After weeks of lazy days, playing outside, fun and no pressure (for them!) the children are heading back to school. For some this can be a stressful time, especially when transitioning into a new class or even a new school, beginning to think about applying for college or university. We thought we'd share a few techniques that our young students have found helpful!
The Breath: One of the best ways to calm the nervous system is to slow down and deepen the breath. There are lots of ways to do this, but we have found the best way is to simply use your hands to bring awareness to it. Sitting or lying comfortable, place your hands on your lower belly so your finger tips are touching. Take a few deep breaths, noticing how your hands move apart slightly as you breathe in and come back together as you breathe out. Repeat with hands on the ribcage and then on the collar bones, just following the movement of the breathe. For younger children you can also try placing a favourite teddy on the belly and just watch it moving, breathing with the teddy.
The Body: Getting the body moving is a great way to reduce stress. Our students love the Sun Salutations, which help to connect the body with the breath in a simple, flowing sequence. There are a few variations, but this is nice and gentle. Start at the top and go clockwise, inhaling to lift the arms up, exhaling to fold... with each movement being an in or exhale.
The Mind: Mindfulness is a common phrase at the moment, however it is not a new thing! The focus of yoga is to calm the fluctuations of the mind, and in this way it is a 'mindfull' practice. As well as doing yoga, we encourage students to take a 'mindful moment' at set times during the day, such as when brushing their teeth. Taking a mundane activity and really focusing on it, feeling the brush against the mouth, the taste of the toothpaste, the sensations on the tongue can help to bring the mind back to the present, something really important in a fast paced, instant messenger driven world.
We love working with young people and being able to set them up with tools to make life easier. Our Youth Yoga teacher training courses allow us to share all of this and more with others. Past students have included Youth Workers, Teachers, Mental Health Support Workers, Parents and Yoga Teachers. If you would like to find out more, why not join us on one of our next training courses and learn how to inspire and empower the next generation!