Creating Calm Children: The Importance of Developing Internal Guidance Systems

Lisa Danahy (E-RYT 200, RCYT, YACEP)

Every day, thousands of children struggle with self-regulation, self-soothing, and self-confidence. All it takes is one person with the right training and the willingness to believe in a child’s capacity for happiness and goodness to make all the difference. Empowering children to feel and act consciously,
caringly, and constructively is our job as the adults in their world.

We must model for our children tools of wellness. For many years, as the director of a busy preschool, I practiced yoga to help me stay healthy, balanced and calm. Practicing yoga didn’t eliminate the challenges in my daily life. But, as they arose, I used my yoga skills to regulate my breathing, to relax my tense muscles, and to re-balance energy. At times, I was also able to use my yoga to raise my energy levels and build resilience. My yoga met me wherever I was.

I began sharing these tools with my students – usually when they had just been marched into my office by an angry teacher. Instead of engaging words, I would invite my little visitor to curl his or her fists in tight, close their eyes and take a few breaths while imagining being turtles tucked into their shells.

Tucking into their shells, even if just for a few breaths, seemed to help press the “reset” button, to connect the mind and body and to slow everything down, giving them time to check in with themselves.

Reconnecting children in this way with their own internal guidance systems allows them to seek solutions from the inside, to develop and rely on their intuition, and gain greater control of their responses to what is happening around them.

I was compelled through this work to complete my children’s yoga certification, learning a children’s yoga method that combined Kundalini Yoga with Montessori education. I came to understand the physiology behind the mind-body connection and how yoga fuels self-regulation, self-soothing, and self confidence. Sharing these tools with children and watching them reconnect with their natural state of happiness and goodness was a powerful learning experience for me.

Lisa Danahy (E-RYT 200, RCYT, YACEP) is a Yoga Alliance certified education provider. As a Radiant Child Yoga Facilitator, Mentor & 200-Hour Instructor, she conducts children’s yoga trainings around the country, including at A Yoga Village in Clearwater, FL. Lisa has over 30 years of experience as a former school administrator, educator, certified trainer and master yoga instructor. Her work as an educator and trainer is supported by a BA in Psychology as well as specialized training in Kripalu Yoga in Schools, Ashaya Therapeutic Yoga, Dynamic Gentle Yoga, Pranakriya Prenatal Yoga & Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra. As a published author on yoga and mindfulness for NAEYC, an Approved Trainer for DC OSSE, a Yoga Alliance Certified Education Provider and member of the International Board of Certified Trainers, Lisa is committed to building strong healthy communities through yoga and mindfulness education. To learn more or connect with Lisa, go to www.INAwellness.com

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