Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children Card Deck offers over 50 activities to support health, well-being, empowerment and an improved capacity to navigate the many stressors of life without becoming overwhelmed. Beautifully illustrated by children's yoga teacher, Karen Gilmour, coupled with easy-to-read instructions.
Divided into five elements, Connect, Breathe, Move, Focus and Relax, this card deck is a comprehensive yet accessible tool kit for children themselves, as well as for parents, teachers, clinicians and others interested in helping support self-awareness and increased personal power in young people.
Activities and practice sequences include:
- Heart and Belly Breathing
- Feeling my Strength
- Grounding in the Present
- Managing Anxiety
- Relaxing and Restoring
- Engaging my Compassion
- Checking In with My Feelings
Yoga and mindfulness have a lot to offer. The practices on these cards can help you get stronger and more flexible, manage feelings of anxiety, learn to navigate challenging situations without becoming overwhelmed, and much more. But perhaps the most important thing these practices can help with is the ability to be more connected to yourself - your body, your mind and your emotions. When you are more connected to your own experience you are can make better choices about how to care for yourself and how to respond to the world around you.
As you explore the activities on these cards, the most important thing is to notice what's happening with you. What are you feeling in your body, in your mind, and in your emotions as you try the activities? Does your experience change or stay the same as you hold poses, or as you try them multiple times?
As you practice, do what feel right to you and trust your own body. If something doesn't feel right (if it hurts, makes you uncomfortable, freaks you out a bit) pause and check out your feelings, and then make a decision about what to do that works for you in the moment. Have fun, work hard, and be curious about your experience.
How to Use These Cards
Choose A Single Card: Choose just one card for a short 1-5 minute practice. Consider starting with a yoga seat, and ending with final relaxation each time you practice, even if you are only doing one activity.
Create A Sequence: Combine 3-7 cards for a longer practice. Try choosing a card from each of the categories: Connect, Breathe, Move, Focus, and Relax. See the “Putting it All Together” cards for some ideas, but feel free to mix it up and do what feels right for you.
Bringing Energy Up and Down: Check out the arrows on the right side of each card to learn more about how the activity might affect your energy level.
As you choose your card or cards for practice, consider what your body needs at that moment. If you have time for a longer sequence, you might want to bring your energy up first, then bring it down for a final relaxation. Remember that practices affect people differently, so if a card says it will bring energy down, but you feel like it’s bringing your energy up, trust your body and your own instincts and decide if another practice would be better for you in that moment.
If You See … In The Instructions: This is an indication that a pause is needed. Take a few moments between instructions to notice your experience. Usually about 5 seconds is a good amount of time to start, and if longer feels right for you take as long as you’d like.
Yoga Mat Or No Yoga Mat?: Most practices can be done anywhere you are, with or without a yoga mat. You may want to use a mat (if you have one) to make the surface less slippery, or to have a clean space where you feel comfortable laying down, but if you feel good without a mat then it’s no problem not to use one.
Eyes Open Or Closed?: Many of the practices in this deck invite you to reflect on your inner experience. Sometimes closing your eyes will help you do this, but at other times it may not feel safe or comfortable to close your eyes. Make your own choice, and if closing your eyes doesn’t feel right you can always focus on one spot and keep your gaze there.
Jennifer Cohen Harper, Little Flower Yoga founder, author, and mindfulness and yoga expert (and parent), has created another unique resource to help children embrace their full potential.