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-2014

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

Yung Pueblo: Becoming Lighter Through a Strong Determi...

If you meditate on the truth of change, your life can start to flow like a river, with opportunities for healing at every bend. This spirit of liberation infuses Yung Pueblo’s newest book, Lighter, in which he shares healing wisdom accumulated over his years of devoted meditation practice. In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Diego Perez (who writes as Yung Pueblo) about his inspiring new book and the potential we each have to be part of “the healing generation.”

Listen in to Tami and Diego’s heartening conversation, in which they discuss the shift from focusing on survival to sitting with the truth, having a strong determination to heal, the difference between satisfying cravings and following your intuition, why power makes the ego so dense, how meditation can open up the concept of self, “structural compassion,” and much more.

This episode first aired live and on video on Sounds True One. To watch Insights at the Edge episodes live and on video, and to access additional bonus Q&A, please visit join.soundstrue.com to learn more.

No Struggle, No Swag

George Mumford is a world-renowned mindfulness coach who has since 1989 worked with people from all walks of life to help us reach our full potential in whatever we aspire to. A former basketball player at the University of Massachusetts, injuries forced George out of basketball and eventually into an addiction to pain medication and drugs. With the help of meditation and the practice of mindfulness, George got clean and made it his mission to teach and work with others. He is the author of the book The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance.

In this podcast, George speaks with Sounds True founder, Tami Simon, about seeing clearly, loving greatly, and “finding your swag” through the struggles we encounter in pursuit of our goals. George and Tami discuss: His personal journey from the basketball court to the path of meditation and mindfulness; the Four A’s: awareness, acceptance, action, and assessment; right effort and balance, or how “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”; generating hope and optimism instead of falling into fear and negativity; uncovering the “masterpiece” of your inner nature; the importance of self-honesty; “pure performance” in business or athletics; and more.

Giving Your Heart Over to Real Change

Sharon Salzberg, a student of Buddhism since 1971, has been leading meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. Influenced by her more than 25 years of study with Burmese, Indian, and Tibetan teachers, she teaches intensive awareness practice (vipassana or insight meditation) and the profound cultivation of lovingkindness and compassion (the Brahma Viharas). She is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, both in Massachusetts. She is the author of books including The Kindness Handbook, Lovingkindness, A Heart as Wide as the World, and, most recently, Real Change. She has also authored several Sounds True audio programs including Insight Meditation (with Joseph Goldstein), Room to Breathe, and Lovingkindness Meditation.

In this podcast, Sharon Salzberg joins Sounds True’s founder, Tami Simon, to discuss her recent book, Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World—and how you can begin to bring the core of your being into your work, your community, and your life. Sharon and Tami also discuss how contemplative practices can open the heart, agency and reclaiming your power to effect change, the empowering symbol of the Statue of Liberty, transforming anger into courage, determining the next step you can take when you’re uncertain, patience, faith as the act of giving over your heart, generosity and how you end up with more through giving, moving from grief to resilience, suffering and the First Noble Truth, the role of joy on the path, living by the truth of interconnection, caring to know as the first step in making a difference, and a sneak preview of Sharon’s forthcoming book, Real Life.

>
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap