Mindfulness in schools is a hot topic. Studies prove its effectiveness at helping children reduce stress, self regulate and focus.
Now available is a series of Mindfulness Moments board books to enable even the youngest child to cultivate skills to feel calm wherever they are. Musician, kids yoga expert and author, Kira Willey, joins us to talk about her latest endeavor to help children manage body, breathe and emotions.
Listen to the podcast here
Some topics we cover:
the importance of music, movement and mindfulness
the evolution of Kira’s career from musician to author
how to teach the littlest yogis mindfulness
ways to incorporate mindful moments into your day
Enter to win the giveaway
Enter below to win a signed copy of Mindfulness Moments for Kids: Breathe Like a Bear OR Mindfulness Moments for Kids: Listen Like an Elephant. Kira has one of each book. Two winners will be chosen. Multiple entries allowed. Contest open to resident of USA and Canada. Contest ends Oct 26 at 12:00 am.
Kids Love Easter Yoga. Discover an easy way to take Bunny Breath up a notch by adding in developmentally appropriate levels to stimulate body and mind.
During our weekend workshop Yoga for Preschoolers and Kids with Special Needs we cover a lot of material having to do with developmental milestones and how you can assist children to meet these milestones in creative and fun ways. What is really inspiring is by adding in somatic techniques into your kids yoga classes you are also developing essential neurological pathways and helping the brain to organize itself. Truly a win-win.
This IGTV video explains why you want to add hopping to your Bunny Breath pranayama practice.
Bea is anxiously waiting for her friends to show up for her birthday party. Discover how Bea’s thoughts take over and what she does to find calm so she can enjoy her party.
We’ll discuss the rise in anxiety issues in youth, how mindful breathing and visualization can help manage anxiety, and the importance of mindfulness in schools to promote physical and emotional well-being.
Enter to win a copy of Mindful Bea and the Worry Tree
Contest runs midnight April 12 to April 19 and is open to participants in the USA and Canada. Multiple entries allowed including daily tweeting. Enjoy and share!
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.
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
Breath and Pranayama Awareness
Feelings and Sensations Perception
Images, Visualization and Journey
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.
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.
We are thrilled to share with you the new I Am Peace by Susan Verde. Susan recently found time to chat with us about the book.
I Am Peace invites all to calm our busy minds by focusing on the here and now. With touching illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds I Am Peace shows a variety of ways to connect with self, nature and others through compassionate awareness.This empowering book provides children numerous mindfulness tools they can use to calm down and the peace that comes from enjoying simple pleasures.
Yoga In My School podcast on iTunes
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helps students and educators handle the stress of modern life through mindfulness, movement, neuroscience and positive psychology.
Mindful Essentials for Educators
Bring Mindful Essentials to your staff
Empower your staff with tools that help students to calm down, self regulate and manage stress. Discover easy to implement and highly effective tools and strategies to reduce stress, promote well-being and produce positive school outcomes. We offer in-person and virtual video conferencing workshops making it convenient and easy to learn and implement Mindful Essentials into your organization. World wide service available.
Mindful Essentials Classroom Sessions
Bring Mindful Essentials to your students
Each session of Mindful Essentials incorporates mindfulness tools in a straight forward and intentional way using five elements
These elements teach fundamental life skills which can be immediately applied into daily life to help manage the stress of modern life. Classes include video, discussions, mindfulness practices, movement session and relaxation.
Having just released her third volumn of guided relaxations for children, Imaginations 3, Carolyn Clarke shares tips of fostering relaxation and calm in children. Her Imagination series of beautifully crafted, child friendly scripts offer parents, teachers, kids yoga instructors and more a wealth of resources to use with children.
We’ll get the background on the inspiration for the visualizations, how the art is created and tips to create a conducive environment for inviting calm.
In our hurried and over programmed world relaxation is a gift which we all need. Share it this holiday season with those you love.
Yoga In My School podcast on iTunes
If you enjoyed this interview rate and review the show so others can find it.
The benefits of yoga and mindfulness are far reaching. More than improving flexibility and strength, yoga and mindfulness impact the social, emotional, mental and physical health of everyone who practices. So give it a try. Get on your mat, take a deep breath, and take advantage of the many benefits of yoga and mindfulness.
Jivana Heyman: Accessible Yoga, Activism and Empowerment June 16, 2020
In this episode of the Yoga In My School podcast Jivana Heyman shares insights into accessible yoga in thought and practice. We talk about community, activism, accessibility, service and of course yoga. And yes, we totally geek out on applying the sutras into everyday life. This episode is a little longer than usual and includes […]