Engaging Teens in Yoga Practice

Engaging Teens in Yoga Practice

Making yoga relevant and fun for the kids and teens in our lives is so important.  With little exposure to quality kids and teen yoga, many teens may perceive yoga as boring. Or they might think that you have to be flexible or wear certain clothing. There are often so many incorrect assumptions made about yoga.

But, we can change this.  Yoga, at its core, is all-accepting, regardless of ability or circumstances. And offering yoga to teens can help them with their health, growth, and development. 

“Aside from the physical benefits of yoga, yoga teaches teens techniques for coping with the unique issues they are faced with every day—insecurity about their changing bodies, the enormous pressure to fit in, stressful schedules and uncertainty about their beliefs and their futures.”  –Erica Rodefer

Also, we know that the brain continues to develop throughout the early to late teenage years.

“The prefrontal cortex is the area behind the forehead and is known as the -CEO of the Brain-, for its ability to plan, organize and regulate mood.  The development of the prefrontal cortex gives you the ability to concentrate and think, rather than act on impulse, and is critical to being successful throughout life stages, whether in academics, career, or relationships. “  –Dr. Marilyn Wei

Research shows that yoga during this timeframe can help teens cultivate “executive functions” such as creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline.

Here are some easy ways to engage pre-teens and teens in yoga:

Pre-Teen Hip Hop Yoga

Each young person should get a turn if they choose.  The first one picks their song and gets to lip sync and dance.   The rest of the group is behind the singer, with a yoga sequence practiced beforehand.  Have fun and be creative!  Try to incorporate all 3 elements of yoga in your sequence:  movement, breath, and rest.

Older Teen Yoga Tips

Let teens choose:

      • Music
      • Placement in room
      • Movements
      • Journal topics
      • How they participate

Teens usually like to understand the “WHY”, so be sure to explain why yoga is helpful. Also, this may not come as a surprise, but teens like to rest!  Allow plenty of time for them to cultivate peace, stillness, and calmness.

For more information on this topic, here are a few of Bloom Yoga’s favorite teen yoga resources:

Young Yokes Kids Yoga

“Yoga with Adrienne” Youtube channel

And don’t forget to keep a look out for upcoming yoga videos on our Bloom Yoga YouTube playlist!

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Making Physical Education Extra Meaningful: Tips for our Last Weeks of School

Making Physical Education Extra Meaningful: Tips for our Last Weeks of School

We all know the importance of physical education in schools.  It helps to develop motor skills, reflexes, and coordination.  It also gives children much-needed movement for their bodies during the school day and so much more. 

With kids and youth currently at home for the last weeks of school, the importance of physical education remains. One way to ensure you are providing a meaningful physical education experience at home is to incorporate mind-body techniques and activities.  Mind-Body activities teach us how our body affects our mind, and our mind affects our body. 

A research article by Dr. Sprengel and Fritts (2012) reported that:

“School and classroom-oriented programs that incorporate mind-body practices have demonstrated positive outcomes for well-being, resilience, academic performance, test scores, individual self-perception, self-regulation of negative behaviors, anxiety, stress, Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, insomnia, anger/aggressive behaviors, and chronic pain conditions.”

It is important to teach children how the mind and body impact one another, and ways to practice mind body awareness and activities. We know that one stressful thought could put your body, chemically, into a state of stress.  This could result in a behavioral outburst, body aches and other somatic issues. Teaching children that they have some control over these aspects (their mind and body), can lead to healthy, regulated adults in the future. 

What are some examples of these mind-body activities?

      • Yoga
      • Meditation
      • Relaxation techniques such as breathing
      • Massage
      • Guided Imagery
      • Tai Chi

This week, we’ll be posting some fun mind-body activities from Bloom Yoga to incorporate into your school day for physical education breaks during the day! Be on the lookout for these activities on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!

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Yoga, Kids, and Covid-19: Proactively Managing Stress

Yoga, Kids, and Covid-19: Proactively Managing Stress

In times of uncertainty, we—adults and caregivers—want to give our kids every tool in the box to prevent major stress responses like fight or flight, acting out, difficult behaviors and so on. We also want to give tools to alleviate stress when it occurs.

Yoga as a prevention method gives tools to children ahead of stressful times, which allows them to be able to manage and adapt to life circumstances. Sometimes, when we practice these tools ahead of stressful events, we minimize the stress response in the body when the stress actually occurs. 

For example, a child who has been doing exercises, breathing, and mindfulness practices may develop more control over their responses in their body and not resort to fight or flight responses in the moment.

Think of a child in a classroom who often resorts to yelling, screaming or throwing things when they get overwhelmed. When we proactively give that child tools and when they are in a regulated space in their body, they tend to retain the information learned about breathing and mindfulness. They can then utilize these skills in times of stress, instead of resorting to fight or flight responses.  We of course always want to teach skills reactively too, but the magic happens in our prevention approach!

When a child in your care is regulated and ready to learn, give them skills to manage stress just like you would teach academic topics. Then watch the child slowly integrate these skills when the stress arrives.  Kids are brilliant, adaptive, and resilient. Let’s continue to foster ways to keep them healthy and thriving!

To learn more about using yoga as a preventative method for stress, visit the Bloom Yoga web page.

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Online Family Yoga Class Starting on Thursday

Online Family Yoga Class Starting on Thursday

Starting this Thursday, May 7th, at 7pm [CLASS IS FINISHED], Bloom Yoga will be leading a weekly Family Yoga class via Zoom! Partner with your baby, toddler, and child in simple animated poses, games, art, music, and breathing exercises that help to strengthen coordination and build body awareness.

We will moo in cow pose, hiss in cobra pose, and flutter our wings in butterfly pose, all while we take a yoga journey that your child will never forget! We will explore some co-poses as well! This fun class will provide key bonding methods between caregiver and child, while strengthening their growing muscles.

Using yoga for interaction between caregiver and child creates an environment that promotes playful interactions, healthy activity, and the opportunity to increase attachment. Yoga is also a natural environment to promote and teach caregivers and children ways to respond and interact during times of stress.  Yoga teaches skills in a proactive way, but can also be utilized in a reactive way during or after stressful times, with body based coping skills that directly impact the nervous system and the brain. 

Bloom Yoga incorporates five main elements for family and children’s classes to promote an all-inclusive environment:  connect, move, breath, focus, and rest and reflect.  With these five elements of a yoga class we are able to teach skills for prevention of stress, as well as skills for response to stress. 

Family—or “caregiver and me”—yoga focuses on positively impacting family functioning and resilience, helps with nurturing and attachment, and improves social and emotional development, self-regulation, coping skills, and awareness.

These benefits align directly with the Strengthening Families Protective Factors. Developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Protective Factors have been linked to increasing family strengths, enhancing child development, and reducing the likelihood of child abuse and neglect — all outcomes that embody the mission and vision of Bloom Yoga and Illuminate Colorado.

If you’d like to join us on Thursday, click HERE [CLASS IS FINISHED] to register. You will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link and information. We hope to see you there!

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Mindfulness: Present Moment Awareness Using the Five Senses

Mindfulness: Present Moment Awareness Using the Five Senses

In our Bloom Yoga program, we talk a lot about mindfulness. Simply stated, mindfulness is paying attention to one specific thing in the present moment. But why would we want to practice mindfulness? And how can we practice it?

The five senses help us to make observations and collect information from our environment.  By utilizing this, we can start to connect to what is happening right now in this moment.  This helps the mind from continually reliving the past or being anxious about the future, which is a really essential skill in times of stress!

But how can we do this in a fun way for Kids and Adults? Here are several ways…

Games and activities that include the senses

Some of our videos on Bloom Yoga’s YouTube playlist could be a great resource for this!

Mindful Eating

You can use any food for this!  However, we love to use the little Cutie oranges for this activity.  Give all participants an orange.  First, have the person observe the orange, the color, the shape, the pores.  Second have them feel the outside of the orange, texture, temperature, peel their orange and notice the feeling inside and outside the peel.  Third, have them smell their orange.  What happens to your mouth when you smell the fresh orange?  Does your mouth start to water?  Notice that your body is already reacting without even eating!  Fourth, perhaps take a small bite and move it around in your mouth.  Notice the taste.  Slowly eat your orange and pay attention to it slowly and mindfully. 

Image from Mindful Kids Miami

Nature Walk

Take a walk outside.  Notice all your senses.  What do you hear?  What are some things you see?  What do you smell?  Does it create a taste in your mouth, similar to smelling an orange?  Can you touch a tree, pinecone, or blade of grass? what does it feel like?  Perhaps journal or draw about your nature walk and all your senses afterward.

Rock Detective (good for groups of 3 or more)

Have everyone pick out a rock (adult included), either store bought or from outside.  Sit in a circle on the floor and have everyone place their rock in front of them.  First, start by just looking at your rock.  Have them notice colors, shapes, and designs.  Next, have them pick up their rock and feel it.  Does is feel rough, smooth, hard, cold, etc.?  Have them listen to their rock, maybe tap it against the ground or something nearby, what does it sound like?  Hollow, dense, loud, soft?   Have them smell their rock. Does it have a smell?  After using their senses, have them place the rock in a box or bag and close it.  Have the kids draw their rock on piece of paper.  When finished drawing, place all the rocks in the center of the circle, have each of them, one by one, go and find their rock.  The adult’s rock should be the last one left!  But it’s ok if it’s not. You were still successful in promoting mindfulness!

Guided Relaxation

Pay attention to the voices, background noise, and what you feel in your body. Where is your body connected to the earth? Just utilize your senses to be present and rest your body. We posted a video of a guided relaxation HERE

We hope some of these ideas help you to be a little more mindful today.

For more information about Bloom Yoga, visit our webpage.

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