Childlight Yoga. It is something I've had on my back-burner for the future but the training happened to be a weekend I was around (with no weddings or work or family events or anything!).. so I bit it and did it.
Well- it was really great. Although I'm not quitting my school teaching job tomorrow to start to do this- there were still a lot of strategies and exercises and TONS of resources that I can apply right to my art room and pass on to some other teachers.
Knowing this week especially was going to be a potentially cuckoo one for kiddos and since I've been experiencing a very high amount of the whining/complaining/tattle-tailing lately I decided to try a breathing exercise to encourage some personal focus for the kids.
It is called 'balloon breathing' - but I called it a "Big Balloon Belly Breath" to the kids which go their attention immediately. First I imitated how when we take a breath and we hold it in our cheeks like a balloon we are trapping the air but it gives us a head ache and doesn't help our body.
Then I explained how we are trying to get the air we breathe into travel all the way down to our belly and inflate our belly like a balloon.
We all hold our hands on our bellies or just in front- we inhale, blowing up the balloon (pushing our hands out like we're holding a filling balloon) and then exhale, deflating the balloon. We first exhaled through our mouth and then tried through our nose.
This was REALLY effective with the kids- (I was just as surprised as you are right now)- they were very receptive and like doing it as a group. We talked about how you can only breathe for yourself and not for anyone else so doing these big belly breaths helps us to focus on us and not worry about others. phew!
I also was introduced to this wonderful song- "Colors" by Kira Willey!
I played it twice through as a transition background song as they sat down and went to work.
Magical! (download it now, seriously- its from her Dance for the Sun album)
Here's a youtube video of it:
And some bonus videos for you...
Found these on youtube- showed them to my little ones yesterday.... they loved!
(2 mins) Color-mixing claymation with beautiful Jenny Owens Young song:
(2 mins) Little Yellow & Little Blue with claymation - great music by Said the Whale: