#MindfulMay Recap:Tangible Practices to Apply TODAY
In this last month alone, our world continues to show us there are many changes that need to be made and to be honest, it actually feels like this must needed change is in the works. I have been watching news cycle after news cycle, visiting different websites, reading and listening to different perspectives, looking for ways I can make a difference. I need to remind myself that change does not happen over night rather, through small moments of persistence, consistency, and dedication. In addition to educating not only ourselves and our children, we need to act. And we need to act from a place of compassion, love, and kindness.
I was inspired to create HWY's first ever Mindful May series after watching a TedxYouth Talk, "Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness?" AnneMarie Rossi, the founder of Be Mindful, summarizes and informs us of the many benefits mindfulness can have on (us and) our children. In her talk she explains how mindfulness is at the root of all learning, emotional awareness, and success. She also explains how mindfulness is not supposed to help us suppress and control our emotions rather, understand that they come and go likes waves moving through us. AnnMarie concludes by saying:
"We need the world to be more mindful. First, you need to decide if you want to be the change you want to see in the world. And then you have to be it."
These are just a few reasons why I am so passionate about teaching these mindfulness practices to children at a young age. I hope children can be equipped and empowered at a young are so they don't have to learn mindfulness practices as a teenager. They will already have these strategies to help them through complex friendships, external and internal changes, expectations, identity (just to name a few). Or even have to learn mindfulness as an adult to only unlearnhabits that do not serve us in which we have become accustomed to because these habits are what we've always done.
During Mindful May, we practiced 15 ways to cultivate compassion, love, and kindness. You can practice one strategy per day, one per week, or whatever works best for your child(ren) and your family. Yes, family! It is so important for us adults to be the models our children can learn from and be guided. New to practicing mindfulness? Great! Its never too late. The wonderful thing about our brains and mindfulness is that they are like muscles that need to be exercised and continuously learned and practiced. If practice and implemented on a daily basis, these muscles of compassion, love, and kindness can be strengthened. However, just because we exercise these muscles for a week and neglect to exercise these practices, these characteristics within us will weaken and be forgotten. Mindfulness is a daily practice that could enhance our lives if we allow it to.
Below are the 15 ways we practiced mindfulness in the month of May. Just as you have guessed, there are many others ways but this is a wonderful place to start. If you give any of these practices a try, please share with us and let us know how it goes. Tag us on Instagram: @humblewarriorsf, comment below the blog post, or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget you can share this info with your friends and family!
Humble Warrior Yoga Presents: Mindful May
Day 1: GRATITUDE
What is gratitude? Gratitude is someone, something, an action, that makes you feel loved, you heart happy, or thankful.
What are you grateful for? Why?
Who are you grateful for? Why?
How can you spread gratitude?
Day 2: MINDFUL LISTENING (Bell)
We used a bell but you can use anything!
How many cars can we hear pass by?
How many birds can we hear outside of our window?
If you have a bell, you can also have your child sit/lay down and close their eyes. Ring the bell for a minute or so and see if your child can guess the correct number of times you ring the bell!
Day 3: KINDNESS
You can reflect on the following prompts with your child(ren):
How does it feel when others are
kind to you?
How do others feel when you are
kind to them?
What can you do to spread
kindness to others?
Day 4: MINDFUL BREATHING
We used the breathing ball (Hoberman Sphere) to learn about our lungs and hoe it expands and contracts when we take our breaths! We learned our lungs live under our ribs to protect them. If you dont have a breathing ball, check out our video to breathe with us!
Day 5: HOW ARE YOU FEELING:
Sometimes, talking about our feelings can be uncomfortable, and thats ok! Once way we can build comfort is by talking about the "weather."
What weather forecast are you feeling today and why?
Day 6: Mindfulness Jar
Learn the benefits as well as how to make your own mindfulness jar here!
We learned that you can use the mindfulness jar to help calm your mind and body down in moments of excitement, frustration, and sadness (just to name a few). Don't have a mindfulness jar? Don't worry! We've got you covered, just click here.
Day 7: RAINBOW BREATH
Rainbow breath is a fun and imaginative way to cultivate love and energy to harness throughout the day! Grab all the colors of the rainbow and bring them to your heart (hands at hearts center). Inhale send your colorful palms to the sky, exhale create a rainbow over your head. Repeat as many times as necessary. After you have completed all of your breaths, don't forget to rub all the colors in your heart to harness that rainbow love and energy for the entire day!
See video here.
Day 8: STARFISH BREATH
"You have 2 hands so you can do 10 starfish breaths!" -Theo, Age 5
Follow the diagram to the left and find you way to a calmer you in about 30 seconds! Starfish breath is a wonderful resource as you have it with you wherever you go.
Day 9: MINDFUL LISTENING:
Step out to your front/back yard or even sit by an open window. Sit with your child and close your eyes for one and minute and listen.
What did you hear?
Did you hear anything new?
If you heard a bird or other animal, can you describe what it looks like?
Day 10: WARRIOR OF LOVE
Invite your child(ren)to talk about the following:
What can we do to spread love to those around us?
How does it feel to spread love to others?
What might others feel when you spread love?
One of our humble warriors taught Rainbow Breath to his mother's coworkers the his mom said she didn't know how to meditate.
You can also grab your child to do the warrior of love pose (as show in the picture)! Find the how-to here.
Day 11: PEACEFUL PLACE
Imagine you could close your eyes and teleport anywhere your heart desired in a time of sadness, loneliness, or frustration.
Where would that place be?
What would that place look like?
Who would be there?
Day 12: BODY SCAN
Guide your child to lay down on his/her back like a starfish or in savasana. Encourage your child to inhale and send their breath all the way down to their toes and feet. Exhale. Invite them to say out loud or in their head all the things their feet help them do. Conclude by giving gratitude to your feet. Next, inhale and send the breath to the legs listing and giving thanks to all our legs do for us, Continue throughout the rest of your body. If this is too long for your child, do 1-3 body parts at a time.
Day 13: POWER POSE
Did you know that if you stand in a super hero position with your chest to the sky for 2 minutes, you are likely to perform with confidence, see yourself in a positive light, and believe in yourself?
Amy Cuddy has a wonderful TedTalk: "Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are" click on the link to check it out!
Day 14: AFFIRMATIONS
"Our brains tend to reinforce what we believe." -Marie Forleo
Declare to the world who you are and how you want to feel!
Feeling scared? Declare bravery!
Pushed some one over while upset and impulsive? Declare love and kindness!
These affirmations can help children create strong, kind and resilient identities.
Day 15: SELF-LOVE
This is perhaps the most important and maybe where we should have started.
What if we learn to love ourselves at a young age? What if early on we learn and understand what lights up our souls only to treat others with that same powerful love?
Ask your child:
What do you love about yourself?
What are you good at?
*Don't forget to celebrate and nourish these qualities!
Remember, you mindfulness practice is a muscle that needs to be exercised, just like our body! As we being to create a healthy habit of mindfulness we will start to experience its benefits, positivity and an awareness of our bodies and mind.
Wishing you Happy Mind(fullness)!