Up Front | Active
An ancient practice draws a new generation of followers.
By Somer Flaherty
For most yogis, their practices are more than just exercise. Many devotees can say it has changed their lives profoundly—so it’s only natural that they would want to share the experience with their kids. Laguna’s Samantha Breit started her family-friendly yoga series, called the Mindful Octopus, only a little over a year ago, and she’s already making a splash within Laguna parent circles. Her classes, held at The Resort at Pelican Hill, locally at AR4T Gallery and by private appointment, are teaching the joys of mindful yoga to a new generation of followers. Samantha says yoga for families is even more important now than ever before because of the fast-paced lifestyle many people have. “Yoga really allows that much-needed time to slow down and honor yourself and your feelings,” she says. “Yoga teaches compassion, love, kindness, accountability, courage, the list goes on.” Here, we sat down with Samantha to find out how and why yoga brings families together.
Laguna Beach Magazine: How can readers first introduce their kids to yoga?
Samantha Breit: Try a regular kids yoga class and start simply. One of the easiest ways for kids to start yoga is to watch their parents practicing, and slowly, they’ll pick up on the poses.
LBM: How do you get kids engaged in yoga?
SB: To be engaging it needs to be entertaining. That’s why I like to incorporate the storytelling when I teach kids; they really get engaged.
LBM: Why do you think yoga is so important for kids and the whole family?
SB: It’s not just a physical exercise; it’s also extremely important for childhood development skills. It helps kids develop their own self-awareness and self-esteem. When you are doing yoga with someone it builds trust, so it’s great for parents to do with kids.
LBM: How do you teach yoga to young kids?
SB: Adults have made yoga more competitive and more complicated, so I like to teach kids by telling stories. I then ask the kids to retell the story doing yoga poses. They aren’t only benefiting from the physical but from the message in the story. Telling the story while we do yoga also helps with attention span. It’s my secret ingredient.
LBM: Do the skills developed in kids yoga classes help outside of the studio?
SB: Absolutely, especially with concentration, which is valuable at school.
LBM: At what ages can kids start yoga?
SB: My program starts at age 3, but you can practice yoga with your baby. Have the baby watch you and they will start to imitate you. If possible, have kids practice within their age group, such as ages 3 to 5 and ages 6 to 10.
LBM: What is your favorite part about teaching families?
SB: When the kids say they don’t want to leave or ask their parents if they can come back the next day. Yoga is just so natural for children, and it’s great to know I created a place where they can enjoy it.
Family-Friendly Yoga Gear
These active products for parents and their kids make time on the mat fun.
By Somer Flaherty
Yoga isn’t just for adults, and it doesn’t have to be relegated to a studio. Spend quality time with the family getting active at home. Turn on music and have the kids practice their best cobras, half moons and lotus poses. Need a little help getting in the yogi mood? These products will have you saying “ohm” in no time. LBM