Elemental Kids: mindful summer for the fam

Hey friends, Laura here! I'm so excited to share with you this summer! I thought we could kick things off with a chat about what mindfulness actually is and how you can incorporate this concept into your family and summer activities.  I mean, who doesn't want to feel true connection with your kids and enjoy a summer full of fun & soul.  

As a parent, you know that summer can be exhausting and move by too quickly. Instead of thinking about this in terms of DOING MORE, let's look at mindfulness through the lens of being purposeful. So, what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, in my mind and heart, is taking in every moment and feeling without judgement.

Mindfulness looks like being here now when talking to one another, staying present during the simple tasks like washing the dishes, driving or eating food. It's about noticing the little signals and feelings of your body and mind throughout the day.  It allows us to have Mind Full of Love.

Kids are actually pretty great at being in the moment, but learning how to articulate their feelings and discovering coping mechanisms takes time. As parents, guardians, and teachers we can guide our children to practice being mindful of those emotions and how to balance and cope with them. When you open discussion with your kid(s) try to use vocabulary that allows your child to connect with you on their level, not yours! Don't open a conversation with a specific goal or agenda, simply follow their lead.

A great starting point is talking about feelings and emotions. 

  • "What is sad, happy, shy, frustrated, or mad?" 
  • "What does it feel like when you have each emotion?"
  • "How does your body respond to these feelings?" (heart racing, red face, tummy tension)

It's important to let your children know that their emotions are valid and acceptable.  Remind them that feelings will constantly change moment to moment, but identifying each feeling is helpful. During a family discussion time, try sharing an example of a moment you felt sad or mad.  Express how you were able to cope with that challenging moment in your life, through breath, seeking support or journaling. In my years working with children, I have noticed they love having something to relate to and someone to relate with; so don't be afraid to be vulnerable with them!

Mindfulness in Action: 

To practice mindfulness as a family, take one of your simple daily tasks and discover the present moment: feel the body here & now, notice your breath, listen to the sounds around you, recognize the feeling in your feet, hands, and entire body.  Throughout the exercise remember to breathe in a Mind Full of Love. Try to complete the exercise once a day together or separately for a week then at dinner each night discuss your experiences.

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The book, Unstoppable Me, by Wayne W. Dyer is a great map piece to explore mindfulness and feelings! The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. There are questions at the end of the book to help spark discussion and to further reinforce the author’s message.

Leave us a comment below & let us know how this works in your fam!

 

NEW Elemental Kids Series!

Hey y'all - HAPPY SUMMER! Well, summer isn't official until June 21 (my bday!), but for those of you with kiddos summer break is in full effect! 

Over the past 5 years, I've had the chance to work with some great kids from teen yoga classes, kids nutrition workshops, & even some young adult coaching clients! Mindfulness, yoga & nutrition with the 18 & under crowd is SUPER important to me, but definitely not my area of expertise. That's why I've invited Laura DeCastra to join us for the summer to share her passion and knowledge.

Laura

Laura completed my beginners yoga series at Villager Yoga 4+ years ago and has been a friend & student ever since. We share a love for yoga, puppies & simplicity. She's a natural born teacher with over 10 years experience working with children from daycare, nanny positions, private tutoring and her current role building the 3K program at Saint Rose Academy. 

I was THRILLED when Laura told me she enrolled in the 2018 Sacred Glow Yoga Teacher Training program and hoped to specialize in youth oriented yoga & mindfulness projects. As we got to chatting about her dreams, we came up with THIS! The Elemental Kids Series. Laura is going share regular posts covering all things related to Mindfulness with Kids - yoga postures, summer activities, tips for family discussions & how these topics aid in stress reduction & development.

So, let's meet Laura! 

Emilie: How did you get into yoga?
Laura: My sister, Charlotte! About five years ago, Charlotte had completed her YTT program and started teaching a class at Avondale Brewery. We're super close, so I went to support her & ended up falling in love with the practice. Soon after, I enrolled in your beginners series & have been hooked since!

E: Why is yoga & mindfulness with kids a priority for you?
L: Because it has transformed my life and makes me wonder why didn't I have this as a child.  Through reading articles, research, and implementing breathing exercises I immediately knew this was going to be a new passion in my life to help children.  One of my first passions is teaching children to love learningNow, it's important to teach kids how to cope with the stress of daily life, how to love the world around them, and how to love themselves. 

E: Can you share a "fun fact" with us?
L:
Hahaha - YES! My family owns a concession company that makes/sells cotton candy, candied & caramel apples, funnel cakes, pretzels & hawaiian ice. Back in the day we even made taffy! We worked  at birthday parties, football games (YES, even at Bryant-Denny!), and county fairs. I started working alongside my family around the age of 9.

My dad also rented out moonwalks (not the dance move!), so I grew up with bouncy houses in my back yard - I attribute my love for kids & playful heart to such a unique childhood.

E: What is your favorite yoga pose?  
L:  
HALF MOON! 

E: If you were a food, what would you be?
L:  
A Pineapple :) I love the color yellow & the smell reminds me of the beach!

E: Any last thoughts to share? 
L:  Yoga is for all and love is for all. :)