Children are inherently mindful. They find joy in the simplest of things and are full of curiosity and wonder. When I was a child, for example, I loved running around barefoot! I loved feverishly enjoying a popsicle before it melted in the hot summer sun and sitting on the warm blacktop making drawings with chalk before being tucked into cold sheets in bed after a long day. Of course, there was still stress in my environment, like the pressure I faced at school, but ultimately I look back fondly on these memories and recognize that these were all moments of mindfulness.
In today’s world, it is common for children to become disconnected from their mindful nature as a result of chaotic environments, busy schedules, access to social media, and academic or athletic pressures.
We can help our children practice mindfulness by encouraging them to slow down and connect to their five senses. We can offer language and tools that create knowledge around self-connection and regulation. We can create space for children to be free of devices, to connect with one another in a non-competitive environment, and to practice skills like yoga and breathwork.
This work helps children regulate themselves in the present moment, and creates a foundation that they lean back on as adults. Personally, I have been able to reflect back on childhood memories and find clarity and comfort in the moments when things felt confusing or stressful. I remember what it felt like to be present and connected to myself. Even today, as an adult with more responsibility, a schedule to keep, a classroom of children to support and people to care for, I think back to what it felt like to be mindful as a child and find the strength to prioritize this feeling of connectedness.
Soon our children will be adults, faced with adversity – changes in body, technology, cultural shifts and so much more. My hope is that they look back on their childhood, remember how wise they are and reconnect with their inner calm. They will remember what it felt like to relax on a yoga bolster for the first time, or how they felt when they made leaf sketches in the garden outside of Sama Yoga Center and noticed the cool breeze on their cheeks.
Together, we can offer our children a wide range of mindfulness experiences so they connect back to their true nature, both now and in the future.
by Caroline Reilly, RYT, MAT
Caroline holds a MAT in Early Childhood Education from Manhattanville College, graduated from Colgate University with a major in Educational Studies and a minor in Studio Art and is a second grade teacher at Rye Country Day School.
After competing as a track athlete for many years, Caroline turned to yoga to help recover from running injuries. She wholeheartedly believes in the benefits yoga has for one’s body, mind and spirit. Caroline completed her 200 hour Yoga Training, continued with the mentorship program through Sama Academy and most recently completed her Kids and Restorative Yoga Certifications here at Sama. Caroline is delighted to meet you where you are and welcome you to the Sama community!
by Caroline Reilly, RYT, MAT
Caroline is passionate about the benefits of slowing down and connecting to inner calm through the practice of yoga. She holds a B.S. in Educational Studies from Colgate University and a MAT in Early Childhood Education from Manhattanville College. In 2019, she completed her 200-hour YTT. Here at Sama, she obtained her Kids Yoga Certification and Restorative Yoga Certification. Caroline is a Grade 3 teacher at New Canaan Country School and the Director of the Sama Kids Program.