Yoga and Mindfulness for children and Teens.
How do you start your morning?
When you're a parent sometimes you don't get to choose when or how you wake up. You may start the day at full impact, a kid jumping on you and putting their bum in your face or a cry from the next room that makes you leap out of bed to check they are okay. This instant adrenaline rush or feeling of frustration or just plain feeling exhausted is a real rough way to start the day. It doesn't have to be like this though, there are ways you can start the day calmer, even with kids!
The number one way to start your day...
There is one way that I see recommended to start your day constantly - CONSTANTLY!
It is one that i don't like and I will not be doing, even though it makes perfect sense. It is to wake up half hour before the children..... It's a pass from me. Okay, so it make sense. You get to have some time for yourself and ground before the children wake up, you get to enjoy the peace and quiet and ease in to your day, you can workout, practice yoga, meditate, sit out in the garden, read a book, cook a wonderful breakfast, have a peaceful shower - anything you choose. The problem I have with this, is my little dude has an inbuilt sensor. He knows when I am not in bed and he comes looking for me, even if its 2 or 3 hours before he is due to be awake, he knows! This means not only does my time alone get gate crashed but it means I'm going to have a stroppy child by noon. Maybe this works for some, and maybe it will work for me again one day but for now it's a hard pass SO how can we start the day more grounded apart from this way, because every minute of sleep is valuable.
5 ways to start your day feeling grounded...
My little dude is always in my bed by morning even if he slept well in his own bed for the most part. So when we wake up we usually start the day with a "good morning.", smiling at each other and give each other a big hug. Then we take a few breaths together. Sometimes we will do this hugging or we will practice tracing hand breath (where you trace your left hand with your right pointing finger, breathing in to come up and breathing out to come down). My daughter is still sleeping soundly at this point so if you have two children that are sleeping soundly this can be done alone, with a partner or with the dog! The important part of this is to just take a moment to breathe, to smile and to say "good morning."
Place your feet on the ground
When sitting up, place your feet on the ground and just pause here. Take a moment just to feel the ground beneath you and come back to the breath. Take three breaths here before carrying on with your morning.
Wash your face
So I'm not talking hygiene here, I'm sure you have that covered but just splashing cold water on your face can help you to feel grounded, and signal to your body that it is time to wake up. This may also be a great time to set an intention for your day.
Whether you take a good morning stretch, a 15 minute yoga practice, a work out, or put your favourite song on and move for two minutes, it can really help wake up the body. This can be very gentle, or more energetic. It can be 2 minutes or 20 minutes, alone or as a family - It is whatever works for you and that particular morning. This helps you to just be in the moment. At that time, there is no to do lists, it is just you, moving in a way that feels good. The key is to bring an awareness to your body and pay attention to any sensations in the body as you move.
I love to start my day off with a cup of coffee but this could be any drink that you like to start your day off with. I have mine in a red cup to symbolise the root chakra, the chakra that is related to grounding and stability. Bring an awareness to this simple act of having a drink. How does it feel holding the cup in your hands? Is it hot or cold? Breathe it in, does it smell of anything? Take a few slow, intentional breaths here. You may also like to visualize a red ball of energy at the base of your spine. With each sip, see it getting brighter and more vibrant. See how it illuminates downward as it grounds you. Sit with this for a few minutes.
My journaling practice is in the evenings so when I journal in the morning, I usually keep it quite short. It feels so nice to put pen to paper and just write for five minutes. Here are some of the things I will journal about in the morning.
1. Any dreams I had last night. If I remember anything, it can be nice to write about it. It also trains our brains to remember.
2. I pull an Oracle Card and write about that. I write about what it means to me or anything that comes up.
3. Gratitude. Usually this is in my evening practice but it can be a really lovely way to start your day. If I have practiced a guided mediation around gratitude that morning, that does inspire me to write out gratitude earlier than the norm.
4. My daily intention - I make this when washing my face as previously mentioned but here I write it down too.
5. Affirmations. I will often choose an affirmation for the day or for the week such as
'Today, I choose patience' or 'I am calm and grounded.'
6. My to do lists. If i feel like I'm going to forget something so everything is buzzing around me head it can be very helpful to write it all down and decide what's important, what would be nice to get done and what can wait. It also helps to see if I am being realistic with my expectations of myself.
So there are just a few of the ways that help me to feel grounded in the morning. Those mornings you jump right out into a chaotic rush around, where the kids start arguing and the cereal falls on the floor are exhausting!! You can choose not to do that any more! Take this time to ground. You can do this, and the more the children see you practicing this, the more they'll join in with the practices or feel inspired to create their own calming rituals.
What is your biggest take away from this blog post? I would love to hear! How do you ground yourself OR how will you be grounding yourself from now on?
Some other posts you may like are:
22 Mindful Practices for Stressed out Mums
How to Practice Quiet Time Activities with Children
Three games you can play with your children while laying down
Healing Affirmations for your Root Chakra