Soccer practice. Music lessons. Student government. SAT and aptitude testing. Science field trips. And all of it falling after the 3 p.m. school bell rings. When it comes to tight schedules and over-programming, why should adults have all the fun when it comes to mindful ways to release tension and stress? Recent studies at Harvard University found children and teens can benefit greatly from regular yoga practice. Positive effects include improved focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, physical flexibility and classroom behavior. Yoga instructors can also impart valuable life skills — breathing, relaxation and conscious problem solving — they can apply anytime.
As February is an ideal time to plan spring break and summer vacations, why not keep an eye peeled for resorts offering kids and teen yoga classes, or those offering kids and teens access to classes to join their parents in the practice. Here’s a small sampling:
Charleston, South Carolina: Wild Dunes Resort, located 30 minutes from downtown on Charleston’s barrier island, encourages guests of all ages to embrace self-care with its new Digital Detox Retreat. All electronic devices and digital distractions are switched off during the four-day escape so guests can experience nature in real time against the backdrop of the Charleston Low country. Everybody in the family can relax and recharge with a customizable itinerary that can include Hatha or “Bendable Body” yoga classes, a kayaking excursion, bike rental, golf or tennis clinics, spa treatments for the parents and arts and crafts experiences.
New Chandigarh, India: Halfway around the world and surrounded by 8,000 acres of protected natural forest at the foothills of the outer Himalayas, the Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa has its own Digital Detox program where families with teens over 16 can take advantage of complimentary yoga and meditation classes. The resort also offers hour-long private family classes for an extra fee. While parents are enjoying the spa or alone time, kids can enjoy a mix of cultural immersion, cooking classes and swimming lessons for an additional fee. The children’s play area, free to guests, offers outdoor games, arts and crafts, learning activities, swimming and more, in a safe, secure and supervised environment.
Chandler, Arizona: The Boulders Resort & Spa is tailor made for adults traveling with active teens 16 and older, with its impressive selection of outdoor activities. However, the resort achieves perfect balance with its complimentary yoga classes offered daily in the spa’s Yoga Studio. Yin, Flow, Core, Davinci, Vinyasa, Gentle, Core and Kundalini Sunrise Yoga classes can be mixed and matched, based on the individual’s goals and fitness levels. Other activities think outside the studio. The new Yoga Mind, Yoga Moves for Tennis takes participants deeply into the mindset and movement skills required for artful and flowing dance through the philosophy and grace of yoga. Paddleboard Yoga is a 60-minute aquatic class taught by the Boulders’ WPA certified coach and E-RYT 500 yoga instructor Andie Landa. There are also outdoor classes staged at Promise Rock and sunset sessions at the resort’s organic garden.
Santorini, Greece: Andronis Concept Wellness Resort, which opened last summer, now offers The Mini-VIP package, designed to encourage kids to implement wellness into their routine. It bundles its Yoga for the Young classes, rooftop terrace yoga classes (open to teens), cave cinema room, family cooking lessons and Kallos Spa (built into a cave!), which offers a parent-child massage aimed to improve sleep patterns. Other features include a waterfall pool, private helipad with a regular route to neighboring islands and Athens, hiking on the super volcano that inspired the myth of Atlantis, and Throubi restaurant, celebrating the best of Santorini’s seasonal produce.
Upstate New York: Mohonk Mountain House, just 90 minutes from New York City, offers a prolific roster of fitness and nature-focused, light adventure activities tailored for kids in four separate age ranges (Tykes: Ages 2–3, Explorers: Ages 4–6, Adventurers: 7–12, and Teens 13–17). Its Mindfullness Program, meanwhile, offers kids 6 and over activities built around recreation and renewal of body, mind and spirit in its lush, rural setting. The philosophy, in place for nearly 150 years, reinforces the fact it is never too early for kids to become more conscious and conscientious about how their minds and bodies work.
Nestled in California's Santa Ynez Valley is the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, a picturesque dude ranch-style resort that made a name for itself as a luxurious family getaway. For decades, this beautiful hideaway has been a favorite of the rich and famous from around the world.
A selfie is a fun source of memories, but it doesn’t have to be the only one. You can help your children — who are lucky enough to actually travel — maintain some of the memories of what they experience. Among these few simple activities, one or more may enhance their memory banks by assisting them to identify, classify and remember what they have seen and done. It may also facilitate their ability to distinguish between why they liked one thing and not another, which is in itself an important learning experience.
For when you’re feeling rundown and need a solo getaway, holistic couple’s retreat, health and wellness refresh, or just a mindful getaway with friends, family or yourself — the West is calling. Arizona, New Mexico and California’s deserted, ruggedly beautiful landscape can sometimes be just the thing your mind and body need for a healing vacation.
Before you tick off the same sights on your Paris itinerary, consider adding one or more of these activities. Amusez-vous bien!