Mindfulness is a type of meditation practice that trains the practitioner to be completely immersed in the moment, with all five senses. With practice, we learn to bring our scattered attention and energy back to what we are experiencing right now, without judgement, without future plans, without regret or worry. Like scientists observing a subject or experiment, we note our body’s reactions and tendencies to whatever stimuli we are presented with. This is powerful stuff, especially for children! A mindfulness practice can build empathy, manage stress and promote a sense of calm regardless of the chaos that might be surrounding you in the busyess of the world.

Convinced yet? Here are some activities to start a mindfulness practice with your whole family:

Memory: Sit together in a circle with about 7 small objects in the middle where everyone can see them (if your children are younger, maybe just use 3-5 objects and if they are older you can use more). Choose little toys, common household objects, buttons, pebbles, etc.Your family gets one minute to look intensely at the objects and try to remember them all. After one minute, cover the objects with a towel. Choose a player to secretly remove one object without telling/showing which they removed. When the missing object is hidden away, remove the blanket and try to figure out which object is missing. Take turns being the person who removes the object.

Sneaky Walk: Stand spread out in a room or outside, take three long mindful breaths (feel the temperature of the breath, how long it lasts, where you feel it moving, etc). Now begin to walk very carefully and quietly. Imagine you are a little animal walking silently through the jungle or a field, trying to stay hidden from  predators. You want to be so slow and silent. Feel your toes working to keep you balanced, your arms moving with each step and your eyes focusing on your path. If you begin to plan your path too much, try to feel your feet again. Keep walking, sneaking through the room, without anyone else hearing you. Can you feel your leg muscles working? Your hips swaying? After a few minutes, have everyone share what kind of animal they were pretending to be and where they were sneaking. How did it feel to walk so quietly? This is a version of a walking meditation.

Thankful Thoughts: When it’s time to tuck in the kids for bed, take a moment to list something you are grateful for, something good that happened to you or to someone you love. After you say your Thankful Thought, everyone close their eyes and take three mindful breaths, picturing what was said. If you make this part of your evening routine, the whole family will start to pay more attention to the good things happening during the day so they have something thankful to share at bedtime.

Inside and Outside: Everyone gets pieces of paper and drawing implements. Draw a picture of yourself to show what you look like and how you feel. Then, on other pieces of paper draw a picture of each person in your group, showing how you see them and how you think they feel. You can use words or pictures. When everyone has finished, share your pictures and talk about what’s the same in each version and what’s different. Do we see each other the way we see ourselves?

 

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Kidding Around Yoga Justice Information

 Company Justice Statement

We stand with you, our Black family. At Kidding Around Yoga, we are a worldwide multicultural community committed to bringing the teaching of yoga to children and families worldwide. Our aspirations have always been to treat all humans with dignity, respect and care. We recognize that aspirations and intentions are different from impact. Our good intentions have not diminished the impact of our lack of understanding. We acknowledge the harm experienced by Black people and people of color within our organization. We have been blind to the ways in which white supremacy culture has been at play within our materials, structures and communications. We are deeply humbled and saddened to start to realize the extent to which BIPOC have been harmed, undersupported, ignored, dismissed, asked to perform emotional labor for free, and otherwise not held in the ways we aspire to hold everyone. We appreciate those who continued to point out to us our blindspots, even when we failed to listen or honor the wisdom they were bringing. We apologize. We know it is not enough. We are committing to strengthening our anti-racist actions, to continue looking deeper into our structures and personal biases, and to make ongoing changes to embody the teachings of yoga.

This is a time to wake up, to speak up, to stand up. This is a time to fight for what is right and educate those who are still in the dark. Every Black life matters. We all recognize that these are not new issues, but this IS a new opportunity to be allies and agents of change, in large and small ways. Let us not hide from this challenge or wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting. We each have a voice and a responsibility to fight for a better, more just and peaceful world. Join us as we listen, as we learn, as we change, and as we do what we do best: share the ancient and powerful practice of yoga and meditation with children across the globe.

In addition to the ways in which KAY supports bringing yoga to all children, we specifically recognize and commit to the following:

► Our materials and content need to be reviewed and updated. Some existing content contains ideas or themes rooted in racist structures we are now becoming aware of. These have caused harm and discrimination, and we are committed to a thorough review and action steps. We will give updates as to our actions regarding these materials.

We also recognize that we have not fully understood what cultural appropriation of yoga looks like. We understand that, in certain instances, we have used yoga in a way that has diminished its roots and caused harm to the culture from which it arises. We are undergoing a deep review of our materials and marketing, in this light, and will give updates as to our actions as a result of this review.

We also recognize that asking our Black teachers to share what they are doing to guide themselves through these “trying times” was felt as insensitive by many teachers. It was not our intention to cause harm in this way, but we understand how this is emotional labor, and that teachers need to be compensated for this. We will compensate any teachers we call upon to support us in this process.

We acknowledge the lack of Black leadership within KAY, and are actively expanding the leadership team to include and elevate Black wisdom and voices. This week, we are delighted to welcome Shawandra Ford and Camelia Brown onto the leadership team. We will continue to expand our team in the coming weeks.

We are revamping our KAY4ALL training to include specific anti-racist training. We will make it mandatory and included for all trainees and trainers. Meanwhile, KAY Leadership is undergoing anti-racist trainings themselves, which will be ongoing.

We are in the process of allocating resources to support scholarships for BIPOC trainees, to fund classes in underserved communities, and to offer financial support to organizations upholding anti-racism and helping make yoga accessible and available to BIPOC families.

In order to move forward and accomplish the mandates listed above, we have created a Justice Task Force. The JTF will identify and implement the changes needed within KAY. The JTF consists of seasoned and new team leaders committed to serving to create an anti-racist culture within our organization.

We will be adding tasks to the list, as we grow and evolve in our understanding of what needs to be done. We hope you will join us in doing this work in your own lives.

We are open to feedback, but we understand that it is no one’s job but ours to look, to learn, to digest, and to take action. We stand by our commitment to become an anti-racist organization whose work uplifts, supports and learns from Black wisdom and leadership.

Please email info@kiddingaroundyoga.com if you wish to reach out to us in regard to this statement, whether it’s feedback, an offer to join our efforts, or you want to be kept up to date with these promises. 

Namaste,

Kidding Around Yoga

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