As a parent, do you wake up with an immediate worry? Is there something that - BAM - is on your mind first thing in the morning about your children, family and all of the things that you have to get done? Family yoga can be a great activity to ease those concerns.

Listening is an essential part of a yoga practice. Being understood and listened to builds a stronger family connection as a whole, but it also can build a person's sense of self-worth and esteem. When a family member feels listened to and understood, it is letting them know that you are a very important person. This is a valuable gift that family members can give to one another. Listening is a skill that can be practiced over and over. That is the good news! We will never get it perfect - we just keep practicing. Listen! Listen very intently to each person in your family - husbands and wives, siblings, parents to children, and children to parents. LISTEN with love and attention.

Effective listening can bring a family to peace and harmony. First, we must listen to ourselves. What feelings are "inside" of you? Can you put words to your feelings and thoughts, and express them in a safe way to everyone in your family? Do you know the power of your own voice? Take turns being silent and not interrupting. Silence is the greatest gift you can give.

The following are some family yoga activities:

  • Yoga Sound Mediation: Keep chimes, a singing bowl and a brass bell in your home. The family sits together in a circle, and one person sounds the chimes. The rest of the family listens with their eyes closed until the sound of the chimes fades away to silence. Then repeat the same thing with a singing bowl, following by the brass mediation bell. Once the sound has faded away, each person in the family shares what they are feeling or thinking.
  • Family Yoga Sound Bath: Family members lie on the floor in stillness and silence with eyes closed. Go to YouTube and search for "mediation singing bowls, chimes, gongs" and play the video. Give silence to one another. The effects of sound over your body and the whole family as "One" is powerful! The sounds and vibrations will release many emotions and feelings, and bring you to a state of deep relaxation. A family yoga sound bath provides a fresh beginning for family connection and sharing. Sharing your power and "self-knowing" your voice is the best lesson of all. You are valued and important!
  • The Worry Tree: Once the yoga sound practices are finished, take out a big piece of poster board and markers. Draw a large family tree with many branches on the poster. Each person in the family will write what they are worried about on the tree. The worries actually become the leaves of the tree. Write down as many worries as possible. Let all family members read your worries and discuss. Have fun coloring in the tree and see what evolves in this family art project of letting your worries go through the beautiful practice of yoga! (worry tree and sound mediations from youngyogamaster.com)

Peace and Namaste!

Charlotte Connick Mabry, RCYT, specializes in children's and family yoga at Wild Lotus Yoga, 4842 Perrier St., New Orelans, 504.899.0047, wildlotusyoga.com.