Welcome the first day of spring with Flower Pose! A seated balance that is very accessible. It is both grounding and uplifting, bringing balance to your physical body and to your emotions. This is one of many activities that will be included in our upcoming book: Little Flower Yoga for Kids, being released this summer by New Harbinger Press.
Follow Up: If your child enjoys this pose, and you want to create a longer and more challenging experience, you can try what I call blossoming flower pose. Once you are balanced in flower, unwind your arms (while keeping your legs lifted). Then hold on to the outside edges of your feet and slowly stretch your legs out into a V. Balance there for a few breaths, then bring your legs together into Boat Pose.
Challenges: Some children (and adults) tend to let the weight of their legs fall onto their arms during this pose, and it causes them to slouch forward and feel as if they are wrestling their legs into place. It isn’t the strength of your arms that lifts your legs in Flower, it is the shifting of your weight back and finding your balance. Your legs should just be lightly resting on your arms. If this happens with your child, try having her practice boat pose directly before flower to feel the activation of her core muscles. Then encourage her to try bringing her legs into the shape of flower pose without her arms to get a feel for it before trying again.
Daily Practice: If Flower Pose is a pose that feels good to your child, and they have practiced enough to feel steady in it, it can be a great activity to do for a few breaths right before homework or any other activity that requires concentration. The combination of grounding and uplifting feelings is very balancing, and contributes to a calm capacity for focus.
Happy Valentines Day! We hope that you are enjoying a day filled with love for your family, your friends, your children, and yourself! Here is a child friendly version of a loving kindness meditation practice that you can share with your students or your own child today. This is one of many activities that will be included in our upcoming book: Little Flower Yoga for Kids, being released this summer by New Harbinger Press.
Caring Feelings is a child friendly version of a Loving Kindness practice, which is a type of meditation that can help your child develop compassion, contentment, and a feeling of wellbeing. In a traditional adult loving kindness practice, kind thoughts would be sent the self, to people close to you, to people you feel neutral about, and to people who you are angry or upset with. In our version, we are going to start with someone that your child loves very much, as this is the easiest way to access your kindness. We will end with the self, and eventually, after this practice becomes familiar, you can try including someone challenging.
Follow Up: Ask your child how he felt about sending out the kind feelings, especially how it felt sending them to himself. You might talk about times when he sent unkind feelings to others or to himself, and how that felt. Ask him if there is anyone else he would like to send kind feelings to before you finish up for the day.
Challenges: Once this activity becomes familiar, try including a person that your child has a hard time with in his kind thoughts. Be sure to avoid anyone that your child finds frightening, or is extremely angry at. Instead, try using language like “someone who annoys you” or “someone who has been bugging you lately.”
Daily Practice: Loving Kindness is a wonderful practice to bring into your daily life, as an antidote to the negative thoughts we all have about ourselves from time to time. Encourage your child to send himself kind thoughts throughout the day, especially if he is feeling a little bit down. As the practice gets familiar, you can both experiment with sending kind thoughts to someone after an argument or disagreement. Explain to your child that sending kind thoughts to someone else is a way to help them feel better, even if they are still upset with the other person.