Mom & Toddler Yoga | Poses to Try

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Victoria and I tried a yoga class together for the first time over the weekend. It was a workshop at one of my favorite Chicago yoga studios in honor of Mother’s Day. The teacher had to bow out at the last minute so another studio teacher filled in, bringing her toddler along.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class. I figured it would be like a regular class but with the toddlers attempting to follow along. This is what happened in reality:

The class began with dancing to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” Then we sat down and started to work on our breathing. The instructor assured us that this was a safe space and that anyone who needed to feed their child should feel free to do so. We next moved into cat/cow, downward-facing dog and various folds. Victoria was following along at this point. So far, so good. But then she became more interested in playing with blocks and bolsters than trying to copy her mom.  All the moms attempted to get yoga in but ended up trying to wrangle their kids. The teacher emphasized that we should let the children do what they want and not force them to do anything, and that was good advice. It was a lesson in going with the flow, which is pretty much at the center of yoga.

Victoria’s shirt is Spiritual Gangster. (Not an affiliate link.)

We did manage to do some yoga together though. The following are poses that I think you can do with toddlers in your own home for 15 or so minutes, or however long you have their attention. (Yoga Journal has thorough descriptions of how to do these poses.)

Poses to try at home:

  • High lunges with child on your back or on your knee. I opted to do the lunges and have Victoria do them alongside me, but younger, lighter kids can be held in your arms or settled onto your front bent knee.
  • Seated forward fold with feet together. Sit facing each other with your feet touching. Each of you folds forward toward the other person.
  • Standing forward fold with arms swaying, resembling an elephant.
  • Bridge with child on your stomach or crawling underneath you. I did both bridge and upward-facing bow, and Victoria enjoyed crawling under me. You could also have your toddler on your torso.
  • Downward-facing dog. Victoria loves to do the variation with one leg lifted. 
  • Seated twists.
  • Cat/cow.
  • Child’s pose. Victoria loves child’s pose as well. 
  • Savasana.
At home, Victoria likes to take her “ABC Yoga”  book** and mimic the poses inside. (It was a Christmas gift from her aunt and uncle.) It illustrates yoga poses in fun ways and is fun to do with toddlers. She also likes to try her variation of handstand, believe it or not. I plan to keep practicing yoga at home and asking her to join me if she seems interested. 

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Have you ever tried yoga with kids?

Yoga essentials**:

  • Blocks. If nothing else, your kid can play with these while you practice.
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  • Bolsters. It feels great to recline on a bolster in savasana and bound angle pose, along with seated poses.
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  • Yoga mat. We rolled out two yoga mats next to each other for class.
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