Summer is about halfway over, and if you’re like me, ideas for things to do with the kids outside are starting to run scarce!
With school just around the corner, practicing mindfulness and mindful breathing might be hugely beneficial for the kiddos, but getting them excited about it is an entirely different story…
Unless you make a game out of it!
I teach yoga to kids once a week, and mindfulness is ALWAYS once if the biggest focuses of our time together.
Teaching them to be aware and focused on their breathing, or even grounding techniques, can be incredibly helpful as they deal with their own stresses and anxieties (because, yes, sadly, little kids have stresses and anxieties).
One of the ways I keep the kids honed in on deep breaths in that fill their lungs and bellies, and strong, slow, and controlled exhales is by giving them a game (aka: a purpose) for their breathing that they can get excited about and understand.
Cue: BUBBLES! 🌬
By giving them bubbles to blow, I can keep them engaged in a practice of mindful breathing for longer periods of time, and they can have fun while they do it!
And because they’re kids, we celebrate the successes of large bubbles, and encourage one another when they pop before they leave the sticks. They don’t even realize that they’re also learning and practicing empathy and good sportsmanship all the while.
Afterwards, I ask the students to perform a more challenging exercise: a 5 minute savasana with mindful breathing and grounding.
They lay down into corpse pose, with their eyes closed, and I talk them through some grounding meditations that encourage them to use their breath to tie them to the present moment by focusing on their breath and their environment.
We ground into the environment by running through four of their five senses:
- What can you hear? (Cars on the road, birds chirping, wind rustling leaves, etc)
- What can you smell? (The smell of fresh air or dirt, or in our case, at Roots, sometimes Subway!)
- What can you taste? (Maybe nothing, sometimes, gum or juice or toothpaste)
- What can you feel? (Wind blowing passed, the mat, the ground, grass, etc).
Afterwards, we reflect on our observances together, and how our hearts and minds feel after our meditation. Then we talk about when and how we can use these exercises in real life, at school, at home, or wherever we are.
Because after all, the yoga is less about the time we spend on the mat than it is the time we spend off of it. 😉