Filtering by Tag: yoga

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!

Create Your Own Magical Meditation Stones

Today's guest blogger is children's yoga teacher and professional artist, Meg Schaap! Meg teaches the after-school yoga classes at Travilah Elementary, Beverly Farms Elementary, Primary Montessori Day School, and Dufief Elementary.

Magical Meditation Stones

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Meditation stones are a creative and fun way to help children learn how to meditate. Kids love making their own magical meditation stones, or you can make one as a special gift for your child.  Check out the step-by-step instructions below!

What you need:

Once you have all of the materials, take a few minutes to get quiet, close your eyes, and think about what you are going to paint on it. It can be anything; some suggestions are: a flower, heart, flying bird, a tree, a butterfly, or anything you like.

Next, find an even spot on the rock, where it is easy to paint on. Get the paint, put all the colors you need on a plate and dip your paintbrush in the cup of water and then dry it a little on the paper towel. Decide which color you want to start with. I find it easy to outline whatever you want to paint and then you use other colors to color it in. Every time you use another color you clean your brush and dry it on the paper towel if you want bright colors. Make sure your paintbrush is not too wet or too dry when you paint. Also you can let the paint dry in between so the colors are not bleeding through each other.

If you make a mistake, you can easily wipe the paint off and start over again. Once you like what you painted, you let it dry for an hour and then get the spray sealer, and just spray one or two times and let this dry again.

There you are….. you have your own magical meditation stone!

The stone can be used as a focal point during meditation or relaxation - for example, your child can place the stone in front of them to look at the image, or lie down, close their eyes and place the stone on their belly as they relax.  I tell the children in class that the stone is magic; when you focus on the stone, all the magic goes inside of you!

- Meg Schaap

Teaching gratitude for happier, healthier children

"It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that makes us happy..." - David Steindl-Rast

In almost all of my kids yoga classes, I start class (or sometimes end class) by going around in a circle and having each child name one thing that they are grateful for in that moment.  I remind the children that scientists have done studies that have proven that bringing to mind things or people we're grateful for helps us to feel happier (or in social-scientific terms "increased positive affect"). I let them know that we can actually change our brains by practicing being grateful - it is a super power inside of us that we can use to feel happier and more peaceful inside!

Practicing gratitude is such a simple, yet profoundly beneficial practice for children and adults. Here are a few simple practices that you and your children can do together to build up your "gratitude muscles":

1. Bedtime Gratitude Practice - each night at bedtime, my son and I tell each other 5 things that we are grateful for. It helps us both feel happier and more connected to each other.

2. Gratitude Board - one of the first things that people see when they enter my home is a big dry erase board, known as my "Gratitude Board."  Sometimes, my son and I have a competition to see who can write down the most things they are grateful for, sometimes friends and visitors add things they are grateful for to the board, and every time we walk by, it is a visual reminder to remember to be grateful in that moment.

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For those lucky enough to have chalkboard paint on their walls, a gratitude wall is a beautiful addition to any room!

3. Gratitude Journals - Gratitude journals have been shown by social science research to be a validated method for increasing happiness.

For many years, I kept a gratitude journal where each day I would write down the things I was grateful for. Now, I use the Bliss app for a more high-tech version of a gratitude journal (though I'm thinking of switching back to my low-tech journal in 2018). Children and adults can create their own gratitude journals to write in daily as a practice for cultivating gratitude.  You can use any kind of notebook or journal you'd like, but I really like these journals because children can personalize and decorate the journal covers before writing inside.  Children who are old enough to write, can practice writing 5 things they are grateful for when they wake up and 5 things they are grateful for when they go to sleep.  Children who are too young to write, can draw pictures of things they are grateful for. Parents and children can sit down together and write in their journals together as a daily or weekly family ritual.  

There are so many practices that can help us to cultivate gratitude in our lives and in our children's lives.  I'd love to hear how these practices have worked for you and your family, and any other gratitude practices that you and your family enjoy! Please post in the comments section below, or send me an email at info@shiningkidsyoga.com

Wishing you peace, love, and yoga!

- Andrea

PS - special thanks to my amazing son, Quinn, for helping me write this blog post!

 

 

How To Make Your Own Yoga Jenga Game

A few weeks ago, one of my private clients was stacking her yoga blocks during our session and mentioned that it felt like she was playing Jenga. I'm always thinking about new activities to do in my classes with children, and her comment got me thinking...what if I created a Jenga game that included names of yoga poses, so every time someone pulls out a piece, we do the pose?

So, I bought a new Jenga game, wrote down a bunch of pose names and some special breathing practices on each of the pieces, and voila - Yoga Jenga was born!

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This is a great way of spending time together playing games as a family, and practicing yoga together, too!

I can't wait to play this game with all of my yoga students in class this fall!

Want to make your own game?  Here are some pose and breathing ideas to get you started!  Feel free to add in your favorites, too!

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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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