This is one of my favorite mindfulness techniques. I often use it at the beginning of class to set the tone and allow everyone the opportunity to slow down and check in. The activity can be done anywhere but this script is for a classroom where students are seated at their desks. I highly recommend it, especially for teens and tweens. Speak slowly, allow for pauses and space for participants to look inward.
Body, Mind, Mood, Breath
Invite everyone to get comfortable sitting back in their chair or with heads down on desks. Maybe eyes are closed or turned down to encourage focus and minimize distractions.
Turn the attention inward to how you are feeling.
- What is going on in your body? Is there any tension? Softness? Aches? Openness? Just notice without judging or trying to change it.
- Now observe your mind. What is it’s level of activity? It is busy? Calm? Stuck on one thing? Or jumping from thought to thought?
- Now notice your mood. How are you feeling today? What are you bringing into class? Can you name the mood you are currently in? Allow whatever it is to be without judgement.
- Now turn your attention to your breath. Notice the inhalation and the exhalation. Is it fast, slow, steady, ragged, smooth, warm, cool? Where in your body do you feel the breath?
Take two more breaths. Simply observe. When you are ready open your eyes.
Kids have big emotions. Often they don’t know how to manage these emotions, what to do, how to express themselves or how to find that place of calm inside.
Today’s guest on the Yoga In My School podcast is Sara Pletcher. Sara is a teacher and author passionate about helping teachers help kids. She writes about topics that lead to important conversations to foster awareness, self regulation and integration. Her latest book, Ride the Wind, is a colorful exploration of feelings and thoughts.In her creative way our heroine Genelle, taught by her Mom, shows us how to Ride the Wind through mindfulness and visualizations.
Join us as we explore contemplative practices for young children. Discover tips on teaching kids how to manage emotions and ways you can support your children in fostering mindfulness and meditation practices to last a lifetime.
Listen to the Interview w Sarah Pletcher
Access the research at Erickson that Sara refers to in the interview
Enter to win a copy of Ride the Wind
Contest runs midnight Sept 14 to midnight Sept 21. Open to residents of Canada and USA. Thanks for your participation.
Discover yoga partner poses suitable for all ages and abilities to foster kindness, communication and teamwork. Learn how to partner effectively, best practices and considerations for a safe and wholesome school yoga practice. All poses are suitable for the school environment with age recommendations to cultivate connections and ensure safety. This e-book has been developed from years of hands-on experience working with students from preschool-grade 12.
This downloadable PDF includes:
- Benefits of Partner Poses
- Classroom Management Tips
- Creating a Safe Space
- 8 unique Creative Ways to Partner
- 41 Partner Poses for ages preschool-highschool with lots of variations, age recommendations, color photos and step-by-step instructions
Special Introductory Pricing
I LOVE yoga nidra. Years ago I was first introduced to this amazing restorative practice during a local yoga nidra afternoon workshop. From that first experience, each time I practice it feels more and more as if I am coming home to myself. The gift of taking time to soften, relax and listen is deeply healing.
Yoga nidra is fabulous for teens and tweens. The practice of yogic sleeping is both meditative and therapeutic. Different from the unconscious sleep of night time, yoga nidra cultivates relaxed awareness of body, breath, and mind encouraging all to surrender, to compassionately be here now without judgement.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
- Available to Everyone: Everyone can practice yoga nidra. No special skills, attitudes or abilities are prerequisite.
- Can’t be Done Incorrectly: Anyway you do nidra it is a success. Some people fall asleep, some are wide awake the entire time, some drift in and out of awareness. What matters is that you surrender to the practice and let it be whatever it is, trusting that it is what you need in the moment.
- Simple way to Reduce Stress: Yoga nidra requires no special equipment. It’s beauty is in its simplicity. Practice it once and you’ll notice its profoundly relaxing impact.
- Balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems: The quiet, calm produced by stillness in the body and attention to various states of awareness is deeply soothing and healing to body and mind.
- Builds patience and self control: The invitation to remain still and observe during yoga nidra fosters tolerance and equanimity.
- Connect with Yourself: Probably one of the greatest benefits is a greater understanding of yourself, your goals, your inner being. This provides important insight, sensitivity and receptiveness for teens as they navigate the often difficult years of junior and senior high school.
The 8 steps to a Complete Yoga Nidra
- Body Scan
- Breath and Pranayama Awareness
- Feelings and Sensations Perception
- Images, Visualization and Journey
- Repeat Resolve/Sankalpa
Tips for Practicing Yoga Nidra with Teens
- Keep it short: while adult practices can range from 15-60 minutes, yoga nidra for tweens and teens is best kept abbreviated. Five to 15 minute practices are perfect. The younger the participants the shorter the practice.
- Keep it simple: Keep your language approachable and simple. Use easy to understand terms. Work in broad generalities. Adult yoga nidra can sometimes become extremely detailed. The younger the participants the more general the terms. For example during the body scan focus on a general overview of the body.
- Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: We thrive on repetition. It provides routine and a touchstone in a often confusing world. Feel free to use the same script every time, repeat the same words/phrases (Deepen the breath, relax the body, calm the mind), or at least do one part of it the same way during every practice.
- Allow a variety of positions: Invite participants to find a comfortable position where they can remain still for the duration of the practice. This may be lying on their backs, sides, stomachs or seated against a wall. The goal is comfort and that may look different for different individuals.
- Use Background Music: Soothing, ambient music without words is lovely to have playing in the background. You can find lots of playlist for massage, reiki, relaxation and more on your favorite music source.
Click on the button below to download a Yoga Nidra script. Please feel free to modify to find your own words, expression, and adaptations for your students and loved ones.
Find more Yoga Nidra resources on our Yoga Nidra Pinterest Board
Some teens testimonials about their yoga nidra practice
Gabi Garcia is passionate about helping kids to be kind to themselves, to listen to their bodies and to their hearts.
Join Yoga In My School founder, Donna Freeman, as she chats with counsellor, teacher, author Gabi Garcia about how we can foster positive self talk and emotional awareness in children.
Gabi’s beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written books, Listening to My Body and Listening with My Heart, are for parents, teachers and practitioners who are helping children learn mindfulness and calming practices. Discover tools that you can use today with the children in your life. You may even find yourself employing self-regulation and self-compassion skills more often in your own life.
Listen to the interview here:
Gabi Garcia Books Giveaway
Enter to win copies of Gabi’s books in either English or Spanish below.
Contest runs June 7-14 and is open to participants in USA and Canada. No purchase necessary. Winner randomly chosen will be contacted via email or Instragram messaging and have 24 hr to claim their prize.
Lazy 8 Breath or Infinity Breath is one of my favorite shape breathing techniques. I find this shape extremely soothing. Added bonus is the cross lateral work that connects left and right hemispheres of the brain helping to calm and focus.
When teaching young children provide them a printout which they can trace with their finger as they learn how to practice Lazy 8 Breath.
Feel free to use this one.
DOWNLOAD Lazy 8 Breath Printout
Once you have learned the technique you can trace an imaginary lazy 8 with your finger on your desk, your hand, your thigh, wherever. Repeat 8 times since it’s a lazy “8”.
This breathing technique is especially effective to calm and focus. Use it before exams to overcome test anxiety and invite a relaxed, alert state of mind.
For more breathing and mindfulness techniques join our Teacher’s Lounge.
Develop an understanding of the fundamental skills, attitudes and guidelines which contribute to success when teaching children’s yoga. Teaching yoga to children is vastly different from teaching to adults. Learn how to connect with kids, discover your own voice and the power of being genuine, be a true professional by understanding who you are, what you do and how to best present yourself, all while having a blast and knowing you are impacting children’s lives in a positive and meaningful way.
Join founder of Yoga In My School Donna Freeman as she outlines the A-Z of teaching yoga to kids. A is for Attention – learn the key to increasing attention span … what is Q for? 90 minutes
Recently I came across a blog post about how to teach yoga and mindfulness to children with hearing loss. Since I’ve worked at a school for the deaf for a number of years I was interested to discover what insights the author might add.
Miss Megan of Learning Lotuses joins us for this episode to chat about yoga for children with hearing loss. She’ll share insights on what to expect as an instructor and how to navigate some potential hurdles. We’ll discuss sensory processing and sensory fatigue, the effective use of FM systems, tips for savasana, and so much more.
Yoga & Mindfulness for Hearing Loss podcast – LISTEN HERE