Mindfulness, Yoga and Wellness for families
I love downward facing dog especially in kids yoga. The amount of times I see one and two years old children just naturally taking on this pose is amazing. In this post we look at the benefits of this pose, how to do it and how to make it fun!
SANSKRIT: ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA
Sanskrit is the language of yoga and is the language in which many historic yoga texts were written. We don't usually go into this in children's yoga but it is always nice to connect back to it's roots and learn about the history of a pose/practice.
How to Practice Downward Facing DOG
Start in a table top positions, on your hands and knees. Knees should be below hips and hands in line with shoulders. Walk the hands forward slightly, turn elbow creases towards the front of your mat and press into all 10 fingertips. Curl your toes in under and gently lift your hips up. Your knees can stay bent or work to straighten them bringing your heel to the ground or towards the ground. Relax your head and neck and be sure to hyperextend the arms, so that you are creating a downward V shape.
Fun in this pose
This pose doesn't have to be a Dog, it could be a tent, a unicorn or a tunnel! It can be anything you imagine it to be! It is also fun to pair it with other poses like:
Dog to Frog or Downdog to Updog.
It can also be fun to partner up and take turns in taking the dog for a walk or creating fun ways to do a Downward Dog as a partner pose!
If you would like to see a post on doing that, let me know!
3 ways you can connect with Nature this week with your children.
"Many studies show the positive links between direct experiences in nature and children's mental, emotional and physical health and well-being. The studies show that regular direct access to nature can: increase self esteem and resilience against stress and adversity" (Quote found here)
Taking the time to connect to nature has a huge range of benefits. It allows us to really get back to our selves and find a sense of calm. Here are three ways you can connect with nature this week.
1. Plant something
You don't have to be an amazing gardener, you can keep it really simple. You could plant some basil seeds in a pot on your window, or perhaps plant some flowers that the bees will love in your garden. Whatever you choose to plant, take the time to care for it and watch it grow. I always find watching something grow from 'nothing' so satisfying.
2. Feed the birds
We made some really cool DIY bird houses/feeders last week.
(This one is really cool).
Check out what foods are good for the local birds here.
3. Cloud watch
I love laying in the sun and cloud watching but with the unpredictable weather that may not be happening this week. However, cloud watching can be enjoyed whatever the weather and from almost anywhere. It can be really calming but also allow for creativity. I am sure we have all played the game at one point where we try to see animals and different shapes in the clouds.
This is a great activity with the kids, especially if they do enjoy their screen time as it allows for long distance eye practice.
It is also fun to talk about your different perspectives and if you can see anything the same way as each other. For example, when doing this activity once with my daughter we could both see one cloud as a duck but another cloud we could see completely different things; I could see a unicorn and she could see a dolphin.
Nature is not a place to visit...
...it is home.
How do you like to connect back to nature?
Do you already do some of these activities? Let me know in the comments ♥️
The Importance of Gratitude
This is a running theme in so many of my blog posts, lesson plans and general day to day living. We like to include some form of gratitude into our day whether it is writing it down before we go to sleep, talking about it, playing gratitude themed games or using it as a theme for our art.
Gratitude can make you happier and healthier, physically and mentally. I write about the benefits of gratitude more in this blog post : Have an attitude of Gratitude.
Gratitude is a mindset and not something we can hold in our hands or point to so we have to get creative in the way we teach it to our children. Instead of focusing on getting children to see it, we should bring focus on getting children to feel it. A great way to do this is through art. Children have such beautiful imaginations and it is wonderful to see their creativity flourish. This can also be a really fun opportunity for adults to get creative.
Start by setting up a clear space, without distractions of television. You could even take this activity outside if it is a nice day! Get pens, crayons, glitter, paint or anything you feel like getting arty with today and your paper ready.
Choose from the following prompts to help your child (and yourself if joining in) feel the gratitude in what they have at this very moment.
1. Draw something that makes you happy.
2. Draw someone you love.
3. Draw something that makes you feel good.
4. Draw someone who helps you.
5. Draw something that makes you feel thankful everyday.
I would love to see some of your drawings! Feel free to share with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag me on social media www.facebook.com/amazingmekidsyoga www.instagram.com/amazing_me_yoga or right here in the comments! Enjoy!
Three things I am doing to bring happiness and balance into these 'lockdown' days....
1. Keeping a morning and evening routine
I am pretty free flowing when it comes to the day. I tried writing out a routine to the hour but it didn't work for us. This definitely works for some but I found it too stressfull.
My morning and evening routines however, I love. They have taken work to commit to at points but have definetely found the joy in them.
My morning routine looks like this
- I wake up, usually when my toddler decides.
- I take a few deep breaths.
- I scrape my tongue with a copper tongue scraper. (so many health benefits)
- I make the kids breakfast, I drink a tall glass of water and have my coffee.
- I move my body in some way via a hiit work out, yoga, dancing with the kids etc.
- I have a cold shower. (Again so many benefits to this including handling stress better, better metabolism etc).
- We all get dressed and ready for the day.
That is it. What happens after that is more free flowing but having that structure in place really helps us to not sit about in our pjs too long (unless it is the weekend) and start our day off to a good start.
The evening is much simpler. An hour before bed every night, my phone goes on to 'airplane mode', I get comfy, put my oil diffuser on with some lavender and orange, hop on my yoga mat and do a restoritive yoga practice for an hour. I then write three things in my gratitude journal and call it a night.
REMEMBERING I AM SUPERWOMAN AND I AM NOT SUPERWOMAN
A confusing title I'm sure but let me explain. We have so much to do. If you are reading this you possibly have kids too, and if you're like me, you're wondering where all off this 'free time' people are on about is. As a single mum to a toddler and a 6 year old, I have to say, there is no 'free time'. It feels like every moment needs to be filled. Choosing to do an intense course on top of things probably didn't help that (tho I am very happy to be doing it) and then just keeping on top of the housework seems like a full job in itself. Honestly it is alot.
I don't need recognition or sympathy because you are right there too. You are doing alot right now. And let me tell you, you are Superwoman for it! (Or super man, don't want to rule out any men who are reading). But in the same breath, we are not superwoman. I mean this in the way that, not everything needs to get done. You need to give yourself a break and be compassionate if you didnt manage to do all the things today. You're physical and mental health is the priority.
I have given up trying to do everything everyday, there is only so much one person can do and we need to be able to enjoy time together and take moments of self care without freaking out about our to do lists.
Doing one thing for me
I mentioned before that I feel like I have less time than usual with trying to keep the kids alive and well etc with homeschooling, preparing a million snacks a day and clearing up after hurricane Finn. I also mentioned that I was enrolled in a course. Now this a course that I have been wanting to do for years. I didn't have the time or money and due to there being no possible ways to train in person, they moved online. This opportunity may not come up again in this way so I grabbed it. I am so excited to be doing it and I am already learning so much.
Maybe there is something you can do for you? It doesnt have to be a course but perhaps a hobby you use to do but lost touch with. It could even be something you can do with the kids such as baking, art or sewing. Maybe its something you can do by yourself like running if you have someone else in your household to kind the kids. Maybe writing or reading a good book. Whatever it is, do it for you because it lights you up. Do something that sparks joy. Even if you can only commit to this once a week.
What is one thing you are doing for yourself that is helping you through each day?
I would love to hear how you guys are getting on and if you have any tips for us or any experiences t share of things you are doing to bring a little joy to the everyday. Let me know in the comments. Have a great week every body and let me know if this blog helped inspire you in any way.
The benefits of Positive affirmations
Positive affirmations can help change your whole day. They can ease stress, build confidence and help you to take control of your thoughts. Being in control of your mind is a huge deal. When we let our minds wonder untrained they can go all over the place but by bringing an awareness to our thoughts we can begin to ask ourselves - is this true? Is this my opinion? Have I inherited this view from someone else? Then we can add in our affirmation. A positive phase we have chosen to help focus our mind where we want it to go and focus on what we want it to believe.
You can start using affirmations by writing them down and putting them on your mirror/ some place you'll see often, using them as passwords, using them in meditations or simply just repeat to yourself when needed.
Examples of Affirmations you may choose to use:
I Choose to be Happy
I will be present with each moment
I am enough
I can do hard things
I am loved
I know my worth
I am capable
My heart is open, love pours in and out freely
If you are having trouble with believing the affirmation this can be damaging so I would suggest you re-word it in a way that can feel comfortable to you.
For example - I am beautiful. This could be a really difficult one for someone to repeat in front of a mirror or to themselves if they were having real body image issues. By repeating it to themselves over and over it could get very upsetting. Instead this person could say - 'I am learning to appreciate my beauty' or 'I am learning to love myself exactly how I am' or even 'My body is healthy and functions well.'
How can we encourage our kids to talk more positively to themselves?
Children mirror us! The easiest way to get your kids in on this is to practice it yourself. My six year old is a fantastic example of this. I have my positive affirmations on my mirror and will regularly read them out loud in front of the mirror when she is around. She stands in front of the mirror and says 'looking good!' and strikes a pose to herself or will say something equally cute and inspiring. She then wanted to write her own affirmations. She even wrote a couple for me including 'You are a great mum' and 'you're doing a great job' which just looking at makes me smile every time.
I have attached a fun print out for kids but they could all be used by adults too!
It has space to create your own affirmation too. If you haven't got a printer, feel free to download and copy out the affirmations by hand.
If you enjoyed this blog post please give it a thumbs up and share it with others. Have a wonderful day <3
Free Worksheets for children
The importance of gratitude
Gratitude creates an awareness of all the good things in our lives. The more you think about what you are thankful for, the more you will find you have to be thankful for. Having a gratitude practice has a huge range of benefits for both adults and children. It is something we practice a lot at home so it makes an appearance in my yoga lesson plans regularly!
I have created some fun worksheets we have been doing at home as part of our 'operation home school' so I thought I would share it with you guys too. Scroll down and below the picture of each worksheet is the pdf download.
If you enjoyed this you may also enjoy this daily planner sheet for health and fitness goals etc (opens in new window).
Let me know what you think in the comments below and If you would like to see more like this! Sign up to the email list to here about more mindfulness and yoga you can practice at home!
Get your free worksheets below
You are amazing!
Day 7 of our 7 day self care challenge. Well done for sticking with this guys. You are amazing!
I've posted this one a little bit earlier but if you have already had your brekkie change it to make yourself a loving lunch or dinner ;)
Have you ever made a partner or a friend or relative a really nice breakfast. Like went all out with there favourite things, maybe added a few nice gestures with it like a flower. Maybe even put it on a tray and bought it up to bed for them. I love doing this for others but how often do we do this for ourselves? Often ifs just me I would be tempted to knock something up that's quick and easy but today let's show ourselves the love we deserve. Make yourself a beautiful breakfast or meal. Put some loving touches on, have it in bed, out in the garden or just set the table. You can do this with your family and maybe get them to help with their own breakfasts too.
Then sit down, turn off distractions such as tv or radio and just enjoy your efforts. Take each bite slowly and notice the different flavours and textures.
You absolutely deserve this time and effort.
Let me know what you made yourself in the comments below or better yet share a picture of your beautiful plates 😍
Did you enjoy that 7 day self care challenge? Please feel free to share it with others and repeat any of the days as you wish 😁
Thank you for all your kind words and support on the page and thanks for joining in.
What would you like to see more of on the site next week?
Day 6 of our 7 day selfcare challenge.
Well done for sticking with this or if you're just seeing this now, welcome 💖
Today we talk about enjoying the strawberry moments. This is something I got from a book called 'A year of living kindfully' by Anna Black which I have found very inspiring.
There is a story about a woman being chased by tigers. She is running fast but comes to a cliff edge. She begins to climb down but slips, she quickly grabs hold of a vine, but there is a mouse gnawing at the vine and it is getting thinner and thinner. She is hanging on for her life, with tigers above and now below. She suddenly sees a wild strawberry just within her reach. She takes the strawberry, places it in her mouth, and thoroughly enjoys it.
When it feels as if our life is falling apart, we can sometimes miss these strawberry moments but there are always strawberries if we are willing to look.
Have you got any 'strawberries' in your grasp today? Share some of your strawberry moments below!
For me my strawberry moment has got to be sitting down with my 2 wonderful kids for a delicious breakfast. Homemade waffles and orange juice. Laughing at silly jokes with them and just feeling blessed. Right now so many everyday normal tasks of a few weeks ago seem so far away. Things we took for granted every day as they were just so ordinary. So even something as normal as sitting down with the family to breakfast just has to be appreciated. To just feel like everything is normal, even just for a couple of hours is bliss.
What is your strawberry moment today?
Day 5 of our 7 day self care challenge is to just be.
We have a lot going on right now. Its testing emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Be gentle with yourself and just allow yourself to be right where you are right now. You can take time to practice what we have talked about on the previous days and that will help but sometimes self care is snuggling up, getting cosy and watching something positive on Netflix.
Do what you need to do today for you and when you do, really be in the moment. Everything else can and will wait. Just be and know that that is enough.
Day 4 of our 7 day self care challenge!
How are you guys getting on? Join in if you haven't already and please share this challenge with others!
How am I treating myself mentally right now?
This is another practice of noticing. So grab a pen and paper if you would like to as it works a lot better than just keeping the thoughts in.
Now I invite you to notice all the thoughts running around your mind right now about yourself. How do you speak to yourself?
Have you got an inner critic (I all my inner mean girl) that keeps speaking out? What are they saying? Is there a sense of panic or overwhelm?
Just notice these thoughts and then if you have written them down feel free to tear up that bit of paper. These thoughts are not your story. You can change the way you talk to yourself. Your inner mean girl/guy may still pipe up from time to time but we can listen and close the door politely on them and instead bring focus to the kind, loving way we are going to practice with ourselves instead.
Today we are going to work on showing ourselves kindness mentally by just being nice to yourself! Today we are going to tell ourselves something good.
The important thing about positive affirmations is that it feels good for you. If its something you dont believe it can be quite damaging so make sure you choose one that feels good and that you can work with. If your inner critic is telling you something mean about your body maybe choose a positive affirmation around body image. If you're feeling not good enough maybe your affirmation is simply 'I am enough'. Here are a few affirmations in which you can choose from or use them to inspire your own.
Once you have settled on one, repeat it at different times through out the day. Write it on a post it note and put it in your mirror or save it as the background on your phone, even use it as your laptop password. Just have it somewhere that will remind you to keep repeating your affirmation.
•I am enough
• I am doing the best I can
•I am grateful for everything I have
•I am free of worry and regret
•I am fearless and brave
•I am doing my best to stay calm and free of worry
•Today I will learn and grow. Everything i am looking for is within me
• My body works exactly how it is suppose to
• Today is I'll try to see my body with love and without judgements
•I will acknowledge my own self worth
•I accept myself just as I am
Please take care of yourself <3