Mindfulness in Minutes
What a joy it is to be completely in the moment! Children naturally exist in a state of present moment awareness. They live their lives through play, and as we all know, it is easy to be in the moment when we are having fun.
I have been teaching yoga to kids for over a decade and have found that when kids are introduced to yoga and meditation in a joyful environment, they will grow to love the practice. In fact, I have witnessed children lean into these practices all on their own when faced with boredom or stress.
We can all develop a regular mindfulness practice through simple, daily activities. Seizing small opportunities throughout each day to be mindful can blossom into a yogic lifestyle for the whole family. The key is to introduce the practices in digestible portions and make them as easy and as interesting as possible.
Waiting for a seat at a busy restaurant or on a long line at the supermarket are great opportunities for grade school children to practice meditation. Patience can be achieved through a listening meditation game by counting how many sounds you can hear in 30 seconds while remaining silent. This may be a challenge at first, but kids will enjoy sharing what they heard, and gradually this game can increase to 10-15 minutes.
When toddlers are just learning to walk, they assume one pointed concentration with each step. If you spend time with a toddler, you can take some time each day to adopt a walking meditation as you walk with them. Let them guide the pace and settle into a deep breath if you get the urge to rush them. This is meditation in action.
In time, we can try these practices during some of the more stressful moments in life. Time outs and temper tantrums can be remedied by blowing on a feather for five minutes to help a child calm the breath. Staring at a snow globe for a few minutes can cultivate peace of mind. For more seasoned yogis, practicing an arm balance is a great way to get kids to refocus and create a healthy mind-body connection.
While there are endless possibilities with which we can imagine and experiment, the best place to learn yogic tools that can be used in the home are in family yoga classes. Check our yoga directory for a family yoga workshop and children’s yoga classes in your area. Have a happy journey. Namaste.
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