Using yoga with children at bedtime can be a very relaxing, unique way to make your bedtime routine a calming experience. This will help to calm your child before they climb into bed for the evening. So let’s look at how you could go about this.
Start off by sitting on the floor with your child. The child can be seated on your lap, sitting beside you or face to face. Inhale some deep breaths, filling your belly with lots of air. Then place your hand on your belly and feel the air as it moves in and out of your body. Count to four as you bring the air in, hold for one count and then allow the air to release as you count to four again. Repeat this two to three times. It’s important to let the air fill your belly, not just your upper chest. Sometimes it is fun to lay on your back, put a small stuffed animal on your belly and watch it move up and down as you breathe in and out. We often use a rubber duck in our classes!
Now you can introduce some yoga poses, using ones that represent animals or living things, such as a cow, dog, cat or cobra. Always start in a quiet pose, such as child’s pose or rock pose. Then move into a more active pose, such as cobra pose, cow pose, cat pose or dog pose. Then go back in a child’s pose to quiet the body and the mind. You could even create your own story! Finish the routine with a relaxation pose; you can always use a lavender eye bag for an extra calming experience.
Child’s pose: Sit on your heels, with your arms at your side. Lean forward, head to floor.
Cow pose: Kneel on the floor on all fours. Raise your head up and sink your back down into a deep curve.
Cobra pose: Lie on your stomach, feet together, palms on the floor. Raise your head and shoulders and look up. We like to hiss!
Cat pose: Kneel on the floor on all fours. Arch your back like an angry cat!
Dog pose: Hands and feet on the floor with buttocks in the air (an upside-down triangle).
Relaxation pose: Lie flat on your back, arms at sides, feet slightly apart. Close your eyes and rest.
Finally, you can end bedtime yoga in one of two ways. Either use a simple body scan to relax each body part as it rests and melts into the bed or end with a story. As the child lies on his or her back in a quiet relaxation pose with eyes closed, guide the child to imagine a story in his or her mind’s eye.
For stories you can do with your child, you could read Fenella Lindsell’s book, YogaBugs: The One Bug Your Child Should Catch.