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.

Reverse Warrior Pose for Focus

Reverse Warrior Pose for Focus, Strength, and Calm

Reverse Warrior Pose is part of the Warrior series, which is a powerful set of poses known for building strength.  Reverse Warrior requires a bit more balance than some of the other warrior poses as children are looking up with one arm reaching for the sky and one arm resting on the back leg.

Benefits

Reverse Warrior Pose stretches and strengthens your child’s entire body while developing balance and coordination. Reverse Warrior increases mindful awareness and promotes inner calm. It also creates concentration and focus from the ground up.

What to Say

  • Begin in Warrior II. Keep your front knee bent as you flip your front palm to face the sky.
  • Lift your front arm toward the sky. Look up at your hand. Breathe in as you reach up higher. Rest your other hand on your back leg.
  • Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Notice how you feel. Do you feel a gentle stretch in your side?
  • Let’s shake it out and be a warrior on the side.  Notice how this side feels.  Is it different from the first?

Want more children’s poses to help build focus, concentration, strength, and more? Pre-order Mindfulness for Children, by Tracy  Daniel on Amazon.

 

Kindness for Happier, Healthier Kids

Kindness can boost happiness, resilience, and the immune system.

Kindness is being friendly, generous, and considerate. Small acts of kindness have a powerful impact on others.  Science demonstrates that completing kind acts, even if it’s as simple as smiling at a friend, can boost happiness.  This means being kind is contagious, when your child does a kind act for someone it leads to them doing another kind act. Research indicates random acts of kindness can lift your child’s mood, reduce stress, and build the immune system.

Our first rule in aerial yoga classes is to be kind. We teach kids to not only be kind to others, but to the environment, and to themselves.  Cultivating kindness helps your child develop social and emotional skills, confidence, and resilience.  When a child becomes more aware of their own kind behavior it improves their overall well-being.

Three Ways to Teach Kindness to Children:

  1. Read About It. There are several books that teach kindness to young children and stories are a great way for children to learn social emotional skills.  “Have you Filled a Bucket Today” is a story that demonstrates how kindness can fill buckets and make others feel good.
  2. Sign-Up for a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. Scientists have shown that doing random acts of kindness for two minutes a day can train your brain to be more positive. Kindness challenges can be downloaded for free online.
  3. Kindness Coins. Kindness coins can be purchased inexpensively online. Kindness coins help children build compassion and empathy. They also reinforce positive behavior and kids love them!

Kindness, takes practice, which is why we make it a rule.   Being kind can be taught in the home, classroom or even during an aerial yoga class.  it can be simple and only take a few minutes, but it is important to build it into your child’s day.

References

Kathryn E. Buchanan & Anat Bardi (2010) Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction, The Journal of Social Psychology, 150:3, 235-237, DOI: 10.1080/00224540903365554
Isen, A. M., & Levin, P. F. (1972). Effect of feeling good on helping: Cookies and kindness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21, 384–388.

Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children