~ awake in this moment, at home in the world ~

Yoga and Mindfulness Resources for Kids

May 2, 2012
Interested in sharing yoga and mindfulness with a youngster in your life?

My first stop for any parent or teacher hoping to introduce mindfulness and wellbeing in the lives of their kids and students is the work of Susan Kaiser Greenland. In her book The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder and More Compassionate, she offers many different strategies, exercises and approaches to help kids of all ages develop what she calls the new A-B-C's: attention, balance and compassion. Greenland's website also offers information her classes in the Los Angeles and workshops around the world, blog posts, as well as many other mindfulness resources.

I also recommend Greenland's guided meditations for kids, which she produced in 2010 as part of the Winterfest online retreat. My kids and I have shared these before bed many, many times, and my son's second-grade class even practiced these together for 40 winter days. Podcasts of sessions for younger kids are available here. Podcasts of slightly longer guided meditation for older children and teens can be found here.

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has also developed a number of mindfulness and meditation resources for children. His book Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness With Children offers many practices for families and kids. The book's website also includes many links and additional resources. Older kids might like Hanh's Pebble For Your Pocket.

Looking for an introductory yoga book with lots of pictures to inspire your family to practice yoga? Try Mary Stewart's Yoga for Children or Marsha Wenig's YogaKids: Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga. My family also has fun with The Kids' Yoga Deck by Annie Buckley and Yoga Pretzels by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish.

To learn more about introducing yoga and meditation to schools, I recommend checking out the YogaEd website, which offers lots of information and links, as well as a fantastic grade-based curriculum with step-by-step instructions. Yoga Games for Children by Danielle Bersma and Marjoke Visscher is also a great resource.

Other online resources for schools and teachers include Goldie Hawn's MindUp Program, the group  Mindful Schools, and the Mindfulness in Education Network.

And finally, favorite yoga and meditation picture books in our household include Peaceful Piggy Yoga and Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean, Buddha at Bedtime, and both Anh's Anger and Steps and Stones by Gail Silver.