Yoga and Mindfulness for children and Teens.
Hey there mamma,
Are you feeling like you're not getting enough time to yourself? Is it making you stressed, irritable and less patient with your children?
I know this can be a challenge so I'm here to help.
Over the next three weeks I will be sharing tips with you to make staying calm so much easier. Make sure you follow along to catch them all.
Here is the first tip.
Take a mindful moment each day. Multiple times if you can! There are so many ways we can a moment, without adding on to our already busy schedules. Some mindful moments we can take while doing things that we were already going to do - just with more intention and more awareness.
Being mindful is not too difficult once you get into the regular practice of it and it will take you from feeling stressed out, to feeling present and calm.
As it is 2s day (22/02/2022) I thought it only right to share with you 22 of my favourite ways to tale a mindful moment.
Ignore that first sentence because you already made it here! Yay!
I posted this on my Instagram but I wanted to share it here with a little more to it, because saying brush your teeth without explaining how it can be mindful just doesn't feel right, of course you brush your teeth and you're still stressed, like wtf!!
Take a walk
Taking a walk mindfully means staying present. So often we take a walk to get to the place we need to be and it is spent rushing there without any regard to our surroundings. Take some time to slow down, breathe deeply, pay attention to your senses. Any smells, what you can hear, what you can see - maybe something you missed before, what can you touch? One way I heard someone practice mindful walking before is to imagine their is an alien in the sky and he wants to know about what your experience is like in this moment. He has not been to Earth so he needs everything explained in real detail, set the scene, describe the moment.
Take a Yoga Class
Yoga is a great way to get present and be in the moment and it doesn't have to take too long. If you have time it may be nice to get to a local class but if not there are so many wonderful practices online (and not just my own ;) ). Even if you take as little as five to ten minutes, it can really help. You can find free videos on my Youtube channel or Check out my online classes here.
I love journaling, it really helps me to work through whatever is going on, gain focus, let go and it is also a chance to get creative if you bullet journal. I wrote out some great journaling prompts for the new year, last year, but I am sure they will be as relevant now as ever. You can check that out here.
Otherwise just start writing about your day and see what comes up.
Brush your teeth mindfully
Brushing our teeth is (probably) something we do at least twice a day so why not make that more mindful? Instead of rushing through it, why not try taking your time. Bringing attention to how it feels, tastes, the movements you are making with the brush, the smell of the toothpaste. It might sound ridiculous or unnecessary but it can be a great way to get present, ground your energy and pause a moment. When we just rush through our day, that's when the stress builds and builds.
One of the most simple ways to de-stress is with the breath. When we pause to take some slow, intentional breaths we can move from that fight or flight mode into our parasympathetic nervous system - our rest and digest state. The place we can feel calm and ease. Try it now, taking a breath in through the nose, filling up the belly. Pause. Exhale it all out through the nose or mouth. Try taking a few more, relaxing the shoulders down and unclenching the jaw.
This is a great practice for morning or night. Just say three things that you are grateful for, like really grateful for. You can journal these, have an accountability partner you text these too or share this practice with your children (my person favourite). We do this before bed or at dinner time. I love a good gratitude practice, you can find a fun gratitude scavenger hunt for the children here. Or read more about the benefits of gratitude here.
Do you ever eat on the go, shove something into your mouth while you're making the kids pack lunches, or maybe skip meals? This week, try and eat at least one meal mindfully. We love to all have our dinner at the dinner table and sit together to practice this, not to say we never eat in front of the TV, but for the most part we like to keep our meals together mindful. If doing this on your own and in peace, make sure it's something you really enjoy and savour every moment.
Be aware of your thoughts
Bringing awareness to your thoughts makes it so much easier when negative thoughts come up . This way you can question them, redirect them or stop them in their tracks. I love a practice I often do with the children for this (it works for adults too) and it is called Pom Pom for your thoughts.
Cherish the next hug with your child
The importance of hugs and positive touch is amazing and also a great opportunity for a mindful moment. Really take notice of this hug, cherish it and save it in the memory bank, it is so precious.
Take a shower or a bath
Just like the brushing off the teeth. Something we do anyway, so how can we turn this into a mindful moment? We can remove distractions and be present. Taking time to wash each part of our body with love and gratitude for it. Taking your time. Bringing awareness to the sensations of the temperature, wash cloth, soap etc. Maybe have some nice smells from a candle or the bubble bath, and breathe, savour, enjoy.
Connect with Nature
You could pair this with the mindful walk or find another way. Maybe out in the garden, planting your onw herbs, feeding the birds, putting bare feet on the Earth outside, swimming in the sea (safely with a friend) or paddling in a stream. There are so many ways you can connect with nature.
Count your steps
This is a great one if you are feeling stressed and maybe a bit angry. Much like when you get a child to count to ten before they react, this is a practice of pausing before reacting. Take ten slow steps, maybe even backwards. Breathe with each step.
It can feel soo good to go and get a massage. Time and budget doesn't always allow for this unfortunately. Here is a great practice I recorded the other week that includes some Yoga and self-massage.
Three Senses Exercise
What are three things you can see?
What are three things you can hear?
What are three things you can touch?
Light a candle and place it on your kitchen table. Sit up tall on one of your chairs and just take two minutes to watch the candles flame. Breathe, relax the shoulders down and try to let go of any tension. This is a great way to meditate for those who find it hard to close their eyes and go within or for people who are more visual.
You can find some great info about chocolate meditations here
Body Scan meditation
A body scan meditation is basically where you lay down (or sit up tall) and bring awareness to each part of your body individually in turn. You can do this on your own or find a guided meditation for guidance. The app Insight timer if full of these types of meditations and all for free!
Write yourself a letter
Every year I write a letter to future me. I include my hopes for the year but also what I have accomplished (because it is easy to forget and take these things for granted). I tell myself what I am proud of me for and anything else I feel like including. I seal it in an envelope and then I put a date on it to open in one years time.
It can also be very therapeutic to write a letter to yourself in the past, what would you like that you to know. Sit down and take your time with this one.
I love taking a mindful moment with my tea or coffee. It is quite often my go to. Feeling the heat of the cup in my hands, closing my eyes and holding the cup up to my nose and taking a big breath in and out, savouring that first sip. I love it so much I included it in one of my practices on youtube - Yoga for Menstruation with affirmations.
Stroke a pet
How cute are they honestly?! I love animals. We currently have two cats and two guinea pigs. Having a mindful moment cuddles with one of them is the best. Have you got any pets? Next best thing is cuddling a cushion, not quite the same but grounding all the same and it wont scratch you if you do it wrong! Haha
Pull Tarot or Oracle Cards
You do not have to be an expert to do this. You are very much guided by your intuition (and possibly the help of a guide book if needed). It can be a great way to pause, ask questions, see what's going on for you, how you are feeling etc. You could even just start with some nice affirmation cards. I have a great deck for anxiety. Sometimes I will sit, breathe while I'm shuffling the deck and then pull one from the pack. It is always what I need to hear in that moment.
Draw or Colour
There is a reason all those mindful colouring books for adults and for children are becoming so popular. It can be soo calming. Did you ever colour as a child? Or did you love to draw? How about in adulthood? Do you express your creativity? It can be a great way to get into a flow state. A place where you are present with what you are doing and stress just melts away.
There we have it! 22 Mindful activities you can start from today!
Please let me know your favourites, maybe you do a few of these already or have some other ones you would like to share? Comment below!
And if you really want to achieve more calm and less stress as a mum then you can check out my latest course - Yoga for Mum Stress. Trust me When I say - your future self will thank you.
Children are not mini adults and so a children's yoga class is not going to look the same as an adults class.
\nThere are alot of things that are different, here are a few things we need to consider when teaching yoga to children that isn't about what activities to include.
\n- Children's skeletal systems. An infant can have over 300 bones while an adult has 206. Children's bones are also softer and smaller and proportions are different.
\n- Strength. As they are still developing there is alot to consider around strength, bone mass, muscles and ligaments. Strength training in a natural way is important, for infants this is simply falling over and standing back up, for children it can be yoga, dancing or another movement practice.
\n- Children's brains are still developing. They learn with more ease if the lesson is fun and engaging. Learning and processing through play is important for children of all ages.
\n- Growth spurts. Around ten years old is when growth hormones can really take over (it can happen younger or later). These hormone changes can effect the muscles, behaviour, centre of gravity/balance, sleep patterns, energy and motor skills.
\n- The nervous system is still developing so taking time to breathe can be very important in helping a child's development. Breath awareness and proper diaphragm breathing is hugely beneficial.
\n- Sweat glands. We don't develop sweat glands until puberty so children can be prone to overheating and dehydration. Encouraging water breaks, having the room at a comfortable temperature and taking rests during energetic times can all be very important factors in a class.
\n- Exploring emotions, social skills, self-awareness and connection is a big part of class. In adults classes we may explore different themes but we are usually on our own mat for the most part doing our own thing. In children's classes there is much more emphasis on connection, interaction and creativity. In a children's yoga class everyone gets to know everyone, and everyone is seen and heard. We always teach in a circle, including the teacher to emphasise that we are all there together, and we are all important.
\nSo there is alot to the games we play😂
Let me know if you found that helpful by commenting below or send me a message!