It’s time to get ready for back-to-school. Hopefully, the whole family has been able to enjoy plenty of unstructured free play in the great outdoors all summer long. This is by far one of the most accessible, effective and low-cost stress reduction techniques available.
Almost all children are affected by stress, whether parents are aware of it or not. Children who have sensory processing issues may face additional stress due to the difficulty they experience in interpreting and responding to their environment.
Yoga and Stress Prevention
Yoga is well-known as an unsurpassed stress reduction strategy. But, perhaps even more importantly, Yoga is powerful prevention. A daily routine that includes focused breathing, rhythmical movements and guided relaxation can go a long way towards keeping stress from becoming a problem in the first place. Children are better able to recover from a stressful event and can better self-regulate symptoms of stress as they arise.
Back-to-school can mean a packed schedule every day. Juggling all the have-tos and want-tos can feel daunting. Adding one more “activity” – even one that facilitates relaxation – can feel like one activity too many. But, consider this. How much time is spent recovering from a tantrum or feeling too unfocused to complete an assignment?
As well-known Yoga instructor, Ganga White said, “Yoga doesn’t take time, it gives time.”
Creating more time in the day is just the kind of everyday magic all students can use. Try 15 minutes a day each weekday, three weeks in a row and see if you don’t experience a sense of having more time available during the day.
Here is a simple routine to start the day.
- Tune in. Take a moment to sit still, eyes closed and watch the breath. You may wish to strike a chime, ring a bell or chant the sound of OM.
- Place hands on the belly and breathe into your hands. Count the breath and see if you can have your exhale last longer than the inhale. Do this for a couple of minutes.
- Practice 3 to 6 rounds of Sun Salutations.
- Choose 2 or 3 standing poses to practice, holding each pose for up to 1 minute. Here are three you may like to look up: Triangle (Trikonasana), Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II) and Eagle (Garudasana).
- Relax on the back for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Sit and watch the breath for 1 or 2 minutes – set a timer – and increase this time gradually so everyone in the family has a regular habit of sitting in silence, stilling the mind for 5-10 minutes a day. This is by far the most beneficial practice and the importance of instilling a regular practice in children cannot be underestimated.
The start of a new school year is a great time to start new routines. This morning practice will help everyone start the day on the right foot. Mind, body and spirit will be clear, open, balanced and relaxed.
Committing 15 minutes each day to your own health and wellness sets a wonderful example for your children. Participating in this practice together can build strong family support and connection as well as a feeling of ease and well-being for everyone in the home.