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Dads and Children inspired by yoga

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

Yoga's benefits can pass through generations, with even babies and toddlers benefitting from the practise.

We are really proud to be supporting one of the longest standing national children yoga company's in the UK, Children inspired by Yoga and Tatty Bumpkin in their most recent Manchester event which aims to get children and their parents bonding over yoga at an event to raise money for the charity Dad Matters.

Taking place on the 25th of September at Whalley Range Cricket and Tennis Club the event will be used to encourage play, interaction and bonding between children attending and their families. Wuufly have provided three eco yoga prizes for the day, including a Wuufly Pro vegan yoga mat, a Wuufly mini mat and an organic Wuufly tote bag.

We spoke with the organiser of the event Ania Glogowska to find out more, you can read our chat below.

Who is Tatty Bumpkin & Children Inspired by Yoga and what do they do?

Children Inspired by Yoga is a product of the collaborative work of specialist yoga teachers, educationalists and paediatric physiotherapists, the programme is constantly evolving and developing to meet the needs of children and organisations we are working with.

Tatty Bumpkin is a character created by Sam Petter, the founder of Children Inspired by Yoga, every week she takes children on a magical yoga adventure.

Our multi sensory yoga concept consists of four programmes: Baby Bumpkin, Tatty Bumpkin and Tatty Guroo for primary age children and Yoga Guroo for high school. We run private classes and deliver a specialist yoga and mindfulness programme for schools and nurseries which is aligned to EYFS and National Curriculum.

Photo credit Tatty Bumpkin

What is the event about?

We would love to encourage more Dads to get involved in more classes and see the benefit of this activity, particularly with younger children. During the event we would like to promote the idea of yoga not only as a playful physical activity, but also to raise awareness of how it could support Dads bonding with their children and developing mutual trust - the foundations of emotional wellbeing and attachment.

Photo credit Tatty Bumpkin

Who's invited and what can they expect to be doing?

We invite all families with particular emphasis on dads’ participation in the sessions. We are hoping to see dads and children taking part in our playful yoga classes, interacting and exchanging ideas with one another. But most importantly enjoying it! We have scheduled sessions for three age groups to be able to focus on particular needs and tips on how to engage children.

What's the reason behind the event?

The idea of the event arose a few months ago when I saw Wuufly’s MANifesto event and read your article on your blog. It made me realise that I rarely see dads attending my sessions.

I immediately thought, maybe it is something about the perception of yoga as perhaps stereotypically more feminine activity? Obviously it isn’t and dads are naturally brilliant at facilitating physical play and children’s yoga can absolutely contain that dynamic boisterous element.

It was also very important for me to find a good cause to support but also one with similar ethos and focus on wellbeing. All the donations will go to wonderful Dad Matters, a charity which supports paternal mental health, they are very actively reaching out to support dads and their families in the local community. They focus on supporting dads in engaging in early play and interaction with their babies, breaking the stigma about it being a maternal domain and dads getting involved when children can play ‘properly’ - whatever that means!

What’s the benefits of children's yoga?

Endless! It really is very difficult to give a short answer. Yoga supports overall development of babies and children.

"It is a multi sensory activity, which naturally develops body awareness, children become more mindful of their movement."

They improve their coordination, motor planning and spatial awareness, which will contribute to mathematical reasoning in the future. Practising simple yoga poses strengthens the core which helps children stabilise their trunk and allows them to isolate the movement of their extremities which has a tremendous impact on learning to read and write. But it isn’t only about prerequisite skills for academic learning, more importantly, it supports and draws children’s attention to their wellbeing and ways they can look after themselves and this is a skill for life.

Our sessions are designed in a way which helps school age children to begin gaining self - regulation skills and bring early awareness to how different movement makes them feel, for example jumping like a frog can be quite alerting, whereas giving your body a big squeeze and rolling into a ‘mouse’ pose will have the calming and grounding effect. We also teach children simple breathing techniques using various visual props.

For babies and younger children yoga can support the bonding process with their parents and carers and provide an opportunity for a mindful multi sensory stimulation.

Photo credit Tatty Bumpkin

How can it help parents or carers bond with children?

For younger children and babies it will be all about the interaction. In yoga sessions we will encourage parents and carers to tune into their babies mood, observe the reaction as we gradually change their body position or massage a particular body part.

We all know experiencing touch is essential for development and building relationships. At this stage of life children need someone to help them regulate, hence we moved away from the strategies like ‘self-soothing’.

By tuning into our child’s responses we learn about their needs. In a way we act as an external mindfulness catalyst - we observe and then endeavour to give meaning to the sensations they experience by acknowledging it and modelling the response. This is such an important role and it helps to build trust and sense of security for our little ones.

What would a typical children's yoga class look like?

Tatty Bumpkin and Baby Bumpkin take children on a new adventure each week, they visit new places, solve problems together and meet new friends. Our sessions have a specially designed structure to modulate the level of energy but also to provide the familiarity which is very important for younger children.

We use multi sensory storytelling to immerse children in the adventures, for younger yogis we use props and music, for older we tend to include more narrative to spark imagination and creativity.

Our sessions are not only about following a sequence of adapted poses but also help to develop communication and social skills. Throughout the session we also weave in the elements of mindfulness which could be focusing on body awareness and simple breath work. Every session finishes with relaxation and the elements of meditation for older children.

Photo credit Tatty Bumpkin

Are there classes in Manchester for children to get involved in? If so, where?

Yes, we are currently delivering our programme in schools and nurseries in Prestwich, Bury, Salford and Trafford and we also run private classes, particularly for babies and toddlers. Our toddler classes seem to be very popular as they help to close the gap between a typical sensory baby class and a more structured activity, which I am sure every parent of a two year old understands what I am talking about.

After the challenging period of time we are slowly developing the volume of the classes. I would invite everybody to follow us on social media as we regularly advertise new activities and events. And of course, we want dads to come along too!

Photo credit Tatty Bumpkin

What would you say to a parent who is thinking about taking their child to a yoga class?

I would definitely encourage it, yoga brings a perfect balance of being a strengthening physical activity but also is non-competitive and this is emphasised and modelled throughout every session.

We invite children to ‘check in’ with their bodies in the way that is appropriate to their age to make sure they are comfortable. Everybody can progress at their own pace and this is absolutely essential for building self-esteem.

Is there any way parents can try it at home with their children?

Definitely, one of the positive outcomes of the challenging time of the pandemic is the accessibility of on-line classes and resources. CIBY blog for example offers a wealth of ideas of how to practise yoga at home with children making it fun and engaging but also safe. Children attending our classes each week receive ‘What I did in my class’ information for parents explaining the benefits of the pose and ideas to practise together at home.

The main rule, particularly for younger children is not to correct their poses and let them explore the movement themselves, be mindful that their bodies are still developing. Make it fun, simplify the poses, give them funny names, there are so many games you can play, just let your imagination guide you!

To find out more visit Children Inspired by Yoga here

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