The combination of breathing, movement, and mindfulness is a powerful way to help your child de-stress. Aerial yoga like all forms of movement moves emotions. The mind, movement, and breath are all connected to the relaxation response. Children can reduce their anxiety through aerial yoga poses, breathing, and focus of the mind.
Here is some of the recognized benefits that aerial yoga at Mindful Child can provide for your child’s mental health. Aerial Yoga:
Activates the quieting reflexes of the brain and nervous system. At the end of every mindful child aerial yoga class, children lay in fish pose. Fish pose provides sensory input in the form of tactile (touch), proprioception (deep pressure), and vestibular (movement), which, in turn, reduces stress and tension.
Encourages deep breathing. Using language that resonates with kids, incorporating the senses, and making breathing part of a story or obstacle course motivates kids to breathe deeply.
Enhances the relaxation response through movement and poses. Going upside down, when supported through the aerial yoga hammock, is calming to the central nervous system.
Introduces children to mindfulness. Simple mindfulness activities, in the aerial yoga hammock, provide children with tools to assist them in counteracting stress and anxiety in their daily lives.
Builds adaptive skills such as self-esteem and confidence. Aerial yoga requires strength and lots of practice to climb to poses. When children see their effort pay off by being able to climb up the hammock – it teaches them that with persistence and effort they can achieve any goal!
If you want to learn more ways aerial yoga can decrease anxiety and enhance your child’s well-being sign up for a free trial class at Mindful Child Aerial Yoga.
Children love ball pits; however, it seems like a weird addition to an aerial yoga studio, right? Ball pits offer children opportunities to jump, swim, and hide. This fun sensory experience also has multiple therapeutic benefits and is a great addition to kid’s yoga classes.
Mindfulness. Ball pits offer opportunities to practice mindfulness. Hide a few smaller balls and have children use their tactile and visual skills to find the balls. This activity improves focus and concentration.
Cooperative Play. Ball pits can also encourage cooperative play and social skills when two children are working on an activity in the ball pit together.
Eye-Hand Coordination. If balls roll out of the ball pit then children are able to work on eye-hand coordination by throwing the balls back into the pit.
Relaxation. The ball pit at Mindful Child Aerial Yoga is made of soft material that offers a quiet place to breathe and be calm. Children love when we incorporate it into a sensory station.
Ball pits are a fantastic therapeutic tools to work on body awareness, motor planning, proprioception, and tactile input. Ball pits can provide endless therapeutic benefits! Children have the opportunity to exercise their sensory system all while being mindful, relaxed and most importantly, having FUN.
Proprioceptive receptors are located in the muscles, tendons, and joints. These receptors respond to active movement and gravity. Proprioceptive exercises involve deep pressure. These exercises are a powerful tool to help children self-regulate. Here are five simple exercises that can be incorporated into their school day.
Wall Push-Ups. Place palms on the wall, bend elbows, and plant feet firmly on the floor. Push against the wall for ten second. Wall push-ups provide proprioceptive input into the arms, hands, and legs.
Seated Push-Ups. Sit on the floor (with legs crossed) or chair (with feet flat). Push on the floor or chair with flat palms trying to slightly lift up the bottom. Hold for ten seconds.
Palm Push. Press palms together and hold for ten seconds. Palm push provides proprioceptive input to the hands and helps balance the brain.
Squeezes. Cross wrists and squeeze up from the wrists to your shoulders then squeeze down the arms again from the shoulders to the wrists. Go up and down the arms ten times. Squeezes improve attention, develop the brain, and provide proprioceptive input.
Down Dog. Begin on hand and knees. Spread the fingers wide and press the hands firmly into the mat. Tuck the toes and bring the hips high while trying to push the heels toward the floor. Keep a slight bend in the knees and relax the head. Make it fun by wagging your tail. Down Dog requires heavy work, which is movement that provides resistance to the muscles and joints. Heavy work develops the brain and helps children self-regulate.
This is a great routine for children with sensory processing disorder.
Before starting the space adventure to the galaxy of calm. Have children put their mats in a circle. Start class with yoga rules, terms, and discussion of breathing through the nose.
Mountain Pose – Take a deep breath sweeping arms up as you inhale and slowly bring hands together at heart center while exhaling (Repeat x 3)
Climbing Space Ship Ladder. Cross crawls from Brain Gym – lift left leg and tap it with right hand. Now lift right leg and tap it with left hand. Cross crawls balance brain hemispheres and are great for neurological growth. If this is too difficult either help the child cross midline or have them tap right to right then left to left. Continue for 1 to 2 minutes.
Blast Off. Rev up the engine of the space ship – run in place and then sweep the arms wide while inhaling, as exhale bring the hands to the heart center and sit back in chair pose. Next, jump up as if blasting into outer space. Oh we didn’t quite make it – let’s rev our engines and try again. This time have children run to the back of their mats and then up to the front (Repeat x3)
Crescent Moon – We finally made it to outer space. Lets circle the moon. Inhale as lift the left hand toward the sky keeping right hand on thigh. Switch sides after 3 breaths.
Hello Mr. Sun (Sunshine stretch). Start in mountain or standing position, bend forward with arms hanging down. Shake head yes and no. Shaking the head relieves tension. Plant hands, take right foot back, then left foot for plank, pull elbows in and slowly lower to floor. Inhale as lie on belly with your hands on the floor under your shoulders. HISS on the exhale as you push up to cobra x3, tuck toes and push up to down dog, wag your tail, you’re a happy dog (Repeat entire stretch x3)
Space Suit – Bring hands overhead and interlace to make space helmet. Firmly plant right foot. Bring left foot up with knee bent. After finding balance have leg make figure 8’s in the air to insert it firmly in the space suit. Repeat on opposite leg.
Land on Saturn – Remain in standing position, plant feet with arms straight at sides twist from the waist to make Saturn’s rings.
Warrior II –The aliens are coming – Step back wide, with arms floating down to shoulder height, gaze out over front fingers, while keeping the front knee bent, make sure you can see your big toe.
Falling Stars (Moon flowers) Spread feet wide with toes out and heels in, as we come into a squat. On the inhale will shoot the stars (hands) up into space. On exhale, the stars (hands) will fall, draw elbows into ribs while in a squat. (10 breaths)
Warrior II – opposite side
Moon dust to hide from aliens (Sunflowers) Take a deep breath while sweeping arms up, slightly hinging while exhaling and moving arms toward the floor to pick up the space dust and throw it over our heads. (10 breaths)
Fold forward, step back to down dog, child’s pose – need a break to calm the nervous system after dealing with aliens, (5 breaths)
Star – Interlace hands on top of head elbows spread wide. Lets be a falling star, slowly bend forward.
Superman- lets fly through space with our rocket packs.
Rocket ship home – (camel) with palms of hands together to mimic a rocket ship.
Need to wash the space suit due to all the moon dust (Washer). Sit up tall in easy seated position, bend forward placing hands on the ground to put the suit in the washer, then place hands on shoulders and twist from waist with tail bone remaining planted. Make washer noises.
Dryer – Easy seated position , roll hands in front of chest and make drying noise.
Do a seated twist to squeeze out the remaining space dust.
Oh no! A meteor followed us home! Have children lay very still, eyes closed, on their stomachs, breathing deeply from the belly. Roll over children with exercise ball while slightly applying pressure. This provides proprioceptive input and is very calming. I play the “Star Wars” theme song during this time. Little boys love it!
Have class roll over to back for 1 minute and continue to breath deeply.
Wake up Sequence
Meteor roll –grab behind knees and gently rock side to side.
Space stretch – pull knees into chest, then let fall to right, hands stretched out wide in T position. Repeat on opposite side.
Cricket – rub hands and soles of feet together to wake up nerve endings. Have children place hands over their eyes to feel the good energy created.
Space Juice (sesame or jojoba oil, lavender, tea tree oil) – Ask about allergies. Lavender is calming to the central nervous system. Have children sit with legs crossed and palms of hands facing up. Squirt space juice in their hands and have them rub their hands together. When everyone has space juice have class take a deep breath together while sweeping hands up, exhale while slowly lowering hands in front of nose. Inhale several times before dropping hands to heart center and ending with the magic yoga words – Namaste.
Pranayama practice – with the lights off have the class lay on their backs. Give each child a hoberman sphere that glows in the dark. Have children practice making their bellies get big on the inhale as they pull the sphere outward. On the exhale have them shrink the sphere. Do this for several breaths. Next have the children put the sphere on their bellies and see how many breaths they can keep the sphere on before it rolls off.
Musical mats – place mats in circle, take one mat away. Place yoga cards in front of the mats. When the music plays have children dance and walk in a circle, when the music stops they must find a mat and complete the yoga pose on the card on both sides. The child who didn’t find a mat becomes the yoga assistant and starts the music for another round. One of my favorite songs to use is “Hip Hop Yoga Bop.”
Make rocket ships out of popsicle sticks, watermelon (in triangle at top), and bananas (at bottom). Kids love them and they are easy to clean up.
Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children