Emotional Health: is the ability to deal with your emotions in a way that is healthy for you and for those around you. Social-emotional development influences all areas of development, from intellectual to motor to interpersonal skills. To feel strong within your own skin, there needs to be a balance between the information you take in, and then your ability to healthfully ingest, digest, absorb and expel it. The greatest challenges lie in being able to communicate even when dealing with the strongest emotions, such as anger, frustration and sorrow. It is natural to feel these emotions, but how we respond to them is what separates us. Laying a path to healthy emotional security is being able to acknowledge the varied feelings you have, but being able to respond rather than just automatically react is what will help you remain strong, confident and flexible in difficult situations. If you, as an adult, can demonstrate this to your child, you will help them learn by mirroring a natural and comfortable way to express their emotions without harm.
Craft: “Breathing” Dragons: Since the activity before class was for such young children, I modified the craft. We took paper coffee cups and cut out a large hole in the bottom. Then each child, with the help of a parent/caregiver, if needed, put glue around the inside mouth of the cup and then glued strips of colored tissue paper flowing out of the cup. There were small pompoms for eyes, some kids used two eyes, some three, and even a few ones. When finished, we put them aside to dry and then gathered in the yoga area.
Ringing the Chime: Calm, quiet breathing. We ring the bell, gently swinging the two sides of the chime together. Take a breath in with your nose, like you are smelling a flower, cookies baking, fresh mowed grass, and slowly allow the breath to seep out your nose, a soft stream just trickling out through your nostrils, as the bell continues to echo. Carefully pass the chimes to the next person, trying not to make any sounds in between. Of course there are many types of chimes and bells that can be used. I like these chimes, because of their weight and their sound. Kids really enjoy being able to do this themselves and I find that all children can do it alone, given enough time and to assist only when needed. It is very rewarding for them and its fun! I strongly suggest that any person sharing the experience should take a try and ring the chimes. That means teachers, parents, kids…we even gently chimed them in front of any babies present and they connected to the sound immediately and smiles lit up on their tiny faces!g loud, quiet…
Demo Strong vs Soft breathing (cannot/can blow out candle): Usually I focus only on breathing in and out of the nose during yoga, but for this exercise, we took a breath in with our noses and then out with our mouths. For the “soft” breath out, we did a gentle exhale, one that would not blow out a candle. For the “strong” breath, we exhaled fiercely.
Breathing: STOP acronym for parents and care givers: “S” Stop; “T” Take a few deep, calming breaths; “O” Observe yourself and the situation at hand so that you can respond rather than react; “P” Proceed.
Hoberman Sphere: (the link in this title shows the sphere in action) This is the best all around visual breathing assistant. When it opens, you inhale and imagine you belly expanding; then as you exhale, let it close as your belly softens. It works for all ages and all abilities. Kids love to use the ball, as do adults. The Hoberman sphere is a structure resembling a geodesic dome, and which can fold down to a fraction of its normal size. The scissor-like action of its joints enables it to do this. If you look at it closely you can see a pattern in how its structured. It is made up of triangles and hexagons (the regular sized toy, that is.) It is a beautiful toy both aesthetically and structurally. It is truly a mesmerizing toy where form follows function.
Butterfly Sequence w/ Fly Like A Butterfly: Sit with bottom of feet touching. Gently flap the legs and sing: Fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly up so high (two times); Next place hands together by the side of the head to represent “sleeping” and sing a little more softly: Sleep like a butterfly, (switch hands to other side of the head) sleep like a butterfly, (switch one more time) sleep like a butterfly through the night (repeat, this time sing as quietly as possible and then even just move lips and say words); hands go behind you now on the floor and you sing more robustly: Soar like a butterfly (lift up right leg and put it down), soar like a butterfly (lift up left leg and put it down), soar like a butterfly up so high (Both legs up-body is being held up by hands on the floor) (second time through at the part when both legs are up, try to release hands from the floor and even try to flap like butterfly wings)
Little White Duck: Use the book that is based on the Raffi song (Here I interject that I highly recommend Raffi for his great kids music. He sings folk songs and is utterly appealing to kids and not bad on the ears for adults. Also, Dan Zanes. Love love love his kids music.) It is a simple book with an accompanying song. ..There’s a little white duck sitting in the water, a little white duck, doing what he oughta…In the book you have duck pose (squat and flap wings and say quack quack quack), take a bite of the lily pad (make a bite sound and rub your tummy), frog pose with hopping and ribbits (then have them jump back to their lily pads-whatever their space marker is), bug pose (lie on back with feet and hands in the air and say buzz buzz buzz); snake pose (on you belly, add hissing and squiggling); when there is no one left in the water, we all pretend to cry, boo hoo hoo. In the song their is the refrain “I’m glad” and I always cue the kids to sing with me at this part, “I’m g…….!” This book is full of fun onomatopoeia for kids!
Breathing Dragons: Get your (now dried) Dragon Breath craft. Strong breaths. Soft breaths. I once again talked about the differences between strong, happy, athletic breath and soft, calm, relaxing breath. The strong breaths really whip up the tissue paper, making the dragon breath fire. The soft breath, a gentle rustle is all.
Mindful Movement Series: Here I combine flowing yoga poses, rhythmic passages on the feet, clapping, snapping, counting. Doing things with a flowing sense of synchronicity in a group, is a feel good activity. The movement, the community, and the rhythm all blend together for a fun, positive experience. I like to use a variety of songs, but some of my favorites include: Sleep Tonight (Junior Boys Remix) by Stars; All That Meat And No Potatoes by Fats Waller; Tangos De Mi Novia by Son De La Frontera
I Am Happy: Verse based meditation technique. Combines vocalization of the affirmations good and happy, the vowel sounds and some laughter yoga. See Eve’s Awesome Mini Yogi Yoga comes to Mini Miracles Childcare Center, Framingham, MA
Yogini Went To Sea (click this title for a link to the video): The greatest standby song/dance/meditation on the planet. It combines tapping, repetition, a fun sound track (by my dear friend Shakta Khalsa) and many many giggles. By singing and dancing, your mind is focused in the moment, adding an element of mind calming). The words are: Yogini went to sea, sea sea; to see what she could see, see, see; but all that she could see, see, see; was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea ,sea (tap forehead); Yogini went to jai, jai, jai… (tap upper arm at bicep); Yogini went to knee, knee, knee (cross body tap of opposite knee); Yogini went to oowajawa, to see what she could oowajawa, but all that she could oowajawa, was the bottom of the deep blue oowajawa (rub tummy); now of four motions in order: Yogini went to sea, jai, knee, oowajawa…. (tap forehead, tap arm, tap knee, rub tummy). As kids get older, I have them start with one hand, switch as the song gets faster and then on the third and fastest time, keep switching hands.
Savasana: Body scan deep relaxation script
Everyone please rest on your back or your tummy. Choose the one that you feel will be most comfortable. The one that will let you be restful and quiet. Breath in through your nose, like you are smelling a delicious flower or some yummy cookies baking and as you breath out through your nose, you can feel your whole bod, from head to toe, relax.
- Settle into your space/bed
- Breathe in, out
- Notice how the breath in fills you up with air, like a balloon, and you feel light and free.
- Feel how the breath out allows your whole body to soften and relax; you feel like your body is just a cloud floating in the big blue sky..
- Can you allow yourself to be very still and quiet? This means your mouth is not talking, your body is not moving and your mind is not trying to figure things out.
- Breathe in, out
- I am going to tell you to think about various parts of your body. I do not want you to touch these body parts, just allow yourself to think about them. Bring the attention to their heads, arms/hands, belly, legs, feet/toes. Pausing to breath in/out between each body part. Tell them to feel light, free, happy, good, friendly, still, healthy, loving, lovable, whole, complete, perfect. Say nice things to them. Then be silent. Maybe for a minute. Maybe longer?
All written material is the sole property of Eve Costarelli, DBA Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement/ Eve’s Amazing Yoga/ ¡Olé Namaste!