Tag Archives: kids yoga

Reverse Warrior Pose for Focus

Reverse Warrior Pose for Focus, Strength, and Calm

Reverse Warrior Pose is part of the Warrior series, which is a powerful set of poses known for building strength.  Reverse Warrior requires a bit more balance than some of the other warrior poses as children are looking up with one arm reaching for the sky and one arm resting on the back leg.

Benefits

Reverse Warrior Pose stretches and strengthens your child’s entire body while developing balance and coordination. Reverse Warrior increases mindful awareness and promotes inner calm. It also creates concentration and focus from the ground up.

What to Say

  • Begin in Warrior II. Keep your front knee bent as you flip your front palm to face the sky.
  • Lift your front arm toward the sky. Look up at your hand. Breathe in as you reach up higher. Rest your other hand on your back leg.
  • Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Notice how you feel. Do you feel a gentle stretch in your side?
  • Let’s shake it out and be a warrior on the side.  Notice how this side feels.  Is it different from the first?

Want more children’s poses to help build focus, concentration, strength, and more? Pre-order Mindfulness for Children, by Tracy  Daniel on Amazon.

 

Kindness for Happier, Healthier Kids

Kindness can boost happiness, resilience, and the immune system.

Kindness is being friendly, generous, and considerate. Small acts of kindness have a powerful impact on others.  Science demonstrates that completing kind acts, even if it’s as simple as smiling at a friend, can boost happiness.  This means being kind is contagious, when your child does a kind act for someone it leads to them doing another kind act. Research indicates random acts of kindness can lift your child’s mood, reduce stress, and build the immune system.

Our first rule in aerial yoga classes is to be kind. We teach kids to not only be kind to others, but to the environment, and to themselves.  Cultivating kindness helps your child develop social and emotional skills, confidence, and resilience.  When a child becomes more aware of their own kind behavior it improves their overall well-being.

Three Ways to Teach Kindness to Children:

  1. Read About It. There are several books that teach kindness to young children and stories are a great way for children to learn social emotional skills.  “Have you Filled a Bucket Today” is a story that demonstrates how kindness can fill buckets and make others feel good.
  2. Sign-Up for a Random Acts of Kindness Challenge. Scientists have shown that doing random acts of kindness for two minutes a day can train your brain to be more positive. Kindness challenges can be downloaded for free online.
  3. Kindness Coins. Kindness coins can be purchased inexpensively online. Kindness coins help children build compassion and empathy. They also reinforce positive behavior and kids love them!

Kindness, takes practice, which is why we make it a rule.   Being kind can be taught in the home, classroom or even during an aerial yoga class.  it can be simple and only take a few minutes, but it is important to build it into your child’s day.

References

Kathryn E. Buchanan & Anat Bardi (2010) Acts of Kindness and Acts of Novelty Affect Life Satisfaction, The Journal of Social Psychology, 150:3, 235-237, DOI: 10.1080/00224540903365554
Isen, A. M., & Levin, P. F. (1972). Effect of feeling good on helping: Cookies and kindness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21, 384–388.

Mindfulness + Aerial Yoga Improve Executive Functioning

What is Executive Functioning?

Executive function is a term for the cognitive-based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. It involves working memory, perspective taking, decision making, emotional regulation, problem-solving, planning, and impulse control.  Wow.  Executive functioning is pretty important!  So important, in fact that it provides the foundation for all educational and social activities. This means executive functioning is something your child needs to successfully navigate life.

When children are under stress it is harder for them to make wise decisions. Chronic stress impairs executive function, which can lead to problems with learning, memory impairment, and behavior issues. The good news is mindfulness and aerial yoga significantly reduce stress and enhance executive functioning.  Way to go yoga and mindfulness!

How does Mindfulness Help?

Science has proved that with mindfulness, executive functioning is strengthened. A repeated mindfulness practice actually builds neural pathways in the brain. A consistent mindfulness practice changes neural pathways to neural superhighways, making it more accessible to children in times of stress bolstering their executive functioning.

What are the Benefits of Mindfulness and Aerial Yoga?

Mindfulness and aerial yoga improve working memory (temporary storage and managing of information to carry out cognitive tasks).  Research shows that mindfulness and aerial yoga teaches children to reflect before they react, which, in turn, reduces impulsive actions.  Mindfulness and Aerial Yoga, the Mindful Child way, builds emotional intelligence (ability to notice and manage your own emotions). Once children are more aware of their emotions they are better able to regulate them. Mindful Child teaches mindfulness in a fun, play-based manner that kid loves.

What are you waiting for… Sign-up here!

References

Van de Hurk, P.A.M., Giommi, F., Gielen, S.C., Speckens, A.E.M., & Barendregt, H.P. (2010). Greater efficiency in attentional processing related to mindfulness meditation. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63 (6), 1168

Tang, Y. Y., Ma, Y., Wang, J., Fan, Y., Feng, S., Lu, Q., . . . Posner, M. I. (2007). Short-term meditation training improves attention and self-regulation. PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104 (43), 1, 17152 -17156.

Mudras: Yoga for Little Hands

Mudras help children focus, relax, and balance.

Mudras (pronounced “moo-drah) are practiced in many places all over the world.  These hand positions are usually practiced with yoga, breathing, relaxation, or meditation, but what is amazing about mudras is they can be practiced anywhere and anytime.

WHAT IS A MUDRA?

Hand symbols or mudras are yoga for your hands. A mudra is a symbol your child makes with their hands and fingers that is believed to seal the energy in the body.  Research shows us that mudras engage certain areas in the brain, creating a brain-body connection.  Different areas of the hands are connected with different areas in the brain and body. When children place their hands in different hand positions or mudras it can activate a certain state of mind.  Therefore, mudras can positively affect how your child feels.  Mudras energize, focus, or calm the body, which make them a great tool for children to help regulate how they are feeling.

WAYS TO PRACTICE  MUDRAS WITH KIDS

The ways to use mudras are limitless. Mudras can be incorporated into yoga poses, breathing exercises, or relaxation.  Instead of electronics, have your children unplug and unwind by practicing mudras. Once they know they  how to do mudras and the benefits they can start to integrate them into their daily lives such as doing a focus mudra under their desk before a test.  Or if they are having a rough day they can do a relaxing mudra to help them chill out.

WHAT DOES A MUDRA LOOK LIKE?

One of my personal favorites is Namaste Hands.  Namaste Hands is simply bringing the palms of the hands together at midline (center of the body).  This mudra is grounding and integrates both sides of the brain. Namaste Hands help with balance and focus.  Holding the hands at heart center when balancing in tree or airplane helps children to balance and is easier than reaching the arms above the head.  It can also be done as a greeting or gesture to begin and end a yoga class. This is also a popular meditating hand position.

Teaching mudras to children helps them to feel empowered, by giving them a simple therapeutic tool they can use in times of stress. Practice them often so instill peace and happiness in your child.

Turn Your World Upside Down: Benefits to Hanging Upside Down

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…

How Mindful Child Aerial Yoga Soars Above the Rest

We Rise By Uplifting Others. ~Robert Ingersol

Mindful Child Aerial Yoga is one of only a handful of aerial yoga studios in the world that incorporate mindfulness, therapeutic tools, and sensory integration strategies into their aerial yoga instruction.

Our unique classes use yoga poses and strategies that science demonstrates as therapeutic to the brain and body. We also make sure our classes are filled with social emotional learning and FUN!

Below are just a few of ways we uplift children and soar above others.

HIGHLY QUALIFIED STAFF

Mindful Child Aerial Yoga staff has the credentials to teach children, not only yoga, but social and emotional skills. When you send your child to school or the doctor’s office, you rest assured knowing that your child’s teacher and doctor have degrees in teaching and medicine. They have the adequate credentials to teach your child. In the yoga business, this is not always the case as there is no governing board. Scary, right?

At Mindful Child Aerial Yoga our staff (except for Kennedy who is pre-med at KU and Suzanne who is an occupational therapy graduate student at Rockhurst), not only have degrees, but are licensed professionals working with children. Dr. Tracy is a former psychologist, who has worked with children for over 20-years. Sarah and Abby are early childhood special education teacher. All have spent years in school earning their graduate degrees. Additionally, the staff at Mindful Child Aerial Yoga have all attended Dr. Tracy’s rigorous yoga training programs.

SAFETY

Before opening Mindful Child Aerial Yoga  a structural engineer inspected and reinforced our ceiling. We also spent more money on our aerial yoga hammocks. We only buy safety test aerial yoga hammocks and equipment. These hammocks have been safety tested up to 1300 pounds! Lastly, we have special yoga flooring called Zebra Yoga Flooring that is padded. If your child falls out of the hammock it doesn’t hurt. We spared no expense to make sure your child is safe.

RESEARCH-BASED

Our aerial yoga program is brain-based, therapeutic, and research-backed. Everything from the music we play to the yoga movements we introduce are beneficial to brain development with proven therapeutic results. Go us for making aerial yoga not only fun, but brain building!

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is incorporated into all aspects of our program. The Mindful Child Aerial Yoga curriculum teaches children how to build mindful awareness, which helps them reflect before they react. Problem behaviors decrease while executive functioning, and adaptive skills are enhanced.

REGISTERED

Mindful Child Yoga Teacher Training is a registered yoga school. Our 95-hour children’s yoga teacher training is approved and registered with Yoga Alliance. It is the only approved 95-hour yoga teacher training in the Midwest. We are also a continuing education provider for yoga instructors. This means we know a lot about yoga!

SPECIALIZE IN CHILDREN

We only teach children. Unlike other yoga studios we focus ALL of our attention on making our yoga program unique and beneficial to children. Since that is all we do, we are really good at it!

When looking for aerial yoga for your child don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure the teacher is a licensed professional who works with children. Also, ask about the safety of the equipment. Has it been safety tested?  Were the hammocks hung by a licensed contractor?  Is there a padded flooring? After all your child will be suspended in the air hanging upside down like a monkey…

Ball Pit Benefits

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.

 

Stop and Smell the Flowers, Lavender Calms the Mind

Essential oils reduce stress and calm the mind.

Aromas act directly on the brain through nerve receptors in the nose.  Millions of nerve cells in our nasal passageways send impulses to the hypothalamus and limbic area, which are the brain’s emotional centers. Aroma of certain oils is linked to the amygdala and pineal gland in the brain, which are also associated with emotion, thus it can help the mind and body by reducing emotional trauma.

Lavender is associated with relaxed brain waves.  Thus, when a child is upset, deep diaphragm breathing coupled with lavender, will have a calming affect on the central nervous system.  Research demonstrates breathing exercises have been successful in reducing anxiety related to attachment disorder, agoraphobia or general anxiety disorder.

Children often need visual reminders to breathe, especially when they are upset.  I make bracelets with lavender scented flowers.  When the child is upset and breathing shallowly, I provide the cue, “Stop and smell the flowers.”  Nine deep breaths are needed to calm the central nervous system.

Additionally, I use essential oils when teaching kid’s yoga and mindfulness. When mixing essential oils, always use oils that are pure and from a respectable source, such as Young Living.  Essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil such as sesame or olive oil in a specific ratio. So if you can’t find a flower to smell, make one.

References

Di Ciacco, J. A. (2008). The colors of grief: Understanding a child’s journey through loss from birth to adulthood. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Overholser, J.C. (2000). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of panic disorder. Psychotherapy, 37, 247-256.