I don’t know about anyone else out there, but my kids move nonstop when we are out in public. Whether we are in a store for groceries, a restaurant for dinner, or any number of other errands, us mammas are runnin’ all day.
And sometimes we find ourselves out and about with other peoples’ kids, right? Perhaps we lead / co-lead an activities group that takes field trips in public. Or find ourselves chaperoning a school outing. Those kiddos are usually moving nonstop, too! So, here are some ideas for incorporating yoga philosophy and organized, mindful movement with our littles while out in public.
Recently during one of our outings, I encouraged my girls to do a Mountain pose while we were checking out. Wouldn’t you know it? They loved it! “What next mamma?” Tree, let’s do tree! What other poses would work? Triangle pose, Star pose, Warrior pose, Chest-expanding pose. What fun to multi-task an outing with some stretching exercises! We could expand the fun (and challenge) by making it a “guess the pose” game. One child comes into a standing pose (it’s good to give some parameters for the types of poses appropriate for your location) and the others guess what pose they are doing. This is good for us adults, too!
You could bring breathing practices into the situation, too. For example, if kids begin to get antsy or even tired from a long day out, use bunny breathing to refocus and energize them. Too loud on the school bus? Do a round or two of bumblebee breath to settle the energy and prepare to listen to instructions from the chaperone/teacher.
Beyond stationary yoga poses, we might be able to take it a little further. Talk about mindful behavior with, and around others, like watching where they are going, keeping hands to self, and staying with the group. Mindfulness in public spaces is a HUGE lesson for our children. It’s super important for them to engage their senses with what is happening around them. Who knows, you might get some attention and questions about what you are doing with your kids. A teacher may decide to use this strategy before taking her 25 students to the city zoo, for example. She can spend small bits of time in class a few days before the field trip to go over mindful behavior with the children, and then work with the chaperones on communicating simple yoga poses they can use with their assigned children during the field trip. The teacher will have taught the kids mountain and star pose (for example) in the days prior to the outing, so It’s as simple as letting chaperones know they can use those two poses to get the kids’ attention if a need should arise.
I think this idea of extending yoga into our public excursions can lead to some incredibly creative ideas for helping to keep our kids safe. Because that is the point here: keep them safe, keep them accounted for, teach them to be aware and mindful and respectful of others. Respectful of themselves too. Children don’t understand that even the simplest of outings can create stress for a parent or teacher, and so having that conversation and establishing a strategy is a way for adult and child to share ownership of the outing. And it keeps it light and fun. I personally love it when I can incorporate the yoga philosophy into everyday living, with my kids especially. Because the goal and essence of yoga philosophy is to let it infiltrate our behavior and actions, on a subconscious level, on an auto-pilot level. Not just in the yoga class.
To bring this full circle, being active, and moving around in public is not a bad thing. However, when you are trying to check out and need your kids close by, asking them to show you mountain pose for 5 deep breaths can be a life saver. When helping to chaperone a child’s field trip, establishing a fun yoga game with the kids to keep them safe and accounted for can be a total game changer. From utter chaos, we move to organized chaos.
I hope these ideas help you explore more ways of incorporating mindful behavior with any littles you may be watching while out and about in your daily life.