Shift Your Perspective With Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations help children to think positively and believe in themselves.

Materials

Affirmation coloring book or coloring page
Colors, colored pencils or markers
Ambient music

What is Positive Affirmation Coloring?

Positive Affirmation Coloring is a simply buying or downloading an affirmation coloring book and coloring with your child. These can be purchased inexpensively online at Etsy or at local bookstores. Coloring can have therapeutic benefits and be a fantastic mindful activity for children. When coloring is combined with the mood-changing powers of positive affirmations it doubles the calming effects.

What are the benefits of affirmation coloring?

Coloring books with positive affirmations are uplifting and can shift your child’s perspective, creating a positive mindset. Coloring coupled with ambient relaxing music can help your child de-stress and relax.

What do I say?

Let’s sit up tall and practice mindful listening before we begin. While we listen to the relaxing music we are going to color an affirmation page. Affirmations are short positive phrases that focus on what you want out of life. I’m going to pass around the coloring book and I want you to pick an affirmation that means something to you. Tear out that page. As you color, breathe in and out through your nose. Think about the words printed on the page. Say the words in your head as you color. Notice how you feel.

If you are wanting more ways to include positive affirmations in your child’s day or even a children’s yoga class, buy my book, Mindfulness for Children, it is full of simple activities to enhance positivity and mindfulness in children.

Mindful Yoga Memory

Mindful Memory is a fun way to enhance executive functioning, physical health, and mindfulness.

Materials

 Memory Yoga from Thinkfun or homemade yoga/mindfulness cards

What Is Mindful Memory?

Mindful Yoga Memory puts a mindfulness spin on a classic card game.   Mindful Memory is simply the original memory card game, but with yoga poses, breath work, and mindfulness. Yoga Memory card games can be purchased online or you can easily create your own.  To create your own simply buy colored index cards and write, draw, or paste a picture of mindful movement and breathing exercises on one side. Make sure you create two of each card. Place the cards face down in rows. Have each player turn over two cards, looking for two that match. When the match is found, the group should perform that pose or activity. The player gets to keep the match and the player with the most matches wins.

What are the Benefits?

Mindful Yoga Memory helps children develop breath and body awareness while boosting matching, taking turns, social, and memory skills. It also improves flexibility, coordination, executive function, and focus. Mindful memory is a fun way to review mindfulness concepts and poses.

What do I Say?

We are going to play Mindful Yoga Memory! I’m going to mix up the cards and lay them face down in four rows. When it is your turn, flip over any two cards. If the two cards match, keep them and we will do the activity on them. If they don’t match, turn them back over. Try to remember what was on each card and where it was. Also, remember during other people’s turns. Really be mindful and focus your attention on the cards. OK, we found all the matches! Lets count our matches.  The player with the most matches wins.

Mindful Sound Meditation

Mindful sound meditations improve mindfulness, listening skills, and attention.

It can be difficult to find quiet time in a child’s day. The following exercise will remind you to help children appreciate silencing themselves for a bit to better hear other sounds around them.

What Is Om Gnome?

Om Gnome is a mindful listening meditation.  In this exercise, children will pay close attention to the experience of listening. Play ambient music that includes nature sounds.  Children sit quietly like an Om Gnome and try to detect all the nature sounds in their enchanted garden. After some practice, children may find Om Gnome useful to help settle their minds before homework or any activity that requires sustained concentration.

What Are The Benefits Of Om Gnome?

Om Gnome builds listening skills, attention, and focus. It promotes mindful awareness and self-awareness.

What to Say.

kids mindfulness

Sit up tall in Easy Seated Pose. Place your hands on your knees and make the Focus Mudra also known as Gyan Mudra. Close your eyes. Begin to breathe slow calming breaths in and out through your nose. Imagine that you are an Om Gnome sitting in a tranquil spot in your enchanted garden. Listen to the sounds in the garden. If you listen closely and mindfully you will be able to hear all the magical nature sounds. Slowly open your eyes. What did you hear?

Want to learn more ways to help children be mindful?  Sign up for a Mindful Child Teacher Training or buy my book, Mindfulness for Children.

Reference

Daniel, T., Mindfulness for Children. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2018

Infinity Breath

kid’s mindfulness

What is Infinity Breath?

Infinity Breathing is also referred to as Lazy Eight Breathing, which is a variation of a Brain Gym exercise.  Brain Gym is a set of movements that ready the body for learning.  For this exercise, use a dry erase board or for an extra sensory twist use organic instant pudding on a cookie sheet.  Draw an infinity sign or a number eight laying on its side.  Starting in the middle, your child will trace the left part of the eight while breathing in and the right while breathing out.  As your child traces, make sure he keeps the middle of his body in the center of the eight.  This will insure he is crossing midline.

What are the Benefits?

Crossing midline strengthens neural pathways between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.  Crossing midline is important for establishing hand dominance and many other academic skills.  Playing in different textures increases the tactile sense, creativity and body awareness.  It is also calming and relaxing. 

What to Say.

Let’s trace our infinity sign five times with your index finger on your right hand.  Breathe in as you move your finger left, breathe out as you move your finger the other direction. Great!  Switch fingers.  Trace five times with the left index finger. Fantastic tracing! Now let’s use both index fingers to trace the infinity sign ten times.  What does the infinity sign remind you of?  I see butterfly wings.  Let’s create something out of our sign!  To infinity and beyond!

References

Dennison, P. E. (1989). Brain gym: TEACHERS EDITION. Place of publication not identified: Edu-Kinesthetics.

5 Ways Mindful Aerial Yoga Improves Your Mental Health

Mindful aerial yoga decreases stress, increases happiness, and enhances focus.

If you think you are frazzled by over commitments, multi-tasking, and digital-age stress, imagine how your children must feel. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), teens are the most stressed out demographic in the United States.  Fortunately, teens and children are drawn to mindful aerial yoga and can reap a multitude of benefits from a consistent practice, especially when mindfulness is added in. Hmmm…I wonder what Kansas City aerial yoga studio is known for combining aerial yoga and mindfulness…

Here are some of the recognized benefits that mindful aerial yoga can provide for you and your child’s mental health:

  • Aerial yoga decreases stress. Research on the biological effects of meditation and yoga found that individuals that practiced mind-body activities, such as aerial yoga, had decreased inflammation in the body.  Even just 10 minutes of mindful aerial yoga can decrease stress and be beneficial to you and your child’s health.
  • Aerial yoga makes you happier. Aerial yoga releases “happy hormones.” Happy hormones are neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that play a major role in mood regulation. Science has found that the practice of activities such as mindfulness and aerial yoga triggers neurotransmitter production.  These neurotransmitters reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, while increasing overall happiness and well-being.
  • Mindful aerial yoga enhances focus. When you are in the present moment, you can not dwell on the past (depression) or worry about the future (anxiety).  When children unplug and experience the art of paying attention on purpose, they reap the benefits of the mindfulness and aerial yoga activities—they enjoy being present, aware, and in the moment, which are important life skills.
  • Mindful aerial yoga increases resiliency. Electrical changes have been noted in the left frontal portion of the brain following mindfulness training, which scientists believe is linked to enhanced resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope in challenging situations and bounce back from adversity. Mindful children can deal with difficult emotions without shutting down and are able to bounce back quicker from disappointment .
  • Aerial yoga and mindfulness change the brain for the better! The brain’s ability to adapt is called neuroplasticity, meaning the brain has pliability and can change with experience. A consistent practice of mindfulness and aerial yoga can create new pathways in the brain, resulting in improved mental health, physical health, and well-being. Way to go aerial yoga and mindfulness!

The evidence from science, indicates mindful aerial yoga is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety, and best of all there are not ANY side effects. It may also be considered preventive medicine.  This means, that with practice, mindful aerial yoga is a good defense against stress and mental health issues that may arise as the result of stress. It is highly recommended that EVERYONE, both adults and children, reap the benefits of a mindful aerial yoga practice.

Want to learn specific ways to introduce mindfulness and aerial yoga to your child? If you live near Kansas City, register for a mindfulness-based aerial yoga class.   For those outside of the Kansas City area, buy my book, Mindfulness for Children,  and begin your journey to happiness!

References

Daniel, T., Mindfulness for Children. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2018

Krishnakumar, D., Hamblin, M. R., & Lakshmanan, S. (2015). Meditation and Yoga can Modulate Brain Mechanisms that affect Behavior and Anxiety-A Modern Scientific Perspective. Ancient Science2(1), 13–19. http://doi.org/10.14259/as.v2i1.171

Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, Brooks D, Alving J, Lou HC. Increased dopamine tone during meditation-induced change of consciousness. Cognitive Brain Research. 2002;13:255–259. [PubMed]

 

 

A Simple Game to Build Focus

Chime Pass for increased focus and mindful awareness.

In today’s world, children think too much, do too much, and are distracted by all the multi-tasking and electronic devises that have become common practice. For a child to practice mindfulness, they must slow down, just be, and focus on one thing at a time. The Chime Pass game is a simple way for kids to be mindful and have fun at the same time.

What is Chime Pass?

Chime pass is a mindful listening practice. This activity works best with a group of children. A chime is rung and then passed from child to child without stopping the sound. The goal is to get the chime back to the starting person before the sound stops.

What are the Benefits?

Chime Pass builds focus, concentration, and mindful awareness. Chime Pass enhances teamwork, cooperation, and social connectedness.

What to Say.

Sit up tall in Easy Seated Pose. I’m going to ring this chime and then pass it you. Be careful to not stop the sound. You will then pass it to the next person without stopping the sound. The object of the game is to pass the chime to the starting person without stopping the sound. Ready? Let’s pass!

Want more activities like this to include in your classroom or home? Check out my book, Mindfulness for Children, or sign-up for a class!

What is AntiGravity Aerial Yoga?

Mindful Child Aerial Yoga is officially a licensed AntiGravity studio!  This means our instructors have completed AntiGravity training , we use Harrison AntiGravity Hammocks, and  we meet the safety standards associated with being an AntiGravity studio.

What is AntiGravity Aerial Yoga?

AntiGravity is an aerial yoga fitness technique designed to improve one’s health and fitness while having FUN!  AntiGravity uses the Harrison AntiGravity Hammock as a yoga prop to support you as you learn aerial yoga techniques and inversions.  This unique combination of exercises is intended to decompress your spine and align the body while stretching and strengthening your muscles.  Seriously?  What more could you ask for in a fitness class!

Who is Christopher Harrison?

AntiGravity was founded by Christopher Harrison.  He is a former Broadway dancer and world-class competitive gymnastics specialist.  At the age of 20 he suffered a major injury that required eight surgeries to reconstruct his knees.   Christopher Harrison spent the next two years rehabilitating himself through rigorous physical therapy and Pilates.  His resilience led him to discover, “In life, hidden in the forces that pull us down is the energy to lift us.” In the early 90’s he created AntiGravity, the first aerial yoga practice!

What are the benefits of AntiGravity?

AntiGravity has many beneficial effects on overall health in adults and children.  Christopher Harrison personally guarantees: If you can “suspend your disbelief: I guarantee I can make you healthier, happier, and taller, in just one session.

Here are a some of the recognized benefits of a regular AntiGravity practice:

  • Increased muscular flexibility
  • Muscular tension release through self-massage techniques
  • Core strengthening
  • Upper and lower body strengthening
  • Increased joint mobility
  • Self-esteem enhancement through the process of conquering basic fears
  • Enhanced mindfulness
  • Decompression and re-aligning of the spine
  • Refreshes the endocrine, lymphatic, digestive, and circulatory systems
  • Releases “happy hormones” such as dopamine and serotonin
  • Increases neuroplasticity of the brain (creating new brain pathways)
  • Glowing skin: inversions enhance one’s complexion

These are just a few of the many benefits of AntiGravity.  While it is great read about the benefits the true magic is in experiencing them first hand.  Join us a for a class!  After all, who doesn’t want to be healthier, happier, and taller?!?

 

 

 

A Scentsational Journey for Kids

Essential Oils + A Rescue Dog = A Scentsational Journey

What is “Mo Smells?”

Mo Smells: A Scentsational Journey (Mo’s Nose) is a book series by Margaret Hyde.  This wonderful book series is inspired by a real-life rescued dog! Mo interprets the world through his extra ordinary sense of smell.  Each book uses pure essential oils to weave scents into the story line.  Parents can connect this to a discussion on how smells can be calming and how children may have different reactions to different smells.

Benefits

Children love animal books! This book creates a mindful experience by incorporating the sense of smell. Children will be engaged by Mo’s adventures, which will enhance language skills and learning.

What to Say

We are going to read a book about Mo.  Mo goes on a journey using his nose.  As we read the book please raise your hand if you would like to smell the page.  It’s okay if you don’t like the smell or don’t want to smell.  We all have our unique likes and preferences and that’s what makes us special! Sit up tall in easy seated.  Take one deep breath. Let it out.   Let’s begin our story.

Mindful Eating with Berry Kabobs

We do mindful eating in every class and kids love making berry kabobs!

Berries are loaded with vitamins and minerals, making these kabobs a healthy and delicious snack for kids. To add an extra dose of calm, play ambient music while your child loads his skewer.

Benefits

Threading the berries on the skewer builds eye-hand coordination and focus. Mindful eating helps the body digest food better. Berries are a powerful super food that are important for brain and immune health.

What to Say

  • We are going to make berry kabobs. Did you know that eating a variety of berries keeps us healthy and can help us remember things better? Eating a variety of colors is even healthier than eating just one color.
  • Pick eight berries from these bowls. While we are making our berry kabobs we are going to notice every detail of it. Notice the different colors, textures, and smells.
  • Thread the berries onto the skewer. Can you make a pattern with your different colored berries? Listen to the music and be mindful while making your kabobs. Notice what you see, hear, smell, and taste.
  • Eat your kabob slowly, noticing each bite. What did eating silently and mindfully feel like? Did you notice anything that you haven’t noticed before?

Bumpy Camel Breath

What Is Bumpy Camel Breath?

Bumpy Camel Breath combines the breath with a Kundalini yoga exercise. Kundalini is a type of yoga that awakens inner energy through breath, movement, and mediation. Kundalini, as practiced and taught by Shakta Khalsa, founder of Radiant Child Yoga, is a fantastic exercise for children of all abilities.

Benefits

Bumpy Camel Breath stretches and provides mobility to the lower and middle spine. Pretending to ride a bumpy camel is fun for children and helps them to focus on the movement and breath. Bumpy Camel Breath is also good for posture and reverses the effects of too much sitting and hunching over.

What to Say

  • Let’s practice Bumpy Camel Breath! Sit up tall in Easy Seated Pose. Take a deep breath in. Let it go.
  • Bring your hands to your outside ankle. Take a deep breath in. As you breathe out, tuck your chin and curl in.
  • As you breathe in, begin to unwind, rolling your head up slowly, pushing your shoulders back and down, while opening up through your heart. Let your breath out as you curl and roll in. Breathe in, and push your heart open as you open up.
  • As you ride your bumpy camel, notice where you feel a stretch in your body. What does it feel like? Go slow, enjoy your camel ride. Repeat 8 more times. Sit up tall in Easy Seated. Notice the sensations in your body.

Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children