Thursday, 3 September 2015

Yoga for children - how yoga can help with back to school blues

There is much more pressure on children today. School holidays, with a much more relaxed routine may have been a welcome relief. Now the school holidays are coming to an end and while some children will be ready to go back for others it may be more stressful. This stress may show up as your child becoming clingy, having nightmares, tummy aches or headaches.

Yoga can help children cope with back to school fears. Yoga helps boost your child's confidence and self-esteem as well as helping to improve focus and concentration. Other benefits of yoga for children are that it improves their strength and flexibility, and helps them connect with the natural world.

If your child is anxious about going back to school or even starting school, practicing these confidence boosting poses may help.

Lion breath - sit back on your heels. Breathe in and as you breathe out come forward, roll your eyes upwards, stick your tongue out and roar like a lion.  You can even make 'lion claws' with your hands if you want to.  

Mountain- stand with your big toes touching, heels separated.  Lengthen your spine and open your chest.  Feel strong like a mountain.

Warrior 1 - stand towards the back of your mat, feet hip distance. Turn your left toes out and step forward with your right foot.  Level your hips.  Breathe in raise your arms, breathe out bend your right knee.  Face your fears head on with all the strength of a warrior. When you are ready to come out of the pose, breathe out lower your hands to your hips, breathe in step the feet together. Repeat on the other side.  

Warrior 2 - stand in the middle of the mat then step your feet wide. Turn your right foot to the right and your left toes in.  Breathe in and stretch your arms out to shoulder height, breathe out bend your front knee and look down the fingers of your right hand. Visualise yourself going back to school with a determination to do well at your lessons and make friends easily.  When you are ready to come out of the pose, breathe in, straighten your right knee, breathe out, turn to face forward, bring your hands to your hips then do the other side.

Warrior 3 - from standing take your arms overhead and raise your right leg, bringing your body into a T shape. When you are ready to come out of the pose breathe in, lower your right leg, breathe out, lower your arms. Don't forget the other side.

Help your children relax then with this guided rainbow visualisation.

Have your child lie down with their favourite soft toy if he/she wants to. Get him/her to settle by asking him/her to watch his/her breath then read the following visualisation out or make your own up.

Imagine you are in a garden. There are some steps leading down to a lawn. Walk down the step. With each step you take, you feel more and more relaxed. You reach the bottom of the steps and see a pond with a water feature in the shape of a dolphin. Water shoots out of the dolphin's mouth and falls back into the pond. All at once you feel tired and lie back on the grass, watching the cascade of water split the light from the sun into its colours. You start to feel yourself becoming lighter then floating upwards towards a rainbow. 

As you continue to float upwards you become bathed in red light. Feel the red light making you strong. The red light is replaced by orange which releases your creativity. The orange light fades now and you become bathed in yellow light. Feel energized by the yellow light. Still you float upwards and the yellow light fades. You become surrounded by green light which will help you make friends Now you are bathed in blue light. The blue light will help you talk about any worries, and help you ask questions at school. The blue light fades and you are bathed in indigo light which gives you wisdom. Finally you are bathed in violet light which makes you feel kind towards all living things. 

Gently now you start to float down back to the garden. Thank the rainbow for all the gifts you have been given. Become aware of your surroundings now, the floor beneath you, the room you are in and take some deep breaths. Open your eyes and have a stretch, wriggle your fingers and toes or whatever feels right to you before turning onto your right side. Spend a few moments there then come back to seated.

Happy school days
Janet x 

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