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The end of the school year can be a tough time for kids. There's a lot to look forward to, but also a lot to accomplish and big transitions ahead.
Give your child, students, or clients an experience of hard work, achievement, awareness, and rest with this activity, and help them practice for their real life challenges.
Sit up tall on the floor or a chair. Close your eyes or rest them in one place. Imagine that you are sitting outside, looking up at a tall mountain.
Now imagine that you are getting ready to climb this mountain. Imagine standing and beginning to walk uphill. How are your legs feeling? Take a full breath in and notice how the mountain air smells. Look around. Are you in the woods? Are there flowers? Birds? What else can you see?
As you continue to climb, the path gets steeper, and you have to work much harder. Soon you have to use your hands also, and your body is working very hard. Imagine how your muscles are feeling. What is happening to your breathing? Pause in your climb and look around? What can you see now?
As you get close to the top of the mountain, notice how you are feeling. Imagine reaching the very top. You've done it! Stand at the top of the mountain and appreciate the hard work you did to get here. Look out over the surrounding land.
When you're ready, lay down on your yoga mat (and imagine laying down on the earth at the top of the mountain). Imagine how good this rest would feel after your long climb, your hard work. Let your body sink into the ground. Notice the feeling of the mountain air on your body, and the steady support of the earth underneath you. Rest here for as long as you'd like.
Additional considerations: Some kids, especially pre-school and early-elementary age kids, love to act out this visualization. Give it a try and see how it feels. Take big steps, reach with your arms, practice balancing, and then get comfortable and relax once you get to the top.
Jennifer Cohen Harper is a leading voice in the children's yoga and mindfulness community. She is the author of Little Flower Yoga for Kids and co-editor of Best Practices for Yoga in Schools. She is founder and director of Little Flower Yoga, a national organization based in New York, and the School Yoga Project, which brings yoga and mindfulness to schools nationwide.