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.
The world needs more love, compassion and understanding.
Metta is a Pali word meaning Loving Kindness. This is a simple yet profound practice which directs our intentions to wishing ourselves and others happiness and peace. Loving Kindness Meditation helps us understand that all beings deserve compassion. I always use this meditation during February to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Loving Kindness Metta Meditation (length 5:35)
We love teaching the magic of mindfulness to kids and teens. It’s easy and amazingly effective. Learn how.
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to guide our lives, our thoughts, our yoga and meditation practice. I’ve collected inspiring messages and quotes for as long as I can remember, posting them inside my school locker, writing them in my personal journal and using them to direct my yoga classes. I trust you will enjoy this collection. You may also want to check out our Inspiring Words Pinterest Page.
“Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners.“ Shakespeare
“He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything.“ Arabian Proverb
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.“ Sogyal Rinpoche
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.” Proverb
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I cam changing myself.” Rumi
“The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.” Yogi Bhajan
“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” Plato
“You can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.” Gene Mauch
“You only lose what you cling to.” Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha
“The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.” Rumi
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” Eleanor Roosevelt
“Do not ask for less responsibility to be free and relaxed—ask for more strength!“ Shengyan
“The creation of a thousand forest is in one acorn.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” Jason Crandell
“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.” Eat, Pray, Love
“The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.“ RodneyYee
“Your problem isn’t the problem. Your reaction is the problem.” Anonymous
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” BKS Iyengar
“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” Bob Harper
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Anonymous
“The beauty is that people often come here for the stretch, and leave with a lot more” Liza Ciano
“Don’t just do something—sit there!” Unknown Yoga Quote
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.“ Krishnamacharya
“Don’t waste a good mistake. Learn from it.” Robert Kiyosaki
“Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self control. Energy within and energy without.” Ymber Delecto
“Whenever you see a successful person you only see the public glories, never the private sacrifices to reach them.” Vaibhav Shah
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” Oscar Wilde
“Yoga has a sly, clever way of short circuiting the mental patterns that cause anxiety.” Baxter Bal
“You can do anything, but not everything. Anonymous
“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” Jason Crandell
“Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose.” Eknath Easwaran
“Do not speak unless it improves on silence.” Buddhist proverb
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” The Bhagavad Gita
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” Buddha
“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” Robert Collier
“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” Mary Radmacher
“Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.” Matthieu Ricard
“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.” Dalai Lama
“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul, create the symphony of life.” BKS Iyengar
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. “ Jim Rohn
“The yoga pose that you avoid the most you need the most.” Anonymous
“Take the time to just do nothing. It will open up a completely new world of insight for you.” Scott Shaw
“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” Michael John Bobak
“Intelligence comes into being when the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious.” J Krishnamurti
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” Deepak Chopra
“Make the driving force in your life love.” Dr. Oz
“Happiness is an inside job.” William Arthur Ward
“Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong, but just to watch it and to move with it.” Krishnamurti
“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” Margaret Lee Runbeck
“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.” Rumi
“Suffering usually relates to wanting things to be different from the way they are.” Allan Lokos
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun
“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.” Swedish Proverb
“Silence is not silent. Silence speaks. It speaks most eloquently. Silence is not still. Silence leads. It leads most perfectly.” Sri Chinmoy
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Gautama Buddha
“Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.” Sting
“Even if things don’t unfold the way you expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance will win in the end.” Daisaku Ikeda
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.” Hermann Hesse
“Creating space frees the spirit to bring in what it truly desires.” Deb Reble
“Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” Osho
“She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures and doubts, but because she continued on despite of them.” Beau Toplin
“Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts; the sight of the deep blue sky and the clustering stars above seems to impart a quiet tot he mind.” Tryon Edwards
“Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions.” Deiter F. Uchtdorf
“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul to another.”George Elliot
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost.” G.K. Chesterton
“Life is meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Anyone who works with children knows that they are often noisy and rambunctious. This natural energy is a wonderful part of childhood.
Aruna Kathy Humphries of Young Yoga Masters also knows how important it is for children to be quiet, to tap into their inner stillness and to discover personal peace.
Aruna stops by YIMS to chat with host Donna Freeman about the power of quiet, the benefits of meditation for children and youth and her advice for parents and teachers on accessing inner calm quickly and easily.
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Hello, my name is Donna Freeman, founder of Yogainmyschool.com. Today we’re here to talk about the wonderful sound OM.
Invariably when I go into a school or to teach children, somebody in the class who has never done yoga before will come in, sit down on their mat and go like this, “OOOMMMMM!” They are all excited to begin chanting. So, I’ll show you how to do that properly and the aspects of OM you can teach to children.
Today Alea has joined me. She is going to learn a few mudras, hand positions that you can do while chanting OM. As well as the different aspects of the sound itself.
Now when you chant OM, it’s really helpful because the vocalization changes the energy in your body, it provides healing energy. It enhances your overall health. It calms your emotions and quiets the mind while providing relaxation. And increases the sense of togetherness.
When you chant om, a lot of people, because of how it is written in English, think it is just two sounds O-M. I actually prefer the written form A-U-M, for OM, because that represents much better the sounds which you are producing.
There are three and a half parts to om. The first is down here in your belly. It is a big aaaahhh sound. And then the uuuuu sound is up into your chest. From there the mmmmm comes to your head. It’s like a buzzing bee. Then there is blessed silence. When you OM you have those parts to it.
The other part is a mudra if you are comfortable with that. The two most popular are anjali mudra, or namaste hands. Anjali meaning heart. So you can bring your thumbs to your sternum. The other would be gyan mudra where you make a circle with your index finger and thumb and the rest of your fingers are extended, and then you place that on your knees. You can choose whichever one of those you like. Or if you are not comfortable with either one you don’t need to do it either.
Join with us in oming three times. Close your eyes. Inhale.
Take a deep breath. Bow your head. And allow your eyes to fall open.
Very nicely done.
So I hope that helps for when you are teaching OM to children and teens and bringing the lovely sound of yoga into your life. Have a wonderful day. Namaste.
Reading, Yoga Fables, and Neurodivergence June 24, 2022
In this episode Donna chats with Ashley Fontes, founder of Read and Yoga, a Mom, author, and yogi who combines her loves to share the joy and benefits of yoga with children. Ashley's neurodivergent children have inspired her to combine beloved children's books with movement to provide them with life skills of literacy and self […]