How Learning Yoga is Similar to Learning Another Language

I’ve finally started homeschooling and it hasn’t gone as smoothly as I’d hoped though I was told to expect this. So here is a big shout out and thanks to the lovely  Giselle Shardlow  for her guest post this week. Giselle is the author of Kids Yoga StoriesHer yoga-inspired children’s books get children moving, learning, and having fun.  She draws from her experiences as a teacher, traveler, yogi, and mom to write her stories found at or on Amazon worldwide.

How Learning Yoga is Similar to Learning Another Language

I’m so excited!  I’ve recently had a fun aha moment.  It occurred to me that teaching yoga is a lot like teaching another language.  As parents, we explore this connection as we raise our daughter to be a yogini and Spanish speaker.  I recently wrote about how integrating yoga and Spanish is a perfect combination.   I would love to share with you how we teach our daughter yoga and Spanish at the same time.

Ways to approach teaching both yoga and Spanish

As a stay-at-home mom to a two-year-old daughter, I’m constantly thinking about how to create an effective and engaging learning environment at home.  As we continue along our journey, here’s how we foster our daughter’s love of learning both Spanish and yoga:

  • Share an experience or have another close family friend share one
  • Make the learning fun, engaging, light-hearted, and interesting
  • Cater to her interests, such as animals and nature
  • Create a consistent, daily ritual of learning (for example, spend five minutes a day)
  • Practice positive reinforcement
  • Make the learning meaningful and relevant to her life
  • Learn through activity and movement
  • Encourage her self-expression, and increase her self-esteem
  • Start with the basics (for example, animal poses for yoga and counting in Spanish)
  • Build memory skills through repetition
  • Foster an active lifestyle for her mind and body
  • Start early, and start simple
  • Create an effective and rich learning environment
  • Show passion and excitement for learning
  • Notice her mood on that day and adapt accordingly
  • Cater to her multiple intelligences through language, physical activity, sounds, nature, music, interpersonal connection, and visuals
  • Use a variety of media, such as books, CDs, videos, cards, and games


spansh resources all rights reserved 

How to integrate learning Spanish and practicing yoga

Downward-Facing Dog was our daughter’s first yoga pose.  She practiced it literally everywhere and anywhere.  Next, she learned the Tree Pose.  Now, there’s no stopping her.  She’s hooked.  Just recently, we started Spanish Yoga.

This Sun Salute sequence or each pose separately is a good place to start practicing.  Note the keyword in English and Spanish, along with the matching kids yoga pose:

  1. Mountain – La Montana
    Mountain Pose

Stand tall with your feet together and your arms by your side.  Take a deep breath.  Ahh!

  1. Sun – El Sol
    Extended Mountain Pose

Stand tall, reach your hands up to the sky, and look up.  Hello sun!

  1. Waterfall – La Cascada
    Standing Forward Bend

Bend forward at the waist and reach for your toes.  Whoosh!

  1. Frog – La Rana
    Garland (Squat) Pose

Come down to a squat with your hands between your feet. Then jump up like a frog.  Ribbit!

  1. Snake – El Serpiente
    Cobra Pose

Lie down on your belly, place your palms flat on the ground next to your shoulders, lift your head and chest, and look up.  Hiss!

  1. Dog – El Perro
    Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Press back to your hands and feet, then bark like a dog.  Ruff!

You can say the instructions in Spanish to enrich the language experience.  Also, ask questions as your children move through the poses.  How do they feel?  Can they imagine being that animal?  Can they think of other animals to act out?  Encourage their creativity and exploration.  Focus on having fun, not on perfectly aligned poses.  Model the poses with enthusiasm.  Play Spanish music.  Wear comfortable clothing and practice barefoot.  Enjoy yourselves.  Allow for spontaneous learning moments.  Follow their passion.  Yoga and language learning are lifelong journeys, so embrace the experience.

A picture of our daughter practicing the Tree Pose while “counting” to ten in Spanish.

 treepose all rights reserved

The yoga poses in another language

For older children, yoga is an opportunity to be exposed to yet another language. Below are the yoga poses along with the Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) translations.

Mountain Pose – Tadasana

Standing Forward Bend – Uttanasana

Garland (Squat) Pose – Malasana

Cobra Pose – Bhujangasana

Downward-Facing Dog Pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana


Are you teaching Spanish to your children or practicing yoga?  Have you tried combining the two together?  I would love to hear your story!  We are learning as we go along…

Top 10 Musts When Traveling By Plane With Young Children. (In addition to copious booze, which goes without saying)

This summer I survived -among other things- a 23 hour journey alone with a 5-year-old, a 2.5 year old, two planes, and a final long car journey and this is what I learned.

Bad hand-luggage, good outfits. See 4a, 4b,5a. All rights reserved.

Bad hand-luggage, good outfits. See 4a, 4b, & 5b. All rights reserved.

1. Don’t pack too much. You are better off paying a fee to get laundry done somewhere then having to lug endless changes of clothes with you. If staying with friends, I’ve always found access to their washing machine has been no problem.

2. Following on point 1, expect to carry, pull, roll whatever cute case or bag you have purchased for your wee one. Your best bet is to make it small enough you can chuck it into your own hand luggage if necessary. Check to see if your airline still gives out kid-packs. I found that my kids were entertained with their free sponge bob giveaway activity packs and the in-flight entertainment for the 16+  hours of airport travel. Imagine my joy having lugged 8kg of books or about 50% of Usborn’s toddler line.

2a. Leave space in your hand-luggage for kid’s bag.

3. Have them pack their own bag. That way, if they suddenly want a toy they don’t have, they won’t be able to blame you.

by CNdR creativecommons

4. Never, ever, ever bother with hand-luggage that does not have a set of wheels on it. Not a rolling suitcase requiring overhead storage but something that has wheels and can fit under your seat.

4a. If you simply cannot get something small enough that fits in your own luggage for your  kids, best to follow same adult hand luggage rules and acquire a backpack type bag with wheels so it can stay at your feet and get easy access. (Trunki cases, as seen here, were a very bad idea)

4b. Make sure you do the tipping-test with said bags. Nothing is worse – yes nothing– than a 4-year-old with a packed Thomas the train wheely bag that keeps falling forward. Hello Tantrums, I didn’t plan to see you ’til halfway through the flight, not before we’ve even made it through security! (I learnt this on my previous long haul crossing. )

5. Always pack a change of clothes for each child and adult. Pack each one separately in a ziplock bag. It will be easily found and then you already have sealed bag for juice, sauce, vomit encrusted clothes.


5a. Ladies, don’t forget an extra bra. Vomit is far-reaching. I was a 34DD/E when nursing and learned the hard way on a 14 hour flight.

5b. While we are on the topic of clothes, dressing the kids alike is also helpful to spot them in a crowd of if you’ve temporarily misplaced one.

6. Insist on sippy cups. I don’t care how precocious your kid is at drinking with regular cups. They will spill something at some point, most likely on the stranger sitting next to them or your last spare set of clothes.

7. Many planes have headset plugs that only fit their headsets, which do not fit small children. Bring a small beany baby or bean bag to help create a fit that won’t budge. Spongebob giveaway on Qatar was an emergency solution but far from ideal.

By CNdR all rights reserved.

By CNdR all rights reserved.

8. Make sure the airlines/transit airports you are visiting’s planes actually go all the way to the terminal. Having to manage kids & bags down metal stairs in the desert [hello Doha] and on to bus to terminal only to repeat the process to get on the next plane will have you wishing you were never born.

9. Pack plenty of hand sanitizer, kleenex and wipes. Also pack lipbalm and an extra one if you have klepto kids like mine. Finally lollypops for ascents and descents. Caution: give them too early and take off traffic will mean they’ve finished them before the plane has begun to flex its flaps and rev its engines.

10. Pick an Asian or Middle Eastern Airline if you can. Seriously. I’ll take an extra flight and layover anytime with people who appear to adore my kids more than their own flesh and blood relatives than a direct flight with people who look at me with that ‘don’t think I am going to look after your brat while you go to the toilet’ look. Thai Airways, Qatar, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Tiger, Asia, etc… these people understand children, their limitations on flights, and how a welcoming environment makes everyone more relaxed and as a result better behaved than a hostile one.

And for those of you who noticed it is actually more than 10…well has anything ever gone according to plan with kids? My point exactly.