How to Get Your Family Into Yoga: Lead By Example and They Will Follow
Let's set the scene. It’s early evening on, say, a Wednesday. Work is winding down. School is over for the day. Everyone is quietly occupied, maybe reading a book, making a snack, starting dinner, or playing Minecraft. No one seems to need you, so now’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: time to roll out your yoga mat and get in a quick practice.
There’s something about the emergence of your mat that acts as a beacon. Does the slight swoosh of air as it hits the floor ricochet around the house? Does the subtle thwack of rubber meeting wood reverberate from room to room, alerting all and sundry that somewhere nearby, yoga is about to begin? Whatever it is, all of a sudden, everyone wants to know what you’re up to.
Like moths to a flame, they are drawn toward the mat. They gather around, maybe trying to get your attention, maybe just wanting to be close to where the magic happens. They might have a few pointers for you on how to improve your Ardha Chandrasana or they might demand a turn so that they can show you their Headstand, their Crow Pose, their Forward Fold. If this sounds familiar, you're doing something right. Yoga is on their radar: it's interesting, it looks fun, and goodness knows you're in a better mood afterwards. So, where do you go from here?
Everyone in your orbit is already benefitting from your yoga practice. Your mat time makes you a better partner, parent, child, and co-worker. A household where yoga mats are part of the furniture will result in a family that is aware of this practice and has experienced its benefits first hand. They have seen you on your mat time and again, putting in the work. When they are ready to join you, they will let you know.
Yoga With the Kids
Yogi parents of young children know this drill. As soon as you get on your mat, they want in on the action. When your kids are small, they just want to be near you. Put them on their own mat and give them a few yoga props to play with and they might just stay there long enough to let you get in a Downward Facing Dog or two.
Older children may be ready for a bit more structure or to mimic what you do. Remember that the goal isn’t to turn your children into amazing yogis; it’s to expose them to the practice that you love so that they know it is something that can support them throughout their lives.
If you have teenagers, you can offer to take them to classes or practice with them at home, but don’t push yoga too hard (although you know it would really help them!) because they may go contrary on you. Even if they’ve grown up with yoga in the house, they have to come to it themselves.
Yoga With the Adults
You may be super excited to get your partner or your parents into yoga, but remember that, like teenagers, they will be on their own journey. Think back to your own days as a beginners. Share the things you wish someone had told you and your 'aha' moments, but don’t get on them for every alignment detail.
Find a class to attend together that’s appropriate to their level so that their information is coming from a trusted third party and you’re just there for support and to answer their questions. The best way to get your family into yoga is to make it abundantly available on their terms. You can't walk their path for them, but you can open the door and show them the lovely view!