Tag Archives: aerial yoga

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.

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.

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!

The Impact of Spinning on your Child’s Body and Mind

When given free time in the aerial yoga hammock there are two movements children will seek out – spinning and swinging.  Both movements have therapeutic value and children should be allowed to explore the movements their bodies are craving to an extent.

Spinning Playground Equipment

Traditional playgrounds use to house at least one merry-go-round, but modern playgrounds limit spinning equipment due to safety concerns.  Which is sad, as there is a reason merry-go-rounds were one of the most loved pieces of equipment on the playground. Kids. Love. To. Spin!

The pros and cons…

Spinning is a swift whirling motion or rotating rapidly.  Like most intense movements, it has pros and cons. Most children will be able to find the right amount of movement, but some may not be that in tune with their bodies and will go beyond what their brain can handle. Think about the carnival rides that involve spinning, if you spin too long and too fast, the brain will react with dizziness and nausea.  This reaction is the brain protecting itself from too much input. Spinning delivers potent sensory input to the vestibular system that the brain takes in and processes. Thus, children need to be to spin in both directions and to practice other poses in the hammock when you see them spinning too much.

While too much spinning is not good for the brain, some spinning is beneficial.  Spinning positively enhances the vestibular system. It allows children to learn to shift their weight, which is an important component of aerial yoga. Additionally, children learn the cause and effects of motion. 

Here are a few of the benefits of spinning in the aerial yoga hammock:

  • Sensory stimulation: It provides sensory integration in the areas of balance, touch, and feel.
  • Focus and concentration: Focus is improved as both sides of the brain are being used. Vestibular input can also prepare the brain for learning. 
  • Muscle strength: Spinning improves postural control and grip strength. Children have to hang on tight and sit or stand tall or they will fall off the hammock.
  • Kinesthetic awareness: Knowing where they are in space is improved as children must judge how far they are from peers and the ground.
  • Decision-making skills: Children must think while they are in motion and decide how much is the right amount of spinning and figure out how to stop the hammock.

While too much can be detrimental, some spinning is important for development.  The tricky part is every child is different, so there is not a set amount to allow.  Some children can hang upside down and spin in circles rapidly with their eyes closed and not feel any adverse effects, while others can do one rotation and feel nauseous.  Paying careful attention will help you decide how much spinning to allow. When in doubt, limit how much children spin and make sure they spin in both directions.

Mindful Child offers the therapeutic movement your child craves.

If you’d like your child to experience the benefits of therapeutic movements, sign-up for one of our classes. If you live out of town and live classes are not an option, buy a Mindful Child aerial hammock for your home and register for our Online Mindful Child classes. We have lots of aerial yoga options to choose from!

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Relaxation Training Quickly Calms the Body and the Mind

Applied relaxation training brings together a number of evidence-based relaxation techniques. The combined effect of these techniques helps reverse the effects of stress quickly and powerfully. Mindful Child Aerial Yoga classes incorporate a variety of research-backed relaxation exercises to help children calm themselves, when they encounter a stressful situation. For this blog, we will focus on one of our favorites, progressive muscle relaxation.

What is Progressive Relaxation Training?

The technique of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was developed by Jacobson in 1944. Yes, it has been around a LONG time. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) consists of tensing and relaxing individual muscle groups. It helps children to develop body awareness and teaches them how to release muscle tension. When your child practices PMR exercises, they may start from the top of the body and progress to the bottom, or vice versa depending on the exercise. Progressing through muscle groups sequentially makes it easier for children to follow along.

What are the Benefits?

Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps your child recognize the difference between tension and relaxation in each of the major muscle groups. This relaxation technique develops body awareness and has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain.

What does the Research Say?

  • After a 12-week relaxation program, researchers observed significant decreases in young athletes confusion, depression, fatigue, tension, and anger scores. (Hashim, Hanafi, & Yusof, 2011).
  • Thayer, Newman, and McClain (1994) found exercise to be the most effective mood-regulating behavior. However, their research discovered the best strategy to change a bad mood is a combination of relaxation, stress management, cognitive, and exercise techniques. Hmmm…sounds like our aerial yoga classes.
  • Lupen and associates (1976) studied the effect of PMR on hyperactive children. Significant improvements were noted in behavior, attention, concentration, and cognition. Frequency of practice was positively linked with improvement. This means the more the children practiced the more they improved.

Kid’s Aerial Yoga and Progressive Muscle Relaxation

At Mindful Child, we incorporate PMR into our ending relaxation story. We do this in our mindfulness therapeutic sessions and in our aerial yoga classes. PMR is introduced in the aerial hammock, which adds an element of fun to the exercises. PMR does not have to be taught in an aerial yoga hammock to reduce stress, all that is needed is a quiet environment and a comfortable position.

References

Hashim, H. A., & Hanafi Ahmad Yusof, H. (2011). The effects of progressive muscle relaxation and autogenic relaxation on young soccer players’ mood states. Asian journal of sports medicine2(2), 99–105. doi:10.5812/asjsm.34786

Lehrer PM. Varieties of relaxation methods and their unique effects. Int J Stress Manage. 1996;3:1–14. [Google Scholar]

Thayer RE, Newman R, McClain TM. Self-regulation of mood: strategies for changing a bad mood, raising energy, and reducing tension. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1994;67:910–25. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Lupen, M., Braud, L., Braud, W, & Derer, W. (1976). Children, parents, and relaxation tapes. Academic Therapy, 12, 105-113

Aerial Yoga Hammock Tips For Home Use

Is your child hooked on our amazing aerial yoga classes?  Are they begging for their own aerial yoga hammock for home use?   If so, this is the blog for you!

Why Buy An Aerial Yoga Hammock?

Aerial yoga gives children the feeling of safe, weightless flight. Participation in an aerial yoga class has a wide range of benefits for children of all ages, such as cognitive, neurological, motor, and developmental.

There are multiple therapeutic and sensory benefits associated with aerial yoga.   Not only is your child having fun, they are strengthening all aspects of their health. Yoga in the aerial hammocks is a great tool to regulate the central nervous system, increase body awareness, and help children become aware of their own social and emotional needs so they can self-regulate their behavior.

What type of aerial yoga hammock is best for my child?

Aerial hammocks are available in single or double point.  Preference is typically individualized as each type of hammock has it’s advantages.

At Mindful Child, we have specially designed our Mindful Child hammocks to move easily from a single point to a double point depending on what poses we are doing. This way we can have the best of both worlds!

Single Point Hammock. The single point allows for lots of spinning and hours of fun and is better suited for children who like fluid movement and spinning.

Double Point Hammock. The double point allows for more stability.  There is a gentle rocking motion, but you do not spin.  The double point is easier to swing in and sway side-to-side.

Swivel. Rotational devices or Swivels are not necessary for Aerial Yoga Hammocks, but they do allow an additional spinning component to single point hammock use.  Swivels also decrease the force placed on the attachment point.

Mindful Child Aerial Yoga uses swivels, while performing single point poses, to allow versatility with hammock use, full movement in all planes, decreased twisting of hammock straps, smoothness with movement and extra fun!   Most kids love how the swivel adds a sense of flow to movement in the hammock and allows a spinning component, but some kids and adults can be overwhelmed by spinning, which can lead to nausea.

Where Should I Buy An Aerial Yoga Hammock?

Not all hammocks are created equal and do not move the same.  We recommend buying hammocks from Mindful Child Aerial Yoga.  Sorry, we are a little bit biased.  Our hammocks are made from the best aerial fabric on the market.  They are strong, soft, and easy to clean!  Mindful Child  fabric has been safety tested to 2,000 pounds.  These aerial hammocks are machine washable and can be placed in the dryer, which is important if you want to kill viruses lurking on the material.

When buying equipment or a hammock make sure you use only high quality, safety rated equipment.  We use Black Diamond safety rated climbing gear.  REI and MooseJaw also provide safety tested equipment.

How Do I Rig A Hammock at Home?

Ceilings vary, which makes it difficult to give advice on how to hang hammocks.  Safety should never be comprised to save a few dollars.  It’s important to have the hammock installed by a licensed contractor that understands aerial rigging.  All hammocks need a strong support beam, a six foot diameter, and padded flooring beneath the hammock.

Once your hammock is installed be prepared for reduced stress, improved happiness and hours spent moving, creating and playing!