Know Your Neighbors: How Adrienne Smith cures summer boredom with family-friendly yoga

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About the Author
Adrienne Smith is an Oak Park mother and Studio Manager for Core Power Yoga in River Forest. She, like most parents, hates to hear the words “I’m bored!” from her kids in the summer months.

Summer is here, and for those of us with school-aged children, there are some wonderful things about time off from school. No more having to get our kids dressed with packed lunches and snacks, nor woes of homework and projects being due. We can relax. However, some of us parents start to feel like the “Julie Cruise Directors” of summer fun. Summer camps, pool days, play dates, family vacations…oh and did I forget to mention that we still have all our normal errands and work to do too? Welcome to the fascinating drama of summer. If you are anything like me, the first week home seems to go fairly smooth until the dreaded words, “I’m bored.”  Argh!  Those two words are nails on a chalkboard to every parent on the planet. How can you be bored already??

Even with all the hours you have already planned, you’re still left with many hours of avoiding boredom. And unlike winter or spring breaks, the sun is out, and being outdoors is finally a better option. That said, we parents have our own lives to manage, and a vast majority of the summer days are spent in front of the television, iPad, or the other electronic gaming systems that we have invested in to “entertain.” We are then forced to admit how many hours we depend on any electronic device that will babysit our children.

When you’re sitting by your phone waiting for a playdate invitation, why not try something outside the box?

When not caring for my own kids, I am a yoga instructor, and as a parent, I have found that applying my education and experience in my yoga studio is exactly what my children need. Yoga instills ownership and mind-body awareness. It’s simply breath with movement. Yoga brings out the most beautiful aspects of our personalities, the core of who we are as people. Practicing yoga (it’s a practice, not perfection) allows us to connect with attributes within us that affect our daily lives.  Whether it’s learning patience in holding a difficult posture for 10 breaths or balancing on one foot, we are engaged and find something more about ourselves each and every time we come to our mats.

Yoga is something that any person at any age can practice. Children love learning the postures and deepening their connection within themselves. Yoga provides children with greater self-awareness and gives them perspective on their roles and responsibilities within the community. I have taught children with learning disabilities and emotional disorders, and I consistently hear from their parents how much yoga enables them to improve their concentration and self-confidence.

Yoga provides children with effective tools to control their mood swings and anxiety. Schools are offering yoga in gym as well as after school activities. Learning to breathe consciously will soften anger and frustration which helps our kids find happiness.

yoga2Our children are growing up in the social media era. FB, Twitter, Instagram and the internet can suck our young ones into constantly feeling like they have to be electronically engaged 24/7. When we were young, our parents solved our boredom dilemma by locking us outside until dark. Unfortunately, times have changed.

Many yoga studios have started offering kids classes. Core Power Yoga in Oak Park/River Forest offers Family Flow classes on the last Sunday of every month. Watching parents and children move and dance during class together is invigorating. One hour with kids and their families together laughing….without anyone’s head buried in an electronic device, is truly beautiful. Kids enjoy movement and play, so explore incorporating basic yoga poses into your daily or weekly routine, and you will give your child a chance to breathe, move, and connect with you.

There is no winner or loser, achiever or non-achiever in yoga. It’s simply the practice of extracting one’s best self.

For more information on how to incorporate yoga into your family life, contact Adrienne Smith at adriennesmith1@mac.com or at 404-735-5145.

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