How To Make A Yoga Mind Jar

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We love creative, crafty ideas that encourage kids to take an interest in yoga and meditation. So when one of our teachers shared a link they’d found about how to make a Mind Jar, we wanted to share it with you straightaway.

So what is a Mind Jar? A Mind Jar is quite simply a meditation tool to use whenever your child feels stressed,overwhelmed or upset. Imagine the glitter as your thoughts. When your child shakes the jar, ask him/ her to imagine their head full of whirling thoughts, then watch them slowly settle while they calm down.

So how do you make a Mind Jar? It’s best to use a plastic jar – perhaps an old peanut butter one. Then mix 1 tablespoon of pink glitter-glue with about 1 cup of hot water. Add pink food colouring and a tiny tub of glitter. The glue makes the water so thick and gooey that the glitter just slowly and gently swirls around, it takes about 5 minutes for all the glitter to settle, perfect for you and your child to o gather your thoughts!

Thank you to “Here We Are Together” for this fantastic suggestion! Let us know how you get on with this.

Why Yoga Is So Great For 8 To 12 Year Olds!

 

Last week, we reported the results of a new study, released by Harvard Medical School, proving the mental and psychological effects of yoga for teens. Our own evaluation of our Impact & Change programme (covering children in Key Stage 1 and 2) showed very similar results with children at Key Stage 2 demonstrating a remarkable 38% improvement across the 9 areas we monitored – confidence, self-esteen, ability to listen to and follow instruction, co-ordination etc.In this article we look at why children from the ages of 8 to 12 years benefit so much from yoga.

During these years, children mature very rapidly, with their interests, general knowledge, powers of thinking and reasoning all developing considerably. They want to be interactive, to take responsibility, to have a say in how things are done, to debate, question and argue. They are expected to behave in a more mature way, although their bodies and minds are going through a turbulent time as they get ready for the onset of puberty.

A key consideration when working with this age group is how to present the concept of ‘yoga.’ For some children the terms connected to yoga may be strange and alienating, while others may think it’s airy fairy nonsense.Peer group pressure carries a big influence at this age, and it is easy for this age group to be put off yoga related activities because they’re not regarded as ‘cool.’ Thankfully there are an abundance of well-known and highly successful people who have an established yoga practice, from footballers like Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale, to actors like Jake Gyllenhall and Jennifer Aniston, through to singers like Madonna and Lady Gaga.

What yoga gives children at this age is a series of techniques and exercises that they can use to increase their control, over their bodies and minds, and ultimately their lives. For children interested in sport, yoga will improve their concentration, focus and mind-body co-ordination, so improving their overall performance. It will also provide the foundation for healthy habits that stengthen and protect the body.For academically minded children, yoga will improve their concentration and provide tools to help them manage anxiety around exams. Creative children will be interested in how yoga will enhance their fluency and flexibility of thought.

In practice, all children derive these benefits, with the additional advantage that through the practice of yoga, they develop their social skills. As they learn to relate better to others, so they gain more poise and self-confidence. This helps to provide the foundation for a happy and successful life.

We’ve designed our Yoga’d Up programme specifically to help children to navigate this period of their lives with more ease. Weaving a full range of yoga postures into games and partner activities, children get a great work out as well as learning practical techniques for calming and focusing. So if your school doesn’t have our Yoga’d Up programme, you can now tell them all about the benefits!

New Study Shows Benefits Of Teen Yoga

Readers of this blog will know about the remarkable changes our Impact & Change programme has brought to children in the UK’s primary schools. (For more information, see this story). So we were delighted to learn about a new study proving the mental and psychological effects of yoga for teens.

Harvard Medical School has just released a study about the psychological benefits of yoga on teenagers in 11th and 12th grade. Published in the April issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the study concluded that yoga may “serve a preventative role in adolescent mental health” by providing teens with beneficial ways to deal with stress and trauma, instead of falling into the dangerous and destructive behavioural patterns so common in high schools across the States.

51 high school students took part in the study.  They were randomly assigned to either regular PE classes, or Kripalu-style yoga classes that included asana, pranayama, relaxation exercises, and mediation. The students were given multiple tests and questionnaires, before and after the 10-week program, regarding their levels of anxiety and stress, their anger management abilities, and their mindfulness and resilience in the face of challenges. The results show that students who took yoga were better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs than those in the regular PE classes. Since mental health disorders often form in the teenage years, learning effective healthy coping strategies for dealing with stress is essential during this time.

Although the study was small, its results are nevertheless promising.It’s great to see further evidence of how yoga teaches young adults positive ways to react and deal with life’s challenges.

50 Things to Do Before You’re 11¾

Last week the National Trust launched a nationwide campaign to encourage sofa-bound children to take to the outdoors and enjoy classic adventures. Its ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾’ campaign provides a checklist for under-12s (and those who are young at heart) with activities ranging from running around in the rain and bug hunting, to setting up a snail race and making a mud pie.  

The ‘50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾’ initiative has been developed to respond to a report the National Trust commissioned which highlighted research that fewer than one in ten children regularly play in wild places compared to almost half a generation ago. A quarter of all children never play outside, one third have never climbed a tree and amazingly one in 10 cannot ride a bike. Children are more likely to get bumps and bruises falling out of bed than from falling out of trees. Meanwhile, children spend an average of four-and-a-half hours a day sat in front of a TV or computer screen.

But the National Trust report suggests it may be parents who are stopping kids exploring the great outdoors. More than 80% of kids said that they want more freedom to play outside – to build dens, swing on ropes and go camping– but fewer than 10% get the opportunity because their parents won’t let them.

The National Trust have formed a group of five Elite Rangers who will share their expert tips on enjoying outdoor adventures and their enthusiasm for encouraging children to play outdoors.
The elite five will be showing their top tips over a free weekend (21st and 22nd April) when the National Trust will open up over 200 of its houses and gardens for free over the weekend.

Kids can pick up a free 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾ scrapbook from participating properties – and start ticking off their ‘outdoor adventures to do’ list. The fun can continue at home by visiting nationaltrust.org.uk/50things where children can fill in their completed activities and earn points towards their very own explorer badge.

A Yoga Inspired Space Routine

The Resources You’ll Need

-       A copy of the YogaBugs Guide to Popular Yoga Postures, found on the Fun Zone at www.yogabugs.com.

-       ‘Sponge In Space’ (SpongeBob SquarePants) by Dan Crisp, ‘On The Moon’ by Anna Milbourne, ‘Q Pootle 5’ by Nick Butterworth or one of your favourite intergalactic adventures

-       Musical accompaniment for the following songs:

  • Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer *
  • Climb Aboard The Spaceship*
  • Nine Planets *
  • A soothing piece of music suitable for relaxation

Warm Up

Start by warming up your voices and bodies by singing and dancing along to ‘Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer.’ Then warm up your bodies with these postures:

Concertina Breath For Special Mission Energy

Concertina Breath is an energizing breathing exercise that warms you up, gets oxygen to the brain and helps you feel more active. It’s a bit like playing a squeezebox. With the fingers interlaced under the chin, raise your elbows up and take your head back whilst you breathe through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth and lower the elbows down, resting the chin back on your interlaced fingers.

Sun Salutations for YogaBugs

Hello Sun: Stand up tall and stretch your arms overhead. Shout “Hello Sun!”

Hello Earth: Bend down to touch the floor into Ragdoll. Shout “Hello Earth!”

Lunge: Step one foot backwards into a lunge, the way runners do when they’re starting a race. Shout “beep, beep!”

Dog Pose: Take both legs back so that your hands and feet are on the floor and your buttocks are in the air (the shape of an upside-down triangle).

Lunge: From dog pose, bring one foot forwards between your hands. Shout “beep, beep!”

Ragdoll: Bring both feet together. You will now be folded forward with your arms and shoulders completely relaxed. Come back to standing.

Repeat this sequence of moves three to four times.

Candle: Lay on your back and raise your legs in the air to form an L-shape. Count down to blast off, 10, 9, 8,7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF

Cycling: Spaceships are quite small inside, so we need to move around to exercise our muscles. Start off by lying on your back. Cycle your legs – slowly at first and then faster. Slow down again to a stop.

Rocking Horse: Roll up and down on your mat. As you do, try to touch the floor behind you with your feet. Do this 5-6 times. Come up to a sitting position with your feet together in butterfly pose.

Cobra Pose: Lie on your stomach, feet together, palms on the floor. Raise your head and shoulders and look up. This will enable you to look out of the spaceship and see what’s on the moon!

Moon Walking: Climb out of your spaceship and walk around the moon. Lift your knees up high and take big strides.

Story Time

Get ready for your space adventure by singing ‘Climb Aboard The Spaceship.’ Then read ‘Sponge In Space’ (SpongeBob SquarePants) by Dan Crisp, ‘On The Moon’ by Anna Milbourne, ‘Q Pootle 5’ by Nick Butterworth or one of your favourite intergalactic adventures. As you read through the story, introduce the yoga postures from the YogaBugs Guide To Popular Yoga Postures.

End with the song ‘Nine Planets.’

Winding Down

Sleepy Star: Sitting upright, bring your legs into a diamond shape. Extend your arms out to the side. Sway gently over to one side and then to the other, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as you do so.

Relaxation Pose: Lie flat on your back, arms at sides, feet slightly apart. Alternatively you could lay your child on your tummy and take the opportunity to massage his/ her back whilst the music is playing. (You could put your legs up against the wall whilst you’re doing this).  Close your eyes and rest. Listen to a soothing piece of music for a couple of minutes.

* If you don’t have CD of these songs or haven’t got them downloaded to ITunes, you’ll find them on You Tube.

Five Little Men In A Flying Saucer

5 little men in a flying saucer
Looked around the world one day
They looked left and right
But they didnt like the sight
So one man flew a way

4 little men in a flying saucer……and so on till you have 0

Climb Aboard The Spaceship (Sung To Incy Wincy Spider)

Climb Aboard the spaceship,

We’re going to the moon,

Hurry and get ready,

We’re going to blast off soon,

Put on your helmet and buckle up real tight,

Here comes the countdown,

10, 9. 8. 7. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…….

Blast off!

Nine Planets (Sung to Ten Little Indians)

1 little, 2 little, 3 little planets,

4 little, 5 little, 6 little planets,

7 little, 8 little, 9 little planets,

Orbiting round the sun.

Mercury, Venus and the Earth,

Mars, Jupiter and Saturn,

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto,

Orbiting round the sun.

Winners of Our Olympic Art & Writing Competition

Thank you all so much for your entries to our Olympic Art & Writing Competition. Judging them was incredibly hard because they are all so brilliant and there were so many entries! After much deliberation, we are delighted to announce that:

  • The winner of the YogaBugs Olympic Drawing Competition is 5 year old Evie McBeath from Yorkshire who drew this lovely picture of her and the YogaBug swimming and diving at the Olympics!
  • The winner of the YogaBugs Olympic Writing Competition is Lakshita Gadiya from Birmingham. Her story is fabulous and has a great ending – but we can’t tell you any more until we publish it!

Evie and Lakshita have both won goodie bags jam packed with YogaBugs goodies! Evie’s drawing will be turned into a Fun Zone activity sheet and Lakshita’s story will be turned into an official YogaBugs adventure.

A special mention goes to Oakhill Primary School in Waltham Forest, London. Teacher, Anna Widdup, organised a large number of pupils to submit their stories to the competition. Your Regional Director will be in touch with a special prize for the school.

Thank you once again to everyone who entered, from the team at YogaBugs Mission Control. And look out for our next competition!

Activities To Do Over Easter

 With our variable climate and forecasts of snow in mind, we thought you may want some ideas for Easter inspired activities to do at home with the kids. So here are just a few!

1. Netmums

Netmums have put together a list of crafty ideas that make use of recycling materials. From Easter Flower Pots to Daffodil Head Boppers (you’ll have to look to find out what these are!) you’ll find plenty to do here.

2. Kaboose

This website has a whole range of craft activities. Is there a limit to the number of bunny inspired activities?

3. Topmarks

How much do your kids know about Easter? Find out where the customs that have grown up around Easter originate here.

4. Visit Britain

With so many activities available, often involving chocolate eggs, Visit Britain have brought together their selection of the best here.

5. Woodland Trust

As well as arranging outdoor activities in their woods, the Woodland Trust has activities for budding nature detectives which you’ll find here.

6. YogaBugs Fun Zone

And finally, but most definitely not least, we have all sorts of resources for you to download on the YogaBugs Fun Zone. You’ll find a yoga inspired Easter routine here. We also have activities going on over Easter so check out the Find A Class page on the website. Many of our Franchise Managers have Facebook pages so do look them up.

Happy Easter!