by Cheri Leetch
Back To School can be hard on you and your kiddos.
The running around. The homework. The "will my teacher be nice?" the "will they be proud?" and the "will I fit in?" can all add up to worry, anxiety and lack of focus. Luckily, yoga can help. Here are 3 grounding and confident-boosting activities for the whole family.
The Key Jar
This magical gem is brought to you by Glennon Doyle Melton from the parenting blog Momastery: "Love is the ongoing process of unlocking each other and keeping safe whatever we find. Thoughtful questions are the keys we use to do the unlocking and safekeeping."
The premise of the Key Jar is to write down questions that make us look within ourselves, towards our peers and to the larger world. Dedicating time (dinner, driving to or from the soccer game, before bed) each day to sit together and answer one of the questions in the jar creates space to explore who we really are what and who we believe in and our hopes and dreams for the world. This jar can be a part of the process of teaching curiosity, awareness and compassion and unlocking some of those sweet mysteries within your family. Have fun!
This classic mudra is familiar to lots of kids. Fold your pointer finger into your thumb leaving your other three fingers extended, making a kind of “OK sign.” This mudra does remind us that we are OK. The pointer finger represents you and the thumb represents the whole universe. This mudra reminds us that we are cared for by the whole universe, it is literally holding us like the thumb is holding the pointer finger. On the inhale fold your pointer finger into your thumb saying, "I am" on the exhale release your fingers wide open saying, "okay". Repeat as many times as desired. Feel free to play around with the affirmation replacing "I am, okay" with, "I am, so strong" or "I am, not alone"
Kids (and a lot of us adults) are asked to sit still in a desk for a large part of our days. When kids need to wake up and re-focus, have them practice locust pose. This back strengthening, heart-opening pose is performed on the belly. Ask kids to straighten out their arms and legs, and then lift their hearts and legs. Try lifting just the heart first, then just the legs, then both. To wake up both hemispheres of the brain, ask kids to lift opposite arm and leg at the same time. After a round of Locust variations have your children rest in Child's Pose for 3-5 breathes to counter-balance the heart opener.
The combination of energizing and releasing poses will help your kiddo come to a calm and focused state.
Cheri completed her formal teacher training & certification for Children’s Yoga through Little Flower Yoga and most recently added Baby & Toddler teacher training & certification through ChildLight Yoga to her bag of tricks. She is honored to be on this journey with Inner Bliss and is always looking for new ways to expand the reach of the kids yoga program.
She is keenly interested in creating space where children and youth can explore how to be in the world in a compassionate and embodied way and in providing experiences that help them learn how to make meaningful choices for themselves and their community. When Cheri is not on the mat you can find her sifting through the new realm of parenthood!