Find gratitude and joy in every day. Transform the challenging into a gift. Be compassionate during these times of anxiety and fear; lend a hand, a breath, your heart to those who need comfort, who feel deeply and for moments, at least, can see no light. Without the dark there would be no light. Without the rain there would be no rainbow. Without the mud there would be no lotus. Bloom where you're planted even if there is a little mud.
At the best of times, children have big feelings. During these difficult times it is not just children who are struggling with emotions. I am sure you have heard and you have said, TAKE A DEEP BREATH. While this is good advice, if not voiced in a caring way, it may be annoying and could spark an even greater negative response.
It is absolutely true that the best way to change how you feel is to change how you breathe. When you feel out of control, the breath is the one thing that you can control. This is not only true for children but also for adults. Everyone can benefit from using this natural control mechanism. However, it is best to teach and lead by example.
Instead of saying, "Take a deep breath", HELP THE CHILD BREATHE.
Hold the child's hands and look into their eyes or hold them close or just mindfully stand nearby and validate their feelings and begin to breathe in deeply through the nose and exhale out the mouth or nose. Do this until the child begins to emanate the breath. As you begin to breathe slowly and deeply, you will begin to calm and bring calm to the one who is experiencing feelings that are moving toward a lack of control (or is already there). Stay close and breathe together.
We know that words are energy. They can empower or destroy. We need to remember that this does not just apply to the words we say to others but also to ourselves. Whenever we use negative self-talk our brain begins to believe what we say. Likewise when we use positive self-talk we can increase our sense of self. What we practice we grow. What we send out, we get back. It is important to feel good about ourselves so we can help others feel good about themselves. Those who hurt are hurting.
This is a very simple daily practice for both children and adults. Simple but not easy. Please try it every day to help our world heal. We need to start with ourselves. My friend Heather practiced "365 Days of Self-Love". She healed herself of many health issues and the energy around her changed. When we offer ourselves self-love we are also healing those around us with our powerful love energy. This is a great family activity. Try making it a habit. See how those around you respond.
Everyone needs love. Especially those who least deserve it.
Start with yourself and watch it spread. The world needs love.
Each morning , PLACE YOUR HAND ON YOUR HEART and say,
1. "I love you (add your name)."
If this is too hard, try just saying,
2 ."Good morning (add your name)"
If this too hard, just
3. Put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths.
4.Then move to the other steps as you feel comfortable doing so
PLACE HAND ON HEART - GOOD MORNING (your name) - I LOVE YOU!
We celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd each year but we should take care of the earth every day. Affirmations are words we can say to remind us to stay positive. The following Earth Day Affirmations help us remember to say Namaste to Mother Earth and to honour and respect her. You could copy these or make your own. Cut them into strips and put them in a bowl. Then you could pick one each morning to help remind you to be grateful for the earth and her children, (people, trees, animals, water, sky and her many other gifts), while doing something each day to show your love for her. You could say THANK YOU instead of Namaste. Either way be kind to Mother Earth and she will be kind to you.
Affirmations for Earth Day
We are all one family under the same sky. Namaste Everyone!
I play outside in nature. Namaste Trees, Grass and Sun (and mud puddles).
I plant seeds. Namaste Food and Flowers
I eat food that comes in its own package (skin).
Namaste Apples and Pears and Oranges
I pick up litter to help keep Mother Earth Pretty. Namaste Mother Earth.
I recycle paper. Namaste Trees
I hug a tree to give and receive love. Namaste Trees.
I look at the sunny sky after it rains. Namaste Rainbows
We are all interconnected. What I do to others, I do to myself.
Namaste Everyone and Everything!
I am creative. Namaste Pine Cones, Leaves, Sticks and Rocks
I turn off electronics and watch nature. Namaste Bugs, Buds, Frogs and Turtles
I breathe love, peace and joy to all that surrounds me.
Namaste People, Plants and Animals
I use reusable containers for lunch. Namaste Mom
I eat healthy vegetables. Namaste Rich Soil.
I carefully pick up plastics and metal. Namaste Animals
I turn off the lights and water when I am finished. Namaste Electricity
I reduce, reuse and recycle. Namaste Polar Bears
I am helping preserve Mother Earth for future generations. Namaste to ME!
Earth Day Craft
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
1. Coffee Filter (or paper towel)
2. Blue and Green washable markers
3. Spray bottle with water
Optional: Black construction paper
Alternately you could use 1 or 2 eye droppers for green water and blue, us
1. Place the coffee filter on a protected surface
2. Colour the coffee filter with the markers
3. When the filter is fully covered, take outside and spray it with water. Squeeze the water out and allow a few minutes to dry.
1. Place the coffee filter on a protected surface
2. Put green food colouring in water in a small bowl. Do the same in another small bowl with blue food colouring. Another bowl of water with blue food colouring in it.
3. Using an eye dropper (or 2) drop the coloured water on the coffee filter.
4. Allow to dry.
Trace hands on the black construction paper to make the hand silhouette to add to the world (made from the coffee filter). Of course any other colour of construction paper can be used to make the hands.
Place stickers or draw pictures of trees, animals, people, "anything" to the coffee filter world.
"The Three Gates of Speech" stems back thousands of years. There is some question of its origin but it has been widely accepted by Sages and other wise people that, "We are all one. What we do to others, we do to ourselves." Words and thoughts can empower or they can destroy. It is important to understand that the words and thoughts we speak and think begin within ourselves; hence, the vibration first works on the speaker.
This has always been important but perhaps no more so than in the present. We are living in unusual times. Some have found new found freedom and joy in family togetherness. For others, this is a very trying time with much concern, anxiety and fear. This is a time to really be mindful of our thoughts and words, to try our very best to be compassionate and kind. The philosophy behind "The Three Gates of Speech" is an excellent way to stay in check and use our powers for good.. Shine your light so someone else can shine.
1. In yoga we place our hands in Namaste (prayer position)
2. With your hands in Namaste put your thumbs on your 3rd eye (middle, lower forehead)
- before you speak ask, " IS IT TRUE"
3. Take your hands in Namaste down to place your thumbs on your throat centre
- before you speak ask, "IS IT NECESSARY"
4. Take your hands in Namaste down to place your thumbs on your heart centre
- before you speak ask, "IS IT KIND"
I feel that Namaste at your 3rd eye helps you know intuitively if it is true. Your throat or speech centre can help reflect whether or not if it is necessary. Bringing attention to your heart should surely help determine if it is kind.
Of course you can just run through these 3 gates of speech without using the Namaste mudra on each point. You can just think, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind before you speak.
Also we must be mindful that truth is not the same to everyone. We have our own truths. In the same way, we may think it is necessary but down deep, is it really? Finally, to ask is it kind, should be a game changer. Even if it is true and you feel it is necessary, say it with kindness.
If you have a choice of being right or being kind,
We all have feelings. All feelings are OK. However, when they get the best of us. it is time to bring them back under control. Jin Shin Jyutsu is a Japanese practice that, in this simple form, is easy enough for even very young children to do. In fact even infants know, innately, how to self-soothe by sucking their thumb or even by holding or sucking their fingers which would fall inline with this method of releasing tension.
When big emotions are taking over your whole body, these simple steps can help balance your energy to get your superpowers (love, joy, peace, calm) back!
1. Each thumb and finger represents emotions and hold pathways that carry energy to different parts of the body.
2. If you feel worried, hold your left thumb with your right hand while you breathe in and breathe out slowly and deeply. If you listen to your body, you might start to feel the energy flowing. It's ok if you don't though. Just hold your thumb for a minute or so while you continue to take some deep breaths.
3. If you are afraid, hold your left index finger with your right hand while breathing in and out. Follow the ideas above for the thumb.
4. If you feel angry, hold your left middle finger with your right hand while following the steps above.
5. If you are sad or insecure, hold your left ring finger with your right hand while following the above.
6. If you are feeling like you are trying too hard or lack self-confidence, hold your left baby finger with your right hand as above. Remember to continue to breathe mindfully.
7. Repeat these steps holding your right thumb and fingers with your left hand.
8. Hold ONLY the finger or the thumb that represents the emotion you are feeling or hold each, one at a time.
9. Place all your fingers in the palm of your hand to bring a sense of happiness and calm. (Then do the other palm!)
10. You could say, "I am a superhero! I control my feelings. They do not control me."
Some children breeze through life accepting whatever comes their way, like physical distancing, distant schooling and the freedom to explore their authentic selves without the rigours of a scheduled and manicured life. Others thrive on routine and even create it for themselves if it is not imposed upon them While still others step into fear and discontent when they are faced with the unknown. Some children are naturally more anxious, and/or are more sensitive to the energies around them, easily picking up on worry, anger, sadness, negativity in any form. Yet everyone needs to feel loved, safe and secure. An adult can do this for a child but even very young children can do this themselves.
1. Draw a picture in your mind's eye. Imagine a really beautiful, huge bubble in your very favourite colour.
2. When you see or feel or sense or just imagine that bubble, you can either step into it or have it grow all around you until it is completely surrounding you. If it helps, you can imagine the bubble starting in your heart. Breathe out love to make a big love bubble all around you. Another idea is to have the bubble start in your solar plexus (your sun centre where your personal power lives) and expand brilliant sunlight all around you. Whatever works for you stretch it out all around you so you have lots of room inside your bright, happy, safe place.
3. The bubble can look or feel however you wish, a cozy cocoon (warm, soft and spacious), a shimmery Easter Egg (and you're the prize inside), a knight's shining armor (but lighter!), a big 'see through' bubble like you blow with a bubble wand. This is your bubble so it can look exactly how you want it to.
4. Tell your bubble it is your safety bubble. Nothing can get into your bubble unless you let it in. Only things you absolutely love are allowed in your bubble. You could put in some unicorns, rainbows, stars, cupcakes and butterflies. But absolutely no sadness or fear or worry.
5. Put your bubble on every morning when you brush your teeth or eat your breakfast or whenever it is a good time for you....everyday.
6. All you need to do is imagine your bubble with you inside and intend or tell it that it is there to protect you, to keep you safe. It is your LOVE BUBBLE. Put it on and wear it like knight's armor everyday.
7. Your can say: "I am safe. I am loved."
In 2020, it is almost 20 years since, the Children's Garden began bringing yoga to children and their families. Jennifer and Barb (Yoga Barb) Westgate, were the first 2 in Ontario and the 4th and 5th in Canada to be certified children's yoga facilitators, through YogaKids. Since that time they have both studied under many other renown experts in the field of children's yoga, health and well-being. Jennifer, a speech and language pathologist, a certified reflexology and Reiki practitioner and a student of Sonia Sumar (Yoga for the Special Child), brings a well rounded experience to all children, but especially to those with different abilities. Yoga Barb offers Metamorphosis, Reiki and Emotional Support through her private yoga programmes and during group classes upon request. Her background in behavioural sciences, mother, child care provider, certified parent educator, and now "Gran" to 4, have enhanced her natural ability to provide a nurturing environment to all who seek her guidance.