As an Easter gift my daughter received a set of really cool window markers and today we decided to create a GRATITUDE WINDOW.
Gratitude is a powerful practice. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle says that gratitude is the foundation of all abundance. Whatever it is we are hoping to attract an abundance of into our lives, whether it be wealth, love, health or anything else, will always have to begin with gratitude for what you have. I LOVE the positive impact my gratitude practice has had on my life and because of that I'm always trying to come up with new ways to practice gratitude with my family at home.
As an Easter gift my daughter received a set of really cool window markers and today we decided to create a GRATITUDE WINDOW.
We used each box on our large living room window to draw a picture of something we are grateful for. Our pictures included flowers, rain, the sun, family and our home.
Not only was it a fun activity, but until we decide to clean the windows we get a constant reminder of the blessings in our life, displayed across the window in the main room of our home. Give it a try at your home! If you don't have window markers, dry erase markers will work on your windows, too. (Test a small spot first!!) You can do this on windows, mirrors or any other glass surface. Do it in a place where you will see it each day and be reminded of the wonderful blessings you have in your life. Happy Gratitude praciticing!
Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana II as it is known in Sanskrit, is a power pose for children. Hang out here for a moment or two yourself and notice how strong and powerful you feel. You don't have to be in this posture long to feel how it helps to strengthens your legs, core, shoulders and arms, as well as helps to open the hips. If you want to help your kids feel strong, increase confidence and improve focus, introduce Warrior II into your day. You can start by having them come into the pose for a bit and gaze out over their hand … then focus on one finger … then one finger nail .. and finally just the very tip of that finger. This pose is a workout for the body AND the mind.
While it IS a physically powerful pose, that's not the only thing to focus on here with kids. This pose offers a great opportunity for kids to look inward, and discover what makes them a powerful person on the inside. Ask them, what makes you a powerful person? What type of special power do you have? If they need a little help figuring this one out, you could suggest, is it your courage? your kindness? your determination?
Svādhyāya is a sanskrit word that means self study. With poses like Warrior II we give our kids the opportunity to learn and discover more about themselves, their inner being and their strengths. Give this one a try at home with your kids any time they need a movement break or some increased focus.
Here are some tips for making Warrior II fun for your little yogis:
1) Place bean bags or small, light stuffed animals on their hands and head and ask them to balance them while in this pose.
2) Challenge them to a Warrior II stand off! See who can stay in this pose the longest.
3) Turn it into a dance party! How many dance moves can you do in your warrior pose?
4) JUMP SWITCH! Can you jump from warrior II on the right side to warrior II on the left side?
5) Pretend your yoga mat is a surf board and your out in the middle of the ocean. Do a little warrior surfing, and don't forget to jump over any sharks you see coming your way!
Have your children join me for my new online yoga series where we will practice poses, breathwork, meditation and so much more! First class begins Monday May 25th. I'll entertain your kids for a while, you just relax 😊
As the days in quarantine drag on, it can be easy to lose motivation to do...well just about anything. You can start to feel like everything is the same, day in and day out, like we have lost control, lost direction, lost purpose. Anyone else?
There is a way to take back that direction and purpose. That way is intention setting.
An intention is a word or a statement that describes how you want to show up in the world and what you would like to attract into your experience. It is a purpose. Setting your intention is the first step towards embodying how you want to feel.
If you wake up in the morning and think to yourself, today I will be full of patience, or this morning I'm going to find more peace with my kids, then you are setting an intention. The difference between an intention and a goal is that a goal is future oriented and focused on an outcome and an intention is all about the present moment and focused on a feeling, a state of being.
Intentions can be as simple as 1-2-3.
1) Set your intention upon waking up
2) Complete this sentence: Today I intend to ___________ (see the good in everyone, focus on the positive, take care of myself, etc.)
3) Remind yourself of your intention throughout the day
Your kids are definitely not too young to start beginning this beautiful practice, especially if you teach it in a fun and playful way. Here's how you can combine the power of the breath with the power of intention setting for children (and for You ,too!)
This is best done as a morning activity, but don't sweat it if you forget! Do it whenever you can remember it. Give your kids a sheet of paper and some crayons and have them trace their hands in super slow motion, taking a deep breath in when they trace up, and a deep breath out when they trace down. So every trace of a finger completes a full inhale and a full exhale. By doing simple, yet effective breathwork before the intention setting, we are giving them a chance to slow the breath and the heart rate, to calm the nervous system and to get clear and focused. After they finish tracing their hand, ask them to think of 5 things they would like to experience today, and each thing gets written on a finger. Allow them the freedom to choose and try not to discourage their answers, no matter how different they are from your expectations! (your kid might very well say they want to experience more tv or ice cream for breakfast) The key here is that we are introducing a powerful practice in a simple and non-forceful way, so don't worry if their intention isn't quite in line with what you are thinking. If your kids prefer to chose just one intention for the day, they can write it right in the center of the palm instead of on each finger.
After they fill out what they would like to experience, they can decorate their hand any way they wish, and then hang it somewhere they will see it throughout the day as a reminder of what they are attracting. You can have them do this daily or weekly, and to be a little more eco friendly, you could use a chalk board or wipe off board so it can be cleaned off and reused each day.
Take power of your days. Teach your children that they have the ability to do the same.
Enjoy and have fun! 😉
Kids love coloring! Check out my coloring affirmations activity here!
This is the newest activity in our home, and it has been a huge success in so many ways.
Affirmations are short, positive statements that describe a goal in its completed state. So for example, if you are experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety and you would like to use an affirmation to help feel more at peace, your affirmation could be I FEEL AT PEACE. By wording your affirmation in a way that describes your goal as already being completed (saying I FEEL at peace instead of I wish I were at peace) you are working on reframing your beliefs (the belief that you are not at peace already) as well as putting out the energy that will attract more peace to you. Affirmations can be used to help create the reality that you want. Have you ever heard the quote, where your thoughts go, energy flows? By creating and repeating affirmations, you are giving energy to positive thoughts so they grow into your beliefs, your words, your actions and your reality.
Affirmations aren't just for us adults. Kids can use affirmations, too. And why not introduce them to affirmations while they are young so that they can learn the power of positive thinking and positive energy early?
Years ago I was introduced to a book called Praying In Color, an alternative to traditional prayer. It involves expressing your prayer through coloring. I recently began doing this with my affirmations as a way to deepen my experience and feel more connected to the affirmation. When my 5-year old daughter noticed that some pages in my journal were written on and some were colored, she and about it and that's how I began teaching her about coloring affirmations.
Coloring affirmations is a fun activity for both kids and adults. You write your affirmations in the center, and use crayons, markers or colored pencils to decorate all around them. There is no right or wrong way to do this, just let your creativity flow! I usually write my affirmation inside of a circle and then draw and color designs around it, almost like a mandala. You can also write out several affirmations and connect them with your drawings. Writing out the affirmation and coloring around it allows us to stay focused on the affirmation for a longer period of time because we are actively engaged in creating and decorating it. For kids who aren't writing yet, you can write an affirmation for them or they can draw pictures of their affirmations. When I taught my daughter how to do this, she began creating her own affirmations and asking me to write them for her. She has come up with some beautiful ones: You get what you believe in, stay yourself, be happy, be healthy. While I like to say my affirmation silently to myself several times while I am coloring around it, I don't give her any other instruction about what to do, I enjoy seeing how she makes this her own project and does it in her own way. I gave her her own affirmation notebook which makes it even more special for her.
So, why should kids color affirmations instead of just saying them?
1. Sometimes sitting still or quietly focusing on an affirmation is a challenge for kids
2. This is a visual, concrete way for them to create affirmations
3. They can express their affirmation with creativity
4. Coloring is a fun, relaxing & meditative experience
5. The physical action allows them to stay focused on the affirmation longer
Here are some examples of affirmations you can teach to your kids to get started.
* I am happy to be ME
* I am an amazing person
* I choose happiness
* Today is going to be a great day
* I believe in my goals and my dreams
When you first begin using affirmations, it might be hard to remember them or make them a regular part of our day. That's one of the reasons I am loving coloring affirmations with my daughter - we recently began making coloring a regular part of our day so remembering our affirmations has become a lot easier. Give this a try at home with your kids! Start creating and sharing positive affirmations together. Happy coloring :)
Stuck at home with nowhere to go. No outings, no playdates. Add to that parents who are suddenly thrust into the role of school teacher while trying to figure out how to work from home. Our current situation is one that can easily lead to rambunctious, wild children with lots of pent up energy and a bad case of cabin fever that leave parents looking for ways to help calm those kiddos down! Here are my 3 tips for calming your child when they are bouncing off the walls!
1. Calm yourself down first. You may not like me for this one because if you’re looking for a quick fix then you will probably find this an annoying suggestion, but it’s such an important one. Our kids pick up on our vibes and often mimic them as well. Have you ever noticed that if you’re having a really rough day where you’re mad and cranky, your child tends to display the same behavior? If we want to SEE calm we need to BE calm. So check your own energy first before trying to calm down a rowdy child. If you’re getting all worked up because they are, then your feeding the cycle. Remove yourself, have a sip of your water or coffee, take a few deep breaths, remember that they need you to be calm for them, and then step back in. Check out this awesome book, Breathe Mama Breathe by Shonda Morali. It's one of my faves because of the way the author introduces simple, easy mindfulness and meditation practices even the busiest mom can do.
2. Let them move. Movement needs to come before any attempt to calm a wild child. If your child is like a bull in a china shop, you can try out all the calming activities in the world, but until all that energy is out of their body it will be a losing battle. Get them up and moving, even if only for a few minutes, because getting out the energy is a key step in helping your child calm down. Play a few rounds of tag. Do some jumping jacks. Go for a walk. Jump on the bed! Find something to climb. Movement first, calming exercises next.
3. Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The opposite of our sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system is our rest and digest system. When we stimulate this system breathing slows down, our heart relaxes and beats slower and digestion begins. This is our state of calm and relaxation. So how do we switch off sympathetic and turn on parasympathetic in our child? Listen to a guided relaxation or meditation tracks (check out my free meditations here!). Do some deep breathing exercises together (check out my breathing breaks on the free resource page). Come into a physical posture such as legs up the wall or child’s pose to signal safety and tell the body it’s time to rest. Try out my all-time favorite meditation technique!
Check out my new online course for parents to learn more yoga activities you can teach your children at home to help bring a little more calm, peace & relaxation!
Yes, your child can meditate. No, they are not too young.
Alright! Glad we have got that settled!
How, you may wonder, can a young child meditate? Well, lets talk a little about what meditation actually is. Meditation is bringing all of your attention to WHAT you want, for the amount of TIME that you want. It is being in the present moment and focusing all of your attention on a subject of your choosing. It could be focusing on your breath. It could be repeating a mantra. Regardless of the subject, you are focusing on one thing, and redirecting your attention back to that thing when your mind wanders. You keep coming back to this moment.
Children are masters of being in the present moment. Watch your little youngsters at play when they are building with blocks, or creating with clay. They are so involved with their activity, the activity that they have chosen, that they don't even hear you calling their name. And yes, at times we may feel like they are ignoring us or not listening … but could it be they are involved instead in a meditative experience?
Children are great at meditating because it is so much a part of their nature to become fully absorbed in what they are doing. In time, as they grow older, our fast pace and busy lives teach them to do more and pay attention to more, and as a result they become more easily distracted and less in the present moment. THIS is why we practice meditation with children. Not because they need to learn it, but because we don't want them to lose it. We can foster that natural ability they have to stay present, to focus, to be 100% involved in the subject of their choosing.
So what is my favorite meditation activity for children?
Have you ever watched your child while they color? They get lost in it. The colors, the designs, the creation. Its a beautiful experience for them where they are pouring all of their attention into what they want, for the time that they want. Meditation. The experience is calming, relaxing and helps to increase focus and decrease stress.
At the end of my children's yoga classes we often color mandalas. I put on some relaxing, instrumental music and the kids color in peace. Mandalas are designs inside of a circle that are used to increase focus and aid in meditation. If you do a google search for kids mandalas, you will find an endless number of free downloads to print. Give it a try this weekend! Put on some chill music, diffuse some relaxing oils and have a coloring session with your kids. Watch them while they color, notice how involved they get in the process and how focused their little minds become. Its beautiful to watch these mini meditators in action.
To learn more meditations that you can teach and practice with your kids at home, check out my new online course for parents, Yoga Tools To Teach Your Children
Do you have kids who jump out of bed in the morning, wide eyed and full of energy, ready to begin a new day with pep in their step and a smile on their face? Or is your child a little more difficult to get out of bed in the morning, sometimes refusing to open their eyes? If your not a morning person, then perhaps a child who isn't eager to jumpstart a new day is working for you! But … what about when there is a schedule to keep, a routine to follow and homeschool/distance learning to be done? How do we rouse our sleeping beauties, give them the boost they need to get moving and the focus they need to start their schoolwork? Here are 3 fun and easy ways to help those sleepy heads wake up and get the day started on the right foot.
These three activities will help your kiddos wake up, energize and get focused for their school lessons. Enjoy, and have a great day!
To learn more yoga activities you can teach your children at home, check out my online course, Yoga Tools To Teach Your Children. *BONUS - For a limited time I’m offering access to my 4 class kids yoga series with purchase of this course.
For a while, staying home and hanging out with our immediate family only is our new norm. It isn't always easy, and we may have a lot to rearrange and figure out. Each day I am posting activities over on the Peace Play Facebook Page that you can do at home with your family to begin or continue your family yoga practice. Head on over and follow Peace Play so you can practice along with me! And don't worry if you miss a day or two, I will be listing them all out here in this post so you can catch up :)
Day 1 Insect Breathing Video (Video on Free resources page)
Day 2 How to make a relaxation jar at home (Video on Free resources page)
Day 3 Grounding rock activity
Day 4 Nursery rhyme & yoga video (Video on Free resources page)
Day 5 Guided family meditation (Audio on Family Meditation page)
Day 6 Create new growth
Day 7 Using Affirmations at Home
Day 8 Start a gratitude practice with your family
Day 9 Dance for the sun with this child friendly sun salutation
Day 10 Make a breathing basket at home (Video on Free resources page)
Day 11 Dance Party!
Day 12 Spread love with chalk messages
Day 13 Go on a family heart hunt
Day 14 Yoga poses for Spring from Kids Yoga Stories
Day 15 Learn about bees!
Day 16 Observe wild animals at Explore.org
Day 17 Guided meditation for preteens & teenagers (Audio on Family Meditation page)
Day 18 Family breathing break
Day 19 Celebrate Spring with my calendar from April 2019
Day 20 Family yoga time with Karma Kids!
Day 21 Release Control
Day 22 Have a laugh!
Day 23 Spend time with trees today
Day 24 Make a nature mobile
Today is a perfect day to begin a 🙏 gratitude practice 🙏 with your children. I'm sure we could all create a mile long list with all the things that are lost and we are missing right now ... but what about all the things that we have?
An attitude of gratitude is what helps attract more into our lives that we can be grateful for. Here are a few suggestions on how to begin a gratitude practice at home TODAY
❤️ Light a gratitude candle 🕯 each morning at breakfast, during dinner or as part of the bedtime routine and have every family member say something (or a few things!) they are grateful for.
🧡 Have everyone in the family write (or draw, for the little ones!) something they are grateful for on a slip of paper 📝 and place it in a jar. Do this every day and at the end of the week sit as a family and read through them all together.
💚 Pick a wall in the house 🏠 to create a gratitude tree. 🌳 Cut the trunk and branches out of brown construction paper and tape to the wall. Every day each family member draws or writes what they are grateful for that day on a cut out leaf 🍃 or flower 🌸 that you tape to the branches.
Yes, there is a lot of confusion, sadness, fear, and loss right now. But there is also a lot to be grateful for. Here are the things I am grateful for in this moment:
🔅Extra time spent with my family in nature
🔅A more relaxed morning instead of a rushed routine
🔅More freedom during the day to do what we want
🔅Lots of time for baking! 🍰 🧁 🍪 🧑🍳
🔅Good books 📚 📖 🤓
“I turn every experience into an opportunity.”
Today, practice using affirmations for the whole family. If you have an affirmation deck at home, let the kids choose one to put on display. If not, write some affirmations on index cards or slips of paper for the kids to pick from. Put them on display, repeat them often, talk about how positive words can create positive feelings and positive feelings can create positive experiences!
Some affirmations to choose from:
🌟 I am 💪 strong, I am healthy, I am safe
🌟 There is ✌🏻 peace,happiness 😊 and love ❤️ all around me
🌟 Today I choose happiness 😀
🌟 The world 🌍 is a beautiful, miraculous place
🌟 I can make a difference in the 🌍 world
🌟 There is abundance all around me
🌟 Today is an awesome day 😎
Mother, Yoga teacher, creator of Peace Play.