There has been a pretty good reason, why I've been a bit absent.... ahm MIA.
I spent a good couple of months at the end of 2016 agonising over whether or not I had enough knowledge, skills and expertise to share on the subject of kids & yoga ... and then I spent a couple of months tooing and frooing over how I'd go about it ... and then I spent 6 months writing the Just For Kids Yoga Teacher Training, which is 50 hours of fun, practical, meaningful tools and tips for anyone who wants to introduce yoga to kids.
Parents, teachers, youth workers, early childhood teams, yoga instructors and you will complete this course with all the tricks and tips that I have researched, taught, experimented with and had fun delivering to yogini's from 3 to the yogi's of 17. On top of all that you get 20 years of my teaching experience to help you manage behaviours, design meaningful courses, fun classes, utilise resources and explore the endless possibilities, joys and laugh out loud moments that working with kids brings.
Last weekend I worked with my first group of trainees in Mackay. Lots of fun, ah ha moments and shared learning - my type of learning environment.
Photo below of the inspired and inspiring Teena, Kerry, Anita and Mel.
Next weekend I'm off to the Sunshine Coast to my school - Yoga NRG in Currimundi to do it all again. Can't wait.
AND I have Rockhampton scheduled for February 9-11 2018. If your interested or knowsomeone whi is get in touch.
I promise I'll be more attentive to the website & the blog, now that that big project is out of the way.
Remember - A persons a person, no matter how small.
Bre, AJ & Paula at Yoga NRG Curruimundi Teena, Kerry, Anita & Mel at Yogi Space - Mackay
The why of breathing is pretty clear, even the youngest of kids will tell you what happens if you stop.
But the how of breathing is really interesting. Knowing what goes on under the ribs and as a result of our breathing can really help kids to visualise the process and use it more effectively.
We breathe on average 12 times a minute and depending how long you're here for, about 450 million times in your life time.
The lungs don't actually breathe - the diaphragm does the work, your lungs are like bellows - oxygen is sucked in and carbon dioxide is pushed out. I describe the lungs to kids like trees. Starting with the trunk as the trachea, the big branches as the bronchial tubes, the smaller branches are the bronchi oles, the leaves are the alveoli and the veins in the leaf are the capillaries that switch the oxygen for the carbon dioxide. Simple, and they get it straight away. Kids love factual and straight forward explanations.
Most of us only use about 1/8th of our lungs actual capacity. We breath short shallow breaths that make our shoulders go up and down and not our bellys go in and out with a long deep breath.
Take a moment to think about how you are breathing, watch your child or sleeping baby.
Shallow breathing is what happens when we are in our "fight, fright or flight" mode - we are in a sympathetic nervous state and ready to run for our lives. Long slow breaths bring us into a para-sympathetic nervous state - calm and collected. This is the reason in an emergency a paramedic will tell you to take deep breaths and probably why you ask your child to take some deep breaths when they are crying so hard you can't understand what they are crying about.
Teaching your child to breathe better is pretty easy.
- bubble blowers
- pom pom ping pong (kids love this - You'll need a fluffy pom pom to blow back and forth across a table. Points scored by the other person if the pom pom is blown off the table - teaching them to control their breath. Can also be done on the floor, just no points scored.)
There are hundreds of Apps that might appeal to your kids as a self calming tool. I checked these out -
Settle Your Glitter
but nothing beats the fun stuff.
Lay down on the floor with your kids, put a favourite small toy on their belly and ask them to watch it go up and down as they breathe into their belly. A few minutes of that will show a marked calm come over them. Enjoy!
"A person's a person no matter how small" Dr Suess
You only have to hear a child put themselves down - I can't..., I'll never...., It's too hard.... and watch their body language to know that they believe in every way the negative things they say. It just breaks your heart. Every child has unlimited potential for greatness.
Kids and adults alike - what we think is manifested in the way we feel. Which is why, if you've ever asked me how I am, my standard answer is "fantastic" or "fabulous".
Last week with the 3/4's at PA State School towards the end of the class, the kids were colouring while listening to "Positive Affirmations for Children" by Teacher Kay. It was heartening to see them either listening carefully or repeating the affirmations, without even thinking about it. Link to itunes at bottom of page
With repetition putting positive thoughts into their subconscious won't leave any room for the negative thoughts.
Some simple things you can do - a changing message on a blackboard, affirmation notes in their lunch box and reminding them everyday to think good things. And of course show them what it looks like by doing it yourself.
Link at bottom of page.
My current affirmation is "I live in a clean and tidy home". I've been a bit busy of late and saying this repeatedly reminds me to stop and pick it up or put it away, instead of stepping over it, which takes no more time and creates a positive piece of head space. Win-Win!!
"A person's a person no matter how small" ~ Dr Suess
Yes, I was that excited!!
Let me introduce you to Isabella. I have been working with Isabella for ... getting close to 2 and half years now, once a week for 30-45 minutes. Isabella is 7, gorgeous, loving, funny, active, sometimes keen for new things and sometimes not and is somewhere on the Autism spectrum.
When we first started practicing 4th Term of her Prep year, 3 breaths in a row without distraction was a success. Her breath was short and shallow - which keeps us all (adults included) in a state of fight, fright or flight (think cave lion attack!) a sympathetic nervous state. Last week our few minutes of breathing space before we got started, was for 10 long slow and deliberate breaths into the belly - which brings us all into a parasympathetic nervous state, relaxed, calm and focused.
Two and a half years ago, Isabella was tight and rigid in her body (sympathetic nervous state), no softness - everything was always tense and with very little connection to where her body was in the space. eg - a verbal direction of knees on the floor could result in anything :).
The photo above of us doing a little Acro Yoga demonstrates her current level of awareness - strong arms and legs, engaged core and back muscles and most importantly focus to balance.
Last week we (she) did her first handstand. Isabella, Michelle (her mum) and I, were all so excited that we missed the photo op.
Isabella has changed, grown and continues to learn so much in our practice together. Some days are hilarious and we have lots of fun, some days she tells me what I'm doing wrong and some days 'back on your mat', is the most oft used cue.
Isabella continues to validate for me what a powerful tool yoga is for kids. Resilience, compassion, self worth, confidence, self calming, focus - I could put together and A-Z of why yoga is so good for kids.
I might do that.
"A person's a person no matter how small!"- Dr Suess
I spent a fun and hot day at the Botanic Gardens Open Day on Saturday. I had a great bunch of yogini's come to check it out and we had lots of fun.
We listened to and observed nature around us - the same way the yogi's started yoga 5000 years ago and we used this awareness to explore poses that I knew and for those we didn't we created new ones. Swayingrassasana was a favourite.
Whilst I was speaking with one of the mums and advocating for kids yoga, her daughter (8) overheard me saying - "It's just so good for them."
She asked me, "Why is yoga so good for kids?"
I responded, "It makes you strong and healthy, it makes you happy and confident and it helps you to be a good friend. It teaches you to never give up and to know that you are perfect just the way you are."
She nodded in agreement and then we got started. There will come a time when there will be no need to convince schools and parents that something so simple brings the results (as teachers, parents and society) we are all so desperate for. Peace - Connection - Strength
"A person's a person no matter how small!"- Dr Suess
Tracey is a knowledgeable yoga instructor and the children look forward to her regular visits. It's amazing to watch the children grow and learn the poses and strategies that she uses. The children are always excited to share what they have learnt and often transfer what they have done that day into other aspects of their play. Educators are using the calming strategies during the day.
Tracey, my daughter loves your yoga classes at day care. I have just watched her attempt to retell a story through yoga. Thoroughly cute! Thanks so much for your thought and effort.