Health and Healing for All

Resources for Physical, Emotional, and Mental Well-Being

Move Mindfully® is committed to working side by side with individuals and organizations to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being for everyone who works to protect the health and safety of youth and families in our communities. We are offering resources to provide support to families and children; recognizing our communities are experiencing many big emotions in response to the death of George Floyd.

We appreciate the opportunity to be present and hold space for each other as we express ourselves fully during these challenging times.  Some of you have reached out looking for guidance and support as you help your children process and navigate these traumatic events. 

Our Move Mindfully® videos address how to manage big emotions using breathwork, movement and rest practices. Here is one for older children/youth and one for younger children:

Wishing health and healing for all,

Kathy, Chrissy and Steph

Additional Resources

Many organizations in our communities have been sharing wonderful resources. We have compiled a list of some we have found helpful:

Safe Space Radio: Podcast for Adults

Many white parents have never learned how to talk about race and racism with their kids. Silence perpetuates racism—but it can be hard to know how to start. This hour-long program is about talking to white kids about race and racism: how white parents, families, and teachers can learn to show up for racial justice in a way that will make a difference for generations to come. The show explores a wide variety of approaches with kids of all ages.

Talking Race with Young Children: Podcast for Adults

Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here’s how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children.

Healing Racial Trauma in the Body: Interview for Adults

We know that trauma resides in the nervous system, not the in the event itself. Minneapolis resident and author of “My Grandmother’s Hands”, Resmaa Menakem, speaks in this interview about the unhealed wound in American society from racial violence.

Code Switch: Podcast for Kids

When Colin Kaepernick stopped standing for the national anthem at NFL games it sparked a nationwide conversation about patriotism and police brutality. Black athletes using their platform to protest injustice has long been a tradition in American history. In this episode we tap in our friends at Throughline to explore three stories of protest that are rarely told but essential to understanding the current debate: the heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, the sprinter Wilma Rudolph, and the basketball player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

Institutional Racism: Video for Kids

For 11-year-old Marley Dias, the call to activism began with books. Frustrated by not seeing other Black girls as the main characters in the books in her school library, she decided to take action and make a change. The wildly successful social media project, #1000blackgirlbooks, Dias launched nearly a year ago with the help of her mother, hit a nerve—and has exceeded its goal of collecting and distributing 1,000 books. 

Sesame Street: Resources for Younger Children

When a child endures a traumatic experience, the whole family feels the impact. But adults hold the power to help lessen its effects. Several factors can change the course of kids’ lives: feeling seen and heard by a caring adult, being patiently taught coping strategies and resilience-building techniques, and being with adults who know about the effects of such experiences. Here are ways to bring these factors to life.

 

Earth Day Routine

We know that being in nature is vital for our overall well-being.

Taking time to get outside and breathe fresh air as we move our bodies can really change how we feel by decreasing stress, improving mood and increasing our feeling of connectedness to the world around us. Try these simple practices with your family this week to celebrate Earth Day.

Take a Mindful Walk

Mindfulness can easily be incorporated into our outdoor time. Next time you go for a walk, notice all the sounds that you hear around you – like the wind blowing or the sounds of birds chirping. Notice what you see around you. Can you spot little green leaf buds on tree branches or little green sprouts growing up through the ground? Notice what you feel around you – like the warm sunshine on your skin or a gentle breeze on your face. When you get home, write or draw about everything you witnessed on your walk.

Nature-Themed Yoga-Based Movement

All of these moves have wonderful connections to the natural world. 

Seed to Tree:

Kneeling on the floor, fold your body over your legs and make your body tiny like a Seed. Imagine warm sunshine and gentle rain getting you ready to grow (adult helper can press hands on child’s back for warm sunshine and tap fingertips on their back for gentle raindrops). Slowly grow into a Tree by pressing one foot into the floor and propping the other foot against your leg, or placing it below or above your knee. Stretch your arms like branches up to the sky. Drop another Seed to the ground and grow into Tree again, this time balancing on your other leg. 

Eagle:

Next, fly like an Eagle. Cross one leg over the other (both feet can be on the floor) and give yourself a big hug. If you feel like it, uncross your leg and send it behind you to fly like an Eagle. Now try on the other side. 

 

Butterfly:

Sit down on the ground to become a Butterfly. Press the soles of your feet together and put your hands on your shoulders. You have two sets of wings like a butterfly. Take time to write or draw about your Tree, Eagle and Butterfly.

Experience Nature-Themed Rest

Picture yourself in nature. Choose a favorite place to visit and experience it with all of your senses – what you would hear, see, feel if you were there right now. Write or draw about your experience after.

Here’s a short guided visualization about a Monarch Butterfly. Enjoy this calming story about spending time on a beautiful Spring day with a Monarch Butterfly and see how it makes you feel. Try listening to this story when you need a break between activities during the day or just before bedtime. Notice how listening to this story makes you feel at different times during the day. Write or draw your own nature visualization to share with your family.

How can you bring Breathing, Movement and Rest into your Earth Day celebration? Leave a comment!

Follow along with our Facebook Live video!

Chrissy Mignogna

Sleep Routine

“How many of you have trouble sleeping?”

It is not surprising to see almost all hands slowly rise when posed this question. Sleep is such an important component to overall health and well being. Addressing these concerns should be a priority for all youth workers. Sleep is where everything happens for the mind, body and heart. Learning is integrated. Muscles are healed. Emotions are reset.

The promise of a restful night sleep is a motivating factor for students to bring this work out of the classroom and into their home. From infants to teenagers, our Sleep Routine works for everyone. It is crucial that children establish sleep hygiene habits at a young age. We have developed a series of positions from our Move Mindfully® Card Deck that are scientifically proven to get the body and mind ready for quality sleep.

Not only is this recommended for youth, but also adults! The quality of your sleep is more important than the quantity. Instead of rushing off to bed, taking 15 minutes with our Sleep Routine will pay off with high quality sleep to follow.

Here are the five easy steps to a great night sleep!

Child’s Pose

This is a great position to ready the body. It tunes out visual stimulation and allows focus on breath. We recommend staying here for 5-10 deep breaths. If you are using this pose with a child, the adult can place hands on back for back breathing.

Knees Hug In

Gently rocking side to side in this position to allow a decompression of the lumbar spine. It also massages the organs and soothes adrenals.

Legs Up the Wall

This inversion modification allows the legs to be above the heart, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. You can try this position on a chair or the bed if up the wall is not accessible.

Floor Twists

Keeping shoulders on the floor and twisting side to side not only readjusts the spine, but also has a detoxifying affect on the digestive system. After twists, it may feel good to do another Knees Hug In.

Final Rest

Even if you are a side or tummy sleeper, we recommend you spend the first 5-10 minutes on your back. Let all muscles release and focus on deep, restful breathing.

These positions should be taught and implemented throughout the day. Allowing 1-3 minute breaks trains the mind and body how to shut down. Also, keeping cortisol levels low throughout the day will have an impact at bedtime.

Have you tried a sleep routine with your children or yourself? How do you see yourself using these positions in your work? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Early Childhood After Lunch Routine

The transition from lunch to learning can be difficult.

For both children and adults, the transition from lunch back to learning can be difficult. Especially on days when weather does not allow for outdoor time to burn off higher energy! Our after lunch routine is the perfect movement sequence to meet high energy and get bodies ready for a quiet rest time. This routine features cards from our Move Mindfully® Early Childhood Card Deck.

Mountain

First, stand tall in Mountain. Make sure that feet are planted firmly on the ground. It can be helpful to remind children to  “Stand tall and strong like a Mountain!”

Hi Sun

Have children stretch arms up high to the sky. Make this move more playful by waving arms to the sky and saying “Hi Sun!”

Down Dog

We can say “Woof! Woof!” in Down Dog as children wag their tails. This movement gives deep input into the body that helps burn off higher energy. Note, if you want a longer routine, you can have children go back to mountain and cycle through these three movements a few times.

Child’s

When children are ready for final rest, have them come into Child’s. This can be held for several breaths and you can even place your hands on their backs to encourage slower breathing and offer some more grounding input.

Rest Time

Finally, offer time for quiet rest. We love putting a stuffed animal on children’s bellies so they can use their slow breathing to rock their animal to sleep.

Want to learn more about using Move Mindfully with Early Childhood? Check out some of our other blog posts!

Early Education Tips

Early Childhood Move Mindfully® Card Deck

What have you tried as a routine for after lunch? Leave a comment!

Performance Routine

Do nerves get the best of you before a performance?

Band, choir, drama, presentations and performances all require an incredible amount of mindfulness. It can be overwhelming! Are you, and the children you work with, ready to perform? The good news is that there are systematic breathing and movement routines that together create the optimal relaxed, alert state for performing. We recommend using this routine throughout the year, so it is familiar. Then, before a big performance, students can rely on muscle memory to prepare.

This routine is perfect before any music, band or drama class. Getting grounded, opening the rib cage for breathing and focusing with a balancing position are crucial elements for success before taking the stage.

Mountain

• Stand strong in Mountain and feel your power.

Upward Mountain

• Fill your lungs and take a deep breathe inhale to upward mountain.

Crescent (Both Sides)

• Exhale to Crescent and open the rib cage getting your body ready to perform.

Eagle (Both Sides)

• I am focused and I am balanced.

Forward Fold

• Big Exhale, I let go. Slowly roll up and I am ready to perform.

We love the added component of bringing in musical instruments, such as drums, to keep a steady beat during the routine. Some music teachers will weave in their music standards right into the mindful movement!

Singing at Kindergarten graduation? Speaking at debate finals? Dancing in a state competition? Whatever your performance platform, Move Mindfully can prepare mind, body and heart for adults and children alike! Looking for a longer sequence? Our Move Mindfully Engaging Routine also utilizes rib cage openers and balancing movements or create your own sequences with our Move Mindfully Card DeckStill feeling the jitters? Dab some of our Move Mindfully Essential Oil blend on your wrists and put on headphones to listen to an audio recording of our guided mindfulness practice, The Pause.

Have you used these strategies before a performance? Are you an arts teacher that utilizes mindfulness and movement? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

From Tired to Awake

School can be tiring sometimes.

Maybe in an elementary school it looks like laying on the carpet, instead of sitting criss cross. In a high school, it may be a flat out snore in the middle of lecture. Feeling the warm afternoon sunshine come through the window, even teachers can feel their eyes start to go droopy. I suddenly wish I would have had that second cup of coffee!

The good news is, there are quick and easy body strategies that can take us from tired to awake in under five minutes. The Tried to Awake routine can be done whole group or individually as needed.

I like to offer this routine to the whole group during Morning Meeting, when bodies are still sleepy, or after lunch. The effectiveness of this routine comes from the oscillation between an energizing movement and a resting movement.

We always like to meet a body where it’s at. So, if it is tired, we will begin with a resting position, such as child’s pose.

Child's Pose in first grade

Then, after three to five breaths, we transition into an energizing movement, like down dog. Pressing hands and feet into the floor is a great way to engage all muscle groups and wake up the body. Hold down dog for three to five breaths to feel fully engaged. We recommend three to four rounds, between child’s pose and down dog, for the full effect.Downdog on a First Grade carpet

Students in middle school and high school may be more comfortable with a seated variation. You can create a similar effect using head on desk and seated backbend, pictured below. Again, remember to hold each position for three to five breaths before transitioning.

head on desk

seated back bend

Blog Bonus! Use this audio to lead your students through the Tired to Awake Routine.

What have you tried to fend off the tired gazes of your students? Leave a Comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

Snow Day Routine

When the weather limits our time outside, stir crazy energy can make children, and parents, feel restless.

Are you stuck inside due to inclement weather? How are you meeting your children’s energy? It is wise to be proactive and encourage gross motor movement throughout the day to break up screen time and sedentary activities.Indoor Energy

However, what happens once you have checked off YouTube dance videos, obstacle courses and forts from your list? What happens when parents need a break and the kids need to transition into a rest/quiet time?

Go Noodle

Our Move Mindfully® Snow Day Routine offers the perfect compliment to high intensity indoor activities. The Snow Day Routine incorporates both energizing and calming movements to bring higher energy back into balance. Topped off with a scripted relaxation, this sequence is sure to ease everyone into rest time.

Snow Day Routine

Featuring the Move Mindfully® Card Deck

Mountain

  • Find a tall, strong, snow covered Mountain.

Mountain Pose

Upward Mountain

  • Reach up high to the sky in Upward Mountain.

Upward Mountain

Forward Fold

  • Fold Forward slowly like Snowflakes gently falling to the ground.

Forward Fold

(Repeat first three movements 3x)

Down Dog

  • Press your hands and feet into the ground in Down Dog – stretch your body! Imagine making footprints and handprints in the snow.

Down Dog

Child’s

  • Move into Child’s Pose, but today we are a Polar Bear cuddled in the snow – cover your nose with your Polar Bear paws to feel the warmth of your breath in your hands.

Child's Pose

Final Relaxation

  • Stay here for a few breaths or come to your back and imagine making Snow Angels by sweeping your arms up and down by your sides until you stay so still you can imagine hearing the snowflakes fall – can you catch a snowflake on your tongue?

final relaxation

This routine was created using the Move Mindfully® Card Deck available at our store. Download and print the Snow Day Routine.

Comment below and let us know how it worked!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

After Recess Routine

When parents mirror classroom interventions at home… magic happens.

As a first grade teacher in a culturally diverse community, there are always challenges that arise with meeting a variety of needs. Over the past years, I have been able to focus on a few keystone challenges that all seem to center around self-regulation.

After my Yoga Calm® Training and our  on-site workshop at the beginning of the year, I felt confident that my toolkit was ready to support the variety of needs that would arise in my classroom.

sky oaks move mindfully workshop

Getting Started

Our school wide efforts began with simple breathing strategies. Although most of my students responded to the deep, belly breathing, it wasn’t enough. Especially after recess students would transition back to the classroom still in a space of excess energy. Either goofy or angry behaviors would get in the way of our math lesson. The first grade bodies in front of me were not ready to learn, and they were not ready to take deep breaths either. What to do?

Creating an After Recess Routine

With support from our Move Mindfully® Residency instructor and an Occupational Therapist, I created a series of movements designed for after recess that focus on full impact core work. The idea here is that big sensory input was necessary before the body can be ready to transition to deep breathing and then finally to the learning objectives. I was ready to present the routine to my students! (Child’s pose, table, down dog, plank, cobra and finally ending again in child’s pose)

Implementation

The first piece that was critical in the After Recess Routine roll out was stretch spots. I strategically assigned each student to a spot around the room, separating those that needed to be seperated, giving space to those that needed more space and keeping those near me that well… needed to be near me!

Stretch Spots

Then, I taught the routine. The real power in this routine is when students reach the “ending”, I modeled how to ask, “Is my body ready to learn?” If the answer was no, then they would start over, back to table and go through the routine again. I encouraged them that they could go for as many rounds as they needed until their body was ready to learn! At that point, they would come to the carpet where I would be starting the math lesson. This also built in a piece of self-awareness and responsibility for body readiness.

child's pose

Impact- Bringing it Home

The difference was immediate. There was increased focus, participation and an overall feeling of wellness. With conferences coming up I thought, “what if we could bring this energy into the students’ homes?” I took photographs of my students demonstrating the movements and wrote up a description of each. Then, I worked with our cultural liaisons Heidi Grant and Sahra J Abdullahi to have the content translated into Spanish and Somali. During conferences I gave this handout to parents as a way to not only share what we were doing in the classroom, but also encourage some of its use at home. I received feedback that students were already using the movements before bedtime and teaching their siblings!

You can find this movement sequence template on Teachers Pay Teachers. There is even an editable version where you can include your own students photographs!

Teachers Pay Teachers Movement TemplatesHigh Energy Sequence

Have you tried to share self regulation strategies with parents? What has worked well? Leave a comment!

Written By,

Sarah Singleton

Mom to an incredible little boy, First Grade Teacher, lover of coffee and comfy clothes.

Sarah Singleton