Mabel,* a plucky tot with bright eyes, walks around the room in a circle with her mother. Then they jog. Soon they’re running.
Finally, they both lay down on the floor. Mabel is giggling. She scampers to her mother and gives her a kiss as they both stand up.
That’s how every Mommy and Me (or Daddy and Me) yoga session at Boulder Yoga Kids begins. Teri Jacobson, the studio’s founder and yoga teacher, remarks, “Mommy and Me yoga is a wonderful way for a parent and child to bond and build trust while enjoying exercise together in a happy, soothing environment.”
Two- and 3-year-olds make surprisingly good workout partners when it comes to yoga. They like to mimick their parents and tend to be limber so they can successfully copy simple poses. Yoga also helps toddlers gain awareness of their bodies and improves their balance while developing their motor skills, muscle control, and social and sensory skills. They learn to challenge themselves physically, and they become stronger and more confident as they discover new poses.
The class format is often a first for many children as they listen to instruction and follow lessons alongside peers and caregivers. Breathing exercises and relaxing visualizations even provide toddlers with techniques to calm themselves, and staying active contributes to a better night’s sleep.
Teri says that she likes to gauge the mood and activity level of the children and adults in the room before starting every class. This enables her to customize the progression of asanas (poses) accordingly. “Mommy and Me classes tend to be less structured than other classes,” Teri explains. “I like to be flexible and go with the flow because every class will be different. I want to keep it comfortable and engaging.”
In this one-on-one, personalized Mommy and Me class, Teri observes that Mabel is feeling very energetic, and includes a couple of challenging poses plus extra running and breathing exercises for her. Mabel’s mother is pregnant, so Teri asks her how she’s feeling and chooses a selection of prenatal asanas to match.
Soon mother and child are moving in harmony, mirroring each other in child’s pose and warrior pose. Then, while Mabel does a frog squat, Mabel’s mother does the goddess pose. Partner poses are interspersed throughout: standing and holding hands or Mabel sitting in her mother’s lap. In their favorite partner posture – boat pose – they touch the bottoms of their feet together and lock hands as they move back and forth, singing “row, row, row your boat.” Teri even encourages Mabel to playfully position her stuffed rabbit in asanas beside her. Breathwork, visualizations, and music sustain a relaxing atmosphere and enhance the flow of the class.
Boulder Yoga Kids classes provide parents and caregivers an opportunity for active, two-way verbal and nonverbal communication with their children in a lighthearted, calm environment, which reinforces positive and assuring interactions and relationship-building.
For parents, the poses and conscious breathing (pranayama) are gentle yet invigorating. Yoga aligns the body and fine-tunes balance and posture by building core and back muscles, boosts strength and flexibility, promotes circulation and clears the mind. By relieving stress and increasing focus, it leaves parents feeling refreshed and restored.
“Boulder Yoga Kids classes are part of unforgettable moments in a parent-child relationship that is newly unfolding,” notes Teri.
As the class ends, Mabel, her mother and Teri bring their hands together and in unison say, “Namaste,” each soul recognizing the soul in the others.
*Name of child has been changed to protect child’s identity
If you’re interested in Mommy and Me class at Boulder Yoga Kids:
-No previous yoga experience is necessary.
-Class is for children ages 2-3 years old.
-Parents, grandparents, and family members or caregivers over 18 years old are welcome.
-Yoga mats are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.
Call or email to take a tour of the studio and see class demos on Boulder Yoga Kids channel on YouTube. Also check out Boulder Yoga Kids on Facebook.
Boulder Yoga Kids:
1800 30th Street (north of Canyon), Suite 305 (in the Crossroads Gardens building)
Boulder, Colorado 80301
Ph: (303) 588-4092
Boulder Yoga Kids is our December Featured Friend. We are sharing their story in this space all month.