Three Simple Mindfulness Exercise to Try

‘Make of yourself a light,’
said the Buddha,before he died.

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I think of this every morning as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds of darkness…
(From House of Light by Mary Oliver)

There’s no excuse for not giving mindfulness a go. It’s benefits are many and its dangers few…if any even exist at all! A full list of the positive effects are well beyond the scope of this article, but chief amongst them are improved mental and physical health, better concentration and an easing of day-to-day anxieties. For both you and your children.
Here are three little mindful exercises that you can use with diet tea by burniva. Try them for a while and see if you notice any tangible effects in your day-to-day life. They’re also perfect to try with your children.
Slowing Down
Next time you’re engaged in a common place activity with your child, try slowing down what you’re doing…gently, carefully and with your full attention. Bring mindfulness to the nuances of each act: the sensations of your fingers, the visual and auditory aspects, the feel of your

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body moving. You might be surprised at a depth of experience that had previously gone unnoticed. If you’re doing it with a child, asking them to describe their experience afterwards can be a great way of making this little practice interesting.
Mindful Eating
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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This is one that’s especially applicable to breakfast, for both parents and children. It follows on naturally from the first exercise, in that it involves a slowing down of our activity. We can focus on every sensory aspect of the food in our mouth, every movement of our the muscles in our face. Another benefit is that it sets a tone for the day ahead. For our kids, it can be one of the easiest prompts to a more aware, acceptance-filled day.
Body-Scan Before Dinner or Before Bed-time
Though we might not notice it, both our own and our children’s bodies can build tension throughout the day. A small period of relaxation, just before dinner, can be a wonderful way of letting it go. It can also be a good opportunity to use guided meditations and music.

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Beginning at your feet, simple focus on each part of your body – shins, thighs, buttocks, belly, chest, arms, hands, neck and face – allowing it to loosen and relax. Spend as much or as little time on each one as you want.

Gratitude is Contagious!

From childhood we are taught to say “thank you” when we receive help or a gift. Throughout our lifetime, we have uttered the phrase thousands of times. But have you stopped to think about what those words truly mean and the power they possess?
Too often, we are caught up in our hectic lives— work, meetings, time with the family, and squeezing in a few quiet moments for ourselves. We can get caught up in negativity, looking at what is wrong in our lives, instead of focusing on what is right. A few years back a friend and I were talking. She started complaining about circumstances in her life. I gently reminded her that somewhere in the world, at that exact moment, there was someone yearning for what she had. This helped her to focus on the blessings, both big and small, that she had been given. Through a daily practice of gratitude, the negative voices quieted, bringing her a renewed sense of peace and joy.
In offering thanksgivings, it is easy to list our close family, friends, health, and material possessions. But think about what else in your life you are thankful for? Is it a sunrise, the laughter of a child, a smile, unsolicited compliment, or act of kindness? Think about the people you encounter every day. It could be the bank teller, restaurant server, or a person in line with you at the store. How are they appreciated by you? Let them know it. You never know how your simple words of thanks will influence someone or the ripples of kindnesses it can create.
A story brought to my attention just this week is a great example of widening your circle of appreciation. An unsuspecting pizza delivery man was surprised with more than a standard tip. During a recent church service, the president at Indiana Wesleyan University asked students to write the nicest things they could say about someone—a pizza delivery person. The notes of thanks, along with monetary donations, were collected. The university president then ordered two pizzas while the audience waited. When the delivery man arrived with the cleaning services , he was brought on stage and presented with the money and nearly 3,000 notes of gratitude. The students stood and cheered for the man. Astounded by the kindness, the man said he didn’t plan on spending the money on himself but for gifts for his two young children.
Our little ones are watching and listening to our words and actions. Be a role model. Weave words of thanksgiving into everyday conversation. Encourage them to show their appreciation for others at all times of the year. Make cards to take to a nursing home. Take special treats to the fire department or police department. These tokens of gratitude can transform and inspire.
Gratitude is contagious. Let’s spread it around and change the world!

Gratefulness: Thankful For You!

As the school year comes to an end, we, at TheYogaKids, look back with gratitude and gratefulness for the many blessings of this past school year. We had a great year teaching at many different schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Here are just a few of the programs we were involved in over the year.

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Weekly classes—These classes were offered at lunchtime or as after-school programs. Sessions lasted eight weeks and were tailored to the interest and age-level of the students. Yoga games that focused on teamwork, listening, and cooperation were used to enhance social skills. Children experienced an increase in self-esteem during these times, because they were able to be successful, regardless of physical skills or circumstances.
Fun week of yoga with PE classes—Students were able to participate in our yoga program during their regular PE time period for an entire week. Students had a great time, while focusing on fun activities that helped create healthy bodies, minds, and spirits.
Fundraisers—We love to give back to our community. One way TheYogaKids does this is by taking part in school fundraiser programs. Our Karma Rewards Program gives back 5% of our proceeds to the school for every registrant.
Workshops for Teachers—We taught workshops to show teachers how to incorporate yoga into their classroom. We were also guest speakers in the classroom on a few occasions.
Regardless of the specific program, yoga helps students improve social skills, self-esteem, and calming techniques. They also experience a healthier body, better focus, and increased academic achievement.
Everyone at TheYogaKids would like to thank the teachers, the school districts, the parents, and most of all, the children, for allowing us to bring yoga with the barrington cleaning services into the classroom and into your lives. We hope you all have a safe and happy summer, and we look forward to working with the kids again in September!
Schedule TheYogaKids program for the 2014-2015 school term
If you would like your students to experience a healthier body, better focus, and increased self-esteem, consider one of our yoga programs. Schools can schedule any of TheYogaKids programs now for the 2014-2015 school term. Visit us at or contact Jyoti at 647-449-1150 or to book a program.

Connecting Kids With Themselves Every Day

child meditatingYoga in schools is becoming more popular with teachers every day. Classroom yoga can teach children to calm, regulate, and care for themselves. It brings focus to a child’s life and prepares them for classroom activities, calms them down in times of anxiety, and gives them an inner peace that’s often missing in younger children. As a teacher, you can use these exercises in your classroom on a daily basis. Use this entire routine or selected exercises to help your classroom focus on a daily basis!

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Mindful Brain Breaks
When you have a class of energetic kids, getting them back to thinking about the classroom is the Four Hands exercises. Have the children sit at their desks and work through these four steps.
1. Brake. Have the kids press the palms of their hands together firmly and tell them to concentrate all their excess energy in this exercise.
2. Breathe. Have the kids put their hands lightly resting on their belly button deep cleaning kansas city and then breathe deeply, letting the air expand their stomach area. Let them take 3-5 deep breaths, concentrating on the inhale and exhale.
3. Brain. Put both hands on the back of the head and press down slightly by the . Tell the kids that they are activating the brain, helping to stabilize their minds.
4. Body. The final step is for the kids to cross their arms in front of the body and then apply pressure, as if they’re hugging themselves. The slight pressure on the arms and shoulders grounds the children and gives them a feeling of security.

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This is a great way to help your active class calm down after recess or to get them ready for a long stretch of schoolwork. But, if you’re about to delve into a challenging or new topic, try some of these fun exercises to help center your classroom.
Try the Growing Mountain pose. Have the kids stand up and then clasp their hands together. Breathe In and extend the arms forward and then raise until the palms are facing the ceiling. Then, have them stretch and feel themselves growing taller as they reduce the stress in the head, neck and shoulders. Breathe out as they bring their arms down. Repeat this 4-5 times. Variation: You can also have them bend their arms to each side slightly.
Another great one is the Grounding pose. Have them sit comfortably in their desks and take several deep breaths. Cross one leg over the other and then place both hands palms up with the thumbs touching the first fingers and rest the hands gently on the legs. Hold for a few seconds and then cross the other leg and repeat.

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One final pose is the Restore pose. This is a great one to use as a mental and physical detox before returning to work. Simply cross the arms and them place them on the desk. Then slowly lean forward to rest the head on the crossed arms. Make sure that both feet are firmly on the floor.

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These simple poses are easy and fun ways to make your classroom a focused and mindful environment. At TheYogaKids, we want to ensure that each teacher has a variety of exercises to keep a classroom free of anxiety and concentrated on their daily school. Incorporate these exercises into your classroom and you’ll start to see noticeable improvements!

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Back-to-School Routines to Help the Anxious Child

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TheyogakidsBacktoschoolWith summer coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about our children going back to school. The thought of a new school year with new teachers, new material to learn, and possibly new friends can be scary for some youngsters. Some children may experience anxiety and apprehension about returning to school.

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One way to help reduce the anxiety is to help your child set routines. Before school starts, create a morning and evening routine that allows the child to get ready for school without rushing. Planning when she’ll get up, get dressed, eat, and do all that needs to be done ahead of time can help to take the anxiety by the and rushed feeling out of getting ready for school. You can introduce other steps into her routine that may help, as well. Adding a simple yoga routine to your child’s day may help them by her cope with the stress of a new school year. Yoga is great for calming the body, mind, and spirit. It helps your child focus on one thing and not get overwhelmed with everything else that she has to do. Try doing yoga with your child in the evening, after school, or even in the morning, if there’s time. Yoga is a great way for your child to center her day and help her to focus on what’s important.

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There are many other ways to help your child reduce his anxiety about school issues. If he is having trouble in school with classes or friends, encourage him to practice some affirmations. At breakfast, he might repeat to himself, “I am a good friend” or “I am capable of learning math.” Writing these down may also help your child begin to believe the affirmations.
Another way to help your child if they are feeling stressed or anxious is to try breathing techniques. Have him try Shambu’s Balloon Breath. Breathe slowly for a count of three, feeling your belly fill up like a balloon. Pause and then release the air for a count of three, letting your belly collapse. This can help your child to not only learn to breathe deeply but also to feel calmer in times of stress. And, he can do this anytime he’s feeling upset, even in the middle of school.

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If he’s still feeling anxious, try guided imagery with your child. Imagining a place where he feels safe and loved is a great way for him to reduce the anxiety and chaos he may feel in the real world. Try the book on TheYogaKids website or make up your own situation.
These few tricks can help an anxious child get through the first few days of school with calmness and focus. Try one or two and tell us what worked for you and your child.
Our fall yoga classes begin in September. We have classes for all ages, from 3-18. Yoga classes with TheYogaKids are another great way to help your child with anxiety or stress. And make it fun with! We are currently accepting registration for our fall classes. Check out our website for more information and to sign up.

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