I remember my teachers in kindergarten saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I’ve heard it so many times, it’s programmed in my mind.
Many of us understand the importance of being kind to others. We encourage children to be kind to their friends, their family members and their caregivers.
However, we don’t always pay attention to the way children speak about themselves. How do we encourage children to have a positive inner dialog in their daily lives?
How do we encourage them to love and accept themselves as they are now?
How do we encourage children to embrace their unique experience in the moment?
How do we support a future generation that knows they are worthy not just because of what they do but because they are here, alive and on this planet?
To effectively promote a positive inner dialogue in children, I suggest combining kid-friendly affirmations with a yoga practice.
5 Ways to Combine Yoga Poses with Positive Affirmations for Kids
We practice yoga to keep our bodies healthy. We also practice yoga to keep our minds healthy. What we oftentimes forget is how our thoughts and inner dialogue can affect our practice — even for kids.
Here are some of my favorite kids yoga poses and affirmations, combined, that you can introduce to children. These practices can help them learn how inner dialogue affects their minds and bodies.
1. Extended Mountain Pose: “I am limitless”
There’s no better sensation than reaching for the sky and feeling as if nothing can touch you. Anytime you perform mountain pose, try it with a slight back bend, have your kid say, “I am limitless” and ask them how they feel.
2. Forward Fold: “I let go and relax”
Releasing our upper body onto our legs brings our head beneath our hearts. This movement ignites a feeling of surrender or allowing. Adding the words, “I let go and relax” reinforces a child’s ability to have a flexible body and a flexible mind.
3. Warrior Two: “I am brave”
Have your child look beyond their fingertips, breathe in deeply and say “I am brave”. In this position, they are grounded with the front leg bent and the back leg straight. Then have them say things like,”I am steady,” “My heart is open”. Warrior poses are powerful by themselves. Adding the affirmations further invigorate the feeling of inner pride.
4. Plank: “I am strong”
Children love to feel their strength. Many of them love to be challenged physically. Everyone is strong in their own way. Holding a plank is a challenging. Affirming they are strong while performing this exercise will encourage them to be resilient.
5. Downdog: “I am playful”
Playfulness is a quality I highly appreciate about children. All children express their playfulness is unique ways. Encourage them to embrace their playfulness in this pose by stating “I am playful”. Ask them to bark like a dog or pant like a puppy. I like to raise a leg and “wag my tail”.
What are your favorite ways to encourage a positive inner dialogue in children?
Try some more affirmations with us! In this yoga flow we use yoga power-poses to teach positive affirmations for kids that build confidence.
Yoga and affirmations are a way to embody the positive thoughts about who were are now. They are about instilling a sense of worthiness and self-love. Self-love is grounded in the here and now, which will carry forward into a bright future of self-acceptance.
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About the author: Magdalene Martinez is a Dominican-American yoga teacher living in Brooklyn, NY. She has her M.S in social work and a B.A in psychology, and is certified through the Niroga Institute and Asana Alphabet to teach children, youth and adults. She loves yoga and dance classes (Afro Cuban, Afro Brazilian and Afro Haitian rhythms), and studied creative dance with Luna Dance Institute. She is currently a Social Worker and a Yo Re Mi yoga teacher.