Lela Clawson Miller's picture

What Kids Have Taught me about Yoga, Mindfulness and Beyond

As adults, we often find it difficult to let go and relax. We know it's important to de-stress and yet unless we schedule relaxation into our schedules, it rarely is treated as a priority. Admitting this fact can be quite liberating. Choosing a time to dedicate oneself toward "recharging the batteries" can be a wonderful place to begin. Perhaps this is why so many people find attendance of regular yoga classes to be so beneficial. I certainly have found this to be true. The mat provides a safe space to learn how to move and breathe and heal my body, through repetition, commitment, patience and curiosity. Doing yoga with others teaches me playfulness, humility and the joy of communion.

I have witnessed many wonderful practitioners of yoga since I began my studies, and yet, I must admit that children are by far my greatest inspiration. During a kids yoga class, we explore mindfulness, sound exploration, animal shapes, traditional poses, storytelling, poetry, partner poses and group games. We discuss important topics like friendship and kindness and explore how these principles feel in our bodies. Children love how the poses make them feel and are given lots of space to create a safe haven on their mats.

Each child brings a unique world to their yoga practice. Downward facing dog is guaranteed to look different for every child. I may ask the class to demonstrate how an alligator moves. Every child will have their own take on how it would feel to be this creature. And herein lies the beauty: everyone is right! For children, play becomes more important than the outer appearance of a yoga posture. Teaching kids yoga has taught me the importance of approaching my practice from the inside out.

Here are just a few yoga pointers and observations that my young friends have to share with you:

-Stretching makes my body smile!

-Doing yoga means that you can be a mermaid, dolphin and a flying bird!

-When I imagine I am a mountain, my body feels strong, heavy and relaxed.

-Sometimes I want to have quiet time on my mat.

-I could see my friend's breath moving in and out and it was really cool!

-I do yoga all the time. You can even do yoga in the grocery store!

-Counting five breaths helps me to feel more calm.

-I like to do Star Wars yoga!

The next time you have 15 minutes to spare, ask a child in your life to share a yoga practice. Surely it will be wonderfully creative and unlike any class you have ever attended! 

 

 

 

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