I recently attended the Greenwich Yoga and Vegan festival this weekend. Thousands of yogis travelled from across London and further afield, to experience a day of yoga and meditation; relaxing treatments; delicious vegan food; experiential talks on mental health; and tantalising dance sessions, including Bollywood and Om & Bass. With the festival’s proceeds donated to charitable causes, this non-profit event was created to inspire people to eat well, live mindfully, and raise awareness of mental health issues.
Whilst I enjoyed the Bollywood dancing, tasty food and connecting with others, for me, the best part of this festival was my time spent in the ‘Lil Yogi Room’ – a space dedicated for the kids attending the festival. I was delighted to teach a creative Mindfulness for Children session and had great fun doing so (see photos).
Mindfulness is a person’s mental state of focusing on the present moment, and noticing their feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations without judging them. When kids practice mindfulness it can help them develop calming strategies; improve attention and focus; and learn skills to manage difficult emotions, including stress and anxiety.
The Mindfulness for Children session I delivered involved many activities, including emotional regulation, yoga, relaxation and mindful listening, but the highlight for me was conscious breathing because everything starts with the breath. We need to breathe in order to experience life.
To be mindful, kids need to first learn the art of connecting to their breath. Conscious breathing can bring us into the present moment, and calm the body and mind, particularly during times of anxiety and uncertainty. When I introduced conscious breathing to the kids, we simply focused on our breathing and how it made us feel. Next, I asked the children to use deep breaths to move little sensory props across the room which was great fun. We also used role play to blow into imaginary hot air balloons and played a ‘breathe and stop’ game. Lastly, as a group, the kids stood in a circle and held the edge of a large parachute to raised/lower their hands in synch with deep breaths in and out.
I particularly enjoyed seeing a noticeable difference in the kids before and after my session; and lovely to experience how engaged they were during the activities. I hope the mindfulness activities inspired the kids and their parents to embody these tools into their lives beyond the festival, purely because of the calming benefits mindfulness can bring to enhance a peaceful state of mind and living.
Miss H 🌟
Photos from main hall by Andrew Prod