Spa Day Workshop Coming Up on November 2nd!

Spa Day Workshop

Ages 8-13


Saturday, November 2, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Location: 6208 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD 20852

taught by Shining Kids Yoga Owner & Educational Director, Andrea Creel

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In this special class, participants will learn how to make body care products that help them feel pampered, relaxed, and refreshed.

Projects include: exfoliating sugar scrubs, aromatherapy bath salts, and lavender relaxation spray.

Participants will get to try out their creations in class, and take some home to enjoy. Everyone will receive written instructions on how to make more of each item at home, too!

We will be working with essential oils and other skin care products in this workshop. If your child has sensitive skin or skin allergies, please carefully consider their participation in this class.

A materials fee is included in the registration cost. Please note that this is NOT a yoga class, and no yoga poses will be practiced in this class.

Cost: $35 (includes all class materials)

Sibling Discount: 10% discount for each additional participant.

REGISTER NOW

Crafty & Calm Relaxation Series Starts October 5th!

Introducing our Crafty & Calm Class Series!

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Crafty & Calm is a new class series that we will be offering on Saturdays this fall for children ages 8-13.

This series is a fun way of introducing children and tweens to relaxation tools and techniques while inspiring their creativity and creating fun objects to enjoy and use at home. Each class, we will create a different calming craft, and practice guided meditation & breathing exercises that will leave your child feeling peaceful and refreshed. Participants will learn how to use these tools and techniques to feel more calm at home, school, and on-the-go.

Craft projects include:

gratitude journals, meditation bracelets, peace rocks, positivity cards, and stress balls.

Visit www.shiningkidsyoga.com/workshops for more information or to register!

Family Yoga Workshops This Summer!

Shining Kids Yoga will be offering family (parent & child) yoga classes this summer on the following dates:


Sunday, June 23rd 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Saturday, July 20th 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Saturday, August 17th 11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

This workshop will include playful partner poses, games, stories, and a special relaxation time that will leave your whole family feeling peaceful and happy. Parents and kids alike will cultivate a sense of calm and connection through this unique yoga experience.



This workshop is limited to 4 families! Register early to ensure your family's space in this special yoga practice.

$25/parent & child pair 
$15/ additional parent or child - use "sibling discount" for additional registrant to receive the $15 rate

Register soon to ensure your family's space in this special yoga practice. Click the links above to register.

For additional information, please email info@shiningkidsyoga.com




Guided Relaxation for Teens & Adults

Relaxing guided audio meditation for teens and adults. Use this meditation before bedtime for a peaceful night's sleep or anytime you want to release stress and find peace & relaxation.

Narration by Andrea Creel, founder of Shining Kids Yoga http://www.shiningkidsyoga.com

Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) "River Flute" Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Image from Pexels

Make Your Own Meditation Bracelets in 5 Easy Steps!

Meditation bracelets, also known as malas are a wonderful tool for helping children learn to meditate. The purpose of the bracelet is to use the beads on the bracelet as a counting mechanism during a meditation practice known as mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that you can repeat to help protect your mind from negative thoughts. Mantra meditation helps you to focus, concentrate, and feel more calm.

A traditional mala has 108 beads. For a meditation bracelet with children, I recommend 27 beads, which is a multiple of 108. On the bracelet is a “special” bead, known in sanskrit as the Guru bead. Including the Guru bead, the bracelet will have a total of 28 beads.

To make your own meditation bracelet, you will need:

elastic jewelry string

beads

scissors

“special” beads

Instructions:

  1. cut the elastic string to approximately 12 inches. Tie a knot in one end; make sure the knot is large enough that the beads will not fall off.

  2. Pick out 27 beads and string them onto the elastic in any order you’d like.

  3. Tie the two ends of the elastic together and knot 2-3 times. Then put one “special” bead on the end of the elastic (the part that’s already been knotted).

  4. Knot the two parts of the elastic together again, fixing the “special bead” to the bracelet.

  5. Cut off excess elastic off the ends. Voila - your meditation bracelet is ready to use!

Mantra Meditation

Once you have created your meditation bracelet, you can use it to practice mantra meditation. To use the meditation bracelet for meditation practice, start by holding the bracelet in your dominant hand. Lay it over your middle finger, point your index finger out, and use your thumb to push the beads. Always start with the bead next to the Guru bead. Do not touch the Guru bead, it is a placemarker to let you know when you have gotten all the way around the bracelet. When you make it back to the bead on the other side of the Guru bead, start pushing the beads backwards with your thumb to circle back to the original bead. Each time you push a bead with your thumb, you will repeat a mantra either out loud or silently.

Here are some examples of child-friendly mantras:

  • Om Shanti (peace)

  • Peace

  • May I be happy

You may pick any word or positive phrase to repeat during meditation. Whatever you pick, repeat it for 27, 54, 96, or 108 times. Your meditation bracelet will help you keep track of the repetitions so you don’t have to count in your head.

The practice of moving the beads with your fingers helps build fine motor skills in children and adults and strengthens the brain/body connection. Mantra meditation has been shown to improve memory, concentration, and reduces stress.

Mantra meditation is a great way of helping children learn how to calm and focus their minds. It can be done at home in the morning or before bed, or any other time a child would like to feel more calm and peaceful. During the day, they can wear the bracelet on their wrist to help remind themselves of the positive, calming energy inside them.


Andrea Creel, MSW, LMSW, E-RYT 200, YACEP

Andrea is the founder of Shining Kids Yoga, which began as an after-school program at her son's elementary school in 2014. She has been teaching yoga to all ages since 2005.  Andrea completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training & prenatal yoga training at Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received specialized training in children’s yoga from the Radiant Child Yoga program, training in postnatal yoga from Baby OM,  and training in therapeutic yoga from  The Samarya Center.

Andrea is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the State of Maryland, having received her MSW degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore.

She has taught yoga for children at yoga studios throughout the DC area, including Tranquil Space, Budding Yogis, Rock Creek Yoga and Warrior One Yoga. She also teaches classes for adults at Yoga Bliss Studios and is part of the teacher training faculty at Extend Yoga.

Andrea is the creator and facilitator of the Shining Kids Yoga Kids Yoga Teacher Training, a 17-hour certification program in kids yoga.

When not teaching or practicing yoga, Andrea enjoys playing board games with her son, Quinn, singing karaoke, and trying out new vegetarian recipes!


Bubbles + Yoga = Endless Fun

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from the links in this article.

It’s no secret that children of all ages love bubbles. They’re fun to look at, fun to blow, and make any activity infinitely more enjoyable. As a kids yoga instructor, I use bubbles in many of my yoga classes. For the youngest age groups (0-3) bubbles are a staple of almost every class. For the older kids (Pre-K and Elementary) bubbles are a fun treat to spice up a yoga sequence or game. Below are a few ways to incorporate bubbles in a yoga class or when practicing yoga at home with your child.

Babies - if you are teaching a baby & me yoga class, bring out the bubbles during savasana so the babies have something visually entertaining to watch while parents/caregivers can close their eyes and relax. You can also sing a calming song while blowing bubbles. Listen below for one of my favorites:

Toddlers/Pre-K - Before relaxation time, have children lie down as you blow bubbles over them - looking at the bubbles helps them focus and relax.

Preschool/Pre-K- pick a yoga pose, for example, tree pose. Have them hold the pose while you blow bubbles to them; after a few rounds, call out a new pose.

Pre-K and Up - Get child-friendly bubble containers and have the children each take turns blowing bubbles to practice deep breathing

Elementary - play “bubble pose freeze tag” by having each child “freeze” in a pose. When a bubble lands on them, they can unfreeze and pick a new pose. They are then frozen again in the new pose until another bubble lands on them

Wishing you many of hours filled with yoga, bubbles, giggles & fun!

~ Andrea

Andrea Creel, MSW, LMSW, E-RYT 200, YACEP

Andrea is the founder of Shining Kids Yoga, which began as an after-school program at her son's elementary school in 2014. She has been teaching yoga to all ages since 2005.  Andrea completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training & prenatal yoga training at Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received specialized training in children’s yoga from the Radiant Child Yoga program, training in postnatal yoga from Baby OM,  and training in therapeutic yoga from  The Samarya Center.

Andrea is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the State of Maryland, having received her MSW degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore.

She has taught yoga for children at yoga studios throughout the DC area, including Tranquil Space, Budding Yogis, Rock Creek Yoga and Warrior One Yoga. She also teaches classes for adults at Yoga Bliss Studios and is part of the teacher training faculty at Extend Yoga.

When not teaching or practicing yoga, Andrea enjoys playing board games with her son, Quinn, singing karaoke, and trying out new vegetarian recipes!

How to Do the Yoga Macarena

For those who are not already familiar, The Macarena is a popular song and dance from the 1990s. It’s popularity has continued for the past few decades, and remains a wedding and bar/bat mitzvah staple, ensuring that many elementary school-age children know the dance moves. For those who don’t already know how to do it, you can watch a how-to video at the bottom of this post.

Since kids love to do the Macarena, a fun way to adapt it for yoga class is to do the “Yoga Macarena!” Simply turn on the song, and for each chorus, call out a different yoga pose to hold while doing the Macarena arm movements. In Yoga Macarena, we don’t jump/turn to a different side, we just stay facing the same way because holding a pose while performing the arm movements is hard enough!

Here are some poses you can hold while doing the Macarena:

Tree

Chair

Eagle Legs

Airplane

Triangle

Warrior 1

Warrior 2

Stork

Boat

Butterfly

Peacock (seated wide-legged forward fold)

low lunge

high lunge

River

Seated Twist

Starfish

Are there other yoga poses you like to do with the Macarena? Comment below!

Don’t know how to do the Macarena? Check out this YouTube video:




Kids Yoga Teacher Training - March 15-17 in Gaithersburg

Are you interested in expanding your skill set and career opportunities? Consider becoming a children's yoga teacher!

Shining Kids Yoga will be offering a weekend teacher training March 15-17 at Opus Yoga in Gaithersburg, MD. You DO NOT need to be a yoga teacher already to attend, just a familiarity with yoga and an interest in sharing the benefits of yoga with children! This training is perfect for parents, educators, counselors, health professionals, and anyone who works with children and wants to share this special practice with children!

If you have any questions about the training, email Andrea Creel at info@shiningkidsyoga.com. Payment plans and full-time educator discounts are available.

www.shiningkidsyoga.com/training

Why Do We Color in Yoga Class?

If your child has taken a before or after-school yoga class with Shining Kids Yoga you may have noticed them coming home with coloring pages. You may wonder why kids are coloring in a class that’s supposed to be about stretching and moving your body, but actually, coloring is a yogic practice, too!

Many of the designs we color in yoga class are mandalas, a sanskrit word, that means “a symbol representing the effort to reunify the self”. According to the site, 100mandalas.com, mandalas are “circular designs that have repeating colors, shapes, and patterns radiating from the center. Mandalas can be precise, carefully measured, geometric, and perfectly symmetrical, or in contrast, free flowing, organic, and asymmetrical. Mandalas are often drawn in circles but they can also be drawn in squares.“ Mandala coloring is a form of meditation because it is a practice that helps to focus and quiet the mind.

Coloring mandalas is an activity that children as well as adults can enjoy (you may be familiar with the recent adult coloring books craze). The practice of mindful coloring has many benefits, including:

  • concentration - when coloring a mandala, children focus their attention to color within small spaces

  • fine motor skills - using colored pencils or crayons requires dexterity and strength in fingers and hands, as well as coordination between the eyes, brain, and hands.

  • relaxation/stress relief - coloring mandalas has been prescribed by doctors, psychologists, and other health professionals for decades as a way of relieving stress and helping people feel more calm. It is actually a form of meditation.

  • decreases anxiety and negative thought patterns - Dr. Nikki Martinez reports that “Doing therapeutic artwork can help reduce feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness associated with lengthy medical treatments. The focus we place on the project at hand, and on an object can replace negative and unhelpful thoughts from entering our minds. The step of acting and doing vs. observing is a powerful deterrent to focusing on physical or emotional pain. “

After a long day at school, starting yoga class with mindful coloring is a simple way to help children to change gears, relax their minds and bodies, and create a bridge to the other yoga & mindfulness activities we practice in class.

Coloring and creating mandalas isn’t just for yoga class - it is a calming and meditative activity that you can also do at home with your child!

There are many sites that offer free, printable mandalas for you to use. Or if you and your child are feeling adventurous, you can make your own mandala drawings by following the instructions in this tutorial from Thayneeya McArdle of art-is-fun.com: How to Draw A Mandala.

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Here is the result of one of the mandalas my 10 year-old-son, Quinn, and I created by following the tutorial above

Coloring helps children to get out of their thinking minds, and into the creative, focused, and relaxed place inside of them. So the next time your child brings a coloring page home after yoga, you will know that they have spent class developing their concentration, creativity, and fine motor skills - a truly yogic activity!

Andrea Creel, MSW, LMSW, E-RYT 200, YACEP

Andrea is the founder of Shining Kids Yoga, which began as an after-school program at her son's elementary school in 2014. She has been teaching yoga to all ages since 2005.  Andrea completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training & prenatal yoga training at Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received specialized training in children’s yoga from the Radiant Child Yoga program, training in postnatal yoga from Baby OM,  and training in therapeutic yoga from  The Samarya Center.

Andrea is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the State of Maryland, having received her MSW degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore.

She has taught yoga for children at yoga studios throughout the DC area, including Tranquil Space, Budding Yogis, Rock Creek Yoga and Warrior One Yoga. She also teaches classes for adults at Yoga Bliss Studios and is part of the teacher training faculty at Extend Yoga.

When not teaching or practicing yoga, Andrea enjoys playing board games with her son, Quinn, singing karaoke, and trying out new vegetarian recipes!


Make Your Own Aromatherapy Relaxation Spray

Aromatherapy uses the power of smell to affect our mood, usually with the use of essential oils. At the end of almost every Shining Kids Yoga class, children are offered lavender aromatherapy spray during relaxation to help them feel more calm and peaceful. For the youngest ones, I often call it “flower spray” and invite them to imagine that they are taking a deep breath and smelling flowers. Kids love the relaxing scent, and for many, it is their favorite part of yoga class!

Aromatherapy spray is very easy to make at home either with your child as a fun and relaxing project, or on your own to use with your child at bedtime or any other time they want to feel more relaxed. And of course, you can use the spray as a calming treat for yourself, too!

To make the spray, you will need the following materials:

Directions: Simply open the spray bottle and add 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil, then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Shake well.  Voila - instant relaxation in a bottle!

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The spray can be sprayed on pillows or sprayed directly over the child (make sure their eyes are closed!), reminding them to take a deep inhale as you spray to receive the relaxing effects of the spray.  When my son was younger, I called it "sleepy spray" as a reminder to him that the spray would help him relax and fall asleep at bedtime.

Of course, if your child doesn't like lavender, choose another essential oil of their choice - other scents known for their relaxing qualities include ylang ylang, orange, and rose.

One note of caution about essential oils: essential oils should NEVER be ingested. Please keep essential oil and aromatherapy bottles out of the reach of young children.

I hope you and your children enjoy making your own aromatherapy spray!

Wishing you peace, love, and yoga!

xoxo,

Andrea

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from the links in this article.

Andrea Creel, MSW, LMSW, E-RYT 200, YACEP

Andrea is the founder of Shining Kids Yoga, which began as an after-school program at her son's elementary school in 2014. She has been teaching yoga to all ages since 2005.  Andrea completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training & prenatal yoga training at Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received specialized training in children’s yoga from the Radiant Child Yoga program, training in postnatal yoga from Baby OM,  and training in therapeutic yoga from  The Samarya Center.

Andrea is also a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the State of Maryland, having received her MSW degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore.

She has taught yoga for children at yoga studios throughout the DC area, including Tranquil Space, Budding Yogis, Rock Creek Yoga and Warrior One Yoga. She also teaches classes for adults at Yoga Bliss Studios and Extend Yoga, where she is on the yoga teacher training faculty.  

When not teaching or practicing yoga, Andrea enjoys playing board games with her son, Quinn, singing karaoke, and trying out new vegetarian recipes!

Andrea's Favorite Yoga Books for Children Part 2

Did you miss Part 1? Check it out, here!

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A few months ago, I shared recommendations of my favorite yoga books for pre-school aged children. This post will focus on favorite books for elementary school children (ages 5-10).

There are so many amazing yoga and meditation books written for children in this age group, it’s hard to choose just a few! Below are my top 5 favorites:

My Daddy Is A Pretzel by Baron Baptiste

This fun book introduces yoga poses in the context of talking about jobs that moms & dads do each day. Before reading this book, I always ask each child what job(s) their mom or dad does and sometimes we create our own yoga poses for those jobs, too! One of the great things about this book is that it gives step by step instructions on how to do each pose. A great companion to this book is the Yoga Pretzels card deck! Although I’ve listed this under the elementary aged book recommendations, this book can be used with preschoolers, too!

Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean

This book reminds me so much of the classic book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, except the main character is a cow, and he uses meditation to get over his bad day! Kids can all relate to having a bad day and feeling mad and frustrated, but the real bonus here is how the book helps to teach children a simple meditation practice that they can use to let go of these feelings. There are step-by-step instructions in the back of the book that explain how kids can make their own “Moody Cow Mind Jar.” Also, as a bonus for parents who love reading books out loud (like I do), this book is really fun to read aloud and act out with fun voices and facial expressions!

Master of Mindfulness: How To Be Your Own Superhero in Times of Stress by Laurie Grossman, Angelina Alvarez, and Mr. Musumeci’s 5th grade class

Whenever I share this book with children, I make sure to let them know that it was written, in part, by a group of 5th graders! This book is most appropriate for upper elementary-aged students (grades 3-5) and includes lots of personal anecdotes from kids about situations where using mindfulness helped them, and kid-friendly instructions for how to practice mindfulness and relaxation exercises.

Audrey’s Journey: Loving Kindness by Kerry Alison Wekelo

This book teaches the practice of lovingkindess meditation in a simple-child friendly way, through the eyes of a girl named Audrey. Audrey offers wishes of lovingkindness to herself, her brother, her mom, her dad, and all beings. Children can easily repeat these wishes along with Audrey. After reading the book, I like to ask each child in my class who else they want to offer lovingkindness to, and I love hearing all of their sweet responses, including wishing lovingkindness to their cat, their stuffed animals, grandparents, and friends. Even though I’ve recommended this book for ages 5-10, I’ve also had great success reading it and practicing the meditation with older preschool/pre-k students, too!

The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami

This book is longer than the other books I have recommended and focuses more on a story rather than teaching specific yoga poses or meditation practices. The book tells the story of a girl named Meena who suffers from low self-confidence and worries that she doesn’t have the skills or talents to participate in the school play. After beginning to practice yoga she starts to feel more confident in herself and her abilities and realizes "I can change my body by how I feel inside…If I am quiet inside, my body will be still. That’s what yoga is all about.” Many children have worries and anxiety about different parts of their lives; this book helps children to see they are not alone with their worries, but that yoga can help them develop skills and tools they can use to feel more calm and confident and remember how wonderful they truly are!

I’d love to hear what yoga books you and your children love! Comment below or email me your book recommendations to info@shiningkidsyoga.com

Wishing you peace, love & yoga!

~Andrea

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from the links in this article.

Andrea Creel 

Andrea is the founder of Shining Kids Yoga, which began as an after-school program at her son's elementary school in 2014. She has been teaching yoga to all ages since 2005.  Andrea completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training & prenatal yoga training at Tranquil Space Yoga in Washington, D.C. In addition, she received specialized training in children’s yoga from the Radiant Child Yoga program, training in postnatal yoga from Baby OM,  and training in therapeutic yoga from  The Samarya Center.

Andrea is also a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) through the State of Maryland, having received her MSW degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore.

She has taught yoga for children at yoga studios throughout the DC area, including Tranquil Space, Budding Yogis, Rock Creek Yoga and Warrior One Yoga. She also teaches classes for adults at Yoga Bliss Studios and Extend Yoga, where she is on the yoga teacher training faculty.  

When not teaching or practicing yoga, Andrea enjoys playing board games with her son, Quinn, singing karaoke, and trying out new vegetarian recipes!

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