Sunday, November 10, 2019

What Everyone Should Know About Mindfulness at Work

The fact is that a “routine” is a near-universal, a daily fact of life. In a “traditional” home, one or both of the parents go to work, and children go to school, and–if they’re fortunate enough–see each other for a few hours in the evening. Unfortunately, we often run from task to task by rote and not with mindfulness.

For the typical person, work takes up 1/3 of their time on Earth (another 1/3 allocated to sleep). The average life expectancy of an adult within the United States is 78.74 years. This means, assuming an 8-hour workday, that the common man or woman will work about 176,378 hours during their lifetime.
Note: we understand that this is a rough number, as we’re not taking into account retirement, vacation, overtime, and a few other vital variables.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”- Thich Nhat Hanh
In the quote above, Thich Nhat Hanh–a Vietnamese Buddhist monk–is describing how to be mindful during a very routine practice — drinking tea, in this instance.
In this article, we discuss how we can use work time to become better versions of ourselves using mindfulness.
First, we’ll cover some basics about mindfulness (what it is, its purpose, etc.) Second, we’ll explain how these centuries-old practices can benefit the ones we love and us.
It is our sincere hope that this article is well-received and that it helps the millions of people out there who are struggling with job satisfaction. Most importantly, we hope that our readers understand and implement the principles of mindfulness in their daily lives—at work or anywhere else.

WHAT IS “MINDFULNESS?”

Although our intelligent readers are probably well-versed on the basics of mindfulness, it may be beneficial to explain the basic principles of the practice further.
First, mindfulness is a type of meditation called “mindfulness meditation,” “concentration meditation,” “single-pointed meditation,” or “single-pointed concentration.” It is essential to understand that mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time, regardless of circumstance.
Second, mindfulness meditation is simple in concept, but often challenging to execute and sustain – at least during the initial phases. The reason is quite simple: mindfulness meditation requires “tunnel vision-like” focus, completely immersing oneself in all tasks, small and large.
Mindfulness meditation requires our cognitive resources to be 100 percent present and focused on the task at hand. A job may be as simple as washing dishes or preparing your child’s lunch to something intricately complex, such as writing a new programming code or drafting a business plan for potential investors.

WHY PRACTICE MINDFULNESS MEDITATION AT WORK?

In essence, mindfulness meditation requires the ability to disrupt and discard any thoughts or feelings that may throw you “off course” from what you’re doing here and now. The practice of which requires the ability to do so under less than desirable conditions, which often includes work-based tasks.
In studies devoted to job satisfaction (or lack thereof), 70 to 80 percent of people strongly dislike (or hate) their job. The chances are that you’re of the people who despise commuting to your workplace every morning.
Ancient Buddhism likens the mind of a human being to that of a monkey (AKA “monkey mind.”) Statititians estimate that the average person has between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. Given this statistic, what do you think the probabilities are (remember, 70 to 80 percent of people hate their job) that negative thoughts dominate during one’s time at work?
The odds are that the average person, consciously or subconsciously, has many negative feelings and thoughts throughout the workday.
Yet, this negative frame of mind is EXACTLY WHY one should consider mindfulness meditation during work.
As you become more proficient at mindfulness and mindfulness meditation, you will disengage the autopilot mode of the brain and bring it back under your control.

FIVE SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN PRACTICE MINDFULNESS AT WORK

As mentioned, mindfulness meditation is—at least at the beginning—a straightforward yet exhausting endeavor. In one concise sentence, this is what you should be doing:

1 – DEVOTE YOUR FULL ATTENTION TO WHATEVER WORK-RELATED TASK YOU ARE DOING.

If you’re drafting an email to a colleague, your attention should be wholly directed to the email. If you’re having a conversation with a boss or subordinate, your concentration should be directed entirely towards the dialogue taking place.
Multi-tasking is a myth. You cannot simultaneously perform two important tasks at the same time. You are setting yourself up for frustration instead of powering up your positivity by trying!
Here are a few other ways you can become more mindful while on the job.

2 – BE GRATEFUL YOU HAVE WORK

Even if you aren’t working at a job you love, you have the potential to earn income every day. Instead of a mindset of negativity about why you hate your job, focus on the plus side.
Aside from earning money, you are developing job skills, building a network of professional relationships, and sharpening many life skills every day that you report to work. Open your heart to gratitude. It will change your life.
Some people share that a gratitude journal is their favorite way of keeping track of their bounties of blessings regularly.

3 –  TAKE YOUR LUNCH BREAKS (OUTSIDE WHEN WEATHER PERMITS)

So many of us eat lunch at our desks. We don’t even give nourishing our bodies the time it deserves. However, eating lunch is more than consuming a sandwich and an apple. It recharges your very soul and gives you the spark you need to power through the rest of your afternoon.
Take your lunch break. Away from your desk! As you eat your food, savor the flavor and texture. Clear your mind of thoughts about the workload that awaits you for that short lunch period.
And when the weather is beautiful, head outdoors for your break time. You’ll enjoy the kiss of sunshine on your face, the sweet chirps of birds, and the feel of a breeze caressing your skin. Be at one with nature as you enjoy your lunch hour.

4 – EXERCISE DURING THE DAY

Throughout your workday, take a few minutes to treat your body to the gift of motion. This practice is particularly imperative if you work at a desk-bound job.
Stretch your arms high above your head and inhale. Slowly lower your arms and exhale. Feel an awareness of the motions and also your breathing. Notice how they sync up as you repeat this.
Do gentle side lunges to stretch out your leg muscles. Hold each lunge in place for 20 seconds and focus on slow and gentle breathing patterns as you feel the stress of the workday leave your body.
These stretching and breathing sessions should last only 5 minutes or less. However, they will make an enormous difference in your mindset if you perform them twice daily (once in the morning and once during the mid-afternoon lull).

5 – EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY

Many of us have a smartphone or a fitness watch. And, many of those have apps that can help you become a more mindful employee. For example, the Fitbit lineup offers an app called “Relax.” This app guides you through a two-minute deep breathing session. It helps you to slow down, refocus, and take in the moment.
Think you’ll forget to do this exercise? Then use the alarm function on your watch or phone to remind you!

FINAL THOUGHTS ON PRACTICING MINDFULNESS AT WORK

Naturally, if you’re just now undertaking the practice of mindfulness, you may find that the mind is exceptionally hesitant to obey your commands. To “reign in” a wild mind is similar to taming a wild animal—a significant amount of effort required upfront, and some gentle guidance afterward.
No matter if your mind wanders off after a second, a minute, or an hour, whenever you notice your mind being undisciplined, gently bring it back to the task at hand. Initially, you may need to do “bring it back” many (many) times throughout the day. However, as you become familiarized with the concept of mindfulness, sustaining attention—no matter how difficult the task—will eventually become as natural as breathing.
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Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Love seeing more and more articles about kids yoga benefits!
"The next time your toddler has a major meltdown, try dropping into downward dog with them, or firing up a meditation app for a dose of positivity. You may be surprised at how quickly they wind down. An increasing amount of evidence highlights the benefits of yoga and meditation for toddlers, with studies showing that practicing both can lead to everything from reduced anxiety to better emotional regulation and increased attention spans for kids as young as 3. “Reports from parents, caretakers, and teachers suggest that children who learn yoga early on are physically healthier and mentally better adjusted,” preeminent yoga scholar Shirley Telles wrote in a 2012 article titled, “Effect of Yoga on Mental Health in Children.”

Everyone from entrepreneurs to educators have caught on, with kids’ yoga studios springing up nationwide and more preschools weaving yoga and meditation into the curriculum. App developers are jumping onboard, too, rolling out interactive meditation apps geared toward kids, such as Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame developed by Sesame Street. “Yoga gives young kids the tools to recognize an emotion as it’s rising,” says Jill Carey of Chicago’s Mission Propelle, which runs yoga programs in partnership with nearly 90 elementary schools across Illinois. “They can evaluate it, process it, and have a positive response to it.”
How exactly do yoga and meditation work to calm the brain? Studies have shown how doing certain poses or deep breathing can help to “downregulate” or slow our sympathetic nervous system, which triggers a fight-or-flight response to stressful stimuli. “A big part of yoga is helping kids articulate their emotions,” says Erin Bracco, co-founder of Buddha Belly Kids Yoga in Chicago, which holds classes for kids as young as 18 months. She uses games — like having children balance a Beanie Baby on their head or stomach—to help them zero in on exactly how individual body parts feel. “Kids will say things like, ‘I feel sad, and I feel it in my stomach.’”
Exercises don’t have to be tricky to be effective: Even basic moves like child’s pose can help keep children grounded. Likewise, simply instructing kids to take deep breaths when they’re riled up can have a calming effect. “Instead of expecting kids to sit down after recess, we would start with mindfulness and meditation,” recalls Bracco, a former special-education kindergarten teacher. “It really shifted the classroom culture.”
“With yoga, you don’t need a particular skill set or equipment, and you can engage in it anywhere at any time,” Carey adds. “That means anyone can reap the benefits.”

Special Practice

Studies show yoga is especially helpful for children with ADHD and autism
Research published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in 2012 found that elementary-aged kids with autism showed declines in noncompliant behavior after practicing yoga five days a week for 16 weeks.
Along with schools, hospitals are incorporating yoga into therapy for special needs patients. Children’s Hospital Colorado, for one, uses it with kids as young as 4.
Yoga may be especially effective for special-needs children because they tend to respond well to modeled behaviors. When an adult displays calmness—say, by taking deep breaths—children typically mirror those emotions. Erin Bracco, who works with special-needs kids at her Chicago-based studio Buddha Belly Kids, says, “The more grounded adults can be, the energy shifts that way.”

By Samantha Lande
Also follow www.soyoga.com.sg

Sunday, October 20, 2019

"Mommy & Me" NEW mat!



Launching today a new pair of MiniYOGI mats! Have a look at the « Mummy & Me » Breathe & Smile travel mats 💕
Mats are available as a pack of 2, or individually. « Breathe » mat is adult-sized (1.8m), « Smile » is kid-sized (1.5m).
Both mats are super soft and thin, washable, easy to transport to do yoga with the mini-you anywhere!
Order your mats now at www.miniyogi.com
Deliveries - Singapore only.

www.soyoga.com.sg

Monday, October 14, 2019

Why Bringing Kids Yoga To Schools Can Make a REAL Difference

It is undeniable that kids also experience stress, and one of the most stressful places they spend a lot of time in is school. The endlessly increasing spirit of competition and achievement, the social struggle, busy schedules and very stressed out role models (teachers and parents) make the children’s lives a constant struggle.
Schools are supposed to be an environment that supports the kids in their growth and study, but it is long proven that stress is a factor that inhibits this development.

What We Don't Learn in School

We learn many things in school, mainly so-called “facts”, but we don’t receive there many tools that will help us live a better life. Here are a few of the most important things that can support and enhance our lives but are absent of most schools curriculums:
  1. How to be happy.
  2. How to manage emotions.
  3. How to communicate in a positive way.
  4. How to keep our body healthy.
  5. How to feel connected to our selves and be respectful of our bodies.
  6. How to increase our self-esteem.
  7. How to develop self-control – rather than how to be controlled better by adults.
  8. How to concentrate.
  9. How to relax and find some peace of mind.
  10. How to be creative and how to think independently.
  11. In fact, we don’t even learn in school how to study.
Yoga offers tools to imbibe these skills that can create a healthier and well-adapted future generation.

Why Kids Get Stressed in School

The competitive and goal-oriented nature of most schools creates social phobias, exam anxiety, and even insomnia. The non-competitive spirit of yoga and the focus on the well being of your self and your environment can help cure some of those negative effects.
Kids suffer in schools not just from mental stress but also from physical tension. Sitting still for long hours in awkward poses and carrying heavy bags creates a lot of employment for pediatricians and orthopedists. When kids are bent over their desks, they find it hard to concentrate, breathe properly, and even stay awake. 
Small changes in the way kids sit and breathe can make a big difference in their ability to stay focused and to learn.
School curriculums were created by people who have maybe forgotten how it was to be kids, and include expectations that cannot be fulfilled even by most adults – can you sit for 5 or more hours a day and listen to a lecture without moving and fidgeting?
A couple of stretches and a few deep breaths with kids yoga every few minutes can help greatly in keeping the kids' attention throughout a class.

How Yoga Can Help Both Teachers And Kids

It's important to remember that kids learn through example and that having stressed out teachers can also create stressed children. 
Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach…so maybe if we could give school teachers some yoga tools to incorporate in their classroom teaching throughout the day, we will also have better role models for the kids to look up to and imitate. And of course, you can also offer weekly adult yoga classes for the schoolteachers.
Yoga also provides a way to learn through movement and breathing and imagination. Kids are not all the same, and although many of them are auditorial learners and do well at school, many of them learn better through moving creating and visualizing.
A lot of the tools we learn in yoga can be adapted and applied to fit classroom settings where we cannot move the tables and chairs and put down our yoga mats on the floor. Even while sitting on a chair, we can still:
  1. Stretch and do yoga poses
  2. Breathe
  3. Use guided imagery and relax
  4. Meditate
  5. Positively interact with our neighbors
Some schools do not have the space or the budget to have weekly yoga classes, and even in places that do have regular yoga sessions, the benefits of yoga can penetrate much more deeply and be greatly enhanced if they become a part of the students’ daily routine in the classroom.
There are not many spaces in life now, where kids get a chance to relax, to look inward, and explore what they're feeling and who they really are. 
Yoga can give us tools to be better prepared for studying, for an exam, and even for life.


Monday, October 7, 2019

The Gifting Edition 2019 with MiniYOGI

Motivated by her mission to bring fun, happiness, peace, and relaxation to more people — especially kids — Sophie Spoor launched MiniYOGI, a unique yoga universe for children that endeavours to help them feel healthy and happy. 

Yoga for children, you might be thinking? Sophie has that anticipated too. 
“We live in a hurry-up world. As a result, children feel anxious and stressed. They need to slow down. Very often, they even need more joy in their life. It is proven that yoga can really make an impact not only on children’s strength, balance and flexibility, but also on their well-being and happiness. Yoga gives kids a [framework] to express and release stress. It’s a tool for them to feel better and happier. As children learn to relax, concentrate, and be gentle in a fun, creative, and non-competitive environment, they are also introduced to a healthier lifestyle. 
“Most kids like yoga. They love the freedom of exploring moves and stretches on their mat – with no competition. Where else can they breathe like rabbits, behave like dogs, cats, or fly like an eagle? I’m happy trying to plant seeds for kids to grow healthy habits and learn how to take care of themselves physically and emotionally.”
We headed outdoors to East Coast Park with Sophie to find out more about MiniYOGI.

Sophie, what’s it like teaching yoga to kids?
All kids and adult classes include breathing, stretches, yoga poses and relaxation moments, but the style and sound level [of the two] differ a lot. More so than with adults, a yoga class with children is always unique – it all depends on the students’ creativity, mood, and energy. My kids’ classes are energetic, vibrant, and cooperative. I present the asanas, or yoga poses, through stories, themes, animals, games, or other fun interpretations. We do lots of partner and group poses. Eventually, relaxation can take different [forms] like colouring mandalas, massaging, a real savasana, or some visualisation. Although it can be tricky to have some kids sit or lie down quietly, it’s surprising how intense their relaxation can be. They’re super quick learners. Like with adults, the resting time is usually their favourite part of the class.
Overall, children have a huge advantage over adults [because] they usually have an amazing, natural flexibility. Also, they’re often very, very receptive.
But whether students are children or grown-ups, yoga is an experience and a journey for all ages. As students grow, yoga provides different [learning] opportunities for them to improve balance, focus, flexibility, strength, self-esteem, and confidence.
You currently work with the Ministry of Education to implement yoga programmes at international schools. 
Yes, through my So Yoga Kids Programme, hundreds of children are being taught yoga at school every week in Singapore. I have an amazing team of passionate teachers supporting me in this work. The programme is implemented for kindergarten, primary, and secondary school students mostly in international schools. 
I only received the Ministry of Education certification recently, so I [hope to be able to] integrate yoga in more local schools because all children need the gift of yoga.
My goal is to integrate yoga within the main curriculum. What would you think if your children could have five minutes of breathing and stretching sessions to start the day at school or in between classes? How do you think their well-being, vitality, and focus would be impacted? The benefits our kids experience are scientifically proven from physical, emotional, and intellectual points of view.
On top of conducting classes, you also have a series of MiniYOGI activity books. What inspired you to write them?
I wanted to make yoga accessible to more children. There are kids who sometimes cannot commute and attend yoga classes. There are also people who want to practice yoga at home — after all, family yoga is an amazing bonding experience — but don’t know what to do. 
As I love books, children, and yoga, I came up with the idea of putting my three interests together, so I created MiniYOGI, a beautiful and colourful universe for kids to practise yoga at home. 
The content is accessible, fun, and easy to follow. Through the series of activity books, kids follow two characters and meet animals to learn about yoga. In The Elephant of Wisdom, The Flamingo of Balance, and The Lion of Strength, young readers and their parents can explore breathing techniques, yoga poses, stories, games, and relaxing moments.

You’re also a mum of three kids. Did your children help you with the books?
The concept had been in my head for ages but I only took the time to complete the writing when I became pregnant with my third child. So I thank my baby Charlotte for giving me the opportunity to slow down and kick off the process!
I wrote the books as if I was telling a story to my children. I read every single line to my girls — they helped me make the text clearer and shorter. My eldest even helped me make the English version read better at times!
Also, because I work with an illustrator based in France, my daughters held all the poses so I that could take pictures or videos to write a detailed creative brief.
Any tips on how parents can teach their children to be more mindful?
Like in other areas, parents are role models to their children when it comes to teaching them mindfulness. 

[Developing] mindful routines can help: morning breathing, gratitude exercises, and of course, practising yoga together! Yoga is not about perfection or perfecting a pose. It’s about being in the moment. It’s about breathing with attention. It’s about doing movements mindfully. During or after the practice, parents can help by asking some questions like “How does that make you feel like?” 
To [bring up] mindful, happy kids, parents need to recognize the need to reconnect as a family. Our children need to be listened to without fear of judgement.



Source: https://www.boutiquefairs.com.sg/meet-the-community/sophie-spoor-miniyogi

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019