It’s Summertime. When we think about summer, we think about long days of sunshine. Sun, kids and yoga make a perfect trifecta of happiness.
Kids love the warmer weather. Sunshine and warmth invite children to explore, be adventurous, and tune into their creative selves. Yoga poses are often inspired by our natural world. When it’s warm out we see butterflies flying, snakes slithering, and fish swimming and it is natural for our little yogis to come into poses that reflect these animals and their movements. Are there any other poses that you can think of that feel like summer?
Kids can learn a lot about Mother Nature in the summer months. For instance, the water cycle is Mother Nature’s effort to conserve water resources. Yogis practice the idea of conservation, too. Yogis help take care of the Earth and learn to use her resources wisely because they understand that we should never take more than we need. Taking more than we need is wasteful and unnecessary. It can deprive someone else from getting what they might need. This practice is called Brahmacharya, or the practice of conserving resources and not taking too much. Summer is the perfect time to explore Brahmacharya with your children – where else can we see conservation in nature and encourage it in our lives?
Of course, if we are talking about summertime yoga, we must discuss Sun Salutations. Sun Salutations are a great way to be grateful for each day we are given. I always tell my students that each day is another opportunity to be our best selves. Yogis have been practicing Sun Salutations for thousands of years as a way to wake up their bodies with a series of poses in a set sequence. The sequence is arranged to symbolize that our days repeat, full-circle, First, we wake with the sun. Next, we work, play, and care for one another. Finally, we rest again until the next day. In our Kidding Around Yoga classes we make Sun Salutations FUN by incorporating a call- and -respond method. These special “Sergeant Salutations” are a great way for children to learn the poses in the amusing style that is uniquely KAY.
With more sunshine and warmer weather our bodies naturally gravitate from being held inside for warmth to being more open and expansive outdoors. Children who regularly play in the sunshine are healthier and happier. The benefits of spending time in the sun include:
- Increased happiness. The sun helps our bodies produce chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that put us in a better mood as well as ease anxiety and make us feel calmer.
- Room to breathe. Outdoor areas are large and expansive and children have enough space to run, play, and get their energies out. Children are less likely to “conform” to any one kind of play but will experience many types of active play all within a brief period of time when they are outdoors. Fresh air is vital to healthy lungs and brain development. Children who are active are more likely to develop healthy habits over a lifetime and are less likely to develop health risks such as obesity, heart disease, or diabetes.
- Lowers our blood pressure. Sunshine on the skin helps us feel calmer and more relaxed both physically and mentally. When we are calm, we are kind.
- Stronger bones. Sunshine helps our bodies make Vitamin D, which is needed to keep our bones healthy and strong. If we spend too much time indoors our bones weaken and we could end up with rickets, a disease that weakens the bones and makes them more prone to fractures.
- Better sleep. When we get enough sunlight, our bodies respond better to the rhythm of time. We are more likely to be awake and active during the day, then tired and able to sleep well at night. Better sleep also helps our bodies and brains function optimally when we are awake and productive.
Of course, it is always important to protect yourself from being over-exposed to the sun. Fortunately, we have sunscreen lotions that give us the ultra-violet ray protection we need to stay safe and enjoy our long summer days.
Go outside into the sunshine, young yogis, and explore the world. Allow the sun to be your light so you can see your truth. Allow it to also warm your heart so you always act with kindness and compassion.
Like what you read here? There’s so much MORE to explore and learn with Kidding Around Yoga. Check out our website for our live and online teacher trainings, Yoga Alliance-approved 95-hour RCYT trainings, specialty online courses, original music, merchandise, and SO MUCH MORE!