What might be a first the longest time, parents and kids — even grandparents — are all under the same roof, 24x7, owing to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns. And this enforced togetherness can deepen relationships for years to come. Apart from indulging in fun activities together, a new trend emerged: Doing yoga and working out together. Earlier, families met at the dinner table, now they meet on their yoga mats. “It is very interesting to see families bonding through yoga. I am glad the lockdown brought about one extremely positive change, and people got more involved in this excellent practice. Everybody was so busy with their work-life, school, and social responsibilities that they never got enough quality time to spend with their families. Yoga is a highly uplifting exercise and is even more effective when practiced with the people you love. I have definitely observed a wave of positivity and seen people feeling closer with their families now,” states Ira Trivedi, a yoga expert.
A regular yoga practice for your family is more than just one great habit. Yoga is shown to encourage the formation of more good habits, from additional exercise regimens to healthy dietary choices. It may even influence the types of relationships we choose to foster in our lives. “I think yoga should not be looked at as an exercise, rather as an exchange of energy or prana. It’s a great way to release happy hormones into your body. Your body can actually feel full of vitality and positivity after a good session of yoga with your loved ones. This positivity comes from the love and good energy in your surroundings,” claims Ira.
Yoga also helps teach families patience and perseverance. Family members encourage each other to do better, thus making it a supportive environment to practice. “I love working out with family. I use it as a tool to enhance my competitive performance. I feel it improves my consistency as well because it requires involving certain level of commitment. I can definitely see the difference in working out with family in comparison to working out alone. When I used to workout alone I used to be bored most of the time and used to find excuses to not work out. On the contrary, I look forward to working out with family every day,” shares Punita Jain, a lawyer.
Make it fun
Yoga can be fun to practice together as a family. After all, it’s a great bonding activity, a time to be together without any expectations in an open, safe environment. “The cool way to make yoga fun is to do fast-paced movements or do small challenges like whoever holds the tree pose the longest gets an extra helping of dessert on Sunday,” recommends Modern Yogi and co-founder of SARVA, Sarvesh Shashi.
Basketball yoga is a popular one with kids and danda yoga is fun for those who want to learn to balance better. Chair yoga is so simple, yet effective that it can be done by anyone. “We try to compete with each other to see who finishes first. It’s fun and it motivates us to workout better and faster,” says Punita.
Kids and yoga
Physical fitness is a vital component for child’s development. Many people think yoga is only for adults but the benefits of yoga can be shared with children as well. It enables them to enjoy life to the fullest by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age. Sarvesh and Ira both believe, “Being a kid is not easy anymore. With school and so many other classes, the distraction of cellphones, iPads and whatnot, yoga is more necessary than ever before. Habits learnt early on remain with us for a lifetime. Yoga can be immensely helpful in improving concentration and focus. It also encourages self-esteem and body awareness with physical activities. Mindful activities can teach kids some techniques for relaxation, which can be an excellent habit to start at an early age. Since their bodies are developing, yoga can enhance flexibility, strength and coordination to a great extent.”
It is said that yoga can help couples sustain their relationship better. Yoga works on our endocrine system, which is responsible for regulations of the hormones. Practicing yoga helps us de-stress and releases positive hormones or endorphins. We tend to take our work-stress out on our loved ones. Doing yoga helps deal with any stress that bothers us in a much better way. “As a teacher, I have seen this a lot, that yoga makes your relationships so much better because instead of taking out stress on each other, you are able to release it through the postures and breathing exercises,” explains Ira.
Three things that define a relationship are: Unbreakable trust, gratitude towards each other and giving each other space — all these can be achieved through yoga. “Something as simple as, literally leaning on each other during a yoga pose can build trust; empathy can be generated when you practise together, and help each other achieve a pose that you couldn’t while you were alone. I think yoga for couples can be a great therapeutic experience for the mind and the body,” points out Sarvesh.
Doing yoga with your partner is an ideal way to spend time together, while releasing the tension that might otherwise get in the way of your quality time. “My husband and I have accepted our bodies and embrace each other’s for the better and it has also helped us connect better and strengthen our bond in so many ways. In fact, we would recommend others to exercise together because the pleasure in gorging on delicious food post that and not feeling guilty is the best feeling in the world,” concludes Riddhi, a fashion designer.
How often to do yoga
Doing any physical activity too strenuously is not a good idea. It is better to start slow and build on it, as you become more skilful you can allow your body to steadily push further in each session. “Being regular is important though as we are creatures of habit. So three to five sessions a week could be a great way to begin, gradually pick up pace and then do it once a day in the mornings or evenings. Even a few of the lighter stretches can be effective on a daily basis. Having a good mentor, coach or instructor is advisable to avoid injury, improve technique and keep motivated,” says Siddharth Kothari, yoga enthusiast and Chief Investment Strategist at Om Kothari Group.