Practicing yoga and mindfulness outdoors with children connects them with nature while encouraging feelings of peacefulness, happiness and a sense of belonging in the world. ChildLight Yoga shares how.

Yoga in the Park Collage 2013_Addie and ElsaAnyone, whether you are a ChildLight Yoga instructor or have never practiced yoga before, can help children  enjoy the many benefits of practicing yoga and mindfulness outdoors. When they pretend to be a tree or frog while feeling cool grass beneath their feet, children establish a link with nature and enjoy feelings of peace, contentment and a sense of connectedness.

For those unfamiliar with doing yoga with children, there are many wonderful easy to use resources that fit perfectly into a back pack or beach bag including 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children, by Lisa Flynn and the Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck

Use yoga poses inspired by trees, flowers, insects, animals and land formations. The Frog, Fish, Eagle, Crocodile, Butterfly, Flamingo, Jellyfish, Lotus, Monkey, Mountain and Owl poses are just a few to try.  

Encourage children to breathe deeply, mindful of the scents of nature such as damp earth, flowers or freshly mown grass.  Invite them to listen closely to the sounds around them. What do they hear? Perhaps it's the wind blowing in the trees, waves lapping at the beach or birds singing.

It's always a good idea to practice in a shady spot or before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Make sure to pack sun-block, bug spray and water as well as a towel for everyone. You can skip the towel if no one minds getting a bit grassy or sandy. You might encourage exploration of the textures of the earth and surroundings, noticing that sand is grainy, grass is a bit damp and soft.

If you live in or plan to visit southern Maine or New Hampshire this the summer, ChildLight Yoga helps bring families together by sharing a free class every year in Portsmouth, NH’s beautiful water side Prescott Park as part of the Yoga in the Park series. This year, the Family Yoga in the Park event is being held on June 24, 2014 at Noon and will include yoga poses, partner work, songs, games and giggles.  Childlight Yoga also offers an extensive series of summer camps and programs at its studio in Dover, NH. Camps focus on the idea of outdoor adventures and will include several trips to Henry Law Park, adjacent to our newly expanded studio at 53 Washington St. in downtown Dover opening July 1. Visit us at www.childlightyoga.com.