Namaste! During these uncertain times, one thing is certain: You ALWAYS have your breath! Each week I will offer Students, Educators and Families a variety of Yoga & Mindfulness activities that connect to a competency in the CASEL Framework for Social Emotional Learning! This is a free resource to support everyone’s mental health during a time when anxiety and stress levels may be higher than usual.
Implementing these activities as Brain Breaks, or part of your family’s Daily Routine, from a Morning Meeting, while you are doing Household Chores or before Bedtime! No mat is required! All you need is an open mind and open heart!
Week 1 (March 16-20): Self Awareness
What is Self Awareness? Self Care! Self Awareness is the ability to recognize and identify your emotions to take care of yourself!
Breathing is a great skill for Self Awareness! Balloon Breath is a breathing activity that connects you to yourself to help you become aware of your body, emotions, and thoughts!
Breathing Exercise: BALLOON BREATH
Imagine your belly as a balloon! Place your hands on your belly. As you inhale (breathe in) count “1..2..3” and then as you exhale (breathe out) count “1..2..3” This awareness helps you become grounded to your breath. Try this in a comfortable seat, or with your feet touching the ground. The more you practice this breathing activity, you can get creative with the breath count.
Mindful Movements of the Week:
Whether your new or seasoned to Yoga Asana (movement), the following 5 poses are great to get the heart rate up, create clarity in the mind, and grounding in the body. Do all 5 together, mix them up or just Stop, Drop and Yoga and strike a Pose! A Pose a day keeps the doctor away! Physical movement helps to reduce fear/stress/anxiety and boosts immunity!
Challenge: Show off exploring these poses around the house! For example, Washing the dishes as a Mountain or Picking up your toys in a forward fold with creative movement. Stay connected to our Green Wave Community by using the Hashtag: #LBfamilyYoga and Tag Amy @amyzambranoyoga
Mudra of the Week: Hakini
Bring all your finger tips together in the shape of a triangle or pyramid. Pressing the finger tips together, activates the brain to bring the body to calm.
All of these poses helps to reduce anxiety and fear because it brings the body from the Sympathetic Nervous System (Fight or Flight) to the Parasympathetic Nervous System (Rest and Digest)
Create a Home Zen Zone: To assist with Self Awareness, help your child design a special spot in your house for them to go to when they need a mindful moment. This can be an area in the dining room, living room, or any room where there is a spot to create a Calm Center. In this space can be blankets and pillows to sit to take a deep breath, crayons/markers & paper for Coloring to Calm, Breathing Tools (such as a Stuffed Animal, Pinwheel, Bubbles, feathers) a Feelings Journal, Yoga Mat, Movement Flash Cards (either print my pictures from above, draw the pose, Google Search Images online or take a picture of your child doing the pose and print them out for their very own personal movement deck), Affirmation Cards (make your own on index cards or paper, “I AM STRONG, I AM SMART, etc), musical instruments such as drums, chimes, egg shakers (make your own from coffee cans/water balls and add rice/beans) and any other thing that would support your child for SELf regulation. Please be mindful that this is NOT a Time Out center for behavior. It is simply a place for children or adults to take a breath, and reconnect with themselves to balance their body and mind if their emotions or anxiety is feeling high.
Healthy SELfie: Take a daily Selfie of yourself! Create a Visual Digital Feelings Diary using your Healthy SELfie! Snap a Healthy Selfie, Upload it in a Google Document, and write “Today I feel _________” Depending on the age, you can have your child write more as a daily SELf Reflection of their day, or for younger children, have them recognize the facial expression to an emotion. You could also create a Calendar template, and add the photo to the calendar so they can track their feelings during this time of Social Distancing. Remember it IS ok to feel Sad, Mad or Angry!
Remember to take a Brain Break at least every hour or as often as needed! Wash your hands, drink lots of water, move your body! In yoga, we practice “Saucha” which means cleanliness: Cleanliness with our body, as well as our thoughts! Limit exposure to the Media & Social Media for current events. This becomes a mindfulness practice of Self Awareness.