Meditation for Kids Updated
I have always thought that there is a natural struggle between children learning to “obey” their elders as they learn about life and finding their unique place in the world.
Yoga means “Union” of our mind, body and spirit. Through the practice of Yoga or mindfulness, we come to better know ourselves. We realize that we have unlimited potential. Don't we want our children to realize this also?
Giving children the tools to help them get in touch with their bodies helps them to better control their behavior. They can then become more empathetic and understand that they are an important part of our collective universe. Their actions make a difference to all of us. Like a pebble tossed into a pool, our actions ripple out affecting many others.
The practice of mediation helps us to calm our minds and rest. It is not what you think you achieve during the practice that matters as much as the lasting affect on the rest of your day.
When children misbehave they are often sent to a corner to contemplate their behavior. But they do not know why they did what they did or why they felt the way they did. We tell them their behavior was wrong but we do not give them the tools to correct it.
US Rep. Tim Ryan instituted “The Skills for Life” program in Ohio schools. It teaches deep breathing, meditation and other problem solving skills to elementary-aged kids. This program helped kids balance their emotions, cut down on bullying, and increased awareness.
When starting a meditation practice, the most important things to remember are:
1. Consistency- even if only for a few minutes.
2. Relax and breathe.
3. Be comfortable.
Animal meditation by Toni. Teach children that your mind is connected to your body. Your thoughts go all the way to every cell.
1. Start with a (Lion), take one step to the right and squat down in a wide stance , take a deep breath in and roar as you let out your breath. Stretch out your arms.
2. (Giraffe) Stand straight with feet together and reach up as tall as you can with palms together, take a deep breath in and let it out slowly.
3. (elephant) Bend at the waist as you exhale into an elephant by hanging your arms in front of you, palms together. Sway side to side as if your arms are the elephant's trunk. Take deep breaths in and exhale with an elephant sound.
4. (starfish) Last lie down on your back, stretching out your arms and legs. Close your eyes. Try to be as still and quiet as a starfish. Take 2 deep breathes in and out. Now just silently listen to your breathe for a few minutes.
These two meditation ideas are from Melissa Eisler on Chopra.com
Ballon meditation for children.
Guided relaxation meditation for children.
1. Lie down in a comfortable place and close your eyes.
2. Take a few deep cleansing breaths to relax.
3. Tense your right foot and hold this for two deep breathes and relax.
4. Take a deep breath.
5. Repeat this for every part of your body.
Set aside a time each day to practice a guided meditation. Find a quiet place free of distractions where you can all be comfortable.
For more ideas for children’s meditations visit: www.chopra.com
Toni Faile Lyerly
You are at the HELM.
Take the HELM and direct where your body can take you.
H ydrate Drink lots of water.
Want the most beautiful skin and the fewest wrinkles? Then drink hot water with fresh lemon every morning. This is a natural way to help your body eliminate toxins.
E at organic meat if your body does well with meat. Eat lots of organic or locally grown fruits and vegetables. Eat foods cooked with the freshest ingredients. Eat what you love and savor every bite. I love 75% dark chocolate. Eat the fewest processed foods possible.
L eisure Create a relaxing atmosphere to aid digestion and enhance enjoyment of your meal. Avoid eating on the run. Take 15 minutes just to sit in a quiet place even if it is in your car. Make your bedroom a restful retreat. Meditate. Meditation helps you throughout the day be open to all possibilities and to step back from needing to be in control. Take time just to have fun and laugh.
M ove everyday. Do something in spurts to raise your heart level. Do something you enjoy that gets you out in nature to remind your body of it's natural rhythms. Let the sunshine raise your Vitamin D levels. Stretch your muscles and connect with your body. I do 10 min of Sun Salutations every morning. (check this out on my Health Page under yoga with Claire Diab).
You are at the HELM. You choose. Then after two weeks your new choice will become a habit.
If you are busy during the day then prepare a fresh snack like peppers, carrots or celery to snack on. Stop at a grocery store for an apple, banana, nuts or cheese instead of fast food.
No time to exercise? Park at a place with grass and get out and walk. Park at the other end of the parking lot and walk farther to the store.
No time to meditate? Sit in your car, set an alarm on your phone, close your eyes and meditate.
Taking the HELM means learning to connect with your body. Are you tired? Does your head hurt? Lack of water can cause a headache or maybe your neck muscles are tight and need to relax. Often exercise can give you energy when you hit the 2:00 blues. Just taking a min. to check in with yourself will make your whole day better.
I put an app on my phone that reminds me to slow down, breathe and stand up straight. I recorded my own voice and set it to go off every hour of the day.
I hope whatever you do to lead a healthy life, you feel better and enjoy it.
Toni Faile Lyerly
Recently while traveling through Memphis, my husband and I stopped at a department store. It took 45 min. for me to purchase 1/2 yard of fabric because the employee working in the craft section could not figure out the price without using the machine which was out of order. Finally the manager came by and told her to just write down 50% of the price on the bolt. She could not do the math.
I started thinking of all the time our mother spent playing board games with us as we grew up. Maybe we need to play more games like Monopoly and Life to teach our kids how to earn and count money. In 1860 Milton bradley introduced the first popular "Parlor" game called, The Checkered Game of Life. Here is how Hasbro advertises the Game of Life now:
“Where will your choices take you? You made it through high school, so now what’s next? Go to college or start a career -it’s your choice. Think the family life is for you? Take that path and see how many kids you’ll have! Will you venture down the risky road where fortunes can be won… and lost? Do whatever it takes to retire in style with the most wealth at the end of the game. Spin the wheel of fate and take a drive along the twisting roads families have enjoyed for more than 50 years! Do good deeds as you go through the game to earn Life Tiles and more money down the road. "
Playing the game offers the opportunity for family discussions about how life choices affect the amount of money we earn. The person that chose college first usually made more money in their lifetime.
But it is a game of chance after all and a roll of dice can derail your cushy life pretty quickly. That may seem unfair but then real life can throw us a curve ball through no fault of our own. Maybe a family discussion concerning what you value most in life or how to be happy with what you have might help.
Of course Monopoly is the consummate real estate game. My brother pleaded with you to cut him a break when he landed on your property at the beginning of the game. But he never deviated from his plan of buying up the navy blocks. He then so enjoyed charging you every time you came by with no relief from what you owed to him. I fell for it every time. According to Wikia: "The Blue Properties are the most expensive and famous in Monopoly. While they are expensive, they are actually cheaper to build Hotels on than the Greens, even the Reds and Yellows are higher. The Blues rank 5th out of 10 in payoff percentage and 9th out of 10 in visitation frequency." How did my brother figure this out as a 7 year old.
The most important lesson learned from playing these games might just be how fun it is to spend family time together.
Creations: Make reuseable gift bags and pillows.
Follow the directions in the caption on each picture above.
To make gift bags just cut Minky or material of your choice, fold in half and stitch or use iron on stich tape. Fold over the top or cover with seam binding. I created a Christmas cow and appliqued it onto the fabric before sewing the sides.
I also made bags to use for Specialty Olive Oil or Wine bottles you are giving as gifts. To make the bottle gift bags follow the caption directions above. After sewing the sides of the bag, fold the seam to creat a point int the center. Measure down 1 1/2 inches drawing a line accross and stich. This creates a flat bottom for the bottle to rest on.
Create a gift tag using contact paper with a blackboard finish. Cut out the material and the contact paper the same size. Then peel the paper off and place onto the fabric. Stitch on or use seam binding around the edges. Attach the tulle ribbon and tie onto your bag.
Make Halloween bags. Just iron on Heat n bond stiffner to your fabric after you cut but before you sew it. Then make straps out of webbing long enough to be crossbody straps. This way your little trick or treaters can be hands free to capture the treats.
My father gave me the stove he cooked on as a child. My husband had it restored because I love it so much. I taught my daughters to cook starting out with cakes and crepes and tortillas. I have a crepe maker, so they loved to make them and fill them. What could be more fun than making tortillas and filling them with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and beans? I keep our favorite recipes on my phone for a quick trip to the store. Having your children be in charge of dinner one night a week helps them to get involved with meal planning and learning that cooking can be fun.
Why not use grocery time as a teaching tool. Have each person make out a grocery list with 10 items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. Next have them look through the newspaper to find items on sale or coupons. Take a trip to the grocery store and price the 10 items each person chose. Back at home compare the total grocery cost for each person.
Show your children how the store is laid out with the healthiest food like fruits and vegetables around the perimeter. and how much cheaper fresh food unpackaged is. Refer to the "Organic list" to know when it is worth the money to buy organic food.
I think the easiest way to involve your children in meal planning and preparation is to put them in charge of the salad. They can choose the ingredients, then wash and dry them. They can help cut up the pieces. Now they make plastic knives for children and a whole line of kitchen tools. Kids can come up with great ideas to create a beautiful presentation. My favorite salad at a restaurant, used a piece of lettuce wrapped around the salad and held in place with a toothpick. When you took the toothpick out the salad unfolded into a wonderful treat.
When the children are little, do what the storybook character Amelia Bedilia does and use baby tomatoes, carrots etc. to eliminate too much cutting. It seems like more work for you but soon you will have a real helper in the kitchen. The rule in our house was that the people fixing dinner did not have to clean up. It was more fun to make the meal than to clean up the kitchen.
In the movie, "The Big chill", the characters wash up from dinner listening to their favorite music, dancing and laughing. Let's hope meal time is fun and a time everyone wants to be together.
Health: Body Envy
I would think many of us ladies have one part of our bodies that we hate. For me it is my thighs. Even when I weighed 90 lbs. I still had those thighs. I decided the thinner I was, the less noticeable my thighs were.
Until a few years ago, I weighed under 100 lbs. Even though I am only 5 ft. tall I was still proud to be thin. I ate mostly raw vegetables, fruit, popcorn and yogurt. Then I spent 2-3 hours a day in the gym. I really believed I needed to exercise enough to put my calorie count into the negative area. I avoided fat, sugar and meat. I considered myself super healthy.
Then I started getting health problems mainly Osteoporosis and Parkinson's Disease. I did not listen to my body. I never gave any thought to adjusting my diet or exercise according to how I felt. I thought pushing myself was a badge of honor. But I am blessed to have learned one of life's little lessons before it was too late.
I believe in the ebb and flow of life. What was good for me when I was 18 may not suit my body at 59. Finally 6 months after my heart surgery 3 years ago, I gained weight. Actually in places I did not like. My thighs ballooned out again. When I told my doctor, she was thrilled. She said, with my Osteoporosis it would help pad my hip bones if I fell. So it turns out my vanity was less important than my health. My body needed some fat to process the protein.
This all came together in my mind when I was looking through family photographs and spotted this picture of me at 8 years of age. My eyes went immediately to those thighs. Only this time I smiled. How wrong I was to think super thin at all cost was actually better for me.
Of course I know I could still lose a little weight, eat better and exercise more. But I am following the motto of " everything in moderation". I am listening to my body and I am actually feeling better now.
So for any of you ladies that look in the mirror wishing your body were different, remember the part of your body you hate may save your life one day.
Toni F. Lyerly
Meditation calms your life
I believe meditation can help your physical and mental health. An article in Forbes Magazine sites many studies to support meditation. "The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. Below are some of the most exciting studies to come out in the last few years and show that meditation really does produce measurable changes in our most important organ."
Follow the link to read the Forbes article or look at my health page to learn more. http://onforb.es/1zOMmRV.
Some people believe we can not change our behavior. I know we can. We can choose a calmer, quieter and less stressful life, by meditating. Think of the changes that take place in your body when you are under stress, your heart rate goes up, your breathing become shallower, your blood pressure goes up, your mind becomes overwhelmed, your digestion slows, your sleep is less restful, you become short tempered and often aggressive. In our world we accept these behaviors as a normal way to live. We do have a choice. We can choose to lessen all of these behaviors by meditating.
Some people have told me they do not need to meditate because they pray. I think prayer is our connection up to God and meditation is listening for his answer.
Our minds are often filled with thoughts and sensory overload from music, tv, traffic, children, computers and phones. We need to allow our minds space with no thoughts or external stimulus. I liken the feeling after I meditate to how I feel when I am on vacation. The picture above of a dock in The British Virgin Islands reminds me of this calm quiet feeling.
Toni Faile Lyerly
When we talk about money with our children I wonder what image comes to mind? I doubt the worth of a penny is one. When was the last time you saw or used a coin purse? I wonder if using debit and credit cards has altered our spending habits. Oh my gosh, do people get upset if someone in the grocery line digs through their purse to pay in cash. No longer touching, counting and watching the coins grow I think has altered our respect for the almighty penny.
In the movie, "Throw Mama From The Train", Danny Devito Owen) shows Billy Crystal (Larry) his hidden coin collection. One day the two are hanging out when Owen says he wants to show Larry his coin collection. This is what they said:
Owen: This one is a nickel. This one also is a nickel. And here’s a quarter. And another quarter. And a penny. Nickel. Nickel. Quarter. Quarter. Penny.
Larry: Are any of these coins worth anything?
Larry: Why do you have them?
Owen: What do you mean?
Larry: Well, the purpose of a coin collection is that the coins are worth something Owen.
Owen: Oh, but they are. This one here I got in change when my dad took me to see Peter, Paul, and Mary. And this one I got in change when I bought a hot dog at the circus. My daddy let me keep the change. He always let me keep the change.
IMBD says that Danny DeVito insisted this scene was included int the film. See a coin can be worth something.
Sometimes as parents, we just expect our kids to understand when we say, “No” to items they want us to purchase for them. We may give them an allowance or pay them for chores without helping them to understand how a budget works. I do not suggest explaining the details of your family finances with your children. I do suggest you help them to understand how a budget works.
Make a budget sheet. Make a copy for each family member. Start with the most important budget or largest item first (Usually the mortgage or rent). Gather up 100 pennies and put them in the middle of a table. Count out the number of pennies that represent the percentage of the hundred pennies. Continue down the list. After everything on the list has been deducted from the 100 pennies, then count the number of pennies that are left. Have a discussion about how to spend these pennies.
We had a vacation jar. Whenever my kids wanted to go out and eat or buy new clothes etc. I would ask if they would rather put the money into the vacation jar. They really enjoyed watching the money in the vacation jar get bigger and bigger. When it came time to choose our vacation, we used this money as discretionary money for little luxuries.
You may wonder why I bothered to write about something as simple as this. Well, one of my childhood friend's mother cleaned the change out of her husbands pockets and her purse every night. She first just put it into a savings account and matched the amount with her own money. At the end of the first year she invested the total she had saved. Eighteen years later she used this money to send my friend to college. I know you have probably heard about stories like this before but I can tell you all those pennies, nickels and dimes made a big difference in my friend's life.
I miss counting out coins and feeling like I had a lot of money in our vacation jar. I think maybe I will start a new vacation jar and see if anyone else has any spare change lying around they do not want.
The next time I see a penny on the ground I am going to pick it up and bring it home to multiply in the jar.
Toni Faile Lyerly
No sew Christmas Tree Skirts
I used an extra curtain for this skirt. The others I made with $3 fabric I found at a remanent place, I made some with shorter top skirts to give it a double layered look. You could also use bed sheets and let your children decorate each one with handprints or drawings made with fabric paint. Buy a yard for 18 inches long, a yard and a quarter for a 22 inch skirt. You can sew this instead of ironing on the stitch tape. But I thought for college students in dorm rooms or those of you without a sewing machine this might be fun to make for gifts.
I also used these same techniques to make table runners out of a coordinating fabric. It does not matter how long the person's table is or what shape. If it is a long table then the runner becomes a centerpiece. If it is a short or round table then the runner hangs off of the sides. I made runners 10 inches wide by 34 inches long finished.
Send a comment or an email with any questions you might have or share your creations.
Toni Faile Lyerly