Term 1 at the studio has been full of learning about how our bodies work.
Learning new things stimulates the muscle that we think with - when we do that it gets stronger and we learn even more.
We learnt about the different systems in our bodies - respiratory, nervous, digestive, muscles and bones and the organs and how these systems all work together to keep our very complicated selves healthy and happy. We learnt yoga poses to stimulate different systems and how important different healthy habits are for each system.
Lots of adults with highly stressful lives find it very difficult to relax and do nothing. It's alarming to see it in kids too.
What could a 10 year old possibly be stressing about - they're 10! There job is to be a kid, have a go at new things, make mistakes, learn from mistakes and have fun in the process.
An introduction into sharing each system has been to ask the kids to describe or act how their bodies would react if a system was taken away. The lump of jelly without bones was a favourite as was the statue or zombie when the brain was taken away by a click of my fingers.
It was a little harder to impress on them what your body does when it doesn't have a chance to rest and rejuvenate. However they could all relate to "tired and cranky" and then the gates opened.
Feelings of "everything is going wrong today", listless - not knowing if they're hungry or thirsty - coming or going, distracted, easily upset, forgetful, quick to get angry and tired even when they first wake up in the morning. Blurry eyes and the feeling that you're brains all "woolly" were also well related to with the older group.
As we near the end of this 8 week program, today was about how important rest and stillness is.
Stillness for kids can be a real challenge (adults too) - either from discomfort (sitting is hard work when you have no core and back muscles) and the compulsive reaction to fidget and adjust OR the urge to check to see what everyone else is doing.
Some of the kids loved these poses. And the more we did the quicker they were to settle in.
The little kids made themselves a nest of bolsters and blankets and quite content.
Others are already struggling to switch off and do nothing - to just BE in the moment without the need to be 'on'.
'On', as in - with a screen in front of them, a thing to be doing, an obligation to be seen to be doing something.
That's a bit of a worry.
I'm busily planning next term which starts on 24 April (week 2 of the school term) and runs to 22 June (week 9 of the school term) and it's going to be great - all about building confidence and developing a Growth Mindset.
If you would like your little yogi to join us, please email me your details and the age of your child and I'll send more information.
Remember, a person is a person, no matter how small.
Til next month.
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 wo 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
Christine, Penny & Alysha recently completed the Just For Kids Yoga Teacher Training in Rockhampton
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
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.