Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children: Kind Wishes

Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children: Kind Wishes

Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children: Kind Wishes

Many of the practices that support our well-being and happiness as adults are wonderful for children as well, but the way that they are taught must be developmentally appropriate and meet their sometimes very different needs.

We recently were introduced to an activity book for children that does just that, called Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children Activity and Coloring Book, by Jennifer Cohen Harper of Little Flower Yoga. Containing over 50 different practices, the book is designed to be used by kids themselves, as well as for parents, educators and clinicians to share with them.

Below is an excerpt of an activity called Kind Wishes, a child friendly version of a loving kindness meditation. I’m happy to share it with you, and hope you can practice right along with the children in your life.

Sit up tall. Close your eyes or look at one spot that isn’t moving. If there are other people in the room, imagine that you are sitting all by yourself. Notice what it feels like to sit with yourself.

Imagine someone that you care about very much walking into the room and sitting down right in front of you. What does it feel like to sit with this person?… Let’s send them some kind wishes.

Say to yourself, either out loud or in your mind: ….May you be happy…May you be healthy…May you be safe….May you be strong

How did you feel when you sent kind wishes to this person? Happy? Proud? Sad? Any other feelings? Was it easy or hard to send kind wishes to this person?

Now close your eyes again and imagine someone you think is a little annoying or frustrating. Maybe your sister or brother when they are driving you crazy, or a friend you had an argument with recently. It could even be a teacher or a parent. Imagine that person walking into the room and sitting down in front of you. What does it feel like to sit with this person?…

Let’s send them some kind wishes. Say to yourself, out loud or silently, ….May you be happy…May you be healthy…May you be safe…May you be strong

How did it feel to send this person kind wishes?

Now close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting with a mirror in front of you. Look into the mirror and notice what it feels like to sit here with yourself… Now send some kind feelings to yourself, by saying ….….May I be happy…May I be healthy…May I be safe…May I be strong

Notice what it feels like to send these kind wishes to yourself. Take a few steady breaths, and when you are ready, open your eyes.

Don’t forget to download the reflective worksheet and coloring sheet that enhance this activity, along with a bonus practice called Layers of Sound. Happy practicing!

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

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