Let's say you've just finished practicing your daily round of yoga in the classroom with your students, or you've just finished watching a kids yoga DVD at home with your 5-year-old. It's important that children learn about healthy ways to relax and center early on. That's why it's a good idea to follow-up yoga for children with a session of quiet time in the form of meditation. While meditation may seem like an intense undertaking for a little one, it's actually quite achievable and highly effective. Here are three meditations that are great for either evening relaxation or concluding a session of yoga in the classroom:
1. Sitting Meditation- two to ten minutes
Sit cross-legged, with your back straight and face forward. Clasp your hands and let them rest in your lap and close your eyes. Breathe in and out evenly and easily. Count each breath, in and out, until you've reached 50 counts (or as many as you like).
Count 1- breathe in
Count 2- breathe out
Count 3- breathe in
And so on...
To finish, take a final deep breath in, slowly let it out, open your eyes, stand up, and stretch.
2. Lying Down Meditation- two to ten minutes
Lying face-up on a blanket or comfortable mat, stretch out on your back. Close your eyes and let your body go completely limp. Remaining still and relaxed with eyes closed, imagine yourself walking into a park on a beautiful afternoon.
In your mind, just feel yourself standing still for a moment, then seeing a child on a swing going back and forth in a steady rhythm. Enjoy the comfortable feeling in your body that is lying so relaxed and undisturbed. Feel present and whole in your resting body.
When you're ready, gradually come back to your active self by taking a deep breath, opening your eyes, stretching out your limbs, and sitting up.
3. Walking Meditation- at least two minutes
This meditation has two parts that combine to coordinate body-mind functioning and to energize the body. These parts are breathing and walking. The goal is to focus on easy, even breaths and walking with your arms and legs in balanced opposition. Walk briskly while swinging arms back and forth effortlessly. When your right foot steps forward, your left arm should swing forward, and vice versa.
While walking, concentrate on breathing evenly in and out. To finish, stretch your arms overhead, then bring them down to the side. Continue going about your day.
Just as meditation is an important aspect of yoga for adults, it also plays an important role in yoga for children. Whether you watch a kids yoga DVD at home with your children, or you practice yoga in the classroom with your students, always try to conclude each practice with at least a few minutes of meditation. This gives children a healthful coping and relaxing mechanism that they can use throughout their lives.
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Written by Kacy Suther. Learn more about yoga for children with a kids yoga dvd. Offers yoga in the classroom, yoga poses for kids, more at yogakids.com
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