As a single Parent, I have always loved exploring the world with my young daughter, but found it was sometimes tricky to fit in a long yoga practice on our travels. Although I have become highly skilled in multi tasking and managing balances with a 3 year old on my shoulders, I love the fun and games of this playful shared practice but at times I’ve quite liked the idea of having the mat all to myself!
I have been running worldwide Retreats for 20 years, since 1998 so it was natural to soon start offering what I sensed was an important service for many parents.
For many of us practicing yogis, yoga is a way of life and an integrated part of our day/week. The magic of becoming a parent often leads us into a new way of practicing; we often have to be even more committed to ensure it doesn’t slip away completely! We are more centered, calm, light and loving after practice and therefore our children benefit from our more patient responses to their sometimes-urgent needs. If we don’t have time to ‘re-set’ ourselves from the day-to-day stresses, then our children may find us more irritable and grumpy!
Therefore, it is just as beneficial to our beloved little ones and all those around us to practice regularly, as well as for our own personal gain. We all have various circumstances, which may at times stop us from pinning down that sacred regular time at home. Particularly if we are juggling work, other family responsibilities and commitments, we may, after a period of deprived self-care, start to feel chronic stress, tiredness and/or burn out.
A yoga retreat can always offer an essential opportunity to relax and rejuvenate our body and mind and feel a stronger connection to our true essence. As busy, tired parents, a weekend, better still a week of child support and daily practice can give us the essential re-tune that we need.
I have been running my yoga retreats in Turkey at the same family venue/s for 20 years (and other UK/overeas locations) and have included a children’s club since my Daughter was almost year old, in 2009. I carefully choose child-minders who can offer the children their own fun and development whilst their parents are practicing yoga or having a massage/healing session.
Depending on their age, younger children enjoy art and crafts and children aged 6 years up can benefit from their own longer children’s yoga session.
When the parents and children meet up again after their separate sessions, they are relaxed, calm and happy to see each other and enjoy quality time hanging out as a family.
I have been running Acupressure Massage workshops and Unity Partner Yoga ™ (est. 2002) workshops for many years on retreat, so I often open these up for the whole family to enjoy together. We all have plenty of fun and laughter, whilst also being able to snuggle up and enjoy the relaxation together at the end of class.
True community includes the happy sound of children’s laughter and excitable chattering. I love to watch the group dynamics of relaxed parents enjoying adult time together over meals and pool time, whilst the children feel safe close by playing their own imaginative games in their magical little worlds. The community feels like a family, in just a few days, strangers come together and very special relationships are formed across families. Parents often head off for beach or mountain adventures between meals and sessions with their children, enjoying essential one to one time.
Many single participants come, the retreats welcome everyone equally. I am sensitive to ensure that there is scheduled quiet time in the main areas, to ensure those travelling without children find the peace and solitude also necessary on retreat. I request feedback at the end of their holiday and am always touched to hear how much the single travelers have enjoyed being around the children.
I have a very happy memory of a recent retreat, where the children performed a play for us on the last night by the pool; challenging us to all to jump in the water with them at the end in our evening clothes! We all did and it felt, from the laughter and spontaneity as if we were all enjoying the complete joy of being children again together!
Children bring so much joy, awe and wonder. They remind us of our playful selves and inspire us with the way that they make friends so quickly and easily. They trust, are inquisitive and eager to try new things, therefore to be around them is an honor and a great opportunity to shake off our adult stresses and strains.
It is also wonderful for the children to see adults more at ease, relaxing together and all taking time to get to know each other. It is a happy, healthy environment for them to feel safe, held and free to explore and investigate their surroundings and themselves. The children can witness first hand, the benefits of the power of yoga in the adult’s lives and wherever possible, they can join in on mantra, yoga nidra and quiet time together.
I love the work that I do, I am working more and more with children now as I love the freshness and presence that they gift us with.
Yoga retreats are always a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with who we truly are, with where we are at and where we chose to move to. To retreat with children is a joyful experience, where everyone’s needs are met and we can learn from each other to remember the joy of true community living.
We have a couple of child spaces left on this years Turkey Retreat. Adults are equally catered for and welcome without children too.
For more info and how to book: https://www.being-in-unity.com/unity-yoga-retreat-faralya-turkey-2
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