Here we are in #childrensmentalhealthweek and I'm reminding the children in my regular yoga classes why we do what we do. They might not see the link between their mental health and yoga, and it's nice to remind them.
The kinds of things we are chatting about are below, and if you get to the end there are some links to FREE STUFF which you can use at school or at home.
Today I asked a group of children in key stage 1 how they feel when they sit slumped, shoulders up to their ears, and back rounded. I then asked them to sit up so that their heads grew upwards towards the ceiling, shoulders away from the ears, spine tall. I'm sure they knew they were feeding me the answers I wanted to hear, but they said they felt sad and anxious when slumped, and 'ready to learn' and calm when sitting upright.
When we sit in a slumped position, we can't breathe fully into our bellies. This means we breathe in a more shallow way, which sends feedback to our brains that we are in danger. We make ourselves small and rounded to protect our internal organs. Conversely, when sitting up tall, our bellies can expand, we use our diaphragms better, we breathe more efficiently, we are more alert but in a calm way.
Yoga is awareness of what is going on in our bodies, in our minds and with our breath. Those three things together are so important.
Yoga allows us to release tight muscles that may have stiffened up due to long periods of feeling anxious. Releasing the tight muscles allows us to move and breathe more freely, and by so doing slow down our thoughts. Yoga poses are not about making complicated shapes with our bodies, they are designed to get to the spots where we hold our emotional baggage; namely our shoulders, hips and spine. If we can release the physical tension in those areas, we can feel so much better in our heads.
This realisation doesn't happen overnight and it needs to be experienced to be believed. So I'm offering some free resources for a limited time so that you can try this for yourself and the children in your life.
I have written two books of relaxation scripts, many of which bring your attention to your breathing. I've also written a children's yoga adventure and have published mat yoga and chair yoga versions. All four of my books are FREE on Kindle from the 8th to the 10th February 2022. If you don't have a Kindle reader, it doesn't matter as they can be downloaded on most devices including laptops, smart phones and tablets.
I've also recorded two yoga videos! One is the chair yoga version of my yoga adventure, and the other is the mat yoga version. There are other free yoga videos on my YouTube channel, I'd love it if you could subscribe.
Here are the links to the free Kindle downloads on Amazon:
Here are the links to the YouTube videos!
If you have any questions, you can always get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy the books and videos! You can order signed paperback copies of any of the books from me in my online Shop, or there are a number of small businesses who stock them.