Oregonians have had a stressful and nerve-wracking couple of months. The pandemic, protests/riots, and now the wildfires. We would likely benefit from self-care techniques like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Mindfulness has many definitions, but my favorite is: “A tool to promote happiness and decrease anxiety. A simple technique that emphasizes paying attention to the present moment in accepting, nonjudgmental manner” (Gelles, n.d.). Although it’s stressful to focus on what is happening in our current crisis, it is important to acknowledge things that are happening and plan for our well-being. Many of my buddies who are teachers embed mindfulness aspects into their curriculum so that their students can be exposed to an array of the calming techniques that come with mindfulness. There are many classes that feature these relaxation techniques for adults, but what local classes are available for kids? Below is a list of suggestions. These companies offer classes that focus on mindfulness.
Happy Mindful People-
There are classes and camps that center on mindfulness available via Zoom. The kid’s class that is available now is called, “Virtual Movement and Meditation for Kids”. The website says that there are sessions available Sept.21st and Sept. 28th. The focus of the classes is to learn emotional intelligence that will help to deal with feelings like “angst, anger, and lowered self-esteem”. There are sign-up sections on their website. Here is the link: http://www.happymindfulpeople.com/kidsmindfulness
This company offers mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation classes for kids. The classes include guided visualizations, relaxation and breathing techniques, and mindfulness/meditation exercises. The instructor, Harini Sukumaran, is a child mental health clinician and play therapist and also a yoga instructor. To register for a class, the website asks people to email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, head to this link: https://mindtreeholisticcounseling.com/yoga-and-mindfulness-for-children/
I absolutely love this company and their offerings. Their classes center on mindfulness and other important aspects of a child’s emotional well-being. The classes intertwine aerial yoga and mindfulness practices. Each series has several parts including: 1) Bounce Back Toolbox – recovery strategies for life 2) The Brain that Drives My Train – exploring how the mind and body work 3) Believe to Achieve – even when something feels really hard 4) Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude – everyday strategies 5) Stretch for Your Best – bringing awareness to physical and emotional flexibility and posture 6) Unselfie Myself – a mindful approach to technology use for today’s families (sensationalplay.com, 2020). Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anything is being offered currently. It says “new schedules are being added. Check back soon”. I will definitely be checking back! Here is the link for more information: https://www.sensationalplay.com/
This website has an informative section about mindfulness. The website states: “Research has shown that mindfulness not only reduces stress. It enhances both physical and mental health and well-being.” (yogacalm.com, 2020). The section also discusses the importance of kids using mindfulness practices when a child has been through trauma and poverty. The section lists reasons for practicing mindfulness and perceived benefits. There are many classes available at various locations in Portland including: North Portland, Northwest Portland, SE Portland, and Milwaukie. Here is the link to the mindfulness section of their website: https://www.yogacalm.org/why-mindfulness/ and here is the link to their class calendar: https://www.yogacalm.org/classes-calendar/
There are plenty of resources for learning mindfulness practices online, but these classes are great options for kids in Portland/Oregon. If classes are too difficult to fit into your schedule, one free option online is “The Free Mindfulness Project” website. The website offers downloadable: self-guided mindfulness practices, guided imagery, mindful movement, sitting meditations, body scan, brief mindfulness practices, and mindfulness of breath exercises. Here is the link: http://www.freemindfulness.org/download
Best of luck to you all in learning about mindfulness, utilizing the practices, and perhaps finding a mindfulness class for your kiddos nearby.