Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Peacock Yoga Pose for your child - A chance to stretch tight hamstrings, activate tummy muscles and boost self-esteem

By Sue Heron – Training Co-ordinator Tatty Bumpkin and Paediatric Physiotherapist 

In this blog I:
  • Describe how to do a Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity with your child 
  • Give you reasons why the Tatty Bumpkin Yoga activity is beneficial for your child
  • Give you some ideas on progressions for the activity and games you can play around the Yoga activity. 

This Week’s Tatty Bumpkin Yoga Activity is Peacock

We always encourage parents and carers to do Tatty Bumpkin's weekly Yoga pose with their child. This is because:
  • Your child learns a great deal from watching others - especially those they 'look up to' - remember you are your child's best playmate. 
  • You will be strengthening the emotional bond between yourself and your child as they see you moving with them. 
  • Doing the pose with your child gives you a chance to have a break and a stretch! Remember though - if you have any concerns whether you should do Peacock pose always consult a health professional first and, if you feel any pain, do stop. Peacock pose can strain your back if you do not tighten your tummy muscles so please take care. 

Peacock Pose Pointers

  • Firstly find a non-slip mat, or an area of carpet, where you can do Peacock pose together. Make sure you and your child have enough room to avoid bumps and knocks. 
  • Take off socks and shoes. It is important to do Peacock pose with bare feet so as not to strain your backs. 

Final Peacock Yoga pose is done on your back with your feet in the air above you - the basic pattern is to take your feet slowly out to the side and then back to the middle - to mimic a peacock opening and closing their tail. 
Peacock pose

However, it's important your child knows exactly what you are expecting them to do, feels confident in the pose and can do it safely - using the right muscles - so .. 

Start Slowly ....

Helping the peacock open his tail!
  • Guide your child to lie on the carpet or mat in front of you. 
  • Encourage them to bend their knees up - keeping their feet on the floor, see picture above. 
  • Then gently guide your child's knees out to the side and back to the middle. Do this slowly so your child has the chance to feel and learn the movement.
  • As you take your child's knees out to each side say 'open!' As you bring their knees together say 'close!'. This will deepen your child's understanding of these words. 
  • Once your child has the idea you can try doing Peacock pose together. 

Peacocks together!

Want to make it harder? A bigger Peacock Tail!  

Lift up your tail and open it wide!Lie on your back with your child - try to keep most of your back on the mat or the carpet and encourage your child to copy you
If your child is doing Peacock pose confidently with their knees bent - they can try the pose with their knees straight. Once again you may need to hold your child's feet at first - this will give them added support and direction. 

If you are doing Peacock pose with your child:
  • Lie down together on the mat or carpet. 
  • Start by showing your child what to do i.e. 
    • Bend your knees up and take your feet off the floor. As you do this movement tighten your tummy muscles and breathe out to protect your back. 
    • Your child will hopefully automatically use their tummy muscles to support their back as they do Peacock pose. However, if you do see their back arching off the floor - they may be putting strain on their back. If this is the case - you can hold your child's feet as they do the pose, or guide them to do the adaptation described earlier in this post - with their knees bent. 
    • Then carefully straighten your knees, as much as is comfortable, so your feet are up the air over your body. Again, as you straighten your knees, keep your tummy muscles tight and gently breathe out - so your back is kept well supported and in contact with the floor. If you feel any strain on your lower back do stop. 
    • Once your feet are up in the air take them apart a little way - then bring them back to the middle. All the time keeping your tummy muscles tight and engaged. 
  • Repeat the pose a few times -  encouraging your child to join in.

Why Peacock Pose is Good for Your Child

Peacock pose will give your child the opportunity to:

1. Stretch and strengthen their hip muscles
As your child takes their knees, or feet, out to each side and back to the middle they will be stretching and strengthening the muscles around their hips. 

2. Stretch their hamstring and lower back muscles muscles
If your child does the harder version of peacock pose (with their knees straight) they will be stretching their ‘hamstring’ and lower back muscles. 
The hamstrings muscles run down the back of our thighs - see picture below From the 'ischial tuberosities' in our pelvis (the bones we sit on!) to our lower leg bones - just below our knees. Hamstring muscles are prone to tightness, especially if a child is growing fast, because they cross over 2 joints - the hip and the knee. 

Tight hamstring and lower back muscles can affect your child’s overall sitting position. This is because your child may try to relieve tightness in these areas by sliding their bottom forwards in their chair - this can result in a slumped sitting posture see http://www.skillsforaction.com/tight-leg-muscles. 

Tight hamstrings and lower back muscles can cause bad posture

3. Activate their tummy muscles
Peacock pose gives your child an excellent chance to 'switch on' and strengthen their tummy muscles. As your child holds their legs in the air, and moves them out to the side and back, they will certainly be using their tummy muscles.

4. Develop their imagination 
As your child does peacock pose, encourage them to think about colours for their beautiful feathers. 

5. Develop their Self-Confidence 
The peacock's beautiful tail is usually hidden from view. If you child is older, encourage them to think of something about themselves that is 'amazing' but not immediately 'seen'. 
For example maybe they are kind to their friends or they realise quickly when others feel sad. At this time of year, it is often helpful to highlight to your child their own, inner strengths - especially if they are not winning the more obvious sports cups or form prizes. 

The Tatty Bumpkin Multi-sensory Yoga Adventure This Week ..

Our qualified Tatty Bumpkin Teachers are fully trained in aspects of child development and Yoga and are kept fully up-to-date by our professional team of paediatric physiotherapists, Yoga teachers and musicians. All the Tatty Bumpkin stories are aligned to the Early Years Foundation Stage (England) and  the Curriculum for Excellence (Scotland) this means the sessions not only enhance your child’s physical skills they also develop their communication, social and thinking skills.

This week Tatty Bumpkin finds herself in the rainforest - there, with the animals  -  she helps peacock to celebrate the differences which make us all special. 
In this week’s story your child will have the chance: 

1. To improve their physical skills as they wriggle as snakes, swing on the trees as monkeys, and open their peacock tails.

2. To use gestures or words to express their thoughts: Feeling ‘hot’ with Tatty Bumpkin in the Rainforest, caring for peacock with Tatty Bumpkin, feeling ‘confident’ with peacock as he realise he has a magnificent tail!

3. Come up with their own ideas and feel confident to talk about them - wondering which creature could make that squawking noise? Deciding which shape to wriggle their body into as a snake?

4. Become more aware of their breathing as they blow the Peacock’s feather. 

5. Learn to dance to a rhythm as they move to the Tatty Bumpkin Monkey, Snake or Frog songs. 

6. Most important of all - have fun with their friends as they: creep through the rainforest, swing with the monkeys and jump with the jumping Tree Frog! 

A peacock's feather is full of wonder! 

Find 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. 

Love Tatty Bumpkin x

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

Find out how you could be trained to deliver Baby and Tatty Bumpkin classes in your area at http://www.tattybumpkin.com/business/index.html. 

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