An easy way to teach kids yoga nidra (and improve sleep)
Yoga Nidra is my new favourite practice.
It’s so easy yet so relaxing and it helps me stay in touch with my body which (if I neglect it) becomes sore/achey due to the time I spend at the computer or slouched on the sofa watching Netflix!
It’s such a simple practice of going through different parts of the body and as it’s a practice that is all about lying down (compared to most meditation practices which are about sitting up), it is a wonderful aid to a restful night’s sleep!
It’s really about just noticing each part of your body – working up one side of the body then shifting awareness to the other side and working through that.
It helps us connect our awareness into our body with no judgement or expectation.
It helps reduce anxiety and it is deeply relaxing.
But how do you teach your kids to do it – especially if their attention span is… short?
As someone who has been practising and teaching meditation for over 30 years now, I love a challenge… especially when it comes to how we connect to kids or teens in a practice that seems (at first) only for adults.
So here are some tips to help you incorporate it into your young person’s life.
- Invite them to name different parts of your body (see below for what a yoga nidra practise is). As they do this… if they get stuck on the name of the body part, then you can give them the word. Then swap over and guide them through their body.
- Make it realy simple – in yoga nidra the guidance can be very detailed – “right foot… big toe…next toe…next toe” (and so on). That is hard for kids to focus on. But we may say “right foot – big toe, then little toe, all toes in between, all toes.”
- Tense and release– Maybe get them to bring a little bit of touch or tension into that part of the body as you name it. that helps them connect into this part of their body.
- Touch – If they really lack body awareness (and it’s your kids/safe to touch) then you could name the body part “big toe” and touch the big toe as you say this.
- You might bring colour into the thought – so they choose a colour and say it was ‘green’. So it would be “green right foot, green big toe and so on (it just gives them more of a visual).”
- Or if they have a favourite image or shape – you could get them to bring that to the bit of their body you are asking them to notice – “smiley face on big toe…”
- Movement – you might get them to bring a little bit of movement to the body part you have mentioned … just to help them notice it.
I’m not a yoga teacher so I don’t start in any particular way – usually it’s either start at the top and go down or at the bottom and go up.
If you are leading your child in this our top tip is …don’t speak too fast. Take a breath between your sentences… children’s brains take longer to hear, notice and process.
The younger they are (for that read short attention span so not always age related…!)You may really simplify it down to right toes, right foot, right knee, right leg, right bum, right back, right shoulder, right arm, right hand, right fingers, right cheek, right eye… and so on.
I think it’s a great one to start with teaching your kids meditaton because you have the script there right in front of you! As you notice your child’s body and work through it (you don’t need to create/remember anything!)
If you aren’t sure what yoga nidra is – you can enjoy this lovely one (I listen to it quite frequently at the moment!).
Good luck and please let us know how it goes or if you have any struggles teaching this.