It’s common knowledge that the calming, healthful effects of mindfulness and yoga are available to all who take time to breathe, move and simply be with intention, but it’s not just adults who can reap the benefits. Bethlehem’s Kira Willey brings this practice to the Lehigh Valley’s youngsters with music and workshops that make mindfulness a part of life and help kids manage their feelings and energy.
When lifelong musician Willey started teaching yoga to children after college, she found that adding her guitar and singing instructions got kids much more engaged. “My musical instructions became snippets, snippets became songs and the songs became an album,” Willey says. Dance for the Sun has won multiple awards including a Parents’ Choice Award and the Independent Music Award for Best Children’s Album.
Now, Willey performs yoga concerts, conducts workshops and helps teachers and schools implement mindfulness in the classroom. Her popular Rockin’ Yoga school assemblies can get an auditorium full of kids moving and stretching to the music.
On Mindful Moments for Kids, creative minute-long exercises lead kids in a meditative practice that they can connect with and enjoy. Kids don’t need to have the word mindfulness in their vocabulary or read articles about the science behind it to feel calm when they follow a track like “Bear Breath,” which invites them to imagine being a bear hibernating in a safe, warm cave. Through rhythm, breathing, visualizations and motion, kids can learn the self-awareness and self-regulation that will serve them in every part of their lives, and have a good time doing it!
This fall, Rodale’s new imprint Rodale Kids will be publishing Willey’s first children’s book, Breathe Like a Bear, based on Mindful Moments and full of beautifully illustrated, do-anywhere mindful-ness breaks for kids.
Check out Willey’s website for local appearances!