Any mama who has struggled to find time to exercise, especially while caring for a small child, knows how much more difficult it is to actually work out. You probably have a few go-to exercises, but when your toddler comes home from day care or your baby is crying for more milk, it doesn't last.
That's why we asked Laura Kasperzak, an acroyoga expert and ToeSox and Tavi Noir grip socks ambassador, and her 10-year-old daughter Jayden to teach us a few poses we can create at home with our littles. The mom and daughter duo is not only super cute on Instagram, but they're very knowledgeable about what yoga poses actually work.
As someone who loves yoga but hasn't tried it with my kid yet, I was intrigued. Last week, I convinced my 3-year-old to do a few poses with me—to note, double down dog and partner plank poses are our favorites. I'm not going to lie, initially I thought getting into poses with him would be a complete disaster. But, I'm happy to report that we had fun together and practicing yoga together is something I'd like to do with him regularly.
Pro tip: Make sure to layer the yoga mats if you're new to yoga or if your kid is likely to move around a lot so you don't slip.
Ready to begin? Here are six easy mama & daughter yoga poses to try at home:
1. Double down dog
"Downward-facing dog was the first pose I ever taught my kids and they are natural at it," says Kasperzak. Place your hands shoulder width apart on the floor, allowing your feet to be hips distance apart. "You can make it challenging by seeing how long you can hold it while your child passes under you, or experiment with your child under your downward facing dog," Kasperzak instructs. For safety reasons, be sure that you've mastered the pose before your little one poses under you.
2. Partner plank
Studies show that planks are one of the most effective ways to carve and strengthen abs . "This pose is definitely for mamas looking to rebuild their core and build strength in their upper body," Kasperzak says. Start with plank pose and have your child sit on you. See how long you can hold it! This is also a great way of getting in an extra snuggle, mama.
3. Double cobra
The partner version of the double cobra is a great way to stretch the front body, says Kasperzak. Lay on your belly, place your hands alongside your rib cage and have your child lay on your back with their hands on your shoulders, Kasperzak continues. Press into your hands, lift your chest up and bend your knees. Have your child do the same, make sure to keep your shoulders down and your gaze focused up.
4. Front bird
Okay, we know what you're thinking: How in the world can I do this pose? The front bird looks challenging, but it's not as hard as you think. First, Kasperzak suggests laying on the ground, placing your feet on the front of your child's hips. Then take their hands and lift them up on your feet. Stay at this pose if you have younger children.
For older kids, have them start to engage their body and see if they can let go of your hands and fly. "This is a wonderful way of unlocking imagination through movement," notes Kasperzak. "It also helps your child develop body awareness and build trust."
5. Partner bridge
Start on your back and have your child face away from you just like the front bird pose. "Grab their hands and lift them up," says Kasperzak. This is such a great way to stretch out your kid's back, especially if they've been carrying a heavy backpack or have been seated in classroom desks all day.
6. Seated forward fold
"This is a simple way to stretch out the backs of your legs," says Kasperzak. Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you. Flex your feet and keep your spine lengthened as you fold forward together. There's nothing better than a great stretch.