Charlotte Wilmore created The Family Yoga Company. My youngest daughter, who’s five has been going to these yoga classes every week for a year and loves them so much. She emerges from the sessions feeling super chilled and relaxed, which is just lovely to see. After reading Charlotte’s article, I’m going to encourage my older two to get involved too, as she's reminded me of the benefits of yoga for children. Here, Charlotte talks about why she created her company and the benefits of yoga for children and families. Yoga's the union of body, mind and spirit and it seems that children can benefit from this practice, as much as adults do.
At a time in my life when I was constantly on the move and with two young children in tow, I really found my place on my yoga mat during our recent time living in Germany. Our family had relocated across Europe to a town close to Munich; I needed stability and found comfort in yoga. After years of liking yoga I had suddenly fallen in love with it.
During this time with two invaluable yogi friends, together we attended various yoga teacher trainings all over Europe, specialising in children’s yoga. We subsequently launched Yogi Bugs Munich, which is still running very successful children’s yoga classes today. We would bring topics and stories to life using yoga poses, balance and movement helping the mind and body connection. Using the traditional yoga composition of sun salutations, yoga poses, gentle breathing exercises and of course Savasana. We very quickly learned, through a close relationship with teaching staff, that certain children thrived in difficult subjects when the curriculum was reflected in their yoga classes. Occasionally it was the case that some of these children did not possess the ability to absorb learning by traditional classroom based methods. I found this period of my life to be incredibly influential and rewarding.
Any parent will know that when your child is struggling, you will often search long and hard to find an answer. One of my own children has Dyspraxia, which is a form of developmental coordination disorder affecting gross motor skills. After seeking professional help and support in this area and putting various exercises in place to strengthen muscles and encourage the mind to body connection, I was able to add these into my yoga classes for children of all ages. My adventurous journey was there in front of me laid out by my own child. This amazing bond had been created between us through something we both enjoyed, not only did it improve our communication but also my child’s personal development.
The benefits of children’s yoga are far reaching and include:
· Increases mental and physical awareness
· Improves motor development on both sides of the body, strength and coordination
· Provides opportunity for creativity, discovery and fun
· Helps improve self control behaviour and self esteem
· Supports mindful thoughts, words, actions, meditation and breathing exercises
· Relaxes the body and mind promoting better sleep
· Influxes a mind and body connection
· Therapeutic benefits for children
It’s been almost a year since we returned from our travels back to West Sussex, and I’ve dedicated most of my time to developing the venture which I’m most proud of; The Family Yoga Company. I am currently working with five local schools teaching children’s yoga and trying to break down the barrier of bringing yoga and meditation into schools as part of the curriculum. Looking to the future, I have furthered my yoga training hours to Adult yoga and recently completed a Baby massage course with the Royal School of Midwifery. The Family Yoga Company has grown steadily and I’m looking forward to a busy year ahead!
In Spring I will be launching a new venture called ‘My Healthy First Steps - Nutrition and Baby massage’ partnering with ‘My Healthy Alternative’ Health Coach. Together we will be developing workshops for parents to visit for advice on those very things. Also, The Family Yoga Company will be offering unique yoga retreat breaks for families, along with parent and child bonding experiences to be launched together with TribeRetreats. Soon I will able to add Prenatal yoga to my portfolio, and I’m looking forward to being able to offer all things yoga (and more) to people from all walks of life, whether you’re pregnant, aged 102 or anything in between!