What will you need to practice yoga at home with your child? You don’t need much simply a mat (in some cases, not even that) and maybe a few items found around the home. Since they have special significance to your child, your child’s toys can be used as props, an easy way to add comfort and familiarity to your child’s practice. To save money, you can even make your own props. Get creative!
Yoga Mats. In my group classes with children under 4, I prefer not to use yoga mats as they have proven to be a tripping hazard. As well, they turn into playthings, a potential distraction. Having said that, with a one on one yogasession where there will not be too much movement on and off a mat, and certainly with older children, I find yoga mats to provide a helpful “home base.”
Yoga mats can be an actual sticky mat (preferred on a wood floor), a beach towel, or even a blanket. As children get older and yoga postures become more challenging, the ability of a sticky yoga mat to prevent slipping becomes increasingly important.
Keeping an all-natural spray cleaner and paper towels on hand makes it easy to keep mats clean. Involve your child in the process of keeping the mats clean by making a ritual of cleaning them before putting them away after each yoga session. This is a wonderful example of the practice of discipline or tapas (see The Yoga Principles in this chapter). Yoga mats are available at all major retail stores and can be found for less than $10 at discount chain stores such as Five Below and Big Lots.
Heavy Cotton Blankets. The warmth and weight of a classic Indian blanket (or other heavy cotton blanket) is quite comforting and grounding during the relaxation portion of a session. Have one blanket for each family member neatly stacked up and ready for use during relaxation.
Eye Pillows. Lavender-scented eye pillows are wonderfully relaxing and they can also help weight the eyes and block out the light during the relaxation portion of your yoga sessions. Try making your own (see sidebar).
No-Sew Eye Pillows
You will need a bag of white rice, a few drops of lavender essential oil, and a recycledpair of cotton tights or a sock (think hole-toed or mismatched tights and socks), some rubber bands, and some pretty ribbon. Make tubes of approximately 10 inches by cutting off both ends of the socks or tights. Seal off one end of the tube using one of the rubber bands, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of fabric off the end of the elastic. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the rice with several drops of lavender essential oil. Pour the lavender rice mixture into the tube. Seal off the other end with another rubber band. Now, tie on pretty ribbons to hide the rubber bands.
Yoga Blocks or Similar. Traditional yoga blocks have many creative uses, such as “stepping stones” in yoga games or balancing rocks. Of course, they can also be used to help with support of yoga postures. Find them anywhere that sells mats, blankets, and eye pillows. If you have some hardcover books of varying widths, these can be used in place of blocks.