Tag Archives: kid’s mindfulness

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 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

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]

 

 

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?

Mindfulness + Aerial Yoga Improve Executive Functioning

What is Executive Functioning?

Executive function is a term for the cognitive-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. It involves working memory, perspective taking, decision making, emotional regulation, problem-solving, planning, and impulse control.  Wow.  Executive functioning is pretty important!  So important, in fact that it provides the foundation for all educational and social activities. This means executive functioning is something your child needs to successfully navigate life.

When children are under stress it is harder for them to make wise decisions. Chronic stress impairs executive function, which can lead to problems with learning, memory impairment, and behavior issues. The good news is mindfulness and aerial yoga significantly reduce stress and enhance executive functioning.  Way to go yoga and mindfulness!

How does Mindfulness Help?

Science has proved that with mindfulness, executive functioning is strengthened. A repeated mindfulness practice actually builds neural pathways in the brain. A consistent mindfulness practice changes neural pathways to neural superhighways, making it more accessible to children in times of stress bolstering their executive functioning.

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness and Aerial Yoga?

Mindfulness and aerial yoga improve working memory (temporary storage and managing of information to carry out cognitive tasks).  Research shows that mindfulness and aerial yoga teaches children to reflect before they react, which, in turn, reduces impulsive actions.  Mindfulness and Aerial Yoga, the Mindful Child way, builds emotional intelligence (ability to notice and manage your own emotions). Once children are more aware of their emotions they are better able to regulate them. Mindful Child teaches mindfulness in a fun, play-based manner that kid loves.

What are you waiting for… Sign-up here!

References

Van de Hurk, P.A.M., Giommi, F., Gielen, S.C., Speckens, A.E.M., & Barendregt, H.P. (2010). Greater efficiency in attentional processing related to mindfulness meditation. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63 (6), 1168

Tang, Y. Y., Ma, Y., Wang, J., Fan, Y., Feng, S., Lu, Q., . . . Posner, M. I. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 (43), 1, 17152 -17156.

Mudras: Yoga for Little Hands

Mudras help children focus, relax, and balance.

Mudras (pronounced “moo-drah) are practiced in many places all over the world.  These hand positions are usually practiced with yoga, breathing, relaxation, or meditation, but what is amazing about mudras is they can be practiced anywhere and anytime.

WHAT IS A MUDRA?

Hand symbols or mudras are yoga for your hands. A mudra is a symbol your child makes with their hands and fingers that is believed to seal the energy in the body.  Research shows us that mudras engage certain areas in the brain, creating a brain-body connection.  Different areas of the hands are connected with different areas in the brain and body. When children place their hands in different hand positions or mudras it can activate a certain state of mind.  Therefore, mudras can positively affect how your child feels.  Mudras energize, focus, or calm the body, which make them a great tool for children to help regulate how they are feeling.

WAYS TO PRACTICE  MUDRAS WITH KIDS

The ways to use mudras are limitless. Mudras can be incorporated into yoga poses, breathing exercises, or relaxation.  Instead of electronics, have your children unplug and unwind by practicing mudras. Once they know they  how to do mudras and the benefits they can start to integrate them into their daily lives such as doing a focus mudra under their desk before a test.  Or if they are having a rough day they can do a relaxing mudra to help them chill out.

WHAT DOES A MUDRA LOOK LIKE?

One of my personal favorites is Namaste Hands.  Namaste Hands is simply bringing the palms of the hands together at midline (center of the body).  This mudra is grounding and integrates both sides of the brain. Namaste Hands help with balance and focus.  Holding the hands at heart center when balancing in tree or airplane helps children to balance and is easier than reaching the arms above the head.  It can also be done as a greeting or gesture to begin and end a yoga class. This is also a popular meditating hand position.

Teaching mudras to children helps them to feel empowered, by giving them a simple therapeutic tool they can use in times of stress. Practice them often so instill peace and happiness in your child.

Turn Your World Upside Down: Benefits to Hanging Upside Down

The UP side of being Upside Down in  Aerial Yoga.

Children love to hang upside down!  If you go to a playground you will see  children hanging precariously from the monkey bars.  But did you know that being upside down is actually good for your child’s brain? In aerial yoga, going upside down is called an inversion.  Inversions, which get your feet above your head have healing and mood benefits. These happy faces definitely show Mindful Child Aerial Yoga inversions are a mood changer!

Here are a few of the recognized benefits that aerial yoga inversions can provide for your child’s health:

  • Going upside down, gives your heart and mind a break, which keeps your child in the present moment.  This allows them to see life from a new perspective.  Perspective taking is an important social emotional skill that we teach in our kid’s yoga classes.
  • Inversions such as inverted lotus pose (pictured here) promote calm and relaxation.  At Mindful Child Aerial Yoga we encourage kids to calm their breath and relax their minds to reap the rewards of being upside down.
  • Handstands and headstands even when supported by a yoga hammock or wall require core strength, focus, and resilience.  All of which are needed to successfully navigate life.
  • Children as young as two-years-old naturally go into Down Dog Pose.  This innate desire to be upside down is your child learning to regulate their central nervous system.  Being upside down provides the sensory integration children need to help regulate their behavior and bodies.
  • Being upside down increases blood flow to the brain.  More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Healthy brains are important for learning and self-regulation.

The UP side of  purposefully hanging upside in aerial yoga is that it is beneficial to your child’s overall health.  Inversions improve posture, circulation, strength and flexibility.  Being upside down can enhance mood, teach perspective taking, and build self-regulation skills.

Always use props such as a wall and spot your child if he is attempting headstand and handstand on the ground. Simple poses such as Down Dog Pose also invert the head. Down Dog Pose is fun and can be done almost anywhere! What are you waiting for? Have your child take a deep breath, plant their hands, lift their feet, and gain a new perspective! Ah…

Stop and Smell the Flowers, Lavender Calms the Mind

Essential oils reduce stress and calm the mind.

Aromas act directly on the brain through nerve receptors in the nose.  Millions of nerve cells in our nasal passageways send impulses to the hypothalamus and limbic area, which are the brain’s emotional centers. Aroma of certain oils is linked to the amygdala and pineal gland in the brain, which are also associated with emotion, thus it can help the mind and body by reducing emotional trauma.

Lavender is associated with relaxed brain waves.  Thus, when a child is upset, deep diaphragm breathing coupled with lavender, will have a calming affect on the central nervous system.  Research demonstrates breathing exercises have been successful in reducing anxiety related to attachment disorder, agoraphobia or general anxiety disorder.

Children often need visual reminders to breathe, especially when they are upset.  I make bracelets with lavender scented flowers.  When the child is upset and breathing shallowly, I provide the cue, “Stop and smell the flowers.”  Nine deep breaths are needed to calm the central nervous system.

Additionally, I use essential oils when teaching kid’s yoga and mindfulness. When mixing essential oils, always use oils that are pure and from a respectable source, such as Young Living.  Essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil such as sesame or olive oil in a specific ratio. So if you can’t find a flower to smell, make one.

References

Di Ciacco, J. A. (2008). The colors of grief: Understanding a child’s journey through loss from birth to adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Overholser, J.C. (2000). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of panic disorder. Psychotherapy, 37, 247-256.