By Ali Andelman, Pretzel Kids teacher
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that is why it is called the present” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
Drawing on this quote gives me strength during this time when tomorrow is unknown because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was just weeks ago when kids were at school, skipping at the playground, laughing with their friends and going on playdates.
Today, our kids’ lives are put on hold and replaced with anxiety, fear and many questions – due to the coronavirus and social isolation guidelines.
With little information about the length of COVID-19, parents and guardians are put into a difficult situation when it comes to talking to their kids about what’s happening and why. And, parents are also worried and fearful, especially with so many falling ill and others losing their jobs. Thankfully, we have kids yoga to help especially in this tumultuous time.
It’s no wonder so many adults and children are experiencing stress and coronavirus anxiety. To compound this, some kids are too young to understand or express their feelings. Still other children don’t understand the concept of anxiety and fear.
To make things more challenging, anxiety can lead to lack of sleep, fatigue, overeating, depression and more.
Three benefits of yoga for both kids and adults
1. Yoga can slow down and quiet your thinking mind
Yoga has been defined by the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the oldest yogic texts, as the “cessation of the fluctuation of the mind.”
What does this mean? It means that yoga helps you deal with COVID-19 anxiety by quieting your mind chatter. In an adult yoga class, asanas or poses are strung together into a sequence incorporating breath and focused vision. This mindfulness keeps you present in your body and out of your racing mind.
Pretzel Kids yoga classes are tailored to each age group and usually involve a theme along with breathing, meditation, mindfulness and games. For younger children, the theme uses their imaginations – taking them out of their racing thoughts and into relaxing imagery. This can be done with both live or online kids yoga classes!
2. Yoga relaxes you
Through stretches and deeply held poses, yoga can help you unwind and let go. Yogis learn to notice their breath and create deeper inhales and exhales to release built-up energy. The yogic term for breathing is called pranayama, which means life force. During a yoga class or practice, the breath helps us be present. And this slows the mind and helps reduce anxiety.
With Pretzel Kids yoga, breathing is tailored to the age of the children. For preschoolers and young elementary school kids, breath is incorporated as part of the class theme. If the theme is a jungle, for example, the kids can make a monkey sound when they exhale. If the theme is a garden, they may make a bee noise with the exhale.
Teaching children about breathing in this way helps them stay focused and become aware of their breath. And, this ultimately helps create a calm feeling and reduces anxiety.
3. Yoga can help clear your mind through meditation
At the end of an adult yoga practice, you move into savasana. Also known as corpse pose, this is when you lie on your yoga mat and relax every inch of your body. In a Pretzel Kids yoga class, savasana is designed to help clear childrens’ minds with a guided visualization. This usually incorporates the theme of the class and guided imagery.
An example of a Pretzel Kids yoga final meditation/relaxation is to imagine taking a trip into the sky above the jungle or above the ocean (depending on the theme of the class).
4 ways to bring yoga into your home to create a safe haven for your kids
Now that you know more about the benefits of yoga, here are three ways you can relax to further reduce anxiety and turn your home into a safe haven to practice yoga.
1. Play music
Music always gets your body moving and makes you feel like dancing. Singing along to a song or hearing a fun beat can also help you disconnect from your worries.
2. Take a warm bubble bath
A warm bath with bubbles is extremely relaxing and soothing. A candle in the bathroom will provide even more relaxation. Kids love a spa day too!
3. Cleaning your house
A feng shui house cleared of clutter will give a zen feeling and lessen anxiety and stress. By organizing your home, you may also feel less distracted!
4. Create a space for yoga and meditation
While cleaning your house, carve out a corner of your living room or another room so that you and the kids have space to practice yoga and mindfulness! Perhaps lay out a mat or two, put some throw pillows on the floor for meditation, or even create a little altar with candles, teddy bears or anything else that makes you feel good.
Get started today with yoga today!
Kids need yoga in their lives – today, more than ever!
Here’s the best part about yoga: You and the kids can do yoga at home! If you have no yoga experience, no problem. Tons of videos and online yoga classes are now available, including many online Pretzel Kids yoga classes.
So, what’s stopping you from trying yoga or re-igniting your yoga practice. It’s time for you and the kids to get your yoga ON!
Enroll now in online kids yoga classes!
About Ali: Ali is a licensed Pretzel Kids teacher, certified yoga teacher, wellness expert and attorney. She currently teaches online live yoga classes for YogaWorks and live Pretzel Kids yoga for private students or groups. Learn more about Ali’s Pretzel Kids classes here and Ali’s classes for Yogaworks here. You can also learn more about Ali on her website.