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…
Heavy Work = Self-Regulate
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.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS-BASED STRESS REDUCTION FOR CHILDREN?
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction teaches children how to self-regulate their behavior through guided instruction. Each session includes mindfulness of the breath, mindfulness of the body (body scan), and mindfulness of movement (calming yoga postures). Children learn to identify thoughts and emotions and relate them to experiences. These simple mindfulness practices help children deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions.
IS IT SUPPORTED BY RESEARCH?
- A study at Standford University confirmed that 8-weeks of mindfulness training in fourth through sixth graders led to significant decreases in anxiety and improvements in attention. The children in this study were less emotionally reactive and better able to handle daily stress (Saltzman, 2010)
- A study with adolescents under psychiatric outpatient care showed significant improvements in stress, anxiety, and several psychopathological symptoms. The study also found that more time spent in sitting meditation predicted improved functioning and a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms (Burke, 2009).
Sign up for a 8-week mindfulness based stress reduction course at 913-660-8219.
Burke, C.A. (2009) Mindfulness-Based Approaches with Children and Adolescents: A Preliminary Review of Current Research in an Emergent Field. J Child Fam Stud. pmid:20339571 doi: 10.1007/s10826-009-9282-x
Saltzman, A. (2010). Mindfulness: A teacher’s guide. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/theBuddha/teacher’s/guide/
Okay, I exaggerated it’s not magical, but these strategies are so simple, quick, and effective, they feel like magic. I have used the 1-2-3 Magic system for 17-years, both as a psychologist and as an early childhood coordinator. If implemented correctly it works just like magician casting a spell.
For now we are only going to discuss stop behaviors. Stop behaviors include: aggression, yelling, pouting, whining, and arguing. Basically any behavior you want your child to stop doing.
Using a counting system to stop unwanted behaviors in children with special needs requires modifications. Children with ADHD and autism typically have problems processing information given through auditory directions. Therefore, add visual supports or your child will look at you as if you’ve lost your mind!
Visual Supports Needed
- Social Story. Children need the discipline procedure read to them with pictures of the time-out space, the timer, etc. The story needs to be very simple with only one to two sentences to a page.
- Time Timer. The Time Timer is a timer that has a red disk that disappears as time elapses. The best part is no irritating ticking, distractions, or setup. Click here to watch a video on the Time Timer. http://www.timetimer.com
HOW TO WORK MAGIC
First, read the social story. Second, read the story often. Repetition is the key. Now comes the tricky part, implementation. When you see “Johnny” doing something he is not suppose to be doing say, “That’s 1.” If he doesn’t stop say, “That’s 2.” If he still doesn’t stop, say, “That’s 3.” Then walk him to his time-out place. This can consist of a square on the floor made of duct tape (thinking square), his room, or whatever place you deem the time-out spot. Once he calms down start the timer. When the red is gone, time is up and Johnny is free. Sounds simple right? That’s because it is, but there are a few key components.
- Reduce talking too much. Only count.
- Stay level headed. Show no emotion.
Still need help? Call the Mindful Child Aerial Yoga team at 913-660-8219 or sign up for one of our behavior management workshops.