The Benefits of Yoga for You and Your Child

by Katherine Maloney, DPT

Family photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

Yoga has gained a lot of attention in the last few years and it’s easy to see why. There are so many benefits to doing yoga, for your body and your mind. Yoga can be good for you, your kids, and the whole family together! Plus it’s never too young to start, with Parent and Me Yoga classes for even the youngest of babies. But how does yoga actually help you? And how can you incorporate it at home?

Yoga is great for adults and kids physical wellbeing. Yoga moves your body in ways that can challenge your core and muscles, stretch your muscles, and even work your cardiovascular system. For adults, yoga is a good adjunct to other forms of exercise including running and weight lifting. Yoga can help improve your balance and keep those key core muscles engaged. For kids, yoga can help promote normal gross motor development, improve and regulate the GI system, improve breathing, and improve many sensory systems. Yoga helps kids learn where they are in space and their limits of stability (aka work that balance!). 

Mental health can also be positively affected by yoga practice. Yoga is proven to decrease anxiety and stress, increase mindfulness, and help bring calm and a feeling of being centered. We sometimes forget how stressed our kids can get, even babies! Yoga is a great way to help them figure out ways to calm themselves and to be more mindful. And it goes without saying that parents are often stressed and overwhelmed. The focus on breath and the smooth movements can help bring our nervous systems back into the “rest and digest” zone instead of the “fight or flight” zone that we often live in when stressed out. This in turn helps our physical health (breathing, digestion, sleep, etc). 

When done with others, whether it’s in a class or just at home with family, yoga can also benefit our social well being. Being connected with others again benefits our mental and physical health. Going to a parent and me yoga class or kid’s yoga class can also connect you with people who may have similar stressors and concerns as you, giving you an opportunity to walk through problems or concerns with someone else. 

But how can you incorporate yoga at home if you don’t want to join a studio? Youtube has tons of good yoga videos for all different levels. There are also plenty of apps that are all about yoga. And honestly you can just play around with different poses and flows at home, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Just remember to go at your own pace and to not push into pain!

This week for our developmental playgroup we will be doing a parent and me yoga class. If you are looking for a more kid friendly yoga class for your older ones stay tuned because we are bringing a yoga play group to KidPT soon!


Fun NJ Fall Activities for Everyone!

by Katherine Maloney, DPT

With it officially being Fall, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of our (the Kid PT Staff’s) favorite fall activities! Not only will we be sharing our favorite fall activities but where you can go do them too. 

Joni did not have to think hard when I asked about her favorite Fall activity: Creature Fest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough! This is one of the few times that the farm is open at night and they have an incredibly interactive nature walk set up where you can see different plants and animals around the farm. 

Wendy, one of our amazing Physical Therapists, says her favorite Fall activity is simply to be outdoors. She loves the changing leaves and the crisp, cool air. Her favorite place to go for a nature walk this time of year is her hometown, Clinton, NJ. She says everyone needs to check out Clinton in the Fall! And she said they also have a really good haunted house for those who are not faint of heart. 

Callie told me that her favorite thing to do this time of year is to go pumpkin picking! She loves to pick out her own perfect pumpkin to decorate her house with. She says she goes to Happy Day Farm in Manalapan. This farm also has sunflower picking and a pumpkin festival! You can definitely make a whole Fall themed day of going to Happy Day Farm!

Stephanie has also recently joined our team as an intern. She is a senior in high school and looking to go to PT school in the future! Her favorite fall activity is going apple picking at Melick’s Town Farm and Apple Orchard in Oldwick. She loves to use the apples she picks in all her Fall snacks and desserts!

My favorite fall activity is going to a local Fall Festival; I love pumpkin picking, doing the corn maze, seeing farm animals, and getting delicious Fall flavored treats! Bonus points if I can bring my adorable doggie with me. Living in Virginia we had several options, but with moving to NJ this year I am planning to check out the Maple Leaf Farm Fall Festival

What is your favorite thing to do this time of year? We would love to hear all about how you celebrate this new season!