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Photo by sean dreilinger

This summer has zipped right by. The kids have been able to explore areas of interest, play with friends and relax with family. We have been busy, but with enough breaks to create a nice balance. This summer I had the opportunity to have special one-on-one weeks with each child while the other was in camp. I had time to dote on each child and cater to their individual interests which diverge quite a bit. One child is all about being outside and active. We biked, swam in the lake, took an excursion to a regional park to walk through waterfalls and made each day focused on being physical and active. My other child chose indoor and more domestically oriented pursuits. We shopped for school stuff, painted pottery, got mini-pedicures, baked bread, picked flowers and went on walks around the neighborhood. One child embraces the big world while the other finds peace and contentment being closer to home. I enjoyed all of my experiences this summer exploring their worlds and feel like I have gained new insight into and connection with my children.

The book 3 Steps to a Strong Family by Linda and Richard Eyre goes one step deeper into one-on-one outings with their children. In the chapter about creating family traditions they explain that their family has scheduled monthly “mommy dates” and “daddy dates” with each child. It is within these outings that real listening and valuable learning take place. Each child keeps a “mommy or daddy date book” which they record what was done and a few facts about the time together. Then each outing memory is preserved by adhering some object from the date into their books. These objects, as simple as a straw, can help bring back the memory, but what lasts the longest is the emotional connection that is created during this special time together.

The Eyres’s believe that family traditions are a key ingredient to strong families. I realized that our family could use some fun traditions to celebrate our lives together. We have our family holiday traditions and a birthday morning tradition that seems to be waning. We started collecting memories of things that happen during the year in a jar to read on New Years Eve.

I’d love to hear what kind of traditions are unique to your family. Please post a comment!

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When thinking of positive affirmations, does your mind rewind to the Saturday Night Live skit with Stuart Smalley and his famous line ” I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!” The idea of saying something to oneself may seem foolish and silly but the power of positive affirmations is real.

In class, I introduce the idea of saying positive things to oneself by encouraging shouts of “I’m strong!” and  “I’m focused!” in warrior poses. During savasana, I take the class on a relaxation journey using my favorite book, Ready… Set… RELAX. These texts always include positive affirmations along with guided breathing techniques. The kids repeat to themselves positive sayings for example “I feel good about who I am”,  “I can let go and relax” and “I can breathe out tension”.

Children with anxiety can use positive affirmations with breathing techniques to help when feeling stress. A little girl in my daughter’s class was having a tough time in gym. For whatever reason, gym class made her anxious and she often made excuses to go to the nurse. Equipped with the affirmations, “I am OK. This is a feeling and feelings change” she is now happily participating in gym class.

I have also seen the success first hand with my own daughter who started waking up at night and having a hard time settling herself back down. I told her to try to inhale— filling her belly with air— while thinking “I am relaxed” and then exhale while thinking “I can sleep”. It worked like a charm and she is now able to get up in the night and help herself fall back to sleep without my guidance. Affirmations are about self-empowerment.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize teaches what he calls “Breath with Healing Thought”. These different variations of affirmations and breath are actually the key to meditation. Try these simple meditations and notice your happiness and peace grow.

1) As you inhale, repeat to yourself “In”. As you exhale, repeat “Out”. This may seem too easy and simple, but you may be surprised to notice how quickly your mind tries to run away to the past or future! Meditation is about being calmly and joyfully present to what is happening now.

2) As you inhale, repeat in your mind “I am calm”. As you exhale, repeat “I am relaxed”. Then continue only with the words “Calm” and “Relax”. The power of the words will instantly reduce your stress and worry.

3) Breathing in, repeat to yourself “I am joy”. Breathing out, smile, and think, “I smile.” Continue calmly breathing, while you repeat “Joy” and “Smile”. Smiles relax hundreds of muscles in the face, neck, and shoulders and the act of smiling can create feelings of well-being.

Affirmations are a great means to help children become self-empowered which ultimately increases their self-esteem. Thoughts combined with breath are a powerful tool to improving feelings of well being.

Current Classes:

MIDTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB

Mondays:
6-7:15am Power Vinyasa (H)

Thursdays:
6-7am Power Vinyasa

Story Time Yoga
1-1:45pm

Sundays:
5-7 year olds
9:45-10:30am
8-11 year olds
10:45-11:30am

STUDIO MOVE!

Wednesdays:
10:30-11:30 Power Vinyasa

Fridays:
Yoga for Athletes
9-10am

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