Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Play List

Making the class ALL ABOUT THE KIDS is the most important thing...even if it means listening to Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers (who are slowly growing on me, btw). I've found some great kid friendly music that I've been using in class that I thought I'd share with you. This play list is good for 8-12yr olds:
-Hello Beautiful - Jonas Brothers
-Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
-Colors - Kira Wiley
-The Climb - Miley Cyrus
-The Best Day - Taylor Swift
-Dream - Miley Cyrus
-Fireflies - Owl City
-Love is On its Way - Jonas Brothers
-With My Own Two Hands - Jack Johnson
-Ordinary Miracle - Sarah McLachlan
-Walk Tall - Ziggy Marley
-Love, Peace, and Freedom - David Newman
-Namaste - Kira Wiley
-Simple Gifts - Jewel
-Hearts Awakening - Parijat

Monday, September 28, 2009

Building Confidence with Friends

When you ask a group of children to sit back to back with each - it's interesting to see who will move and who will hesitate. Every child has his or her own story, but a yoga class is built on trust. Trusting the teacher - trusting each other. Simply getting to know each other is key. We played a game I learned in my teacher training with Little Flower Yoga in NYC. My amazing teacher, Jennifer Cohen, made sure we were equipped with a wealth of knowledge regarding child development as well as plenty of games and activities to stimulate the development of a child. We played many of the games in the training ourselves to gain the full experience. The one I used in this class was called "Cross the Line". Placing 2 pieces of masking tape on the ground in parallel lines, the children stood face to face behind the lines. I read a series of questions, some fun, and some designed to make the child think. When the statement rang true for the child, he or she would cross the line and make eye contact with the others that they now had something in common with.

For example, "Cross the Line if you...":
- have a pet.
- play an instrument.
- can swim under water.
- love to read.
- don't like the dark.
- have cried this week.
- have helped someone this week.
- feel beautiful/handsome today.
- have ever been afraid of someone.
- have ever felt embarrassed.
- enjoy feeling peaceful.
- have done something you're proud of.
Some of the children needed encouragement to actually look in the eyes of the others, some were very comfortable. We discussed how it made them feel afterwards - relaxed, proud, apprehensive...
After this activity, I introduced the Warrior Series. Warriors are strong and bold. Warriors stand up for what they believe in. And that's the confidence that we want to see in our children and the strength children want to feel. Warriors have to keep focus, so we worked with Warrior 1 in partners. Facing each other and maintaining eye contact, we gave our best Warrior stares! Warriors also have to stay in the present and be aware of what is happening around them right now! Not what already happened and not what is to come, and that's what Warrior 2 is about - balance. Keeping your torso centered, not leaning to far forward or too far back, but staying right in the mi
ddle, balanced.
Which brings us to the worksheet below! After practicing Warrior 2, we chatted a bit about staying balanced - about staying in the present. We looked at the past and staying with relationships, I had them list the people who have helped them in the past. We should be grateful and not forget those people. Keeping them just in reach is what makes them special and keeps them in our memory. We talked about the importance of staying present in all situations, especially when we need to help ourselves. We talked about the future. On the worksheet I had them list ways that they could help in the future. Unknown to me, this particular group of kids were already actively helping the future - participating in fundraisers for local and global causes, as well as raising money on their own by selling lemonade or hand made bracelets. My heart was filling up with love for these beautiful souls!We ended the class with Back to Back Breathing - staying aware of their partners breath and maybe even syncing their breath. I could see they were already starting to become more comfortable with each other and themselves.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yoga Mudras

All kids know at least one Mudra - a Thumbs Up, the "OK" symbol, the traditional Peace Sign, made with two fingers in the shape of a V, the Hawaiian "Hang Loose" symbol with the pinky and thumb extended. A traditional picture of a Yogi usually shows one sitting tall with his or her hands in Jnana Mudra (index and thumb touching). But what is a Mudra? A Mudra is also known as Hand Yoga. It’s placing your hand into a certain shape and concentrating on the meaning of that shape. Each finger has both a sound and a meaning that can be used to help a child understand the idea of a Mudra. I drew this visual to aid in that process and made a copy for each child:
(image coming soon)
Over the first finger, I had them write Sa. Sa is the Self. I had them think of one or two words that describes them and write them down the first finger. I reminded them to use their own words, not words that someone else may use to describe them, since children are often labeled at home and school. I had them think about everything they love about themselves because we are all divine individuals each in our own ways.
Over the second finger I had them write Ta. Ta is emotions or feelings. I had them think of one or two feelings they were feeling right at that moment. I reminded them to always good check in with how they are feeling. Sometimes things get so crazy we forget to look inside to see how we are really feeling about something. Are we happy? Are we sad? And to remember feelings come and go. One can be happy one second and sad the next. Emotions are funny like that.
Over the third finger I had them write Ma. Ma is family (and often a baby's first word). I had them think about their families - the family they live with and the family they don’t live with. There is a special bond that one has with all members of their family no matter where they are – and even when it seems like that bond may not be there, it is. Families are constantly changing and that’s okay because family members always have a special place in our hearts. Down the third finger, the wrote one or two words to describe their family.
Over the last finger, I had them write Na. Na is creativity. I had them think about how creative they are - about one or two activities that they enjoy doing that keep their creative juices flowing. It could be anything that sparks the imagination – drawing, writing, painting, singing, dancing, YOGA. Or even style – how you dress, the colors you like, or how your do your hair. It can be anything! Even daydreaming! Any creative use of the imagination is important.

Once all the fingers were labeled, they placed the worksheets in front of them with hands face up on their knees. Remembering to be mindful of their breath as always, they were given the option to touch their thumb to each finger, thinking silently about the word or words you wrote down on each of your fingers. Or thinking of the meaning of each finger – Sa is myself, Ta is my feelings, etc. Or simply moving their fingers, making the sounds, and thinking of nothing at all...the ultimate goal.
The children respected that yoga is not just a form of exercise. They seem to get that right off the bat. We talked about how yoga is also a reflection of ourselves, a time to look inside and maybe ask, what's going on in there? It doesn't mean they need to "figure out" what's going on in there, but just be aware. Yoga is about being aware of themselves, how they feel, what they think, and then accepting what comes up - no matter what that may be.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yoga Zoo

A camel in Utrasana. A dog in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. A cat in Marjaryasana. And then there's Dead Bug.
It doesn't get much cuter then this at the The Yoga Zoo! Adorable plush animals doing the pose inspired by its name. Each animal comes with a little booklet explaining the pose to honor the traditional practice.

Visit The Yoga Zoo! www.theyogazoo.com

Monday, September 14, 2009

Open Your Heart

Our first class with Alluem Kids was themed around opening our hearts. For many students, it was their first class. Some came encouraged by a friend, others through their parents. You could tell by their faces they did not know what to expect. I encouraged them right in the beginning to ask questions whenever they arose. A typical yoga class for a child is the complete opposite of a typical adult class. There will be very few times when it is completely silent - and conversation is expected. Children have questions and they should not be ignored, even the silliest ones.
After discussing what yoga meant to everyone, we did several heart opening stretches. Children spend most of their days slumped at their desks, developing poor posture. A simple reminder to bring their shoulders up, back, and down can do wonders! Sitting in Baddha Konasana (Bound Ankle or Butterfly Pose), hands behind them resting on their floor, they opened their hearts up. Each child stated their favorite color and shined their colored Heart Lights to the sky, leaning into the natural curve in their spine, lengthening with deep inhales. We talked about what it means to keep an open heart...not only physically, but also to keep an open heart to other people in our lives or going new places or trying new things. It's good to be aware and open to all new things in our lives, especially at their age.
During Savasana (Deep Relaxation), a placed a Heart Message on their each of their chests. A simple piece of construction paper cut into heart shape with a reminder to "Keep An Open Heart". When the kids "woke up" from their relaxation, their little smiles upon seeing their gift said it all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The fall schedule has been posted on Alluem's Website!
Alluem Kids will begin on Sunday, September 13th

Ages 4-7yrs - 10am-11am
Ages 8-12yrs - 11:15am-12:15pm

8 week session only $96!!