Air Surfer Pose

Air Surfer Pose

Air Surfer Pose is a fun way to build confidence in the aerial yoga hammock.  This pose is essentially standing in the hammock while you swing or ride the air surf.  This pose is for two-point hammocks only, as you want the hammock to be like your standing on a surfboard riding the waves.

What are the benefits?

Air Surfer Pose exercises the body and your child’s imagination.  Swinging side-to-side provides sensory input, muscle awareness, and builds motor planning.  It improves balance, grip strength and is a mood buster.   Swinging, whether sitting or standing, can increase endorphins (chemicals in the brain that make you happy) and wake up a sleepy brain and body, thus this pose is great for focus and concentration.

What to Say

  • Let’s go surfing! Bring the hammock in front of your body.
  • Make the hammock skinny like a skateboard. 
  • Hold on to both sides of the hammock as you step up, one foot and then the other.
  • Once you have your balance start to sway side-to-side or back-and-forth. 
  • Pull the hammock away from your body with your arm as you lean your body to the opposite side. Now do the other side.
  • Don’t let go while you surf.
  • To come out of the pose, stand still letting the waves calm down.
  • Once your hammock is barely moving, step one foot down and then the other.
Mindful Child Aerial Hammocks

Mindful Child Aerial Hammocks are beneficial to your child’s development. Swinging is therapeutic whether it is standing, laying, or sitting in the hammock. Check out a Mindful Child class or camp for more fun and therapeutic aerial yoga poses and activities.

Yogi Says Game

Yogi Says game at Mindful Child

What is the Yogi Says Game?

For this game, gather a group of a least four players, the bigger the group the better. It is played similar to “Simon Says,” but you say “Yogi Says” instead of “Simon Says” and your commands are related to yoga poses, breath work, and mindfulness. Explain to children that a yogi is someone who practices yoga. The players must do whatever yogi tells them, but only when he says “Yogi Says…” before the exercise. Otherwise the player is out. Allow children to take turns being the yogi. Like the majority of our games, it can be played on the ground, in an aerial hammock, or both.

Benefits

  • Encourages yoga pose review & practice
  • Improves mood
  • Increases memory skills
  • Promotes focus and concentration
  • Enhances listening skills
  • Increase motor coordination
  • Helps with sequencing and executive function

What to Say

  • We are going play a game called Yogi Says!   
  • I am going to be “Yogi”
  • If I say “Yogi says” before an activity, you do the activity, but if I don’t say “Yogi says” you do not do the pose or activity.
  • For example, when I say “Yogi says do Goddess Pose!” climb up to Goddess Pose.
  • If I don’t say “Yogi says,” and you do the pose you will be out.

Games are an important part of any kid’s yoga class and some of our most beloved childhood games have therapeutic benefits. Yogi Says is a simple and fun activity that requires no materials. It is the perfect game to address a variety of skills such as sequencing and motor coordination to help with your child’s development. We have a variety of classes and camps full of therapeutic benefits. Come hang out with us!

Create a Chill-ax Space at Home

Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, but creating a mindful “chill-ax” space at home may increase the benefits.

Mindfulness at Mindful Child

Even though mindfulness is easily practiced anywhere and at anytime, the benefits may be enhanced by designating a place where your child can “chill-ax” or take a brain break. The space doesn’t need to be large – just offer enough room for your child to be able to sit or lie down.

Here are few helpful tips when setting up your child’s chill-ax space:

  • Lighting. Light is important to learning and behavior. It helps regulate mood and affects cognitive performance. Indirect sunlight is best for learning and relaxing; open the blinds and let the light shine in. But not too much, dimly lit areas are best for chill-axing. If you don’t have a room with natural light, try using a fiber optic lamp. At Mindful Child, we love our LIFX smart bulbs in our overhead lights. We can easily dim them or change colors creating a relaxing vibe. 
  • Essential Oils. Unpleasant odors make it difficult to relax.  Essential oils can boost your child’s mood and create a relaxing spa-like atmosphere.  An easy way to use oils in is by using an essential oil diffuser which will disperse oils throughout the room.  You can also buy inhaler sticks and place them on a shelf with your child’s favorite calming scents.  At Mindful Child, we only use therapeutic grade Young Living essential oils.  Our favorites are Peace and Calming, Stress Away, and Lavender.
  • Cleanliness.  Reduce clutter and keep the space organized.  Too many choices tends to  overwhelm and distract children.  Having a limited choice of organized mindfulness tools will promote relaxation. 
  • Comfort.  Being comfortable is an important component of relaxation.  Bean bags such as Targets sensory friendly Cocoon Seat are perfect for breathing and practicing mindfulness. 
  • Small Space. Children enjoy small enclosed spaces.  It helps them feel safe and reduces visual stimulation.  A Teepee or space created with the Nugget (original play couch) is perfect for mellowing out and finding inner peace, tranquility and calm. 

Your child can learn lots of evidence-based ways to practice mindfulness by joining us for an aerial yoga camp or class. We infuse every activity with movement, breath and mindfulness.

Mindful Gift Ideas

Mindfulness

This holiday season shop thoughtfully and locally – give the gift of mindfulness!

Meddy Teddy

Holiday shopping can be stressful—especially if you don’t plan ahead. But the holiday season does not have to put such a heavy strain on your wallet and schedule. Consider these gift ideas this year — gifts that encourage mindfulness, promote relaxation and will have a positive impact on the your child’s well-being.

Here are a few handpicked gift ideas:

  • Mindful Gift Pick #1 – Mindful Child Aerial Yoga Hammock. Who doesn’t love hanging upside down? Our studio grade (this means they are high quality) hammocks are perfect Christmas gifts.  They are safety rated and come in a variety of colors. 
  • Mindful Gift Pick #2 – Meddy Teddy.  Best yoga mate to your kids. A playful way to get little ones into yoga and meditation. Meddy Teddy is a pose able bear who knows 100’s of Yoga poses.
  • Mindful Gift Pick #3 – Winter Aerial Yoga Camp.  We’ve added a mini camp over Christmas break.  Three fun filled days of spinning, climbing and hanging upside down.  Camp meets for two hours daily. 
  • Mindful Gift Pick #4 – Late Winter Aerial Yoga Session.  Our new session is online and ready for sign-up.  Best of all the price is discounted until December 4th!
  • Mindful Gift Pick #5 – Essential Oil Roll-ons. Young Living has an excellent selection of roll-ons that make perfect stocking stuffers. My personal favorites are Tranquil and Valor.
  • Mindful Gift Pick #6 – A Journal. Science tells us listing three things you are grateful for daily can make you happier and healthier. Big Life Journal has wonderful journals for all ages.
  • Mindful Gift Pick #7 – A Buddha Board. Write down your worries with a bamboo brush and watch them slowly evaporate while you take deep breaths.

These gifts are meant to inspire healthy living, allowing you to empower your little ones to learn healthy habits for life. What better gift to give this holiday season?

Elevator Breath

kids mindfulness

What is Elevator Breath?

This breathing technique is referred to as “three-part breath” because of how the breath enters the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. Children often breathe with only the top portion of their lungs, which means they are missing out on the benefits of using their entire lungs to breathe. Breathing in and out at full capacity provides a sense of balance and calm.

In aerial yoga, Elevator Breath pairs well with Fish Pose and Mermaid Pose.  However, it can be done in a seat position such as Bucket Seat Pose as well. 

What are the Benefits?        

Elevator Breath increases children’s awareness of their breath. Placing hands on the belly, helps kids to bring their breath all the way to their abdomen. It activates the brain’s relaxation system, which sends an instant calm feeling throughout the body. Placing the hands on the belly and heart allows children to feel their breath, which helps with focus, stress-relief and mindfulness.

What to Say.

  • Lay on your back, place one hand on the heart and one hand on the belly.
  •  Notice your breath and your heartbeat. Is it fast, medium, or slow?
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose. Feel your belly, rib cage, and the heart center rise beneath your hands.
  • As you breathe out, feel your belly, rib cage, and heart center fall. Do you feel the elevator going up and down with each breath?
  • Start to make your elevator go even slower by making your breath slower.
  • Repeat nine times. Notice your breath and heartbeat. Have they changed?

Elevator Breath is one of the breathing techniques we use in our aerial yoga classes. Mindful breathing can help children become more aware of their feelings, this awareness helps them to manage big emotions.

Spider Pose

Spider Pose – a creepy stretch for Halloween aerial yoga.

Spider Pose in the Aerial Hammock

What is Spider Pose

Spider Pose in land-based yoga is a cross between Goddess Pose and Forward Fold. The hammock version is similar to Goddess Pose, but only your arms are holding you up, which means this is more of an intermediate pose. As with all aerial yoga, parents should supervise kids when doing poses.

Spider Pose is a fun way to balance the body while hanging on to your spider web (hammock).  It stretches the hips while building grip and arm strength.  Climbing the web and having your spider legs do the spider dance is so FUN you don’t even realize you are working hard to hold your body up!

What are the Benefits?

Spider Pose builds executive function skills while promoting upper body and grip strength. It is a mood and confidence booster.

What to Say

  • Begin in Bucket Seat (like a big swing).
  • Take your legs through the middle of the hammock.
  • Hook them around the hammock.
  • Start to climb your web (hammock)
  • Hold on tight and swing your spider legs back and forth.
  • Do a happy spider dance!
  • To come out, lean back and slide down the hammock.
  • Don’t let go.
  • Take the legs back through the middle
  • Your back in Bucket Seat
  • Take a bow!

Want to learn more fun strength building poses for kids? Join us for an aerial yoga class or take our online aerial yoga training.

Meddy Teddy Mindfulness

Meddy Teddy Mindfulness

Materials

What is Meddy Teddy Mindfulness? 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is paying attention with our senses, with kindness.  Meddy Mindfulness requires your child’s full attention. Each child will mindfully focus on Meddy Teddy, a pose-able yoga teddy bear. Focusing on Meddy Teddy is fun and engaging, which helps children to slow down and focus on the present moment. 

What are the Benefits?

Meddy Teddy Mindfulness enhances mindful awareness and is calming.  When practiced regularly, mindfulness can improve attention, cognition, emotions, and behavior.

What to Say.

  • Mindfulness is focusing on what is happening, right now, with our five senses – seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting. 
  • Meddy Mindfulness helps you pay attention to your senses so you can feel focused and relaxed. 
  • Place Meddy is front of you in Easy Seated Pose. 
  • Start by noticing what Meddy looks like.  What color is he?  Are his eyes open or closed?
  • Next, put Meddy on your lap. Is he soft or hard? Warm or cold? What else do you notice about how Meddy feels?
  • Bring Meddy up by your nose.  Take in a big breath.  What do you smell?
  • Place Meddy in your favorite yoga pose.  As you adjust him, listen very mindfully.  Does he make a sound? Do your favorite pose with him.  Notice what you hear.
  • We are going to skip taste since Meddy is not food.  Instead let’s use our mindfulness detective skills and see if we can notice one thing about Meddy we haven’t notice before. 
  • What did you notice?

Want to learn more ways to be mindful with Meddy Teddy? Sign up for a aerial yoga class or our online kid’s yoga teacher training! Module Three has Meddy Teddy breathing exercises, cards and games!

The Pyramid of Learning

Pyramid of Learning – Williams & Shellenberger (1996)

What is the Pyramid of Learning?

Williams and Shellenberger developed the pyramid of learning along with the Alert Program, a self regulation program. The pyramid highlights how sensory processing relates to the learning process. It illustrates children’s foundational skills and the hierarchy of skills needed to support academic learning and behavior. The pyramid is important, as it helps breakdown skills into different foundational levels and prioritize what skills to address first in therapy. The process of moving up the pyramid is called a bottom’s up approach. This means that babies and children’s development begins with physical and sensory skills that they must master, step-by-step to move up to higher level skills such as learning, attending, and self-regulating.

The Pyramid of Learning is a way of looking at the whole child. The foundation of the pyramid is a child’s central nervous system, which is closely linked to their sensory systems. Adequate development is built on being able to register and process sensory information from the seven senses (touch, movement, deep pressure, smell, taste, sight, and hearing). If the lower levels of the pyramid for learning are not solid, then your child may have difficulty focusing, completing homework, and learning new information.

Let’s look closer at the levels of the pyramid and the skills that need to be mastered…

Level Two – Sensory

  • Tactile (touch)
  • Vestibular (balance, movement)
  • Proprioception (deep pressure, where body is in space)
  • Olfactory (smell)
  • Visual (vision)
  • Auditory (hearing)
  • Gustatory (taste)

Level Three – Sensory Motor

  • Body scheme (body awareness through movement)
  • Reflex maturity (reflexes, for safety purposes)
  • Ability to screen input (paying attention to sensory experiences that are important)
  • Postural security (confidence in maintaining certain postures to prevent falling)
  • Awareness of two sides of the body (bilateral integration)
  • Motor planning (ability to plan movement)

Level Four – Perceptual Motor

  • Auditory language skills (hearing & speaking)
  • Visual-spatial perception (recognize an object’s physical location as well as the physical relationships between objects.)
  • Attention center functions (maintaining attention)
  • Eye-hand coordination (using what you see to guide the movement of your hands)
  • Ocular motor control (locating & fixating on something in the field of vision)
  • Postural adjustment (adjusting posture to maintain balance)

Level Five – Cognition

  • Academic learning
  • Daily living activities (such as eating, toileting, personal hygiene)
  • Behavior

Mindful Child’s Approach

kids aerial yoga

Sensory processing skills are foundational for learning and regulating behavior. At Mindful Child, our therapists use the aerial hammock as a therapeutic prop to help children develop the skills they need to successfully climb to the top of the pyramid.

Aerial Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Pose

Aerial Butterfly Pose is a great pose to relax, meditate, and stretch out your hips. Did you know that flapping your arm wings takes coordination, core strength and communication between the brain and body?

Aerial Butterfly requires focus and strength to stay upright in the hammock, it is not suitable for children under age six. Parents are advised to spot children when doing this pose and to make sure they are practicing on a padded floor.

What are the Benefits of Aerial Butterfly Pose?

  • Opens hips
  • Improves posture
  • Increases body awareness and motor planning
  • Enhances executive function
  • Promotes focus and concentration

If children are not familiar with Butterfly Pose on the ground, I would first teach it on the ground so they understand how to form the butterfly legs in the hammock by gluing the soles of their feet together and taking their legs out wide.  Additionally, when teaching for the first it helps to place the hammock low to the ground so that if children do fall forward it does not cause injury.  

This pose is contraindicated for children with hip and knee injuries.

What to Say

  • We are going to be butterflies
  • Start with the fabric in front of you.
  • Make the hammock skinny like a jump rope.
  • Step onto the hammock.
  • Bring yourself to a standing position.
  • While standing in the hammock take your legs behind the fabric.
  • Glue the bottoms of your feet together.
  • Start to slide hands down the hammock.
  • Slide into butterfly legs.
  • Knees should be behind the hammock.
  • Reach one arm through and then the other.
  • You are a butterfly!

Want to learn more amazing aerial yoga poses? Join us for a class! We have both online and in person!

Energizing Breathing Exercise for Focus

Dragon Breathing Exercise

Dragon Breath is an energizing breathing exercise similar to Standing Deep Breathing Pose in hot yoga. Deep Breathing Pose is a breathing technique done at the beginning of a hot yoga class to help improve focus while practicing balancing poses.

Dragon Breath is free and takes little time, which makes it a perfect brain break during virtual school. It will enhance your child’s focus and wake up the mind before tackling that next assignment.

Benefits of Energizing Breathing Exercises

Dragon Breath improves focus and attention. Deep breathing transfers oxygen to muscles and organs such as the brain, and nervous system priming the brain for learning. Deep breathing promotes mindfulness and overall well-being. Being a dragon enhances visualization and imagination.

What to Say

  • Interlace all 10 fingers, glue knuckles under the chin.
  • Bring elbows together.
  • Take a deep breath in.
  • Keep knuckles glued to the chin.
  • Begin floating elbows up like dragon wings by ears.
  • Tilt head back and breathe fire out through your mouth.

Add A Yoga Pose

To enhance the benefits of this energizing breathing exercise, couple Dragon Breath with a Dragon Pose or have children create their own Dragon Pose. Want to learn more ways to teach children to breathe and be mindful? Check out our Mindful Child Online Teacher Training

Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children