Yoga Nidra for Kids
By Jill Miller • March 20th, 2012 • 8320 Views
Michael Phelps’ Olympic swimming success has made him the supernova of the swim world. Part of his winning came not just from his supremely fine-tuned physique, but also from a wise coach who taught Phelps as a child to fine-tune his mind through relaxation, meditation and visualization.
At age 12, Phelps’ coach introduced a “structured relaxation” program based on the recitation of certain cues. At night, his mother sat with him in a dimly lit room and systematically had him relax different parts of his body. The effect it had was tremendous, and eventually Phelps could self-induce this sense of deep relaxation at will and no longer needed his mother’s help. His next step was to then visualize himself swimming his races. The rest is history!
Yogis have been inducing tranquil states for millennia, and the meditation practice of Yoga Nidra sounds a lot like what Phelps practices. Yoga Nidra roughly translates as “yogic sleep.” Sleep scientist Roger Cole calls it “quiescence.” Yoga Nidra clears the mind, and can re-pattern thoughts, memories or the anticipation of future events.
Kids of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, athletes and the physically impaired alike can all benefit from the anxiety-reducing practice of yoga and especially Yoga Nidra. When kids are less stressed, they learn better. Kids seem to love Yoga Nidra because it is soothing, expands their imagination and places them in an inner space of calm. Many kids have difficulty “sitting still” as you might see in “classic” meditation. But Yoga Nidra is done while you are lying down … so it’s very comfortable.
Childhood is stressful even if you are not training for the Olympics, and while TV, web surfing and handheld electronic devices have become commonplace distractions for kids, it seems that these things only serve to perpetuate our “short attention span” culture. Yoga Nidra involves several stress-reducing elements that have been proven to eliminate loads of negative behavioral patterns in kids.
Yoga Nidra with your kids
The whole process should take 10-15 minutes. It’s appropriate for kids of all ages. Feel free to substitute your own words.
1. The Set Up: Have them lie down in a comfortable, quiet environment. Ask them to “keep your eyes closed and follow the sound of my voice.”
2. Breathing: Instruct them to “breathe in and out through your nose like you are blowing up a balloon in your belly.”
3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Ask them to “relax every muscle...
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