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!
Kindness Rocks are great way to start off your child’s day. Positive affirmations are statements to help children reach their goals. Kindness rocks are a simple art activity for children eight-years-old and older to remind them to be kind to themselves. These colorful stones are just what children need to be happy on a grumpy day.
What are the Benefits?
Focusing on positive statements can shift your child’s mood. Affirmations help children believe the statement that is printed on the stone. Making your own kindness rock, boosts creativity, focus, and executive functioning.
What to Say.
Let’s make kindness rocks to remind us to be kind to ourselves and of our positive affirmations or goals we want to achieve.
I’m going to pass out rocks and fun acrylic color markers.
Next, pick out a few acrylic colors. Paint the front of your stone a light, fun color. Color the outside edge with a darker color. Make a heart in the middle and color it red. Paint a word in the heart.
Add designs such as dots and stripes to the outside of the heart. While it’s drying, take a few deep breaths.
Finally paint decoupage, which is like shiny glue, over your rock.
Once it is dry, put it in your pocket. Take it out when you are feeling sad. Think about your word and breathe deeply. Notice how you feel.
Being kind is easy to instill in everyday activities with your child. Immerse children in it through drawing, coloring, reading and talking about it. At Mindful Child, being kind is our number one yoga rule. We talk about being kind in every aerial yoga class as part of our social and emotional learning curriculum. Check out our online and live classes to learn more ways to inspire kindness.
With the stress and uncertainty in the world today mindfulness resources are needed more than ever. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of mediation and mindfulness on physical and psychological health. Mindfulness can help your child develop an inner calm and happiness. Even though using an app to be mindful seems contrary to yoga and mindfulness, desperate times require desperate measures. The coronavirus has closed avenues to yoga and mindfulness in person and left us in a world of social distancing, requiring us to step out of our comfort zones and try new ways to practice mindfulness. Here are a few of my favorite mindfulness apps:
Smiling Minds. This FREE app was developed by psychologists and educators and has mindfulness programs from age seven to adults.
Headspace. The Headspace app teaches meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. It offers breathing techniques, visualization, and special programs for kids.
Stop, Breathe, & Think. This friendly app was made to guide people of all ages through meditations on mindfulness and compassion. It even has features designed specifically for kids.
Breathe, Think, Do, with Sesame. Sesame Street is a wonderful resource for not only mindfulness, but growth mindset as well. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is a research-based app that helps your child learn Sesame’s strategy for problem-solving to teach his monster friend to take deep breaths!
According to science, yoga has a multitude of health and mood benefits. The benefits of yoga are boosted if you pair it with mindfulness. If you want to add a little movement to your child’s mindfulness practice, there are several places to practice yoga online. For the next few weeks, online yoga may be the only option. Here are a few of my favorite online yoga resources for families.
Cosmic Kids. Cosmic Kids offers free online adventures for kids. The Cosmic Kids website has lesson plans and guided meditation scripts that are reasonably priced. There is even a free Cosmic Kids lesson plan sample!
Yoga Ed. Yoga Ed teaches the basics of yoga and mindfulness through breathing exercises, yoga poses, games, visualizations, and relaxation activities. They have different yoga themes and age ranges to choose from, making this an easy way for kids to have a yoga and mindfulness practice at home.
Yoga and mindfulness are powerful ways to calm down kids and sharpen their minds. Even though times may be scary and unprecedented, remember to engage in self-care and model healthy lifestyle choices. Children learn by example…
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.
Kid’s today face daily stresses on the mind and body. Summer camps are a great way for kids to unplug from technology, reduce stress and enhance physical and mental health. Way to go summer camps!
Here are some of the recognized benefits that our yoga + mindfulness summer camps can provide your child:
Boosts Brain Power! Science tells us yoga and mindfulness can promote healthy brain development and boost resilience.
Builds Life Skills. Yoga and mindfulness helps children learn self-control, kindness, gratitude, patience, and other important life skills.
Cultivates Learning. Children need to move to learn. Cross-lateral movements integrate both sides of the brain, which enhances learning.
Reduces Stress. Mindfulness teaches kids to be less reactive to daily stressors. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is quick way to calm the nervous system. The best part is kids can do it anytime and anywhere.
Promotes Strength and Flexibility. All of your child’s bodily systems are supported by movement. Yoga strengthens and stretches your child’s entire body.
Inspires Happiness. Research tells us a consistent yoga and mindfulness practice produces GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that plays in an important part in your child’s mental health. Increased GABA leads to feelings of relaxation and happiness. Yay GABA!
This blog focuses on the benefits of our Mindful Child camps, but camps, in general, are a wonderful way to promote health and reduce screen time. Regardless of the camp you choose, most summer camps have many character building experiences and offer exercises that build confidence and self-esteem. They are also a great way to explore different hobbies without a long term commitment.
Pretending to be a boat is an amazing way for your child to build strength and stamina. When you add rowing and singing, your child’s brain is being stimulated, too. Want more of a challenge? Add a partner!
What are the Benefits?
Boat Pose strengthens the core, which is fundamental
to all movement and to learning, because children will begin sitting up
straight at their desks instead of slumping. It stretches the hamstrings and
improves digestion. Not to mention that it is also fun to do!
What to Say
Did you know your core or tummy muscles are what help you sit up tall so you can learn? We are going to make those muscles strong by making our bodies into boats.
Sit with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Place your hands underneath your knees. Lift your feet off the floor, like the prow of a boat. Let go of your knees and hold out your arms alongside your knees. Lean backward a bit to find your balance.
As you imagine your boat gliding down the stream, place your palms together in front of your heart. Be a peaceful, mindful boat. Close your eyes. What do you feel?
For an extra challenge, make it a partner pose. Partner boat is great for enhancing social skills and teamwork. If partners don’t work together to create a strong boat it will sink!
For young children or children with special
needs, play a recording or sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Tell the children, “As
you sing, paddle your boat down the stream by bringing your arms to one side
and then the other. Sing the song as many times as you can!”
Books are a great way to teach children yoga and mindfulness. Children love Curious George because he is always on the move and getting into mischief. Read a short story such as Curious George by H.A. Rey and infuse it with yoga, breath work, and mindfulness. At the end of the story give your child a “pop quiz” on the content. Have them show you the yoga poses, breath work, and mindfulness activities they remember, as they explain what happened in the story.
Curious George Yoga enhances creativity, focus, and attention. It builds working memory and concentration, development of logic, and mindfulness. Reading Curious and doing the above poses promotes yoga pose practice and review.
What to Say.
We are going to read a story about Curious George. Curious George is always very curious and sometimes it is hard for him to stay out of trouble. As we read the story we will engage in mindfulness and movement activities. Sit up tall in Easy Seated Pose. Ready? Let’s begin.
After children have reenacted the story have them take it a step further by asking them what they think happened after the story. Have your child show you what happened next with movement, breath, and mindfulness.
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!
Fish Pose is a graceful, but powerful back bend. The gentle bend of the chest mimics the rounded back of a fish. Fish Pose can give relief to symptoms of asthma and bronchitis. Young children or children with special needs may find fish pose challenging to get into, but it can be easily modified by having them lay on a small child bolster, rolled up mat, or blanket to provide the same benefits.
What are the benefits?
The opening of the chest, opens the heart releasing feelings of positivity and well-being. Fish pose reduces chest disorders and promotes a healthy heart. This pose can stimulate the thyroid, which increases metabolism.
What to Say.
We are going to be a fish! Lay on your back. Bring your knees into your heart center. Straighten your legs and glue them together. Slide your hands under your tail. Bring them close together with palms facing down. As you breathe in, push your elbows down. Point toes. Come onto the crown of your head. You are a fish! Take five deep breaths. Slowly release to the floor. Hug your hands around the knees or under the knees, bring them into the heart center. Rock and roll a few times side to side. Ah…feels good!
Mindful Child Aerial Yoga is officially a licensed AntiGravity studio! This means our instructors have completed AntiGravity training , we use Harrison AntiGravity Hammocks, and we meet the safety standards associated with being an AntiGravity studio.
What is AntiGravity Aerial Yoga?
AntiGravity is an aerial yoga fitness technique designed to improve one’s health and fitness while having FUN! AntiGravity uses the Harrison AntiGravity Hammock as a yoga prop to support you as you learn aerial yoga techniques and inversions. This unique combination of exercises is intended to decompress your spine and align the body while stretching and strengthening your muscles. Seriously? What more could you ask for in a fitness class!
Who is Christopher Harrison?
AntiGravity was founded by Christopher Harrison. He is a former Broadway dancer and world-class competitive gymnastics specialist. At the age of 20 he suffered a major injury that required eight surgeries to reconstruct his knees. Christopher Harrison spent the next two years rehabilitating himself through rigorous physical therapy and Pilates. His resilience led him to discover, “In life, hidden in the forces that pull us down is the energy to lift us.” In the early 90’s he created AntiGravity, the first aerial yoga practice!
What are the benefits of AntiGravity?
AntiGravity has many beneficial effects on overall health in adults and children. Christopher Harrison personally guarantees: If you can “suspend your disbelief: I guarantee I can make you healthier, happier, and taller, in just one session.
Here are a some of the recognized benefits of a regular AntiGravity practice:
Increased muscular flexibility
Muscular tension release through self-massage techniques
Upper and lower body strengthening
Increased joint mobility
Self-esteem enhancement through the process of conquering basic fears
Decompression and re-aligning of the spine
Refreshes the endocrine, lymphatic, digestive, and circulatory systems
Releases “happy hormones” such as dopamine and serotonin
Increases neuroplasticity of the brain (creating new brain pathways)
Glowing skin: inversions enhance one’s complexion
These are just a few of the many benefits of AntiGravity. While it is great read about the benefits the true magic is in experiencing them first hand. Join us a for a class! After all, who doesn’t want to be healthier, happier, and taller?!?