Ever have a moment where you need to take a breath? Clear your head? Find a pause in a busy day? What if I told you that the initiative to pause for just a moment is a learned skill? For so many of our children, we have immediate feedback with technology and so much overstimulation, that the ability to take a break doesn’t happen as often as it needs to.
Now think of the emotions you feel in a day. The moments of anxiety, stress, or any overwhelming sense that rushes over you. As an adult, we have the ability to (usually) recognize where those feelings may be coming from or why. We also have the ability to find coping strategies or ways to express these emotions. Imagine being a child who doesn’t understand why they are feeling the way they do. Take the anxiety you feel, and add not having a cause or method of coping. That sensation can be very overwhelming for any individual to take on.
For some, a physical method or moment of exercise is a way of coping. Another strategy is to focus on breathing or meditation. A wonderful method that combines both of these aspects is yoga. Some of you may use yoga for a physical workout. The ways yoga combines a rhythmic breath to a sequence of movements can assist in providing children with a focus to calm their overactive thoughts. A yogic and meditative practice can be something as simple as tapping your thumb to each finger. It can also be a fun family activity where you can try different poses together.
One method I often share with children or adults is to come up with a 4-word phrase. In my Kidding Around Yoga training, we began with “Peace Begins with Me.” When you say each word, tap your thumb to your pointer finger (peace), middle (begins), ring (with), and pinky (me). Then close your eyes and whisper it. Finally, it can become just a motion in your hands you can use anywhere like school, the doctor's office, or during any big event that may make one anxious. You and your children can come up with a phrase together! It can be something that may be special to you and your family. The possibilities are endless!
The most common yoga practice is what yogis call “Asana” or the physical practice. This practice is where you hear of poses like “tree” and “mountain”. Did you know there are roughly 2,100 different poses and variations? Don’t worry, you don’t have to master all of them to be completely at peace. The physical practice of yoga or trying these different poses takes the idea of breathing and finding comfort in an uncomfortable posture, or situation. It’s ok to start with one or two poses. It starts as a physical idea of being able to maintain a steady breath and allow your body to relax when it’s in this uncomfortable position. Then, learning to calm yourself in that 10-minute physical practice can truly transfer to bigger, uncomfortable life situations.
There are many other aspects to a yoga practice that can transfer to how we as individuals handle life and it’s stressful situations. In today’s world, we have a constant stream of input and overstimulation that the skill to calm our mind for just a moment is becoming more and more necessary. Hopefully, you take the time to try these ideas at home. Better yet! Join us for Peaceful Mind Yoga for Kids at Sing Explore Create, LLC in Rockland. The next 5-week session for 3rd-5th graders meets Fridays, 4:00 pm March 1-29. The course will be lead by a 250hr RYT, MT-BC (certified yoga instructor and board-certified music therapist!). Register today at www.singexplorecreate.com!
Cecelia Bartosiewicz, MT-BC is a board-certified music therapist and 200 Hr. Registered Yoga Teacher. She is a full-time music therapist at Sing Explore Create, LLC, a private music therapy and arts studio providing therapeutic and recreational arts services to the entire South Shore community. At Sing Explore Create, LLC, Miss Cecelia provides music therapy services and yoga classes to all ages and abilities, including (but not limited to) those with special needs. She also loves to perform at open mic nights, ride horses when she visits home, and explore the great outdoors!
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