Monday, February 13, 2017

Tatty Bumpkin's Swan Pose - Stretching tight muscles whilst soothing a busy mind

By Sue Heron - Paediatric Physiotherapist and Programme Coordinator at Tatty Bumpkin.

This week, in our multi-sensory Yoga sessions, Tatty Bumpkin will be flying over hills, seas and castles on the back of a magnificent white swan.

Swan pose is an ideal pose for your child to do:
  • Just before they go to bed
  • After a long car journey 
  • After becoming overexcited or upset

The pose not only lets your child experience a great back stretch it also taps into those sensations which help your child to calm down.

Even if your child is on half term this week, Swan pose could be useful. Supporting your child to have a ‘reboot’ - enabling them move on after a long spell of sitting or after a busy, exciting activity. 

By Cicely Mary Barker 

Tatty Bumpkin's Swan Pose

Ideally, do Swan pose with your child, it will give you a chance to have a gentle stretch and perhaps have a moment of calm too! Remember, if you have issues with your muscles or joints, do check with a health professional to make sure that this pose is appropriate for you.

  • Find a clear space, ideally on a non-slip mat or a clear piece of carpet
  • Start on your hands and knees alongside each other
  • Slowly slide your hands forwards on the mat in front of you, at the same time, rock back to rest on your heels
  • Keep your arms stretched out in front of you. Try to straighten them as much as you can, letting your forearms and palms rest gently on your mat or carpet
  • Lightly rest your forehead on the mat in front of your knees and lay your chest on your thighs. See suggested modifications below if you find this uncomfortable. 
  • Take a few deep breaths together. Encourage your child to feel the movement of their chest rising and falling as they take each breath
  • Rest in swan pose for a few breaths. Encourage your child to imagine they are flying over seas whilst snuggling into their swan's soft feathers
The Birds of Rhiannon
  • If you are comfortable see if you can slide your hands a little further away, gently stretching your backs out into their natural curves
  • Then slowly come up – taking care to protect your back as you do so.

Modifications for Adults

As you do Swan pose with your child, you may find it more comfortable to:
  • Separate your knees a little, keeping your big toes together. If you do this adjustment you will find your chest rests almost between your thighs
  • Use a small cushion to support your head - especially if you find it hard to rest your forehead directly on the floor
  • Place a small cushion between your buttocks and your heels if your find your buttocks do not touch your heels. 

Why Swan Pose is ‘Good for Me’

As your child does Swan pose they will have a chance to:

Gently stretch out their neck, shoulder, arm and back muscles
Swan pose is a great way to stretch out tight muscles – especially the back muscles. For this reason, it is the ideal pose to do after sitting for a long time. Encourage your child to do Swan pose after a long car journey, or after they have been watching TV or playing with their IPAD- to give their back a lovely stretch.

Calm themselves
As your child folds their legs up, stretches out their back and rests their chest on their thighs they will be activating their deep touch and proprioceptive senses. These kinds of sensations have a calming and grounding effect on the body. Making Swan pose the ideal pose to do just before bed.

                     Sleeping Child by Brian Wildsmith

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