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Yoga, connection, and the religious experience.

I have been practicing yoga pretty consistently now for 6 years. Funny thing about yoga is, the longer you do it, the more it becomes about all the other limbs of yoga outside of the poses. You start adding a workshop here to learn about meditation aspects. Add another one there to learn about the yamas and niyamas (self observances and how to conduct yourself in the world – think Ten Commandments). Before you know it, you find yourself laying in the final resting pose of the class or maybe during a session of yoga nidra pondering life’s great mysteries and what is it inside of you that is suddenly lacking.

Yoga – the yoking of mind and body.  Steps you move through from breathing, to poses, to removing distractions, to meditation, and finally connection.  And for me, settling the craziness, anxiousness, and the unease to connect with what?  Well, the universe was one.  Ok.  But then what?  Oh wait…

Do we have to go to church today?

Growing up I believed what my parents (and by this I really mean my mom) believed and I went along with them to worship and pray.  As I hit adolescence and the teenage years this was still the case, but maybe I grumbled a bit (or alot) about it but I still really didn’t have a choice.  Then, pretty much once I graduated high school, I took a step back from church and then I took a, “yeah, sure, uh-huh, I’ll get back to you in a little while, like when I am done washing my hair and walking the dog and going to this party…” step back from church.  Of course I went to church at Christmas and Easter (I was a Chr-easter I heard its called these days), but committed I was not, I didn’t really “feel” like I needed it, and I certainly didn’t have any kind of real connection to it.

Fast forward to married life and I go because my husband wants to go and we should go as a family, but I am hesitant because, well, its been a long time and some bad memories arise of a few self-proclaimed Christians who said things to you that left you really not wanting to walk back into a church if that’s how its going to be.  These thoughts and feelings are only compounded when you are sitting in church and the pastor says something really judgemental or just flat-out ignorant about certain people or another religion and now I REALLY don’t want to be here.

I began to affiliate the current state of religion with judging and blind ignorance.  And, well, it is not our place to judge.  And, if you are going to talk about something maybe you should take the time to learn about it.  As it turns out, I was making a few blanket statements and judgemental thoughts myself and we just hadn’t found the right place, but we aren’t to that part yet.

And then…

So there I am, laying on my yoga mat wondering what it is, what is it that I am missing, whats the “connection.”  I love God, sure, I would love to connect with Him and this universe he has created but, good grief, all I have known about Him is doom and gloom and guilt (I was raised Catholic, what can I say) and judging and ignorance.  And sure we say prayers every night with the kids but eh…

And then someone says, and MY GOSH I can’t remember whose class it was, “when we meditate, this is our time to listen to GOD, so just lay here and listen.”  That was it.  All this movement and reconnecting with the body was just about that, laying here in stillness and listening.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to hear anything – you just have to lay there and listen and see what happens – maybe something or someone or a voice pops in your head, maybe it doesn’t.

Yoga does not change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees. Quote by B.K.S. Iyengar.

And then I wanted to know what He had to say – I needed to hush up and listen.  My perception changed.  I have been too busy yapping and judging and making blanket stereotypes that I wasn’t listening.  Asking in prayer but not really waiting for a response.

Its funny, because once I just hushed up and listened… we found an amazing church at persistence of a friend who had been talking to me about it for months.  A church where “no perfect people are allowed.”  Where judgement is left to a higher power.

I finally felt like I was, and am, in a comfortable place to learn and grow and CONNECT.

Its all about the connection and the stillness.

Yoga. To connect the mind with the body so we can move in prayer and calm the restlessness, meditate, and just be still, be quiet, and listen.

It doesn’t matter what religion you are.

I am trying to listen more now.  And now that I am, the not so obvious is becoming obvious.  Lately, and repeatedly, I have been seeing quotes and posts about finding stillness such that we can listen to God and he can work on our hearts.  THIS ladies and gentlemen, is where the yoga comes in for me.  Yoga enables me to be still.  It calms my anxiety and a restless mind and body. Light bulb. Moment.

I get it. You could probably stand to beat it into me a little bit more but I get it.  And if you believe in things happening for a reason, this is my neon sign with flashing lights that says stop here because you are going to get to meet a celebrity and win a million dollars or something.

Be STILL. LISTEN.  Allow God to do his work.  Don’t try and do it for him or speak for him.

And I have to think this is the same for any religion or any one seeking connection with anyone or thing.  Find out what it is that you need to do to remove the distractions. CONNECT with your body. Be STILL.  LISTEN.  Allow whomever or whatever to do their thing and stop trying to do it for them.

In practice..

So what does this look like for me right now?  It means I get on my mat more for myself.

In practice this means –

  • BREATHE – breathing through my favorite technique (inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds),
  • FLOW – moving with yoga (sun salutations are always an easy one to get into the flow with my breath or I’ll find a flow that corresponds with a prayer or verse),
  • GROW – and finally, relaxing (see body scans and progressive relaxation techniques), meditating, listening.

See what I just did there? 😉

I still have alot to learn.  It’s a constant work in progress.  I am not entirely “still” most days, but I hope the day will come where its more constant.  I know the day will come.  I have alot to journal about – which is my next step in this.  It is all new ground for me and a new place to explore and I want to keep note of it.  It’s an interesting place to be at 40 but maybe it’s taken me 40 years to get here and I’m fine with that.  =)

 

Avoiding Spring Break Madness with a Calming Strategies Workbook

Its spring break and I don’t know about y’all, but we are going to need a little calm around here! I don’t remember when or how it was that I found Suzanne Tucker but when I did it was all awe and inspiration for me! Through her work she has created Peacemakers and now the Time-In Toolkit. Through her generosity she has provided me with a small part of her Time-In Toolkit to share with you via download and this week I am going to share with you how Ella and I use it. But first.. you need your own copy! This is the very same Calming Strategies coloring book that Ella and I use and provided by Generation Mindful! Parents – download and print, cut the pages and let your child choose which strategies they want to use. This workbook provides strategy options for your little ones when they are in the throws of a fit to calm themselves – as part of the “Time-In” toolkit, where little ones learn to take a “time-in” with themselves to explore emotions and feelings.

 

Coloring our Calming Strategy Book Cover
The workbook title page is so important with our name and picture!

Ownership is HUGE with little kids, well and big kids too! When we create our Calming Strategies book at home or in class, I emphasize the importance of the child deciding which strategies they want to use – squeeze a stuffed animal, take a big breath, read a book, color, do a puzzle, and several more – to me, this really is the most integral part of the process. I like to lay them out and let them pick which strategies they want to use in their book and then put the others away for another day.  This way its their choice as to how they want to work on calming themselves and not mommy or daddy telling them to do something (something that maybe they don’t want to do but we would love to see them do).  Not only do they get to choose but they also simultaneously gain that sense responsibility for selecting how they are going to respond.

Think of it this way, have you ever had someone tell you to “calm down” when you were upset and tell you to go do something? You may find yourself *slightly* less receptive.

While the ultimate goal is to teach our young ones to learn to calm themselves with these tools, when that sense of ownership and responsibility that we love to see in our children really shines through, well those are those moments that make your heart sing! (followed by internal YES!)

But back to the workbook in progress, pull out the crayons and colored pencils and let the kids color away! Adding more ownership to their books. Plus bonus time to discuss each strategy as they color! And the last part of ownership.. drawing and creating the cover to their book! Coloring a picture of themselves or maybe their favorite thing and then writing their name at the top (or help them to!) puts that stamp on it that says this is the book that I have created for ME.

Once the coloring the done, parents staple the book together for your kids and then practice, practice, practice! Make it fun, take pictures of them doing their strategies. Why?! Because when the time comes to put them to use, your child will already be familiar with them and associate it with all that fun you had doing them earlier! And when that time comes, just ask them to grab their book pick what they want to do and go for it! Maybe it just takes one, maybe it takes more than one, but let them take control with a support from Mom or Dad. And Maybe do it together? Or, Mom or Dad when you are feeling upset or grouchy, maybe YOU model it to them!

Ella’s favorite strategy has always been take a big breath. She uses this one quite a lot! (more than we would like to admit, but hey, it works) BUT it has been so effective! Enough that her kindergarten teacher has noticed and will send me the “no tears today!” text message that brings a certain sigh of relief from this Mom!

I would love to know what you child’s favorite calming strategy is.. or maybe your favorite strategy that you like to use! Comment below or comment over on Facebook as we work through this all week!

Center of Light Body Scan Guided Meditation

I have used this guided meditation to huge success for myself and most recently my teen students.  I have adapted this form of body scan from various ones I have heard and used over the years and without fail, if I do this at night while lying in bed I won’t make it past my right leg and will put myself to sleep.. This is a HUGE win as I often lay in bed thinking of all the things I should be doing and need to do the next day.

Obviously, it is great to complete the entire meditation to check in the with body – and I recommend that you do – but if you need the anxiety relief, as I often do, and are trying to get to sleep without medication – this one is at the top of my list, hands down, the best to relax the mind and body.

And this goes for your tweens and teens as well!  Read it to them, do it with them, record one of you reading it and play it back over and over.  Once you get the hang of it you won’t need the guide anymore, and lets be honest, you can never mess this up.  The way I see it, if your mind is leading you to somewhere in your body – GO THERE.  It is trying to tell you something.

The following is what I call the “Center of Light Body Scan Guided Meditation” script…  I have also included it for download here.

Center of Light Body Scan MeditationCenter of Light Body Scan Meditation (1)

Read through it several times before practicing so you know what to expect.  And also know that this guided meditation can be adapted to your needs.  You could adjust it to do all seven chakras or just keep to extremities or both.  For tweens and teens, I tend to do a blend of both, hitting the major areas but also keeping it simple.  If you have little ones you want to try it with, try head, heart, tummy, feet, and hands.

I look forward to hearing your stories using this or any adaptations you have used of this in the past to success.  Please share them with me and the community if you choose!  I look forward to hearing from you and ENJOY!

Light and love… Megan

#justbreathe.. Mindfulness for Teens

#justbreathe – Mindful meditation and movement series for teens or tweens that are in a never-ending cycle of stress and anxiety.  Mindfulness, mindful meditation, and mindful movement (yoga) are gaining more and more traction as the go-to method for reducing stress and anxiety, increasing attention, improving relationships, and strengthening compassion in teens. tweens, and children (adults too!) as research continues to flood in. (http://www.mindfulschools.org/about-mindfulness/research/)

With tools as simple as using their breath, children, tweens, and teens are able to calm their minds and their bodies effectively and without anyone else taking notice, with the ultimate goal of being able to recognize negative or detrimental thoughts and emotions as they arise and observe them without immediately reacting to them (https://childmind.org/article/the-power-of-mindfulness/).

What does this mean for you and your child?  Less explosive outbursts, taking teenage emotions head on and acknowledging and dealing with them, not sweeping them under the rug to come bubbling out later resulting in self harm or suicide attempts or other detrimental behaviors, connection of mind and body, exploration of the consequences of our actions, just to name a few.

We will explore what it means to be mindful, to use mindful meditation, and incorporate gentle stretches and movement to help calm the body and mind, to help us wind down after a long day.  We will also look at several mindfulness tools that can help to foster a growing practice into habit as we continue using mindfulness in our everyday lives. Take-home information for parents will be provided as to how to start a practice of your own and nurture their child’s continuing mindfulness practice.  Let’s help them, and ourselves, break the cycle and just breathe as the year finishes out and the holidays ramp up!  Register your child here.

Perfectly Imperfect – A Yoga Series

Fall Yoga Series for Teens and Tweens

An introduction to yoga, mindfulness, and meditation for teens and tweens through an interwoven theme of being perfectly imperfect, ultimately finding acceptance of ourselves and others.

Do you have a teen and tween, or know someone who does, who is interested in yoga, but doesn’t know where to start?  Maybe you worry your child is striving too hard to be “perfect” in our increasingly imperfect world – or feels alone even amongst friends, misunderstood, unwanted, or “not good enough.”

Invite them to join us at Sacred Space Yoga Studio – Frisco, Texas as we dive into yoga and several styles of yoga over this six week series incorporating the theme of being “perfectly imperfect.”

Find out what yoga is exactly with regards to the mind and body, what it means to be perfectly imperfect, “beauty” from the inside, and how to manifest all of this into our everyday lives through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.

Each class in this six week series will touch on a different style of yoga that complements our theme.

Classes will also include simple exercises to carry our theme and practice throughout the week outside of the studio. No previous yoga experience is necessary! Yoga is for every BODY. Modifications and props will be used and taught as well.

Six week series begins September 28th and goes through October 12th, with a mid-series break on October 19th, then continuing October 26th through November 9th. Classes will be from 5;00pm to 6:00pm at Sacred Space Yoga Studio – Frisco, Texas.  SIGN UP HERE.

 

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Megan Huff CCYT and RYT-200 Megan Huff, founder and instructor at breathe.flow.grow yoga and instructor at Sacred Space Frisco knows what it means to be a teen growing up in the North Dallas suburbs.  Still considering herself a teenager at heart sometimes, Megan has a heart for teens and tweens and wishes she had found yoga back then to help her manage life!

 

Kids Yoga Summer Camps

I am so excited to announce kids yoga summer camps for the summer of 2017!  These are two and two and a half hour (depending on age) camps that will be held over three days several times this summer in Plano, Texas!  Alternative Yoga Therapies has been wonderful enough in lending us the space to conduct these camps and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Beat the Summer Heat

We will be working on learning yoga poses and breathing, doing fun yoga activities and games, a craft, all followed by guided relaxation and meditation.  Drop off the kids and get a few hours to yourself this summer!

You can sign up HERE but please don’t hesitate to ask questions!  Kids can come for one day, two days, or all three!  Registering more than one child?  Use the code “SIBLING” for a 10% discount!  I will be posting more about the camp themes as the time grows closer, but sign up now to save a spot for your kids!

Special Needs Yoga for Children

In December I had the up-most honor of meeting and training under Shawnee Thornton Hardy, creator of Asanas for Autism and Special Needs, here in Dallas, which is a blessing in and of itself.  I had read her book through my children’s yoga teacher training and was just enamored with both her passion and the scientific and behavioral basis in which she wrote it and created the C.A.L.M.M. curriculum for children with Autism and special needs.  I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to meeting authors and the like, so embarrassing to say, yes, but I was a bit star-struck the first day sitting next to her, talking, meditating, learning, and doing…

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The whole gang with me on the far left, Shawnee in the middle. It was a truly amazing opportunity to be able to train with these amazing women near my home!

Shawnee took the time to do something that many may have hinted at or thought, hmm, this could work, into a real-life, easily adaptable curriculum for parents, caretakers, and teachers of children with special needs.  Many of the challenges children with special needs face include anxiety (this is all children these days), difficulty expressing themselves or their emotions, limited body awareness and delayed motor skills, and difficulty with attention, to list a few.  Shawnee took this list of challenges and put it up against the benefits of yoga – improved motor skills, increased strength and flexibility, improved focus and attention – the list goes on (and anyone that has practiced yoga on any kind of regular schedule knows what I am speaking to).  It was an ah-ha moment and I love her because she took that leap of faith and went for it, creating a curriculum to address these challenges with the benefits of yoga and focused breathing.  Then, she took it a step further, writing a book on how-to and creating a toolkit that is easy to use (for any and all abilities) and follows her curriculum.  Oh, and then she travels around the country (and beyond now!) to teach and certify you on using her program – all while raising a family and keeping up her own private practice and yoga therapy business – AMAZING.

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C.A.L.M.M. toolkit created by Shawnee Thornton Hardy and available on her website.

Taking her training not only provided me with invaluable tools and information, but also made me take a step back and watch my own children’s behavior.  Shawnee truly believes that there are no bad children, and I think she is on to something…

My stepson, who does pretty well in school was bombing math, which happens to be his favorite subject.  He is ADHD and dyslexic and as such, per his accommodations, he goes to tutoring in the mornings twice a week to make sure he is up to date on his assignments and sits in the front row of class.  After having what one might call, a come to Jesus with him, me, my husband, and his mother on the phone, we FINALLY peeled back all the layers and excuses to find that he is basically shutting down in class because the teacher blocks the board when he writes or stands right in front of him such that he is so overwhelmed he, as you can guess, shuts down.  It had nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t want to do his work or was being defiant, he literally was shutting down because he was so overwhelmed, then frustrated, and, at 12-years old and the throws of middle school, didn’t know how to express this to his teacher, or us, initially.  I had my husband, or I threatened to go myself, go with him to tutoring to talk to the teacher and observe first hand what was going on.  Then, when my husband spoke with the teacher nothing would get lost in translation over email and phone calls.  And then the other layers came off… a VERY busy teacher, only about 10 to 15 minutes to review, papers and kids everywhere, not a moment for individual instruction…

We don’t blame the teacher, its just the situation, and going to public school you can be a bit of a slave to the system.  But that amount of insight was all we needed to confirm what he had told us and take a WHOLE NEW perspective as to what the heck was going on and how we can now help him, in this situation, adapt and thrive – moving him back one row, changing sides of the room, to name a few quick fixes.  Would we have come to that conclusion without me going to training? Maybe, maybe not.  But I would like to think that I, after training with Shawnee, was more in tune with the why and not the “bad” behavior itself.  I took a moment and stepped back – why is he acting like this, what is he trying to ask for?  And suddenly the “bad” behavior became a need that was not being met.  It’s amazing and somewhat liberating.  Try it!

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My little “flying buddy” – during training we practiced belly breathing with our animal friends and their magic carpets, taking them on a magic carpet ride!

As I continue my training and mentorship with Shawnee working here locally with several children, I can’t wait to learn and explore more and see where it is I can plug myself in.  If you are interested in Shawnee’s program, you can visit her website here or please feel free to contact me for support, questions, tools, or conversation!  I am always happy to share!

Vision Boarding for 2017

So by now you may have heard how important it is to visualize your goals.. it provides a visual focus for your brain, something for you to concentrate on and put your mind’s energy to work on.  I have several friends that do it.. have read countless stories about it.. always thought about doing it… but alas, never make the time to sit down and actually do it.  So when my friends at Purple Lotus and Alternative Yoga Therapies in Plano held a New Year’s Day restorative yoga and planning and vision boarding workshop on New Year’s Day.. I was in like Flynn.. this is my opportunity to finally sit down, uninteruppted, armed with a stack of magazines, a glue stick, and scissors, to get this done!  I didn’t finish at the workshop, what can I say, I like to talk, but I took it home and spread out all over my dining room table and didn’t stop until I was done – which is an accomplishment in and of itself!

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All spread out on the table, side one.. Work, Spiritual, Financial, and Creative sections of my “vision board.”

Shannon with Purple Lotus provided us with a planning work sheets as well for the left sides of our brains, so from that, I created sections of my board:  Things I Love, Relationship/Marriage, Family/Home, Personal/Self, Work, Spiritual, Financial, and Creative.  The vision board method I used was this one from the Artful Parent.  I loved the idea of being able to fold up my vision board and take with, or make it a little bit more manageable than a poster board.  Plus, it just looks cool and I could use each “page” of the folder as a section (right brain, meet left!).

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Fold-able and portable example provided by The Artful Parent.

Instead of folding the tabs like they did on The Artful Parent, I just taped folder sides to each other.  Its not as beautiful as the example, but alot easier for me to manage.  I wrote the name of the section on the top of each “page” and started with large images that made me happy for backgrounds or something I felt fit the theme of the section.  I used not only yoga magazines, but catalogs, fashion magazines, you name it!  From there it was lots of words.. some that fit my feeling for that page and others that were very specific.  Don’t forget the money (you have to pay for some of these dreams somehow).  I found some stickers and washi tape from my endless supply of crafting stuff and TA-DA!  I wrote in a few things that I couldn’t find in the magazines with paint markers..  which reminds me, I forgot to add a quote from a yoga class I just took, I love it, “Just because you are getting uncomfortable in a pose (or life) doesn’t mean its time to wiggle and squirm and try to get out of it (GUILTY). Instead, turn inside, turn to your breath.”  Now I just don’t know where I am going to put it… Self or Spirituality?  I am digressing… ok, back to this vision board thing!

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So my fold-able vision board, I also found some articles and words of wisdom and reminders that I added in.  One was a quote about breathing, another was an interview of Hilaria Baldwin and how she reminds students to be mindful of how they feel while they practice.  Another, a quick column on how to start your day the Ayurveda way and no lie, a website to a flow to “Rock your Chakras!”  Perfect for Spirituality!  Here is the finished, ok almost finished, I need to add the quote, product…  but I guess that is the glory of this experiment, you can keep adding!

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I am not going to lie, I was really hesitant that I was going to get this done with my 4-year old daughter lurking, but I gave her some child safe scissors and she started one of her own.. (she used the pages of Wine Spectator magazine)!  I was really tickled how she used some of the words and was drawing and writing on it just like me!  *They are always watching and observing!*

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I also started thinking that I should plan a date to revisit my board and evaluate where I am – and also finish filing out the planning worksheets, get the left brain cranking!   I will let you all know how it goes!  Now where to put this baby… Somewhere I will see it EVERY DAY!

So I am interested, anyone else done a vision board?  Have they worked for you?  What are elements that you like to add?

Here’s to 2017!!!!

Holiday Yoga Camp!

If you are local to north Texas, I am so happy to announce I will be conducting a holiday yoga camp the first two days of Christmas break, December 19th and December 20th, 1pm to 3pm, both days! The camp will be geared towards children ages 5 to 11 and located at The Den – Sports Perfromance and Fitness center in Allen, Texas. They have an amazing indoor field for yoga and games, and a rec room for crafts and mindfulness activities!

Find a little zen for you and the kids before the real holiday madness begins! You can sign up online here! Can’t wait to see you!

Intro Family and Kids Flow

My gosh… how the holidays have totally gotten away with me!  I intended to post this SEVERAL WEEKS ago after I taught it at a local elementary school for “Family Health Night.”  I had such a good response to it and its a great intro for anyone looking to add yoga into the family routine or classroom and it just takes a few minutes!  You can do the entire flow or break it up into small activities.  Included with each are links to my resources that I used.

Warm Up and Breathing

I love, love, love demonstrating breathing for kids with a Hoberman Sphere!  You have probably seen one of these before and thought, hey, that’s a cool toy!  Cool toy indeed!  It perfectly demonstrates what happens to our lungs/chest when we take a deep breath in and out!  Kids absolutely love opening and closing it themselves and I love to let them pass it around and let them do it with their breath!

This is also an AMAZING calm down activity when your toddler or preschooler is having an epic meltdown – perfect distraction.  Talk to your kids about what happens as you breathe in and out, talk about where the air goes into your chest and tummy – (ask where this is) your lungs.”When you breathe in – your chest and then your tummy rises up and fills up like a balloon.  When you breathe out your chest and tummy goes back down.  Sit for a few breaths feeling your chest then tummies fill up with air and then slowly letting the air out.  If you want you can put your hands on your chest and tummy and feel them move up and down.”

Explain to them that this toy (a Hoberman sphere) shows what you are talking about.  “When we breathe in, our chest and tummy get bigger.  When we breathe out, they get smaller.  If you would like you can continue breathing at your own pace or you can breathe in as I make the ball bigger and then breathe out as I make the ball smaller.  We will repeat this a few times.”  Pass it around and let them try for themselves!  As I was saying, meltdown in progress?  Have them sit and take deep breaths with the sphere – gives them a new focus and breathing does wonders for calming big and little kids alike!

Fun and Easy Sun Salutation

I wish I could take credit for this family/kid friendly sun salutation, but I can’t!  I found this in an amazing book called “Yoga Games for Children!”

I seriously can’t speak highly enough of this book!  It breaks everything down for you. And I love this graphic of the sun salutation – short and simple and you can make copies and let the kids color it when they are done!  I will post an image later that you can print – just have to get a clean copy scanned in!  So here is how I teach this flow to kids and parents (check out the book for more tips too!)…

A sun salutation would be a way to greet the sun.  Or I like to think of it as a way to thank the sun for everything it provides – to take in its energy and move around.

Here is where we are going to start – our STARTING POSITION.  This is MOUNTAIN POSE. Both feet firmly planted on the ground.  Arms can be at your side or they can be palms together at your chest.

I MAKE A CIRCLE NICE AND ROUND.  Move your arms up as you take a deep breath in and then slowly lower them back down as you breathe out.  Lets do that again. Big and round, just like the sun!

NOW WE STOMP HARD ON THE GROUND. Feel how strong the earth is beneath us. Stomp, stomp, stomp. Can we stomp to the back of our mats?

I BEND AND WALK ON MY HANDS THEN STOP. Bend over and reach towards your toes then put your hands on the ground and walk them out in front of you until you make a triangle with your back and legs.

NOW I AM A TRIANGLE WITH MY BOTTOM ON TOP. Keep your legs straight and back straight.  Stretch in our DOWNWARD DOG.

From here we slowly go to our hands and knees, I’M A LION BIG AND STRONG.  Let’s hear everyone’s lion’s roar!

NOW I’M STRETCHING LEAN AND LONG. Can you balance and bring one arm out in front like you are pointing at something, looking straight ahead? Stretch through your fingers! For extra challenge try to lift your opposite leg up too!

OTHER SIDE!

NOW I HIDE! Slowly we come down to CHILD’S POSE. Take a breath here and relax.

And then, just like peek-a-boo, HERE I AM!  Use your arms to push you up and back into a squat. Just like a FROG!

NOW I STAND.  Slowly rise up to your big, tall mountain pose – deep breathe in as you rise.

I SPIN WILLY-NILLY.  Put your arms out wide and swing them side to side, or, if you can stay on your mat, you can turn all the way around.

Now STOP! AND TRY TO LOOK SILLY! Pick your own silly pose and hold it!

I repeated this several times such that everyone got a hang of it and could move through them all.  Remember not all kids (and grown ups) will get all poses, and that’s OK!  Same with parents too!  Just as long as they are doing it to the best of their ability!

Closing/Savasana

Since we worked on focusing on our breathing at the beginning, I like to come back around to reinforce and practice further.  This is often called “Zen Meditation,” but the primary focus is your breath.

Have your kids lay somewhere comfortable, dim the lights, and let them get settled.  Have them place their hands on their chest or tummy, or one on the chest and one on the tummy.  Guide them through the first few breaths, counting the breath will sometimes help in this situation to slow both yourself and them down. “Breathe in, one, two, three..” “Breathe out, one, two, three..” repeat as necessary, asking kids to feel their hands moving up and down with their chest and tummy as they breathe in and out.  Then have them focus on their own.  Remind them (and again, yourself) that as they lay there, just listen to their breath, concentrating on their hand up and down with their breath.  If they start to think of something else, go back to their breath and their hands.  Let everyone (and yourself) relax and breathe for a few minutes.  Then slowly wake and come to your closing.

Namaste.

I would love to know y’alls thoughts and resources that you use!  I am going to be adding a resource tab soon!  Plus its always good to know what works and doesn’t work!