First We Breathe
The way I begin my morning typically sets the tone for how the rest of the day will go. I’m a morning person, so getting up early, generally speaking, is not really a challenge for me (unlike staying up late, which is really tough!). I’ve realized that having a minimum of one hour completely to myself to be quiet and to do some good thinking (and writing) makes a world of difference. If I get this time to myself, I often accomplish one or two of the more important items on my “to do” list, and I’m ready to engage and be present with my children once I hear their little feet hit the stairs. If I don’t get this time, however, I usually spend the rest of the day desperately trying to carve out spaces of time for myself to be alone, quiet and thoughtful. Have I mentioned that I homeschool my 2 children? Yeah…that quiet time isn’t going to happen! And this usually makes me grumpy, and if I have a work deadline looming, stressed. This is why I start my day with intentionally waking up early. It’s good for me and it’s good for my kids.
I’ve realized that how I begin the school day for my girls is just as important to do with some intention, and that is why our day often begins with 20 minutes of yoga. Both of my girls have a level of familiarity with yoga thanks to their previous time spent at a Montessori school, where they received occasional opportunities to practice yoga moves and intentional breathing. We’ve also done some yoga at home together as a family. But I am most definitely not a yoga instructor or someone with a firm grasp on yoga fundamentals such that I could comfortably teach my children yoga techniques.
And this, my friends, is where the power of the internet comes into play. I thought that there surely must be someone out there who offers yoga instruction for children, available online, and that’s how I found Yoga Ed.
I was especially drawn to this subscription-based service because it has been designed to meet national standards for physical education, and that means that as the teacher on this side of the computer screen, I have access to lesson plans to help me reinforce the key learning objectives of each video lesson. The curriculum that has been so carefully developed is also grounded in science. Yes, science can back up what practitioners of yoga have known for many centuries: yoga is beneficial to the body and the mind!
There are so many videos available in the library, categorized by age grouping and even by length of time. We have been slowly working through the yoga designed for younger children, since one of my kids is 5, and since the 8-year-old can still benefit from these courses which do a great job of teaching fundamental techniques like staying connected to the mat and taking deep, full breaths. As we progress in our journey, we also plan to start taking advantage of the chair yoga “brain breaks” which are 3-8 minute videos with stretches you can do in between lessons during the day, just to break things up and to give your body and mind a chance to move in a different way.
The videos are very well done, and my children seem very responsive to them. I can also see a positive difference in my children when they have already exercised their bodies and minds before we crack open a book to begin our work.