Teaching Yoga and Meditation to Kids

    —
April 1, 2015

Teaching Yoga and Meditation to Kids

Mariam Gates April 1, 2015

Mariam Gates is a highly skilled teacher and yoga instructor with decades of experience, as well as the founder of the Kid Power Yoga program. Mariam is the author of Sounds True’s first children’s book, Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story—a tale designed to bring parents and children together in a relaxing flow of postures and visualizations. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Mariam about integrating yoga into public school education and the special considerations of teaching the practice to children. They also talk about Mariam’s vision for teaching yoga and meditation from kindergarten through twelfth grade, as well as the possible benefits from such a sweeping program. Finally, Tami and Mariam discuss the background and inspirations behind Good Night Yoga. (54 minutes)

Mariam Gates holds a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than 20 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. For more, visit kidpoweryoga.com.

Author photo © Junneen Lee McCombs

600 Podcasts and Counting…

Subscribe to Insights at the Edge to hear all of Tami’s interviews (transcripts available too!), featuring Eckhart Tolle, Caroline Myss, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Adyashanti, and many more.

Meet Your Host: Tami Simon

Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

Also By Author

Meet the Author of Good Morning Yoga

The Author
Mariam Gates holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and is the creator of Kid Power Yoga. She is the author of the bestselling Good Night Yoga and many other yoga-related books for children. Mariam’s favorite yoga pose is Tree. She lives in Northern California. For more, see mariamgates.com.

Good Morning Yoga Book Cover

The Book

Good Morning Yoga is a board book version of the bestselling picture book. Targeted for the littlest yogis, ages 0–4, it is the perfect introduction to simple yoga poses at an early age, encouraging children to enjoy moving their bodies, using their imaginations, and learning a new skill.

 

 

 

 

 

The-Monster-at-the-End-of-This-Book

What was your favorite book as a child? 

 

My absolute favorite book as a child was The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone and illustrated by Michael Smollin. (Though on the cover, it really just gives credit to “lovable, furry old Grover.”)

 

It is the original “interactive” book. As a child, the fact that Grover was speaking directly to me, the reader, and that I was in on (and affecting) the progression of the story was nothing short of magical. It was my first experience of feeling amazed, surprised, and delighted by what could happen in the pages of a book—a feeling that has obviously never left.

All of my books are “interactive,” and my hope is that children feel that kind of connection and magic when they read them. I want young readers to be transported and to feel how each word and each image was created as a gift for them to enjoy.

 

Has your book taken on a new meaning in the world’s current circumstances? Is there anything you would have included in your book if you were writing it now?

I have loved hearing over the years about how teachers and parents incorporate Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story into morning meetings and family routines. But once we went into shelter-in-place in 2020, I started having daily and weekly emails and messages from people around the country. I’ve had the honor of hearing personal stories from teachers who are still using it, but now on Zoom, and parents who use the flow and the visualization at the end as transitions and breaks in their homeschooling schedules. In the midst of all of this separation, it has been an unbelievable gift to be connected to people through the book.

mishavayner

Photo courtesy of Misha Vayner

 

moja.yoga

Photo courtesy of MOJA YOGA

 

What is something that doesn’t make it into your author bio?

In my 20s and 30s I was a hand model! It was an incredibly fun (and lucrative) job. I had always received compliments on my hands, so in graduate school, when I did not have time for a regular employment schedule, I started hand modeling on the side. Mariam hand model

This was back when most things were done in person, so I made an appointment for an interview with Ford Modeling and brought in a set of “handshots.” They signed me on the spot, and I spent several years working in commercials and print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning Yoga Book Cover

Learn More

Sounds True | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Bookshop

Bedtime Visualization: Rocketing to the Moon

Sweet Dreams, Sounds True

Bedtime should be the calmest moment of the day with our kids, but often it is anything but. Whether we are dealing with last-minute pajama changes, tooth brushing negotiations, or we’re trying to corral our kids into their rooms, it can end up being an exasperating time for both kids and parents alike.

There are many reasons bedtime can be hard. The first is that we are tired, and of course they are too, so no one is exactly ‘at their best’ at the end of the day. Another challenge for children is that they are about to say ‘goodbye’ to us for the night and that can bring up anxiety about being on their own. Also, let’s face it, falling asleep can be difficult regardless of age. The shift from active to rest is not easy; especially when you add a mind full of racing thoughts—which is typical for children (and adults) when things get quiet at night.

What is needed is a way to help children settle mentally and physically at bedtime. When they feel safe and at ease, falling asleep gets a lot easier. Guided visualizations are tools to support children in using their own imaginations to let their bodies and minds relax at bedtime.

The visualizations in Sweet Dreams: Bedtime Visualizations for Kids ,by Mariam Gates and illustrated by Leigh Standley, engage children in mini journeys to underwater worlds, a horseback ride through a field, and even into space while helping them naturally shift into relaxation. The fun and gentle exercises move them into a calm state which is essential for a good night’s rest. Each visualization is also short enough that it can be easily added as a ‘final story.’

We invite you to try the “Rocketing to the Moon” visualization from Sweet Dreams and see if it helps make bedtime a little smoother for everyone.

Lie down on your back and bring your legs together, pressing your arms tight against your body. You are a rocket ship going to the moon.

Start bouncing your legs to ignite the engine.
10 . . . 9 . . . 8 . . . 7 . . . 6 . . .

Now shake, shake, shake your whole body.
5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1. BLAST OFF!!!

As you launch into space, point your toes and make yourself as long as you can.

Take a DEEP BREATH IN and a LONG BREATH OUT. Relax your whole body as you sail through space. You are heading toward the moon.

All around you are bright stars and clusters of asteroids. It’s peaceful and quiet.

The moon is getting bigger and bigger the closer you get.

Thud. YOU HAVE ARRIVED.

Step out of your rocket. Bend and extend your legs to make big steps onto the moon like you are walking in slow motion.

You can see Earth in the distance. It is blue and green, like a jewel hanging in the dark sky. Take some deep breaths in and out and think about Earth and how beautiful it is. Think about how lucky you are to live on such a wonderful planet.

It’s time to climb back into your rocket ship.

Take another DEEP BREATH IN and a LONG BREATH OUT.

YOU ARE HEADING HOME.

 

Mariam Gates, Sounds True

 

 

MARIAM GATES has a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and two decades of experience working with children. She is the author of the bestselling Good Night Yoga series. Mariam likes to spend most days writing, where she can explore underwater depths, fly through the sky, and walk on the moon—all in the same afternoon! She lives with her highly imaginative family in Northern California. Learn more at mariamgates.com.

 

 

 

Leigh Standley, Sounds True

 

 

 

LEIGH STANDLEY is the artist, writer, and owner of Curly Girl Design, Inc. She creates art for greeting cards, calendars, journals, wall art, and more, and her art is sold throughout the U.S. and around the world. Leigh resides in Boston with her husband and twin little people. She can’t live without yoga, her family, Snickers, and Lucy the Wonder Dog. Leigh believes in magic and is quite certain that given a cape and a nice tiara she could save the world. Learn more at curlygirldesign.com.

Sweet Dreams, Sounds True

 

 

Available at your favorite bookseller

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

Sounds True

Help Children Relax at Bedtime

Looking for more great reads?

 

Excerpted from Good Night Yoga. Written by Mariam Gates and illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder.

Mariam Gates holds a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than 20 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. See kidpoweryoga.com.

 

 

Illustrator Sarah Jane Hinder creates acrylic artwork for a variety of children’s book, including Good Night YogaGood Morning Yoga, The Three Little Pigs, and The Elves and the Shoemaker. She lives in Manchester, England, with her husband and two chihuahuas. See sarahjanehinder.com.

You Might Also Enjoy

Ep 9 Bonus: The Bodhisattva Check-In

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 9: “Live the Questions Now” deeper into your life. 

Jess will guide you through an adaptation of the Work That Reconnects exercise called “The Bodhisattva Check-In.” In Buddhism, the bodhisattva is the archetype of the compassionate person who devotes themself to collective well-being. 

In this exercise, you will be invited to use your imagination to “step in” to each of the circumstances of your life in order to make the contribution to the Great Turning that is yours to make. 

All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is enough space to take slow meditative steps in a straight line or in a circle. A living room or a yard are great. If you don’t want to or can’t walk, there will be instructions on how to do this without moving. You’ll need a total of 20 minutes, including time after the recording has ended.

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Ep 7 Bonus: Seventh Generation Exercise

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 7: “We Are a Part of a River of Time” deeper into your life. 

Jess will guide you through an adaptation of the Work That Reconnects exercise called “The Seventh Generation,” which she talks about in Episode 7. We recommend listening to the episode before doing this bonus. In this exercise, you will be invited to use your imagination and do some creative, guided role-playing with a friend, where one of you will speak as yourself, and the other will speak as a future being. 

For this exercise, you’ll need a friend and a place that is quiet enough for you to sit face-to-face and talk freely.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

Ep 5 Bonus: Breathing Through

This bonus episode will support you to take the main insights from Episode 4: There is No Future if We Go Numb and Episode 5: This Pain Is Not for Nothing, deeper into your life. 

Both of these episodes are about the second phase in the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects, Honoring Our Pain for the World. This bonus is a recording of Joanna leading a meditation called Breathing Through, recorded at a retreat in 2006. In it, she’ll guide you to create space to acknowledge and honor the pain for the world that you carry without numbing or getting overwhelmed. All you’ll need for this bonus exercise is a place where you can close your eyes and relax.  

We recommend starting a podcast club with friends or family to do these practices together. Links and assets to help prompt reflection and build community can be found with every episode on WeAreTheGreatTurning.com.

 

>
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap