Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Good Morning Yoga blog tour + giveaway

I am honored and humbled to have Mariam Gates, author of Good Morning Yoga and Good Night Yoga on the blog today. As a teacher, I have been looking into how yoga and mindfulness can help my students, so Mariam is here to give teachers some advice on this very topic:

Calm in the Classroom: Yoga + Mindfulness Techniques for the School Day

We want active classrooms, filled with excitement and energy. But how do we support the natural enthusiasm children bring and make sure everyone in the room can also focus, self-direct and learn? A classroom is a community and having a language and activities that support acceptance, self-monitoring and ways to actually bring more peace into the space go a long way. These five yoga and mindfulness tools for the classroom can help.

1.     Let it be a regular part of the day. Kids respond well to routine. Try using the Good Morning Yoga flow in the morning circle (or whatever those first moments look like).  It takes 3 minutes to do the full sequence but you can also experiment with also just picking 5 poses from the sequence. The kids will quickly learn the routine and be able to even do it on their own. Repeating the poses each day builds their confidence and also is a great reminder to start the day feeling refreshed and relaxed both physically and mentally.

2.      Listening…In: Use listening to practice awareness.

This exercise of being quiet and paying attention to sounds for 8 counts is very effective in helping children to pay attention and notice the world around them.

Have the class sit with legs folded crisscross (or lying down) and let them know you are going to count to eight, but while you do, everyone will be as absolutely quiet and still as they can. As a group you are all going to pay attention to how many things you can hear outside and inside when you are super quiet.

Try counting slowly: 1 . . . 2 . . . , reminding the class to pay attention to what they might be able to hear outside now that they are so quiet; 3 . . . 4 . . . , now remind them to pay attention to what the  can hear inside the room that they don’t usually notice; 5 . . . 6 . . . , now ask them to see if they can hear anything inside their own bodies—maybe their  breath; 7 . . . 8.  Ask the class to share what they heard.

3.      Use Transitions: One Inhale, One Exhale:
The practice of pausing before a new activity to be ready body and mind is a great habit to start at a young age. Focusing on the breath is a great place to start. Try making one full breath in and one full breath out part of students’ preparation before beginning a new task in the classroom.

4.      Make it Interactive: There are wonderful objects to bring into the classroom that can aid in focusing kids. One way to ask the class to get quiet is to use a rain stick or a sounding bell; the students know it is the signal to stop and listen. To take it one step further, have students listen to the sound and then wait and indicate with a quiet hand the moment they no longer hear it. 

5.      Have Fun! Luckily—kids love yoga! All of these yoga and mindfulness activities help kids feel more relaxed and at ease in the day. Using music, props, and allowing them to explore their own creativity by making up their own yoga poses takes these practices and make them a favorite part of the day.

About the author:
Mariam Gates holds a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than twenty years’ experience working with children. Her renowned Kid Power Yoga program combines her love of yoga with teaching to help children access their inner gifts. She is the author of Good Night Yoga (Sounds True, April 2015), and lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband, yoga teacher Rolf Gates, and their two children. For more information, visit
Twitter:  @gatesmariam  Instagram: mariam.gates

One lucky winner will receive both books by Mariam Gates--GOOD MORNING YOGA and GOOD NIGHT YOGA, along with a full-color poster!
Terms and conditions:
Must be 13 or older to enter and have a U.S. mailing address
One winner will be selected
Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related links:
Good Morning Yoga Book trailer
Listen to Mariam Gates reading Good Morning Yoga
Watch Mariam Gates do the Good Morning Yoga flow
Encourage yoga time in your home, bookstore, classroom or library with this downloadable kit

And don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour: 
Feb 24     Teach Mentor Texts
Feb 26     Where Imagination Grows
Feb 29     A Rup Life
Mar 1     Proseandkahn
Mar 2     Kid Lit Frenzy
Mar 3      5 Minutes for Books
Mar 4      Once Upon a Story
Mar 7      Wrapped in Foil
Mar 8      Sharpread
Mar 9      A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
Mar 10     Unleashing Readers
Mar 11     Children's Book Review
Mar 15     The Library Fanatic

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