Monday, March 21, 2016

Mindful Families Class at Lokavindu Yoga in Old Town

Lokavindu Yoga in Old Town San Diego




Mindful Families
Every Sunday from 5pm to 6pm
Lokavindu Yoga in Old Town
Taught by Tania Franco

Creating greater harmony and peace within the family through yoga, guided meditation, play therapy, art therapy, aromatherapy, massage, story telling and more.

Each week a new wellness technique is introduced with the intention that each family practice and find new ways to reduce stress and strengthen their bond.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mandala Meditation for Kids

Mandala Meditation at Lokavindu Yoga in Old Town  taught by Tania Franco

Introducing children to calming practices at a young age can be really beneficial in the long run. Children can meditate just like adults only the expectations need to be different. Children have shorter attention spans and that is why it is important to guide them in 3 to 10 minute meditations.

A mandala meditation can help focus a child's attention span for much longer because it involves movement, creativity and art.

A mandala is a circle containing repetitive designs or patterns symbolizing wholeness, which help create a sense of tranquility. Anyone can create their own Mandala focusing on a particular theme and use words, images or colors to represent it.

Some of the benefits of a mandala meditation for kids are:

- Improves relationship with parents and class mates.
- Strengthens self-esteem
- Reduces fears
- Greater focus
- Improves self regulation
- Elevates creativity

There are many ways to practice a mandala meditation with kids:

1. Take out a blank piece of paper and use pencils, crayons and markers to create your own. It doesn't matter how it looks, it's much more about the experience of making one.

2. Purchase a mandala coloring book and color in it. These days they have large sections filled with mandala coloring books at Barnes and Noble and even at Target.

3. If you are in nature, you can use items in nature to make one. Walk around for a few minutes and pick up rocks, leaves, sticks, etc. Use those items to create a mandala with your child or children.

My son and the children I teach meditation to seem to really enjoy the combination of art and meditation and can meditate up to 20 minutes at a time. Believe me, even I am surprised at times at how much they can calm and center themselves.

 Try it a few times and please share with me your experiences with this practice.

Tania Franco

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Nature Mandala Meditation

Image by Tania Franco


I guide a women's healing circle which we have lovingly started calling our Soulful Sunday group. In this class we explore creating greater peace and happiness through yoga, meditation, energy medicine, tapping, focusing, mindfulness, journaling, story telling, art/play therapy and more.

I love mandalas (you may have noticed) and I had always wanted to make a nature mandala, but had not gotten around to do it. On recent Soulful Sunday meetings we decided to meet outdoors and it occurred to me that it would be a great opportunity to finally take a shot at a nature mandala. We headed towards a park near the beach and created this beautiful nature mandala that is shown in the picture above.

The whole process was relaxing, fun, energizing and creative.

Without speaking much after the initial instructions, we were able to have personal reflective time while walking and looking for objects and silently bonding when creating the mandala together.

The whole process felt very harmonious to me and brought me much peace. Each of the members of the group reported having similar experiences.

Here are some pros of making a nature mandala:

- You are in nature, which is relaxing in itself.
- You go on a mini treasure hunt (that can double as a walking meditation)
- You gather beautiful objects (some things are beautiful and others, you get to discover their beauty)
- You work in a group
- You create art that is outside the box
- When you are done... you let it go.

This is fun and relaxing activity and I can't wait to do one with my family. Next time you are in nature, whether you are alone or accompanied, try it! I think you'll find the whole process uplifting.

Tania Franco


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Coloring Meditation for the Whole Family

Son, hubby and me practicing a mandala meditation at Bird Rock Coffee in Little Italy, San Diego

I have practiced meditation for many years now, and can say without a shadow of a doubt that it has been one of the practices that has both helped me love and accept myself the most.

This is why it has been important for me to share meditation with my loved ones.

There are many ways to meditate but coloring has proven to be one of the easiest ways to meditate. I have given mandala coloring books, colored pencils and crayons to adults and children as presents for Christmas and birthdays. Most of them report back that sitting down to color has been very calming. Nowadays you can easily find many meditation coloring books in places like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Target or Michael's.

One of my favorite ways to meditate with my family (my husband and 7 year old son) is by coloring a mandala coloring book or creating our own mandala. Creating your own mandala can be really fun!

Here's how we make our own mandala:

1. Set up the materials on a table: White paper, markers, crayons, pens and pencils.
(I like to play relaxing music while we color.)

2. Draw a large circle on the white paper.

3. Create a system:  Each person draws one thing or element of the mandala and then it's the other persons turn.

(If your child draws a little bit more than agreed upon, you can let it be since you are doing this with the intention of relaxing.)

4. Remind yourself to take deep breaths throughout the exercise, remind your loved ones to do so and engage in calming conversation.

5. Do this for about 20 minutes and then enjoy your work of art.

Creating a mandala together a couple times a month helps us find a way to connect and relax as a family. Try it! You'll find that it can be very satisfying.

Tania Franco