Mindfulness with Kids
When I first taught Kid’s Yoga I really didn’t know what to expect. As a mother of three, I’ve learned strong attachment to any expectation leads to disappointment. So, my intention with the class was to be flexible and keep it simple. We do three things in Kid’s Yoga: we breathe, we do yoga poses, and we relax.
The very first Savasana lasted about 30 seconds. It was filled with fidgets and hushed giggles. By the end of the 5-week session, Savasana lasted five minutes. Five minutes of still little bodies, steady breathing, and peace. I was shocked! Regardless of age, we all have the capacity for connection to that peaceful, still place inside. The more we practice connecting to it, the more accessible it becomes. Here are my tips for helping the littles in your life foster that connection:
Observe the breath
In my class, kids place their hands over their ribs and feel their breath. Then they place hands over their ears and listen to their breath. You can even fog up a window on a cold day, or lay down and place a stuffed animal on the belly and watch it move up and down.
Move with breath
An entire yoga practice isn’t required, but kids are physical and embodying their breath can be powerful. Maybe you do a few rounds of cat/cow, or circle arms over head with an inhale from either seated or standing. Get those wiggles out in a way where kids maintain deliberate control and intention over their bodies.
This concept is the same as Dharana from Pantajali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga. The idea is to draw attention to a specific object, letting everything else fall away. In class, after we settle on to our backs and connect to our breath, I play the singing bowl and let it ring, telling the kids to listen closely and to remain still until they can no longer hear the sound. If you don’t have a singing bowl you could play a calming song, chant a word together, or have your child close their eyes as you read a story or guide them through imagining a peaceful scene.
- Be flexible! Find what your child responds to and know that meditation doesn’t need to look a specific way to be meaningful for the meditator.
- Make it part of your routine! My kids really love to meditate after they brush their teeth because they think they’re delaying bedtime.
- Join in! Hopefully you’re able to extract some nourishing sweetness from the ritual you develop with your kiddo(s).
“Worst” case scenario, you spend ten or fifteen minutes being silly with your kid. Or maybe you’re able to welcome more calm into your life! Have fun carving out time and space for whatever this simple practice may bring. Namaste to yogis big and small.
Shameless plug: your little ones are invited to join Morgan for the last session of Kids Yoga Summer Camp starting August 7. It's a great way to start the school year focused, relaxed, and a little more confident.