Mental health and wellbeing

Photo by: Shaun Zeng

“I explain shivasana to kids and grown ups alike as just that: a break, a mini vacation. It is a tool for regeneration in that we often have remember how to relax.”

When I teach children yoga, I first and foremost turn off the lights in the classroom. I want them to feel a tangible energetic shift. There is a slowing down and a going within and a welcome relief from the harsh glare of the fluorescent overhead lights. I am always amused how they ask if there will be the “lie down part at the end.” I usually respond that yes, there will be, but we must do our yoga work first, and then we can rest.

It’s interesting to me that no matter what the age, from Kindergarten to fifth graders, they all crave the simplicity of shivasana. The ability to lie still and do nothing feels like we are getting away with something. Stealing a little secret nap, even if just for five minutes can feel like a luxury to kids who are programmed to go, go, go all day.

I explain shivasana to kids and grown ups alike as just that: a break, a mini vacation. It is a tool for regeneration in that we often have to retrain our bodies and minds to remember how to relax. Kids are closer to knowing this innately. But gone are the days of preschool when a nap was part of the day. It is a harkening back to a forgotten time when we can luxuriate in a peaceful drowsiness, with soft music playing and our bodies floating peacefully for a short while before duty calls us back to activity.

Allowing ourselves time to lie still and just be is not a luxury but a necessity. It is fundamental to feeling connected and at peace. If you are not in the habit of doing a yoga class that includes a shivasana, there are still ways that you can create this peaceful environment for yourself and your children.

Set a time when things are quiet in the house, perhaps on a Sunday afternoon. Lower the lighting and lay out yoga mats and blankets. Invite the kids to relax and listen to music. There may be some resistance and giggling, but most kids really enjoy it. I suggest downloading the healing mantra Ra Ma Da Sa by Snatam Kaur, or Blessings by Singh Kaur.

It may become a nice family ritual where you all can take a little break from the day to day running around and come back to center as a family.

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