On her adventure this week Tatty Bumpkin celebrates the Queen's Birthday.
She goes to London and has fun playing with the Queen's corgi's dogs - whilst doing downwards dog pose of course!
Gently stretching and strengthening key muscle groups whilst activating the body senses - Dog pose is a great all-rounder for both you and your child. Dog pose can provide your child with the ideal ‘movement break’ if they are finding it hard to settle to do homework or struggling to calm to themselves.
But the benefits of 'downwards dog' pose don't stop there - doing Dog pose, and using words to describe it, helps your child develop their 'spatial reasoning' skills.
Spatial reasoning, involves the ability to locate and move our own bodies and objects in space, either physically or in our 'mind's eye'. (National Research Council, 2006).
When a baby makes their first movements they are developing their spatial reasoning - as they start to understand how they interact with other people and the world around them.
More complex spatial reasoning skills include:
- Being able to identify, handle different shaped objects and possibly change the way they look.
- To understand how objects and ourselves relate to one another in space
Crucially spatial reasoning and skills are not fixed at birth - they can be learnt and improved with practice. You can encourage your young child's spatial reasoning:
- Through physical play. As your child moves their body they will be gaining a deeper understanding of the dimensions of their body and how it relates to objects and other people.
- By using gestures as you talk to them i.e. drawing circles in the air as you talk about the 'round' apple
- Using 'spatial' words as you play i.e. 'up' , 'down' , 'inside' and 'upside down'
Dog Pose – Tatty Bumpkin’s Yoga Activity for the Week
|Stretch into Dog Pose - then see if you can wag your tail!|
However, do respect your body, if you know you have any health issues e.g. back, neck or wrist issues always take extra care and stop if your feel any pain. For further information on whether this pose is suitable for you always consult a health professional.
- Find a clear place on a non-slip surface (e.g. mat or carpet) where you can do Dog pose with your child without bumps!
- Remember to take off socks and shoes – this will enable you and your child to use your feet effectively as you balance in Dog pose.
- Start Dog pose by encouraging your child to move onto their hands and knees with you - in cat pose.
|Start in Cat pose|
- Check to make sure your own and your child’s hands are flat on the floor ideally with your fingers spread apart a little.
- Now gently push up through your hands and feet and lift your hips (bottom) up into the air – into dog pose. You and your child should now just be balancing on your hands and feet. You can show your older child how they can tuck their toes under their feet to help them push up through the floor.
- Keep your knees bent to start with - this will help you and your child to stretch out your back. Then see if you can straighten your knees one at a time - but be careful not to ‘lock’ them. If your child is hyper-mobile at the knees and likely to over-extend them - encourage them to imagine they have a little butterfly under their toes – which they must not squash! This will help your child to only press their feet gently into the floor.
- Dog pose is a ‘back’ stretch. So if you, or your older child, feels tightness down the back of your legs and knees as you do the pose - bend your knees a little more.
As you do this you will be able you to lengthen your back further.
- Encourage your child to see if they can now look through their legs by putting their head between their upper arms – seeing the world from upside down!
- Finally you can bark at each other or even ‘go for a walk’ – moving forwards, backwards and even sideways across the mat, carpet or garden!
- If your child is older - encourage them to lift one leg in the air to wag their doggy tails!
|Dogs waving their tails!|
Benefits of Tatty Bumpkin’s Dog Yoga Activity for Your ChildDog pose will give your child the opportunity to:
1. Strengthen their ‘core’ muscles for fine motor skills
Dog pose helps your child to ‘waken up’ and strengthen all their core muscles i.e. their back, tummy, shoulder and hip muscles, but especially their shoulder muscles. Activity in these muscle groups can have a positive impact on your child’s fine motor skills such as writing and dressing.
2. Stretch and lengthen their back muscles.
In dog pose your child will have the chance to gently stretch and lengthen their spinal muscles. Whilst sitting on sofas or chairs or carrying heavy rucksacks it's just so easy to collapse into a the slumped or slightly crooked spinal position - over time this posture can start to feel 'normal' for your child. If your child does dog pose as part of their day they will increase their awareness of what a straight, lengthened spine feels like.
|How a slumped posture may affect your child see http://wellnessforlife.com.sg/works/poor-posture/|
|Carrying a bag on one shoulder puts the back into a crooked or misaligned position see http://onsitewellnesscheck.com/page5/page5.html|
When your child does Dog pose they will be stimulating several of their senses:
- their visual sense
- their sense of touch - as they feel the mat with their hands and feet
- their two body senses:
- their proprioceptive sense and
- their vestibular sense.
Proprioception is often called the 'safe sense' by therapists as activities which stimulate this sense tend to have an organising effect on the brain. For example if your child is finding it hard to calm down - doing dog pose may be helpful. Alternatively if your child is finding it hard to keep their focus - doing dog pose may help them to gently alert themselves without making them over-excited.
The vestibular sense tells us where our head is in space. Again your child will stimulate this sense as they do Dog pose.
Doing ‘sensory rich’ activities, which involve the steady stimulation of several senses, will help your child to organise their senses. This sensory organisation is fundamental for learning.
4. Relax their upper back and neck muscles.
After sitting at a school desk, or after carrying a heavy rucksack, for a period of time children may experience tension in their upper back and neck muscles – Dog pose is a great reliever for this tension.
5. Promote Spatial Reasoning Skills
As you child does dog pose they will be exploring the space around them in a different way and so developing their early spatial understanding. As you do dog pose with your young child talk about:
- Being 'upside down'
- Lifting your paw, or tail, 'up' in the air or putting it 'down' on the mat
- Waving your tails 'side' to 'side'
- The shape your bodies are making - triangles?
Love Tatty Bumpkin xFind out about your local Tatty Bumpkin class at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/classes/find-class.html. Or, ask your child’s nursery if they are doing Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity sessions as part of their day.
A New Start with Tatty Bumpkin?Or, maybe, you are thinking of a new career which gives you:
- The opportunity to work with kids
- A great sense of job satisfaction and
- Flexible working to fit around your own family