So glad to be mentioned in one of the 10best places for Kids Yoga in Singapore! So-Yoga Sophie over at So-Yoga is passionate about bringing yoga to everyone, no matter what age! She is a certified kids’ yoga instructor and little ones from age six and up can expect a fun, non-competitive class which will leave them feeling focused and calm (yay!), and enlightened too. Sophie is also a pre- and post-natal Yoga Alliance teacher, so if you’re needing some calm, before or after the arrival of a new bubba, then this one is for you too!So-Yoga, various locations (mostly around East Coast), p. 9632 4032, e. firstname.lastname@example.org
In Chapter Three of the Yoga Sutras, “Vibhuti Padah,” Patanjali defines meditation as sustained concentration. Meditation is both a process and a state of being. Simply put, it is moving from distraction to attention, to sustained attention or concentration.
As children learn about their bodies through yoga postures, they learn about their minds through meditation. They learn that they can control their thought patterns, their emotions and their well-being.
Here are some fantastic ways to introduce your child to meditation, with the following projects:
Meditation begins with breath awareness. Sit in front of your child. Close your eyes and open your ears. Gently massage and squeeze your ears and ear lobes. Ask your child to listen to the sound of her breath. Ask her to describe her breath: Is it long or short? Deep or shallow? Soft or loud?
Sit quietly and count to ten aloud; then count to ten silently. Or, count ten cycles of breath. Experiment: count your exhales aloud, or count silently to yourself.
Sound is natural extension of the breath. Children love sound and song. A Mantra is a sacred word or sound used as an object of meditation. Mantras are believed to have healing and transformative powers. Chanting a mantra is a means to develop breath awareness. The use of sound regulates the breath, deepens exhalation and focuses attention.
“Om shanti” or “Om peace” is a simple mantra that children can easily identify with. Begin in a comfortable seated position, and ask your child what peace means to her.
Begin chanting, and ask your child to repeat after you. Make up your own variation of this mantra, interchanging the words or quickening the pace to improve your child’s focus, concentration and memory. Clapping and tapping (if your child is under eight) develops coordination between breath and movement – another step towards concentration.
Vary the rate and speed of your clapping as well as the pitch and volume of your voice for different effects. Having your child chant softly or silently will draw your child’s attention inward.
An affirmation, such as “I am peaceful,” “I am quiet,” or “I am calm,” may be used instead of a mantra.
Yantras are ancient geometrical designs. Yantras may be simple in design, or a complex combination of dots, triangles and hexagrams arranged to promote such things as health, prosperity and protection.
With construction paper and imagination, create a yantra with your child. Draw a large dot in the center of a large piece of paper. Arrange various colored shapes (red, orange and yellow are common yantra colors) around the center dot. What will this yantra be used for? Courage? Stillness? Love?
Sit with your child in front of your yantra. Focus on the center of the image. As your mind quiets, extend your focus and awareness out towards the edges of the yantra. Focus on the entire pattern. Close your eyes and visualize your yantra in your mind’s eye.
A Mandala is also a diagram used as an object of meditation. It may be brightly colored; it has a center, cardinal points contained within a circle and some form of symmetry and design.
Ask your child to look for mandalas in nature, starting with the very large Mother Earth and ending with the very small iris of her eye, naming all the circles in between: the sun, a bicycle wheel, or a blueberry pie to name a few. Have your child make her own Mandala with crayons, markers, colored chalk or colored sand. Encourage her to look at it when she is feeling anxious or needs time to herself.
Or, read a book with your child. Having your child listen to a story is the beginning of meditation: it is sitting still, listening, paying attention and concentrating."
I was the middle child of seven—four boys and three girls.
My neighbor recently wrote to me on Facebook to say that “Even though there were so many kids at my house it always felt peaceful.”
All the kids on the street wanted to be at our house.
We did not have a lot of money, but our home was filled with a vibration of love. My mom used to sing happy songs and say things like “one day we will look back at this and laugh.” She was more than just positive. She was happy—all the time. She vibrated love and all the kids could feel it.
I am not saying everything was perfect, but I was raised in a home where I knew I was loved just the way I was.
As a young adult, I began meditating and doing yoga. I realized while raising my kids that the combination of what my mother taught me and some other tools I had found had a profound impact on my children.
So how can we bring mindfulness into our homes? How do we teach kids to express their feelings, listen to their hearts and be grateful?
Incorporating a few mindful activities every day, consistently, will go a long way to creating a peaceful home. Just like diet and exercise programs, extremes rarely work. These six simple steps give you some practical ways to start incorporating mindfulness into your daily home life.
Along the way some will stick and resonate with you more than others. I invite you to try them, reflect on what works for you and at the end decide what to incorporate in your home on a regular basis. Have fun!
Let’s get started:
Intention is everything.
It sets everything in motion. That is why it goes first.
Many of us never even think about an intention for our homes and yet it is the foundation. What is your intention? Your family’s mission and purpose? Have you thought about it at all?
Fill in the blank, in this home we are…compassionate to animals, grateful for nature, kind, positive, non-judgmental…whatever is important to you.
So think about your intention, then write it down, frame it and hang it where everyone can see it. Words are powerful. Having a home without an intention is like driving a car without a steering wheel. So before anything else, set intentions for your mindful household.
I put this second because, like intention, it also sets the day and household in motion.
If you wanted to lose weight you would have a plan, right? I am going to eat five small meals a day. I will avoid restaurants and I commit to half an hour of walking every day. Whatever the plan is you would have to have it or you would end up starving and eating some garbage snack because you didn’t plan the day or the week.
It’s the same thing with a mindful home. Think about the week ahead. What is its rhythm? Will you have tech-free time? Will you have nature time? If the week is intense for some reason, how will you create a balance with some peaceful time?
3 Positive Feelings.
Everything is energy—what we put out there comes back to us. While we shouldn’t deny the challenging, the sad and the uncomfortable parts of our lives, we have the power to view all things in a positive way.
What we focus on grows, so why not focus on the good in everybody in the home? Focus on the good in your spouse, your pet, your children and they will do the same for you. It’s a win-win situation. Make a play list of happy songs and play it every morning. How easy is this? And it fills the house with happy words and happy vibes!
A mindful home has a vibration of joy as its foundation and this is one of the easiest ways to do it.
Rituals are my favorite things and a great way to include mindfulness as a part of your home. I am all about the ritual.
When you build something into the routine of the day and do it consistently it becomes powerful. What are some of the rituals that you would like to incorporate in your day, every day? Write them down.
Write something positive; say something I am grateful for; meditate five minutes; take walks; write in a journal; spend half an hour in nature; take a deep breath; do five sun salutations. These are just some of mine from over the years.
Write them on the smaller pieces of paper and like a puzzle decide where they will go in your day. Morning, afternoon, night or only on weekends. Wherever you can fit them in on a regular basis is the best way to do it.
5. Feel your Feelings.
Negative feelings are just as powerful as positive ones. When they are bottled up inside or pushed down they become more powerful, to the point of being controlling.
We can all feel when we walk into a home and the vibration is anger. To put it mildly, it is yucky. You can feel it in the pit of your stomach.
It is important to be able to feel negative feelings and express them in order to move past them.
Picture a wave of the feelings coming over you. Let the wave go out to the ocean. It can feel like a tidal wave, but eventually, by feeling the feelings and letting them go, they do subside.
I saved the best for last.
I cannot, cannot, cannot emphasize this one enough! This is the string that ties everything in a neat little bow. This is the key to a joyful life.
And it is just a habit. Get up, brush your teeth and practice gratitude—every day. Just like playing happy music every day, an attitude of gratitude become the voice that plays inside your head.
Be grateful for your day, for your children, for your neighborhood, for the sun, for the stars, for your pet, spouse, friends, health, food and anything else you can think of. That good vibration will go out to the people and the places around you, they will feel it, and you will start to notice more things that you can be grateful for. Your children will model your gratitude and, little by little, the world will become a better place.
I hope these simple steps may be of benefit to you in creating a home that vibrates love.