Yoga is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature — body, mind, and spirit. Because of its advantages, even Kids yoga is now a very popular wellness practice worldwide, to introduce little ones to mind-body-soul health & wellness. I love Yoga too. Not because of the physical aspect of it but because it allows me to settle within myself, calm my mind and breathe. Yoga increasingly has been introduced to kids as young as toddlers because you can never learn the wisdom to be aware, calm & compassionate too early in life. Right?
Kids yoga is beneficial to kids in many ways. Because children encounter emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts, a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable for them.
But I wanted more than just Kids yoga. I wanted something that engages deeper. I was looking for something more than the enhancement of physical flexibility and control. I want my 3-year-old daughter to be introduced to the concept of “Mindfulness”
As a busy mom trying to balance family, work, friends, chores, and “me time,” taking a few moments a day to breathe can be harder than it sounds, but I’m determined to incorporate mindfulness into my life to model it for my daughter. Just like nutritious eating, exercise, reading, and any other habit we believe will help grow our children into happy, healthy adults, developing a skill that will help my kid connect with her own thoughts and feelings are worth the effort.
So, I routinely do a guided meditation, Pilates, and yoga, but I was yet to find an activity which could give my daughter an introduction to Mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
As per the Mindful magazine,
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
While mindfulness is innate, it can be cultivated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation (it’s also possible lying down but often leads to sleep); short pauses we insert into everyday life; and merging meditation practice with other activities, such as yoga or sports.
Benefits of Mindfulness
The benefits of mindfulness are not just anecdotal: A growing body of scientific research shows its positive effects on mental health and well-being. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to improve attention and reduce stress as well as increase one’s ability to regulate emotions and feel compassion & empathy. Mindfulness also is widely considered an effective psychotherapy treatment for adults, children, and adolescents with aggression & ADHD or mental health problems such as anxiety
What’s the Research?
A study conducted at the University of Edinburgh in 2014, exploring children’s experiences of the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme found that:
- 98% of children report benefits from participating in the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme.
- 92% of children reported an enhanced ability to regulate their emotions and tolerate strong effect.
- 77% of children report improvements in peer and family relationships.
- 72% of children report an enhanced ability to be less reactive towards others, being less aggressive and engaging less frequently in physical and verbal confrontation
- Over 55% of children report that mindfulness helps them to enjoy life more, demonstrating enhanced gratitude, happiness, optimism, and quality of life.
Our kids are busier than ever, and practicing mindfulness can help reduce their anxiety, improve focus and memory, and make falling asleep easier, research suggests.
Hence, I looked around, in Dubai, to find some activity here which can teach my little one mindfulness through fun and games, and universe literally handed me the address.
While surfing the Instagram, I saw a post by Relax Kids and my eyes lit up. This is exactly what I was looking for, and I immediately wrote a message to Alina, the lady behind it to get in touch with me. We spoke, and I decided to gather like-minded mom from my daughter’s school and we organized a playdate for our kids aged between 3-4 years to help them experience mindfulness through Relax Yoga techniques.
What is Relax Kids programme?
Relax Kids classes follow a simple yet engaging 7-step system which includes dance and movement, fun and relaxation games, stretches, massage, breathing exercises, affirmations and relaxation, mindfulness and visualizations.
Children Love these classes as they are entertaining and stimulating as well as give them tools, which they can use for the rest of their life.
What happened in the Relax Kids by Alina session?
We moms brought our kids to the planned venue at a friend’s home. Alina was already there and she had arranged colorful yoga mats, like the rays of the sun. She greeted the children and asked them to remove their footwear and come sit on a mat of their choice. Our little preschoolers happily followed her instructions and sat on the yoga mats, facing her. We moms sat behind, observing and admiring.
Relax Kids sessions is aimed at children and young people to help them feel calm and focused and to develop emotional resilience.
There are 7 steps in each session starting with movement and games. Alina helped the kids focus inwards and loosely covered mindful stretching, breathing, peer and/or self-engagement and positive affirmations.
The theme of the class was “Mighty Monsters Adventures” since this playdate was just days after the kids celebrated Halloween.
- Move: They moved and danced to start the session with fun. My little one was a bit nervous here but she slowly came around
- Play: Then they had a little activity game where they were supposed to welcome a Monster Toy, say hello, introduce themselves to him and pass it on to the next kid.
- Stretch: Alina, made the kids do some lovely yoga stretches. It was amazing to see them learn so fast. By now, the kids were engaged, alert and excited.
- Feel: It was time to tell the Monster their feelings. Alina asked them to tell the monster “What makes them Happy”. It was emotional for us Moms to hear them convey their feelings to this little toy monster. Makes us think, these kids are little but their emotions are real! They also played a little game where the kids hugged each other on the count of 1, 2, 3 .. This truly was my favorite step of the day.
- Breathe: This was a fun activity. The kids tried to inhale and exhale by blowing a little pom pom ball through a straw. We saw so much happiness and heard them giggle as they huffed and puffed at that little ball.
- Believe: Do you know about the power of Affirmation? I can surely write another blog on it, but Alina introduced this concept to our 3-year-old kids. It really opened my eyes to the possibility of character building this small but magical act can bring to their little personalities. I decided to imbibe and implement it daily.
- Relax: Ever seen 3-4-year-old kids, relaxed, with their eyes closed, in the company of their gang of friends, listening to the calming music and angelic voice telling them stories? I wouldn’t have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. This is how wonderful Relax Yoga is. Check out the pictures!
We live in a time when it is all too easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and even children are more frequently experiencing these uncomfortable states. When we teach mindfulness to children, we are sharing with them skillful ways of relating to life’s uncomfortable and challenging moments.
The earlier we do so in their young lives, the greater the opportunity to help them cultivate resilience and develop and refine their mindfulness practice as they mature.
Would you like to guide your kids into mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation?
Would you like to help children manage anxiety and stress whilst building their self-esteem and confidence?
I highly recommend Relax Kids by Alina.
It is run by Alina, here in Dubai. She is a Mother of 3 and yoga instructor with more than 12 years’ experience
You can reach her at the following address:
- Instagram: @relaxkidsdubaialina
- Facebook: /relaxkidsdubai-alina
Currently, she has classes running at The Village Mall, Jumeirah 1 every Saturday starting Nov11th to Dec 9th. 2017.
- 10am-10.45am: 3-5year olds AED60
- 11am-12noon: 6-9-year-olds AED80
I hope you liked this Megz Review of, Relax Kids classes by Alina. As always, it is my intention to bring to you, the honest review of activities, experiences, product, and services that I believe in and that I have experienced personally.
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