I believe it was no coincidence I came across Samantha Howick’s video on relaxation for kids on the very day I did. I believe coincidences actually occur for a reason, that there is meaning behind every coincidence. At the time (about a year ago), I was hopeless because my son was going through a very difficult patch. We had reevaluated his diet, his supplements and protocols and all other interventions, but we were still struggling with anxiety , OCD and sleep. He was an emotional wreck, and trying to calm him down would just set him off on a meltdown. I needed to find a solution that could help with these issues, and I needed to find it fast. We were at the start of a new year, and his school environment was extremely stressful. His teacher was sending home daily negative reports, and I know now, since he is no longer with that teacher, that the energy in the class was really stressful for him, not to say toxic.
This boy was waking up every night between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM and would not not go back to sleep from being so anxious. He was exhausted, and so was I.
So on the day I came across Samantha’s video on my Facebook wall (her brother, who is a friend, posted it), my son was having a really bad week. I was compelled to watch it immediately, somehow knowing it would be something my son would respond positively to (a reminder to listen to your inner voice, as it is hardly ever wrong!). That night I put it on for both my kids, and sure enough they loved it. They were not able to complete it that day, but the next evening I asked them if they wanted to try it again and the response was immediate. That second night, my son was able to sleep for the first time in weeks! It quickly became his nighttime routine to finish his homework and ask if we had time to do Samantha’s video. I would put it on, and both my children knew what to do! Simultaneously, I started going to a yoga class once a week. I never knew there were so many benefits to practicing yoga. In my younger days, all my energy and time were devoted to my dancing, and I perceived yoga as perhaps “too slow” for me (little did I know!). So when, much later, I considered trying yoga, I will admit that I came to the mat a skeptic. It is really only once I saw and believed in the positive effect yoga offered that I began to live an experience. I know now that it is pretty likely, since just about everyone who practices yoga has been touched in some way by its transformative power.
The first version of the video did not have any pictures or clips of the routine, and, as I was a yoga newbie, I kept wondering if we were doing it right. So I asked my friend if he could put me in contact with his sister, and he kindly did. Although a good part of the video does not require you to watch the screen, it is always good to have a point of reference. So I thought it would be a good idea to have a second version of the video, this time with footage of children actually performing the routine. We agreed on a location, gathered a group of children, and shot it on a beautiful summer day here in Montreal under Samantha’s direction. Samantha is a native of Canada who lives abroad and comes to spend her summers here with her family. So it was great to finally meet her after months of planning. My children, who had been listening to her voice for months, were thrilled to finally meet her too. They were both star-struck, and my son was over the moon to finally see Samantha!
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that eight percent of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that one in eight children are affected by anxiety. So it is no surprise that yoga is becoming more popular, as the vast benefits to the mind and body become more well-known and researched, and it seems that it is making its way to the top of treatment strategies. Why? Because of its amazing benefits!
Indeed, yoga can continuously support children in their classrooms, homes, sports, and relationships. It is known to be an effective practice for anxious children because it can quickly alleviate the feelings of anxiety and stress in the mind, giving the body the signal to slow down. That means the calmed-down mind translates to a calmed-down breathing pattern, a slower heart rate and lower blood pressure. Regulated breathing, holding steady in a yoga posture and deep, guided relaxation all regulate and balance the nervous system. Also, with anxiety, the mind races off to all kinds of frightening scenarios from the past or future. Yoga brings you back into your body and back into the present moment.
Children with developmental disorders like autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy can benefit from doing yoga regularly, as well as children with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and ADHD. But, in truth, yoga can be very beneficial for all children, whether they have special needs or not.
The best way to start and maintain a relaxation practice is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Fitting this activity into your family life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your children’s, as well as your, energy and mood.
Also, after a long tiring day, bedtime can be an ordeal for mothers. It is an important part of our duties, and we may feel guilty when we don’t put in the time, energy and enthusiasm we might if we were not so drained. This video can alleviate some of that guilt, as well as lighten our bedtime load by lovingly taking over bedtime routine. And children appreciate learning how to take care of themselves.
Today, more than a year later, when my son becomes very anxious, I simply tell him to go sit in a quiet corner and breathe. He does it because he knows it will help him!. Recently, his new teacher sent me a note saying how impressed she was when she saw him close his eyes in the middle of a meltdown and start breathing deeply. “He calmed himself down in minutes,” she said.
Nowadays, we no longer watch the entire video every day, but rather use it according to what our needs are on that specific day. Some days we just use it as a relaxation tool, and other times to do a bit of exercise. Whatever the reason, it is a fun and bonding time for us.
Samantha Howick and I are very happy to share this new version of The Relaxation For Kids yoga video. It is meant to be watch by children of all ages, and the beginning was especially designed to attract the younger ones to listen and participate.
I would like to personally thank all the wonderful children who participated in the video, as well as their parents who kindly allowed them to participate.
Last but certainly not least, A very special thank you Samantha Howick for her time, patience, and expertise in this project. It has been an amazing experience for us.
Samantha Howick, Free Spirit Yoga — A native of Canada, artist , yoga teacher and mother of four children, Samantha is a co-founder of Shiva Shakti Academy, offering various certification programs in traditional yet unique ways. Her classes become a forum for transformative experiences, where we can start to feel the things that bind us melt away. We get exposed to feeling liberated in body and mind as she creatively weaves her way through yoga’s highly evolved techniques, which allow us to bring more joy and peace to our lives, as well as those around us. Whether working with children or adults, Samantha encourages the idea that yoga is for everybody. Her classes and workshops, both in Lebanon and abroad, are born of her continued discipleship which spans over 20 years, a deep sense of internal freedom, and believing in dreams!
For more videos By Samantha Howick, click here.
Also known as “Frenchie,” Prima was born and raised across the seas. She believes that a life without a cause is a life without effect. Prima is the proud mom of two miracle children. Her dream, and her cause, is to heal her beautiful son who is medically fragile — with a resume full of autoimmune and neurological conditions. But despite the seriousness of this statement, she still tries to have fun doing it. Dreams are not negotiable in her house. One can only live once, but if one does it right, once is enough!
For more blogs by Prima please click here.