June 26, 2009

More Kids Meditation Fun

Yoga CD Giveaway

It's Earthy Yoga Mom's first giveaway! Hurray!

During the month of July, I'll be giving away five copies of my favorite kids yoga CD, I Grow with Yoga to randomly selected Facebook fans of Namaste Baby, my wee kids yoga company.

So become a fan of Namaste Baby on Facebook and you could win a copy for yourself! This CD has most of the most popular music I use during my own kids' classes and my son Kai loves it, too!

June 13, 2009

Research Says Meditation Benefits Preschoolers and Elementary School Students

USA Today ran a great piece this week about meditation in schools and hospitals:
Preliminary research shows that Los Angeles preschoolers who were taught meditation improved in their ability to pay attention and focus. For early elementary school kids, improvement came only in those who had attention problems at the start, says Susan Smalley, a UCLA behavioral geneticist who did the research with psychologist Lisa Flook. Very young brains may be more malleable, she speculates.
I LOVE building a bit of meditation into my classes. For preschoolers, it's super brief, something like closing their eyes and imagining someone they love for a few moments. For older kids (especially those oh-so-contemplative and introspective 7- and 8-year olds), I love doing guided meditations and visualizations, or breathwork/meditation. Kids work so much more earnestly and willingly on their meditatio

June 9, 2009

Yoga, Kids, Fun, and Inspiration

"Thank you...I had a very bad today. I was all riled up - it was a very bad day. But I feel better now and calmer." So said seven year old Henry after a recent end-of-the-school-day yoga class I taught to elementary students in Allston, MA. It had been a rough day - the class's teacher told me she herself had been in tears earlier.

I LOVE my job. LOVE it. Kids take yoga so seriously and playfully all at once. They practice yoga like they were born to practice it and the way we as adults often only aspire to practice - with joy and acceptance humor and spirit and focus!

In the coming months, I'll be teaching more and more classes for older students. I've recently had the pleasure of completing additional training in kids' yoga instruction, and am nearing the end of my 200-hour adult teacher training as well. I'm becoming very interested in research and news about the impact of yoga and meditation on young people - after seeing it first hand for over a year now, I'm more committed than ever to living a path that brings this gift to our kids.

February 16, 2009

More Specific Cuddlers...

Continuing on yesterday's calming and soothing theme, a few more ideas for soothing your wee one by stimulating the proprioceptive system:
  • Walking - Try going for an evening walk around the block together. The act of walking provides gentle joint compression for your kiddo. And has the added bonus of promoting health and wellness for your whole family.
  • Rolling on a Yoga Ball
  • Snuggle up together in a tightly wrapped blanket. Holding your kiddo in your lap, give her something weighted, like a rice sack, while talking or reading a book together.
  • Try massaging and squeezing your little one's hands and feet. This can be extremely soothing (for grown ups, too!)

February 15, 2009

Why Hugs are Helpful, and Other Cuddling Calmers

Call it the other sixth sense if you will - proprioception is the body's sense of its parts and limbs in relationship to one another. What allows us to drive without staring at our feet to make sure they are moving the way we want them to. Like the vestibular sense, this is one of the eldest and most basic, evolutionarily speaking. Which is why stimulating it, just like stimulating the vestibular system, is so reassuring and calming for kids.

Hugs are a classic form of joint compression and muscular pressure. As is massage! Yogis from my Baby and Tot classes will recognize Heartwarm Touch and my instruction to use firm (but still gentle, obviously) pressure when doing infant massage with their little ones. This is because a firm touch reinforces a developing child's sense of their body's boundaries - lighter touch tends to be more stimulating (for an adult translation - think of the difference between being tickled by a feather versus being kneaded by a deep tissue massage!).

Tykes class yogis will reconize burrito rolls (using a yoga mat, parents and preschoolers take turns rolling each other up and then "eating" their burritos) as a fun opportunity to provide gentle joint compression and muscular pressure. And doing blanket swing, in which a child lies down length wise in a sturdy blanket while two adults gently swing her back and forth while singing, provides both joint compression AND vestibular stimulation!

Babywearing and infant swaddling also stimulates the proprioceptive system. For preschoolers, try a "human swaddle" - spooning and hugging your child in a dark room at night can be extremely soothing.

February 14, 2009

Sweet Stories, Sweet Dreams

Many of us have a set of familiar bedtime stories that we pull out for our children at the end of the day. Achieve an even more soothing effect by sharing personal stories with your wee one.

Kids love telling and hearing about themselves, so try telling the story of your day together each evening. Our children also love hearing about us - tales from our own childhood might be particularly pleasing to them.

Perhaps you could even collect some favorites into a book that you create together. Or record them so that your babe can listen to them again and again many years from now.