Nicole Cardoza has dedicated much of her career to making mindfulness accessible to young people. Through non-profit organization Yoga Foster and her new children’s wellness app, Wellemental, Cardoza spent the past six years working with kids across the country who might not have otherwise introduced to meditation and yoga. In part, her goal is to demonstrate that mindfulness isn’t just for white, cisgender, able-bodied people. With a new book for children, Mindful Moves ($15), Cardoza expands her reach in an even more tangible form.
“This book is so overdue because of the consistent lack of representation of kids of color in mindfulness and yoga,” Cardoza tells Well+Good. “We have not seen a significant amount of attention given to not just making wellness more accessible for grown-ups, but for the generation that follows who are experiencing a rapid introduction of bills and laws meant to take away their rights to well-being on top of some of the most significant levels of depression and anxiety.”
Shop now: Mindful Moves ($15)
Mindful Moves is geared toward children between the ages of 5 and 9. “It’s a collection of mindfulness practices designed for kids to be able to quickly check-in with themselves throughout the course of the day,” says Cardoza. The book includes practices on mindful listening, a body scan (“to help kids understand where emotions are showing up in their body”), and emotional awareness exercises. The book also provides gentle and accessible movement through modified and simplified yoga poses.
Cardoza’s book is intended to teach children how to process their own emotions and feel a sense of control.
“Too often kids are told to ‘pay attention,’ but they’re not taught how to do it. A lack of opportunities to cultivate emotional awareness and self-regulation, it’s just a miss for young kids,” says Cardoza. “[Children] rarely have much agency over their bodies. In school, they often have to ask to use the bathroom. At home, their guardians provide their meals and they might not have much of a say in that.” The practices found in Mindful Moves are powerful because they provide an opportunity to learn and implement skills they might not in school or at home. “They offer kids more agency to respond to the world around them,” she adds.
The book also comes with the companion app Wellemental. All the practices found on the app are available in English and Spanish, led by a diverse range of teachers. All proceeds from the book go to Wellemental in order to make the app accessible to schools that can’t afford it.
“It’s not just a book that you can read, it’s a book that you can practice,” says Cardoza.
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