July 25, 2011

Goodnight yoga for a good night’s sleep

Yoga for kids is popping up everywhere — and a good thing it is!  With their busy schedules, hectic home lives, and increased social demands, kids these days are under more pressure than ever before. No wonder they’re often cranky, clumsy, over-stimulated, distracted, unfocused, lacking energy, or hyperactive.

Add to the mix, the fact that most kids aren’t getting enough sleep at night. When a child becomes sleep deprived, they are likely to have a hard time controlling their emotions. This can lead to potential problems at home and at school, and it can be exhausting for parents!

As if parenting isn’t hard enough, having a child with sleep problems can make your job even more difficult.

But why are our kids having such a hard time getting to sleep?

Worry and Stress: It’s easy for kids to feel overwhelmed with busy schedules, academics,  hectic home lives, and increased social pressures. For many kids, it’s hard to refocus their mind away from worrisome thought patterns, especially when they are trying to fall asleep.

Separation Anxiety: Youngsters often feel anxiety when separated from their parents. A child is likely to become anxious if you aren’t there or may become preoccupied by the thought of missing out on something. This makes it hard for them to relax and fall asleep.

Major Life Changes: Moving, divorce, death, etc. If adults have a hard time handling such monumental periods of transition, imagine how difficult they must be for our kids! They learn how to cope by watching us.

Bedtime Fears: Kids have active imaginations. Remember the monster under the bed?

Nightmares: Kids are more likely to have bad dreams if they watch violent or scary movies before bed.

This is where bedtime yoga can help. Yawning Yoga: a goodnight book for a good night’s sleep is a bedtime yoga book  designed specifically to help kids enjoy a restful sleep.  It is kid tested and mother approved! It’s careful sequencing makes it perfect for bedtime and helps children establish a bedtime routine that is proven to work. Yawning Yoga makes for a better bedtime because:

  • The book’s 15 poses are designed to be done in sequence from most “active” to most soothing.
  • Poses help release excess energy, tension and stress while calmimg the child and helping her move towards stillness.

Try these exercises before going to bed….

THE MONKEY: Fold in half, with your head near the ground. Shake your head no and shake your head yes to let worries go.

THE TWISTER: Twisting at night to the left then the right makes your tummy and spine feel so fine!

WISHING STAR: Imagine a star way up in the sky. Paint it a color in your minds eye!  Picture its starlight shining in you.

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Kitt cox Sep 16, 2013 6:50pm

Do you suppose fathers might approve of it too?

tanya lee markul Jul 26, 2011 5:35am

Absolutely love this! I'm thinking of taking a kid's yoga training this November. Going to remember these tips!

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Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
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Laurie Jordan

Laurie Jordan is the author of YAWNING YOGA: A GOODNIGHT BOOK FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP based on her successful bedtime yoga series, Yawning Yoga and the creator of Little Sprouts Yoga for kids. She has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work and is a certified yoga instructor for children and adults. Find her yoga practice here.

Laurie took her first yoga class when she was 15 but the experience left a nasty taste in her mouth. She was kicked out for laughing at the instructors mantra, “feel the honey golden light in your…unmentionables” Eeww.

Who would have thought that all these years later, that “honey golden” moment would be the one that influences her teaching the most? (Or at the very least, that it serves as a reminder to never say anything as hippy- dippy and dorky as that–and to always, always keep it real.)