Use a gratitude stone to remind your kids to offer thanks for the good things in life!
I have had a big bag of beautiful glass stones in my possession for a few weeks now (thanks mom for cleaning house and donating all of your excess stuff to my kid yoga camps)! After spending the last few weeks trying to come up with a cool idea to incorporate them into class, it came to me today…they make perfect gratitude stones!
Never heard of a gratitude stone?? The idea is this: 1) Find a smooth stone or rock (or you can buy them in bulk at any craft store), any rock will do…something nice to hold onto; 2) Designate your stone as your gratitude stone; 3) Take time each day to hold onto your stone, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and reflect on things in your life that you are thankful for.
Research is increasingly showing that adopting an “attitude of gratitude” actually improves health, especially ailments related to chronic stress. Among the benefits include reductions in anxiety and depression and improvements in sleep. Taking time to offer gratitude and focusing on what is good in your life, rather than dwelling on negative things, can lead to more satisfaction in relationships and increased happiness. Research is even showing that practicing gratitude can improve heart health!
As a parent and yoga teacher, it is so important to me to teach children to be thankful and to focus on what is good in their lives. Let’s face it…kids are stressed. Why not take time to teach them how to focus on the good things? They deserve it and their health will ultimately benefit from establishing these foundations early on.
The focus of our kids class today was obviously…gratitude. At the beginning of class, the children took a moment to reflect on the things that they are thankful for. For some kids, this can be difficult. I broke the ice by saying that I was thankful for ice cream, which elicited quite a few giggles and got the ball rolling on ideas! Then, we had a fun beach-themed lesson, complete with crab bowling…I have to get some pictures of this in action, it is so fun! And after moving through beach and sun-inspired poses we ended in starfish pose and did a visualization meditation where we imagined that we were actually at the beach. During the visualization, we dug through the sand to reveal a special stone (they actually picked it out of a bag with their eyes closed…we have wonderful imaginations in yoga class!) We ended class by discussing how to use the stones and when they left they took extras for their family members.
Naturally tonight, my own little dude wanted to use his gratitude stone after relaxation and affirmations. His room was dark but I could see him holding on to his stone with his hands at his heart with eyes closed. It was very sweet and I was happy that he enjoyed the exercise.
Click below for a printable pdf which shows a picture of our stones, explains the purpose and how to use a gratitude stone. I even left some stones at the studio for others to enjoy…my little attempt at spreading the gratitude attitude love! This is a great exercise for both kids and adults!
DOWNLOAD HERE: Printable Gratitude Stones SunburstYoga