Mindfulness based yoga is a practice within the spectrum of yoga that focuses on breathing. It helps you be more aware of your body, and it keeps your emotions in check.
Some of the ways this is implemented is by bringing attention to how you are breathing with the poses. For example, if you are doing the cat/cow pose, you would breathe in with a breath that lasts 2-3 seconds, while transitioning to the cat pose. Then, you would exhale for a breath that lasts 2-3 seconds, while transitioning to the cow pose. This added focus to breathing allows for your mind to direct away from any stress or anxiety.
Yoga itself has many researched benefits that are not only physical, but mental and emotional. From a physical standpoint, yoga increases core stability, increases flexibility, and lowers your resting heart rate.
From a mental and emotional standpoint, yoga will increase serotonin levels, which is proven to reduce the feelings of depression. It restores a system in your body called the autonomic reflex mechanism, which is associated with stress. Therefore, it is proven to decrease stress. Also, while watching and replicating poses, you can improve your overall reaction time.
Mindfulness has been shown to help reduce emotional overreactions, and it allows for self-reflection and contemplation.
Mindfulness is a process of bringing your thoughts to your own body, and non-judgmentally observing your feelings. For example, it can be as simple bringing attention to where you are feeling a stretch, and bringing focus to that area and your breathing.
This idea of mindfulness can also be brought to emotions, such as bringing attention to a feeling of anxiety, recognizing it, and then observing how it physically makes you feel. You can mitigate the anxiety by doing things such as relaxing in a clenched posture that you often assume when stressed.
Mindfulness has many proven benefits such as: improving mood and affect, increasing self-efficacy in academic situations, social and emotional domains, improving involuntary engagement, improving emotional arousal, and increasing sustained attention.
Overall, it is something that is worth trying with your kids!
I have attached a variety of yoga poses that address balance, flexibility, strengthening, visual processing, and relaxation.
There is also a link attached below that gives ideas for many other poses. With all of these active poses, don't forget to breathe!
The poses at the very end can be done when the yoga session is over, and by telling them when to breathe in, and when to breathe out. Or, you can have them place one hand on their chest and one on their belly, and then ask them to feel the rise and the fall of their breath.
Occasionally you can even end with a discussion about calmness and mindfulness. An example of this could be “Where is that place that makes you happy and calm?” “Do you ever think about that place or imagine yourself there if you are frustrated or stressed to help you calm down?” “If you are frustrated or stressed how are you able to calm yourself down?”
By making your children more aware of how they are feeling, they can learn how to cope during difficult situations.
Enjoy some yoga pose visuals below!
Beginner Flexibility Poses:
Beginner Strengthening Poses:
Crossing Midline Poses:
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