Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 - Page 52

FAMILY & KIDS Partner Poses For the Wholeness of Family By Alli Louthain ALLI LOUTHAIN Alli Louthain grew up skiing, hiking and biking in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has always enjoyed an active, healthy lifestyle as she’s moved all over the country, including to Hawaii, where she met her husband. As a lifelong athlete and mother of three young kids, Alli loves the way yoga has kept her flexible and grounded for almost a decade. Alli has her RYT through Yoga Alliance and is 200hr certified. She teaches a variety of classes from Prenatal and Chair yoga to Intermediate levels, and specializes in teaching classes for teenage girls and partner yoga for "Tall Ones and Small Ones" of all ages infused with her own motivational speaking style. One of her favorite classes to teach is "Family Yoga" at the YMCA in Avon where her husband and two older kids join her every week! She has also been honored to head up the Family Yoga Section for the Indianapolis "Monumental Yoga" event three years in a row. Uniting family members by doing yoga together is such a beautiful way to bind hearts, minds and souls as one. Partner yoga inherently increases communication and intimacy while building trust. A family practice engenders healthy living and gives parents a way to interact with their kids in a unique positive fashion connecting at every level. Also, family yoga is just stinkin’ fun! Each pose needs two people, who are forced to work together, to successfully engage in the posture. Participants read each other’s body language and talk through different stances to figure out how to connect correctly, to decipher how far one needs to push or pull their partner and to ensure they are equally supporting one another. There is beautiful give and take with each new pose and vulnerability both sides experience at different times. Surrendering engenders trust. Both sides practice honoring each other as they concentrate on the present moment, listening to both their own bodies and their partner’s. A parent may need to readjust their standing pose to accommodate a smaller body, or a child may take the parent a little deeper into a pose by adding their body weight. Constant positive communication, both spoken and nonverbal, creates an atmosphere of affection. Yoga increases flexibility and endurance, improves concentration and creates a sense of calm and confidence in participants. Family yoga allows parents to model all these healthy behaviors alongside their children, allowing actions to speak louder than words. It also gives kids tools to handle stress and a safe space to learn that failures are just beginnings. For parents, make this time for a healthy activity you might not participate in normally. Amid all these other benefits, participants will find out that the best part of partner yoga is the fun! Repeatedly, I’ve seen adults allow their walls to come down, to be serendipitously silly, to laugh at themselves and ultimately, to let go and enjoy the present moment. We let our guard down more easily when familiar people surround us; this makes partner yoga the perfect place to be vulnerable. Milton Berle once exclaimed, “Laughter is an instant vacation!” Interacting with children inherently brings lightheartedness to partner yoga as a sense of play and imagination permeates the practice. Locust pose suddenly transforms into a torpedo tearing through the ocean, and plank is waaay more fun on someone else’s back! Parent and child alike finish the practice with a smile on their face and lightness in their step. Hands down, my favorite part teaching Family Yoga is watching all the partners’ transition out of savasana. I ask them to roll onto their side facing the person they came with and give them the opportunity to “acknowledge their awesomeness” via with touch or words. A three-year-old snuggles up into her mom’s embrace, a dad puts his hand on the shoulder of his ten-year-old son, an eight-year-old daughter squeezes her mom’s hand, and a teenager smirks and then smiles as her mom mouths two words, “love you”. Below are seven different partner poses you can try out with your own kids. With every pose first consider the height, weight and strength of your partner. The taller, heavier and stronger partner should always be the base of the pose. Poses that involve balance should be taken slowly and any poses where you are lifting your child up into the air should have a third person standing by to assist and support. Remember to laugh at mistakes and keep the practice lighthearted. Always, always honor your child’s feelings. Don’t ever force them to try something that makes them nervous or physically uncomfortable. 50 INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I FAMILY & KIDS Partner Poses For the Wholeness of Family By Alli Louthain Uniting family members by doing yoga together is such a beautiful way to bind hearts, minds and souls as one. Partner yoga inherently increases communication and intimacy while building trust. A family practice engenders healthy living and gives parents a way to interact with their kids in a unique positive fashion connecting at every level. Also, family yoga is just stinkin’ fun! ALLI LOUTHAIN Alli Louthain grew up skiing, hiking and biking in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has always enjoyed an active, healthy lifestyle as she’s moved all over the country, including to Hawaii, where she met her husband. As a lifelong athlete and mother of three young kids, Alli loves the way yoga has kept her flexible and grounded for almost a decade. 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