Spider Pose – a creepy stretch for Halloween aerial yoga.
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.
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!
Mindfulness is a great tool for children during this unprecedented time. With activities and schedules being turned upside down due to COVID-19, mindfulness techniques can help kids to reduce the stress and handle big emotions. The best part about mindfulness is there are many different ways to be mindful – from mind-body practices like breathing exercises, yoga and mindful eating, to stillness practices like guided relaxations. There is something for everyone in the family to try. In these uncertain times, when we all truly need to feel supported and connected, I encourage parents to explore mindfulness and see how it might support them and their family.
Here are few mindfulness techniques to try at home:
Be mindful outdoors. Take a ride your bike. Research tells us that spending time in nature can change how we feel. As you ride, pay close attention to what you see, hear, feel, and smell. If you have a basket, maybe even gather objects such as rocks, sticks, and leaves to create an art project or mandala.
Focus on the good. Every cloud has a silver lining, but sometimes it can be hard to find that silver lining when you are experiencing stress. Encourage your child to use her breath, while thinking of a positive affirmation such as “I am happy.” This will shift the negative mindset to a positive one.
Take deep breaths. Breathing techniques are a useful tool for self-regulation. Many children express how taking deep Elevator Breaths helped them to fall asleep at night or even in yoga! Taking ten deep breaths is a simple solution for big emotions that can be done anytime and anywhere. It is truly an amazing tool for reducing stress.
What makes an activity mindful, is if we pay attention to the activity while using our senses. That being said, there are lots of ways to cultivate mindfulness. If you need a few ideas check out Mindful Child Online classes or my book, Mindfulness for Children, 150+ Activities for Healthier, Happier, Stress -Free Kids. When beginning a mindfulness practice, start small with a few minutes a day. Also, try to pick a consist time to practice mindfulness to make it a habit. If your children are doing schoolwork, add in a few minutes of mindfulness throughout the day. Set time aside so that the whole family can practice together. After COVID-19 is over, kids will think back fondly on the mindfulness activities they did as a family.
Focus is defined as the center of interest or activity. Focusing your attention on what is happening in the moment is part of being mindful. A easy way for children to improve attention is by focusing on their bodies. Brain-based strategies encourage children to notice their breath and heartbeat, and pay attention to how it changes during and after movement. Learning to notice these internal changes will help enhance focus and resilience.
Four Brain-Based Strategies to Improve Focus
Breath Work. Teaching children to control their breath can help them become less reactive when feeling anxious or stressed. Paying attention to breathing also supports functioning in the higher brain regions responsible for cognitive processing, such as the prefrontal cortex. A one minute breathing practice can prime the brain for learning!
Yoga. Yoga poses, especially balancing poses require concentration and strength. Paying attention to the sensations in the body, whether active or moving, is an important step in enhancing mindful awareness.
Mindfulness. For children, mindfulness is defined as the practice of paying attention, with the senses. Mindfulness fosters the ability to become more connected to the body and mind, which improves awareness and focus.
Guided Relaxation. Relaxation stories calm the body and mind. They encourage a healthy imagination and develop body awareness. Not able to come up stories on your own? Stress Free Kids is a great website for relaxation stories.
At Mindful Child, we combine social and emotional learning with aerial yoga to teach children self-control. We use brain-based strategies to help children deepen their understanding of their own mental processes. When children are aware of their brain-body connection they are more resilient, confident, and focused. Neuroscience tells us that practicing brain-based activities will enhance receptivity to learning in both academic and social-emotional areas.
Children are faced with many stressors, such as friends, homework, school, and inadequate sleep. This mindful yoga sequence emphasizes stress reduction to create a sense of calm, while enhancing mindful awareness, focus, and executive functioning.
Begin with Mindful Yoga Breathing
Lay down on your back. Close your eyes, place one hand on your heart and one on your lower belly. Bring the soles of your feet together to form butterfly legs. Notice your heartbeat and breath. Take ten deep breaths in and out through the nose. Fill your hands go up as you breathe in and down as your breathe out.
Add Some Mindful Yoga Movement
Stand up in Mountain Pose and move through a slow sun salutation three times. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose. Take a few extra breaths in inversions such as Forward Fold and Down Dog Pose. When your head is upside down it is calming to the nervous system.
Choose a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths to settle in. Stare at an object you’ve chosen such as a visual timer. Let it fill up your gaze and mind. Tune everything else out. When your mind starts to wander, notice it, and bring it back. When your timer ends, close your eyes and try to keep the object you have been gazing at fixed in your mind. Take a few deep breaths, and when you are ready open your eyes.
End with a Relaxation Story
Find a comfortable position. Place an eye pillow with Young Living lavender essential oil over your eyes. Read one of the relaxation stories from Mindfulness for Children, to your child or make up your own. Try to include progressive muscle relaxation in your story. After your mindfulness practice reflect on the experience with your child. Have them notice how they feel and ask what they enjoyed with most. This will broaden your awareness of the activities that resonated with your child.
Shuffle Bubbles are bubbles made from a solution that is stronger than typical bubble solution so it doesn’t pop as easily! Children can actually catch and pass the bubbles. Parents can make the solution using the recipe below or buy an inexpensive Shuffle Bubble set online. Shuffle Bubbles is also a good lesson in self-control. Children love popping bubbles, but in Shuffle Bubble we want the bubbles to last as long as possible, so they must demonstrate impulse control and not pop the bubbles.
Wrap decorative tape around the straws at the top, middle, and bottom.
Blowing bubbles helps children relax. Catching the bubbles and shuffling them to a friend increases focus, social skills, and enhances cooperative play. Shuffle Bubbles develops executive functioning skills, which help children to self-regulate and show self-control
What to Say
We are going to wear magic bubble-catching gloves so that we can catch bubbles. Remember the goal is to catch the bubble, not to pop it. Let’s take three deep Balloon Breaths before we get started.
Slowly and mindfully blow a bubble. Catch the bubble in your hand and shuffle it to a friend. Be mindful when handling the bubbles because they will pop if you aren’t very gentle with them. Now let’s see how many times we can bounce the bubble back and forth before it pops.
For an extra mindfulness challenge build a bubble tower in your hand! Hold your gloved hand out in front of you. Position your bubble blower so your hand is below it. Slowly let the bubbles drop onto your gloved hand. TADA! Behold your bubble tower.
Nature Walk is taking a walk with your child; however, he pretends he is walking in the wilderness. While on the walk your child will notice all the wildlife on the walk. The goal is to notice as many details about the birds, insects and other animals as they can. Giving your child a magnifying glass or binoculars really allows them to see bugs and birds up close and notice details they may have missed in the past.
What are the Benefits?
Nature Walk builds visual memory and visual observation skills. It helps children focus their attention and concentrate.Wildlife walk promotes mindful awareness and mindful movement.
What to Say.
Let’s go on a wildlife walk! As we walk through the wilderness we want to remain quiet and mindful. We will walk slowly so we don’t miss anything.
Turn your senses on high and notice all the birds, bugs and wildlife that you can. Remember we are always kind to our environment. Just notice the wildlife, don’t interact with it.
Use your magnifying glass or binoculars to watch the wildlife in silence and notice what it sounds like, how it moves, and what colors you see.
Afterward we will draw what we’ve observed so really pay attention and watch all the insects, animals, and birds that you find. Reflect on the Wildlife Walk by asking, “Was it hard to focus on just one thing? Which details were easier to remember? Did you notice something that you haven’t noticed before? What helped you keep your focus?”
For older children, search for objects in nature to explore as well. Have them notice what it looks like, smells like, how it feels, and if it makes a sound. Ask them to remember as many details as possible. When you return from the walk ask your child to write down all the details they remember and reflect on the experience. Discuss ways mindful seeing connects to real life. You may ask, “How does mindful seeing help someone who has seen an accident? How does being mindful help you at school? What are jobs that require mindful seeing and memory skills?”
This mindfulness activity requires visualization and a good imagination. Have your child imagine they are bird in flight. As he is flying over the earth, ask your child to look down on all the things he is grateful for. Next, have your child draw a picture of the bird flying over all the wonderful things he has to grateful for in his life.
What are the benefits?
Visualization coupled with gratitude is a powerful combination to shift a negative mood to a positive mood. Take flight is relaxing, enhances well-being, and encourages mindful reflection.
What to Say.
Lay down in a comfortable position such as Corpse or Mummy Pose. Close your eyes. Let’s take a couple Elevator Breaths. Imagine you’re a bird. Think of what your bird looks like. In your mind, form a picture of your bird. Is he a small bird or a majestic eagle? What color is your bird? Now imagine that your bird has taken flight and is flying over the earth. Your bird looks down and sees all the things you are thankful for. Breathe in and out through your nose. What does your bird see? Picture the things that you are grateful for as your bird fly’s high overhead. Remember to keep breathing in and out through your nose, as you picture your bird flying. Slowly open your eyes and come to an Easy Seated position. We are going to draw a picture that shows what your bird saw when he was flying. You can even add your bird flying over ahead. Ready? Let’s draw!
Positive affirmations help children to think positively and believe in themselves.
Affirmation coloring book or coloring page
Colors, colored pencils or markers
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 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.
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?