slows down, the mind settles and blood pressure lowers.
For Restorative Yoga to take place, offer a space that is warm (blankets), dark (eye cover), and quiet (phones and other screens switched off). You want to reassure your child, that even though he/she is going to close their eyes, you will be awake to take care of them. That is an important message as you want your child to feel safe and comfortable physically and mentally as they go into the restorative pose.
We can all relax but not all of us know how to do it, so be patient and give it time and practice.
Below are my favourite poses to share with children. You can use any pillows you have at home.
My suggestion is for you to explore it too and only after you've tried it, share it with your child.
These poses are good for all age groups. You can start with a short stay and gradually increase the time, especially with the older age group.
1. Legs on chair/sofa at 90 degrees
Children lie on the floor and rest their legs at 90 degrees on the seat of a chair. They can put a folded blanket under their hips for cushioning. Make sure that their knees are supported on the seat of the chair/sofa. Cover with a blanket and eye cover.
If lying flat on the carpet feels uncomfortable, you can use more cushions to lift the upper body from the floor. Make sure that the neck is well supported and the chest is not collapsed.
To come out from the pose gentle roll on your side and stay they for at least a few breaths.
Stay in the pose between 5-15 minutes.
*If your child is experiencing heart or eye condition please avoid this pose. For adults who experience the same conditions, as well as hiatal hernias, and for women during their menstruation, please avoid as well.
2. Supported child pose
Sitting on their heels, place a hard cushion, or a big pouf, in front of them, and invite them to rest their front body on the cushion. Let the head rest to one side and remember to change sides after few minutes. Don’t hold this pose for more than 5 mins on each side.
3. Side-Lying Savasana
Lying on their side (preferably left) with knees bent. Creating support (cushion, rolled blanket) under their head. The support should fill up any gaps between their head, neck, and lower shoulder. The lower hand is placed straight to the side in front of them, and top hand is placed either along their body or if possible place a pouf or a big pillow to rest their top hand on it, to create an open space for breathing. The cushion between the legs should support the top knee and the top ankle. Place a round smooth object in their bottom palm to give a grounding and comforting sensation. They can stay in this pose as long as they like.
When practicing restorative yoga always allow time to come out from the pose, slowly and gradually.
Meet the Teacher
Ayala Homossany is passionate about spreading the benefits of yoga and creativity to children. A mother to three boys, she is the creator of the award-winning Enchanted Wonders A-Z cards; a Yogacampus Graduate and a yoga teacher trainer with extensive experience spanning 15+ years, and a professional in working with families, toddlers, children, teens, and children with special needs. Ayala holds a BSc in Visual Communication Design and Education from The Holon Institute of Technology.
She has designed the progressive Empowering Children through Yoga and Creativity Teacher Training to empower students to move away from traditional models of teaching and embrace new and independent methods of pedagogy in order to meet each child as they deserve to be met. The next course will be offered online starting 24th October - find out more here.