Prenatal yoga can help expecting mothers reduce stress and have better sleep. So when Nicole Atkins found out she was pregnant with her first child, she decided to give it a try and purchased a video to do at home. What she was not expecting was that her partner, Robert Meko, would join her in her new exercise routine. “I would do all of the pregnancy poses, but skip the Kegel stretches,” says Robert.
Nicole and Robert’s lives changed since that very first yoga experience ten years ago. Together, they are now raising four daughters and one son in Avon, IN. But Robert’s life also changed as he discovered the ways yoga made his own life better. He is now a yoga instructor and has been teaching for two years.
We talked to Robert to ask him about his family yoga experiences.
Brighter Futures Indiana: When did yoga start for your children?
Robert: When my oldest daughter was close to two years old, she would crawl on the mat and downward dog. Before long, she was trying other poses like lotus. I would catch her doing poses when she was playing outside on her own, mimicking the way I looked.
BFI: Did you begin teaching her after that?
R: Not really. My kids will ask if I can teach them yoga. They’ll want to do a certain pose and I’ll teach them how to get in and out of a pose, as well as the English and Sanskrit word for it. But we don’t set a time or have a class.
BFI: What is a good way to start doing yoga with kids?
R: A good way to start is by doing it in front of them. Your practice will be interrupted. But let them watch you do it. You can take them to kids yoga classes too. I’ve taken my daughters to family yoga or “Daddy & Me” type things. They get into it and it’s fun.
BFI: What is something surprising you’ve seen in your children as product of doing yoga?
R: The breathing techniques are surprising. I see my kids breathe to calm down, without being prompted to do it. Also, when my older daughter’s teacher sent me a photo of her leading her group in meditation. It was her idea to teach her class! And she was able to lead by piecing together her observations and the little bit of information I gave her.
Looking for yoga for kids? These places offer classes for little ones:
All People Yoga Center
South Bend, IN
The Yoga Studio
Carmel & Indianapolis, IN
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