by: Anita Steele, Yoga Instructor
Mindful Kids Yoga was created 3 years ago, out of pure dream and desire to give children what I’ve found through yoga – love and acceptance of myself.
The benefits of yoga for children are endless. Every child should know how to “be”. Today’s children are born into a modern world and pace of living that is way faster then their body and mind’s capabilities. They are exposed to constant stimulations, such as: television, video games, smart phones, after school activities, etc. They are taught to compare themselves to others or to measure up to certain standards. Due to all these, our children learn to work hard but never to simply be. They are sucked into external world leaving them strangers to themselves, incapable of understanding their own feelings and the levels of stress they are under. Children are also facing an increasingly inactive lifestyle. Children who are not involved with after school sports are frequently in the same boat as their parents with little time left in the day for physical activity after other obligations are met.
Kids yoga gives children the opportunity to explore creative physical movement and kids of all ages enjoy it. Yogic exercise teaches kids how to let their mind be still for a while and through that knowledge comes happiness, peace and contentment. What could be better than that?
Yoga is the easiest and most acceptable way of helping children to turn toward their inner self. Yoga poses can be used in imaginative play. While engaging their physical bodies and slowly engaging their minds, yoga helps them to bring their awareness to the present moment. Tai- chi is another wonderful discipline that will help teach “slowing down” and being present. Used after yoga, it brings kids into an even slower, more relaxed mode. A few minutes of total relaxation and visualization helps kids completely relax and let go of stress. One of my favorite is a “magic carpet” where they lay on their backs, doing conscious breathing and imagining that we are flying on the magic carpet. Oh, the wonderful thing we see with our eyes of imagination!
I like to use my music teacher’s experience to incorporate music into the class. I like to finish by listening to a piece of classical music and drawing or writing about feelings that the music awakens in them. Crafting and journaling following relaxation allows children to explore their inner consciousness and expand their creativity
In our classes children have opportunity to learn yoga through fun games; relaxation and visualization techniques, breath control, emotions management. We talk about healthy eating and living habits and teach ways to embrace our authenticity and discover a unique set of talents that each of us possesses. We get personal with our feelings – get to know them, learn to accept them and manage them when we need to. In every class we get creative through music, movement, dance, story building and unique crafts.
This class builds: confidence, flexibility, body awareness, creativity, calmness, connectedness to others, kindness.
In past three years, I have seen shy children open up, and overly active children melt into the mat; chatter boxes loose words while breathing, and anxious children relax. I feel blessed to be part of these transformations that bring children closer to their essence and allow them to unlock their full potential.
Anita Steele was born and grew up in Montenegro, a little Mediterranean country, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in music education. Not fully satisfied with the traditional classroom education she pursued education and a career in mindfulness, which she studied on both continents- in Europe and in the USA. She studied meditation from Peter Perovic and Nebojsa Vuckovic, well recognized mindfulness teachers and authors of the book “The book about you”. She earned a Reiki Master Certificate, two levels of tai-chi and has years of experience practicing yoga. After seeing how mindfulness positively transforms and restores lives she decided to pursue children’s yoga certification as well as gain more knowledge in healthy eating habits for children.
Anita Steele developed the Mindful Kids program as a unique way of providing children with the tools, knowledge and ability to calm, center, concentrate and respond to stressful or difficult situations in a healthy and positive manner. Check out her wonderful classes on her website www.massageandyogacenter.com, and add yoga to your child’s life!