Monday, November 30, 2009

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I added a new toy to my bag - The Hoberman Sphere! You may or may not be familiar with this toy. Many people know this Chuck Hoberman design from the infamous version at the Liberty Science Center. The one there hangs from the atrium ceiling, measures 700 pounds and expands to 18 feet! The one we used was of course nowhere nearly as big!
My friends at Yoga Calm gave me the idea to incorporate this toy into the classroom as an effective tool for teaching relaxed breathing and lung capacity. As children are often kinesthetic learners, they may at times need a physical activity to help them get in touch with the world around them. I allowed each of the kids to lead the class in this exercise taking the sphere with both hands and focusing on their breath. As they inhaled, they expanded the the sphere as if it was their lungs taking in as much air as they can. As they exhaled, the sphere contracted. This calming deep breathing centers and relaxes both children and adults - reducing stress, focusing energy. The Hoberman Sphere playfully encourages the use of this breathing...not to mention it's great to play catch with!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Big Gifts for Little Yogis

Black Friday, Cyber Monday...have you finished shopping yet? The holidays are almost here! Deep breath in...deep breath out. The days leading into the season can sometimes be stressful - decorating, cleaning, cooking, shopping, wrapping, etc., etc. As you try to breathe and remember to keep the SPIRIT of the season...allow me to offer some gift suggestions for the kids!


























































Monday, November 23, 2009

So thankful...

We have so much to be thankful for!
Our friends and family!
Our homes! Our dogs!
Our teachers!
For nature! For the sun!
For our studio! For yoga!
And for the community pool!
Those are just a few things that the Alluem Kids are thankful for.
What are you thankful for??

Monday, November 9, 2009

Manadalas

With all of the beautiful leaves falling down around us at the mill, I decided to break out the Fall Mandala. A mandala is loosely translated to mean "circle with a center", but it is more then just a shape. It is a tool that can be used for meditation to create peace and calm for those creating or those observing. The circle contains a center that, surrounded by a symmetrical image, becomes whole. As imagination leads the children in coloring the image, they can find this wholeness in the picture as well as finding a bit of wholeness in themselves.
The image below can be found in the book:
Kids' Mandalas by Sterling Publishing sold exclusively at B&N (9781402717208).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Fun

Thanks to all the kids who came out for Alluem's Special Fall Workshop! With a focus on the fall season, "Tree Pose" was a necessary pose of the day! I broke out a wonderfully empowering picture book called "The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story" by Uma Krishnaswami. When the little girl in the story is chosen to be a tree in the school play, she finds herself very wobbly and uneasy. After signing up for a local children's yoga class, she learns how to breathe slowly and deeply, to "stretch like a rubber band", and coordinate her arms and legs in "smooth, slow movements." One day during class she realizes that "I can change my body by how I feel inside. If I'm quiet inside, then my body will be still".
Being aware of your body is an amazing skill for an adult let alone a child! Whether that child feels comfortable, clumsy, graceful, or awkward - the important point is that child is feeling. With use of the breath and movement, that child can learn to deal with whatever feeling arise.
To illustrate the point, I had the kids play the "Tree Game". Splitting up into 2 groups, the first round consisted of one group coming into Tree Pose scattered around the room, in a forest of sorts. The second group was told to run around, laugh, and be silly. The only rule was they could not touch the trees. The trees would have to do their best to focus with all that was going on around them. Round 2 consisted of one group coming back into Tree Pose, while the second group simply walked around the room, circling the trees, whistling, talking, but nothing rowdy. In the third and final round, while one group came into Tree Pose, the other went into Child's Pose in front of each tree. They were to be a rock, a drishti, a focal point for the trees.
We then discussed which round was the easiest for the trees and which was the hardest. How much strength did it take for the trees to balance with all the distraction? Did the trees appreciate when the other children acted as a rock for the trees? How can they use this focus in every day life when there is a lot going on around them? How can they learn to relax and let go when things quiet down?
There is so much to learn from being a tree!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall Break Classes!

Kids off from school tomorrow? Bring them to Alluem!
We'll be holding special Fall Break Classes:
Alluem Kids - ages 6 and up
11am-12pm
$15
Storytime Yoga - ages 2-6
12:15pm-12:45pm
$8
Parents welcome!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Obstacle Course

This was just fun!!!!

video

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Benefits of Children's Yoga on Good Morning America

Good Morning America had a wonderful piece today about the benefits of yoga for children. Doctors are beginning to embrace the use of yoga to treat ailments from Cancer to ADHD.
Click here to view the link.
Some of the participants in the segment are just a few of the finest Little Flower Yogis . Having become a certified Children's Yoga Instructor with Little Flower Yoga, and trained with some of the most knowledgeable teachers in the practice of Children's Yoga, I am so proud to have found out that Good Morning America filmed part of their feature at the New York City school with a Little Flower teacher! Jennifer Cohen, founder of Little Flower Yoga, has put together such a wonderful group of teachers to help spread the gift of yoga to children. Part of their mission statement states that,
"Little Flower Yoga grew out of a desire to see all children embrace their potential, and to help children live their lives with joy, secure in the knowledge that the world holds great wonders for them and that they have great gifts to share with the world".
This is all we can really hope for our children - that they be given the chance to become all they can be. And if they can use yoga as a tool to get them to that point, then I and other Children's Yoga Instructors couldn't be happier to aid in that process and bring the practice of yoga to them. Whether they are children suffering from an ailments, like the ones in the segment, or if they are healthy children, ALL benefit from yoga each in their own ways.