Mouse Mat: Easy “Stress Reduction” for Kids in the Classroom and at Home
School life can be stressful, filled with anxiety for children and adults. Yoga can help us move into a more relaxed state and specific Yoga Poses can help us do that very quickly.
The Mouse Pose in the “What I See, I Can Be” book (also known as “Child’s Pose”) is an excellent pose to help children relax quickly.
Teachers can set up a ”Mouse Mat Corner“ in the classroom and Parents can set one up in the home. The Mouse Mat Corner is a place where children can go to have a “Mouse Moment“. When children feel overwhelmed, stressed, angry or are about to have a “melt down”, they can retreat to the Mouse Mat Corner and do the Mouse Pose.
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It is best if the area has some degree of privacy, such as a space large enough for a yoga mat that can safely fit behind some furniture, such as a bookcase. It can also have a Mouse Teddy Bear for support or a cozy blanket that children can put over themselves, just to give the sense of comfort, safety and security.
Teach children how to do the Mouse Pose, starting with hands outstretched with palms pushing gently into the floor. When they are ready, the hands can come back and rest on their feet. Encourage children to breathe deeply so that they can feel their back moving up and down as they breathe.
You can even have a sign that children can use that says
“Please do not disturb me. I am enjoying a Mouse Moment“.
To help children transition out of this state gracefully – when the child is done doing the Mouse Pose and breathing slowly and feeling more relaxed, they can do the “Cat Pose” to stretch out the spine. Once they have done as many breaths as feels comfortable to them, they can then move into “Dog Pose”. This helps stretch out the body. Once they are ready, they can then stand up and do the “Victory Pose” to acknowledge their feelings of confidence as they have managed their own emotions successfully.
These 4 Poses can be on the other side of the sign that says “Please do not disturb me. I am enjoying a Mouse Moment”. The other side can show a picture of the four poses, or have the words:
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By using a “Mouse Mat Corner” approach, this allows children to self-regulate and gives them strategies for helping them manage their more aggressive and challenging emotions and helps them feel empowered.
In the “My Amazing Body” Kids Yoga Teacher Training" module we learn about the Autonomic Nervous System and how it is made up of the Sympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for the “Fight-or-Flight” response and the Parasympathetic Nervous System which is responsible for the “Rest-and-Digest” response. Talk to your children about stress and how it causes us to always be in the “Fight or Flight” response and how it takes time to move our nervous system into the “Rest and Digest” mode.
Let them know that doing Mouse Pose is relaxing and healthy for their body and gives the body a chance to calm down. Doing slow yoga helps us move into a more relaxed state of being. As we breathe deeply, our body and mind are able to relax. From the “What I See, I Can Be” book, doing the ”Mouse Pose” (also called Child’s Pose) is a wonderful pose to help us relax.
Janet Williams, B.Ed, RCYT is a certified Primary/Junior Teacher, Yoga Instructor and Author of the Award-winning book “What I See, I Can Be: A Guided Yoga Flow for Children”. Concerned about the childhood obesity issue and high anxiety kids face, Janet created easy to use Kids Yoga Resources so that Parents and Teachers could get their children active and fit – and calm and relaxed. Janet offers a “95 Hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training Certification” that is recognized by Yoga Alliance and is excellent for parents, teachers, daycare providers, youth leaders and health care professionals.
To learn more: www.ChildrensYogaBooks.com