I have been thinking about yoga and how it has been such a support to me during my life.  Yoga is a little like family – yoga is there for the peaks and troughs – during life’s journey yoga is a great companion.  Today it is helpful to have a support structure which can be drawn on anytime, anyplace, anywhere!

Mini Me Yoga has really empowered my quest to share yoga.  The tools and techniques bundled into the Mini Me Yoga experience have reinvented my teaching approach.  The tools acquired provide opportunities to observe students grow in so many ways including self-awareness, beauty and autonomy. I am eternally grateful for all the sharing.

I find myself blessed to share an aesthetic child sized environment with a captive audience daily in a lovely Montessori Early Years Preschool.  Inspired by Dr. Kate’s Mini Me Yoga’s seven step yoga programme – ‘I, myself & me’ together with the children share time and space in our wonderful Montessori day. So here goes…and as an essential component of the Early Years educational experience – it has to be A,B,C… let’s BE!

 

A  ‘Arrive’ – We all come together naturally at circle time – we have a large circle drawn on our floor and the children sit around this – a bird’s eye view resembles a flower (children sitting like petals around the large circle shape).

B  ‘Breath’- We have a repertoire of seasonal breathing exercises and carry out an exercise to ground us and provide a sense of calmness.  The ‘B’ marks the beginning of our yoga session as our ‘body’ gets vibrations with our ‘Ommmming’ thinking of our own ‘BEING’ and bringing our positive thoughts to others.  Wow the power of this!  You can really feel it and children really, really exhibit an innate knowledge of this powerful strategy!

C  ‘Cardio’ – lots of energy has been built up in the ‘B’ section and letting off steam in super fun ways is enthusiastically embraced by all participants. Let’s go!  There are so many ways of raising the heart rate! With or without music this section is definitely the liveliest and the children love it with all their hearts and ‘Cardiovascular Systems’!

D ‘Do Yoga’ – Here we take turns to make flows and/or freezes drawing on the Mini Me Yoga Cards.  Naturally the yoga poses respond to the ‘Daily Desires’ and will compliment with Fire, Earth, Air and Water attributes.  Sharing time and space through yoga movement together brings the group closer and allows for the younger participants to observe the older children and the more experienced participants to share their skills with the newbies. The balance between participants during this ‘buddying’ process is uplifting to observe.

E  ‘Experience the Environment’ – The Montessori environment aims to provide sensory experiences through engaging with specific materials and activities.  The children’s awareness of the environment through what they hear, see, feel, smell and touch is a welcome opportunity to connect with their surroundings and be mindful of what is happening in the present moment.  There are many ways to practice mindfulness.  We can close our eyes and listen to the sound of silence in a simple exercise called ‘The Silence Game’ blending Mindfulness and the Montessori world.

F  ‘Find & Focus’ In the Montessori classroom we have a wonderful resource called ‘Insets for Design’.  These are fundamentally templates of geometric shapes e.g. circle, triangle, square, pentagon etc.  These are ideal for the children to choose a geometric shape, trace it, and colour it in. This activity is carried out to ‘Pachelbel’s Canon’ as the time is perfect for this age/stage of participant.

G ‘Gratitude’- Saying ‘thank you’ and sharing reciprocal values of giving and receiving ‘gratitude’ is a powerful tool to wind up a session and give closure to a group collaboration.

H ‘Be Happy’ 🙂 Coming together as a group of individuals at the different developmental stages provides engaging experiences. The children are delighted to verbalise ‘Thinking/Feeling/Seeing/Hearing/Sharing’ Happy thoughts to give closure to this wonderful sharing of Yoga.

Whilst these structures initially worked through merging Montessori with Mini Me Yoga the template is working easily in the virtual classroom during Corona.  All the activities are possible in the home for example the child will ‘Find & Focus’ an object/shape in their home e.g. a plate/cup, trace it on a plain piece of paper and colour it in whilst music is being shared on the link eg ‘screencast-o-matic’ etc. There are many options to explore and adapt this section according to the location i.e. remote delivery to home or school participation.

The Mini Me Yoga journey is such a positive personal experience and it is such a privilege to be part of this inspiring and motivational group. Yoga, movement and mindfulness are the perfect solutions to the current Corona challenges. It is important to be positive and our words of gratitude and sharing of encouragement and kindness through our actions and thoughts e.g. Omming will ensure positive outcomes in 2021.  Now is a great time for embracing the opportunities offered through an abundance of technology and TIME!!

 

About Aisling McKennedy

I love working with children and sharing time doing fun things. I have two grown up children and they and the children I work with have inspired me on my journey.  I am a Teacher. I work with two to six year old children in the mornings in an Early Years Environment Montessori Preschool. In the afternoons I work in a primary afterschool homework club with five to twelve year olds. The two environments are different yet there are similarities and both experiences really compliment each other. Where possible I include Yoga, movement and mindfulness in the programs. My role as Mini Me Ambassador has provided such fabulous resources personally and most significantly enriched my teaching portfolio and brought my children’s yoga sharing to an amazing and magical experience. As Mini Me Yoga Ambassador I give adult classes to those spending time and working with young people including parents, teachers and other professionals so they too can enjoy the positive experiences of Mini Me Yoga. Every day is a fun day!

Find Aisling on Facebook- Mini Me Yoga West Cork