Here in the United States, November is the iconic month of Thanksgiving. We not only associate Thanksgiving with being grateful but of gathering with loved ones to feast on traditional foods that bring us a lifetime of loving memories. If you are your family’s resident chef, you know better than anyone the labor of love that is involved with preparing such a feast. You have cleaned and decorated your house. You have shopped, chopped, prepped, and prepared this amazing meal for your loved ones to enjoy. Yet even before any of that can happen, we harvest the earth and her abundance of gifts to execute our Thanksgiving meals.
Harvest means to gather. In October and November, the weeks just before our celebrations, we are harvesting the earth for turkey, corn, squash, green beans, potatoes, cranberries, pumpkins, etc. In order to harvest healthy, nutritious foods, we must first be mindful in our planting of seeds. It is like that for our own happiness as well. If we practice (plant seeds) of love and peace, we will harvest a healthy and happy lifestyle. Happiness is manifested through smiles and laughter. It is felt in our hearts and minds. Happiness is obtained when we are doing things that feel both energetically stimulating and simultaneously relaxing.
Positive Psychology defines happiness as what is “understood as the positive emotions we have in regards to the pleasurable activities we take part in through our daily lives.” As individuals, we all have our likes and dislikes, so activities that promote happiness and pleasure will be subject to each person. Luckily, most children are happy when they are having fun and “kidding around.”
Kidding Around Yoga (KAY) teachers are especially talented in offering ways for your little yogis to gather, or harvest, happiness. In a KAY class, children get to experience positioning their bodies in so many fun ways, each position offering a new opportunity for expression and imagination. Kids Yoga classes have children imitating cobras, lions, and even trees.
In a traditional classroom, children are often expected to “keep quiet.” But in a KAY class- NO WAY! In fact, we encourage our yogis to use their voices and express themselves as much as possible. We invite students to imagine if they were a boat, where they would like to sail to? Or if they were an eagle, where would they build their nest? We vocalize through chanting or song.
Children love to play games. But better yet, they learn by playing games. KAY teachers have a library of amazing games for all different age ranges and interests to choose from for each class. Games are essential in the development of children because they help children learn pro-social behaviors such as cooperation, turn-taking, empathy, and even help kids feel connected to the others in the group; having a sense of belonging. What kind of games do we do? Sign your child up for a KAY class near you and find out!
After a very active three-fourths of a class, it is time to calm and quiet the mind. We use breathing practices and meditation to help achieve this. Calm kids are happy kids. Why? When kids are calm, they are feeling safe and cared for. It is when they are not happy that they act out with behavioral problems. The practices of pranayama (breathing) and meditation are different seeds we sow for harvesting happiness.
Through the breath, we teach children to calm the nervous system. When our nervous systems are calm, we have a sense of control over our bodies and minds. We feel empowered to be our best selves. Of course, KAY teachers add the fun factor by offering numerous breathing techniques.
Meditation helps kids feel happy because it calms the chatter in the mind, the vritti. During the time dedicated to mediating, kids don’t have to feel pressured to “do” or “be” anything. They can just relax and enjoy the moment, for whatever it reveals to them. Through meditation we learn one of the best lessons of all, happiness can be harvested whenever we want, happiness comes from within.
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!