Let’s talk about some mindfulness practices to handle life as we all now know it, this weird ride we are all on. When we are blindsided by huge changes in life, we tend to want to find steady ground. It isn’t always easy to do this, especially when little ones are looking to us to find security.
Sometimes we need to stop, breathe and take a time out. Our minds rush past our bodies most days. If we were to move at the same pace as our thoughts, we would be wiped out with exhaustion by mid-morning. But sometimes, when those thoughts become what we call “big feelings” or deep emotions, we feel exhausted both mentally and physically. If it is happening to us, the big kids, you can bet it is happening to our younger yogis. So let’s find some tools for when life gets too big to sift through on autopilot.
Life can become a record that spins over and over and without even realizing it, the human body and mind can creep towards burnout. Be it lack of sleep, lack of energy, lack of self-care, or just plain down in the dumps, burnout can happen to anyone and exhibit in many forms. Often outside stressors in society (and let’s face it, we’ve all seen our fair share of those this year) can creep into our inner wellbeing and fly out as irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and more.
A major key factor in mindfulness and yoga is listening to your body. Just like with practicing asanas (poses), we must not strive for perfect form and the most complex poses. We must strive for our own comfort, a challenge that suits our specific needs. We must listen to what our body is telling us and sometimes we must spend less time perfecting the pose and more time grounding ourselves in thought. Our bodies know we need rest before our brains do.
Stop what you’re doing right now, put your tablet or phone to the side, close your eyes, and envision what you can do for ten minutes a day to find some peace. Seriously, why are you still reading? Close your eyes, take a big cleansing breath and as you exhale picture your favorite chair, recall the scent of your favorite tea, and feel the touch of your coziest robe… go on, I’ll wait…
There. Now that you know what brings you peace, make some time for it today, then again tomorrow. Maybe set out a day and time of the week that you know you can dedicate to just yourself and listening to your needs. In taking this time for yourself, you can better lead the younger yogis who look up to you.
Now that we’ve sorted that, let’s talk more about what we can do for the children who also are living with today’s ups and downs. Mindfulness activities are one of my favorite ways to get the kids involved in understanding how to be aware of all those big feelings. When they learn through play to hear the soft ding of a singing bowl, when they train their ear to pick up a vibration, they unknowingly are teaching themselves to pick up on their own vibrations, their very own emotions as they arise. Kids love playing with the singing bowls, they love to try to get that note to appear.
Another big hit with the kids is ringing tingsha bells. Kidding Around Yoga actually includes them in their super fun “bag of tricks” set found in their shop.
A moment of picking up on those singing vibrations, a chance to relax and breathe, and a peaceful storybook on taking the time to be aware of life and all that you appreciate might make the perfect start for a class of kids who have been through big life changes this year. Zen Pig is one of my go-to books for the kids who need to stop and smell the… well, everything!
When kids are allowed to feel what they do without judgment, they in turn are given the ability to work through those feelings, rather than dismissing them. Mindfulness games, songs, crafts and more are all a part of being a children’s yoga teacher. Kidding Around Yoga equips us with these powerful tools to carry into our studio or classroom or living room.
When a child feels burnout, they react with a tantrum, tears, and the confusion of not knowing how to express themselves. And let’s be honest, are grownups much different? We all need to rest, breathe and accept that we are in a time of change. We are shifting and need to find ways to love ourselves with the little things.
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, podcast, and beyond! KAY even offers a 6-hour workshop designed to teach school educators and homeschool families how to bring yoga and meditation right into their classrooms (EduKAY) and an online course specifically for families to incorporate these practices into their family’s routine (Mindful Parenting).