Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Growing Up

It's not Spring, but thanks to a gift from one of the Alluem adult students I was able to coordinate a little lesson on taking care of plants and taking care of ourselves. We received a Paper White Plant Kit, complete with the bulbs, dirt, and a pot. The Alluem Little Kids were so excited when they found out it would be their responsibility to take care of it! We started off by talking about the things we needed to take care of ourselves to grow up strong and healthy- good nutrition, rest, fresh air, love, peace, etc. Then we talked about what plants needed to grow strong and healthy - water, light, temperature, care, time, etc. We noticed many similarities, which was obvious because plants and kids are both living things....we also noticed the differences. As one student pointed out, "We need orange juice when we get sick, but a plant may not like that very much." Cute.
We then talked about the growing process of the plant and acted it out through yoga poses. Starting as tiny seeds near the window in Child's pose, I covered them each up with a folded blanket to act as dirt. Sometimes plants can take a while to grow, so we took some deep breaths of fresh air and practiced our patience. I sprinkled them with imaginary water and watched them sloooooowly break out from under the dirt. First a small bud in Hero's Pose, grabbing on to their heels and sprouting up into Camel Pose. As I gave them some more water, they grew taller into Chair Pose, stretching their pedals up over their heads, finally growing taller into Mountain Pose, and onto their tippy toes! They danced around the room and called out what type of flower they wanted to be.
We danced over to our Paper White project and dug in! The kids did it all from moistening and breaking up the dirt with their hands, burying the bulbs, and giving it enough water so that it could grow. We then came into Flower Pose and practiced patience once more while balancing and waiting for the plant to start growing. One swore she saw the bud grow, but I reminded her that we probably won't see any growth until at least next week! We placed the plant by the window in the Meditation Room and they are very excited to get back next week to see how it is doing!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Upside Down

With Jack Johnson in the background singing "Upside Down", the Alluem Kids practiced their inversions this weekend! Shoulder stands, headstands, handstands, and forearm stands really get the blood flowing throughout the whole body. When upside down, the brain is refreshed with new oxygenated blood to bring clarity to the mind, while the body develops strength and balance. Inversions are said to have positive effects on 4 major systems including the cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine, and nervous system. For kids, it's just fun! Kicking up into headstands and walking up the wall to practice handstands...kids love being upside down!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Next Session Registration

Registration for the next Alluem Kids session is now open!
The new session starts Sunday, February 7th.
Sundays, 10-11am - Alluem Kids 4-7yrs
Sundays, 11:15am-12:15pm - Alluem Kids 8-12yrs - CLOSED
Sundays, 12:30-1:30pm - Alluem Kids 8-12yrs
Register today!! Class closes at 15 kids max.
Visit http://www.alluemyoga.com/ or call the studio!
(Make-up class for the previous session will be held 1/31.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Now that's Family Yoga!

Sunbathing on a Rock, Standing on a Chair, Bicycle Built for 2, Walking through the Clouds, and Triple Downdog...it's what every Family Yoga Class should be!
Just as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt that one day all people young and old would live together in peace and harmony, it was my hopes today that the families in class would come together as a unit to strengthen their bonds through yoga. Yoga with your family is a very rewarding practice designed to get you moving while spending quality time with your kids. It gives you a chance to guide your child with compassion and it gives your child a chance to remind you how to play! We had a great time today!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Martin Luther King Day

Off from school on Monday, January 18th with nothing to do? Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Alluem. Dr. King had a dream that one day we would all live together in peace and harmony. Experience that peace by the river with your children.
Join us for Family Yoga
$20 per family
recommended for ages 5 +

Monday, January 11, 2010

Watermelon Pose!

Yoga isn't just about exercise, it's about treating the whole body right in this moment - physically, mentally, spiritually. Whatever your past held is over...and there is no point in worrying over the future. Staying focused on NOW is what's most important. So when we bring yoga to children, it's important to teach them about more then just Downward Dog and Frog Jumps. It's important to to teach them about the self as a whole NOW in their still growing bodies and minds. And what makes them grow into strong and healthy individuals? Nutrition, rest, exercise, mental stimulation, love...it's a combination of these things that unite the body, mind, and spirit in a child. It is through Yoga (union) that we can reach the child in all aspects of life.
The New Year always brings a focus on eating right. Wherever you look - commercials, the Internet, bookstores, drug stores, etc. Some of the messages that the media puts out can tend to be misleading at times, especially for children and tweens - focusing on how you should look rather then how you feel. I strongly disagree with those messages, but that's a whole other blogpost! I believe giving your body the proper care and nutrients it needs for the strongest and healthiest YOU is something that should be done year round. But whatever it takes to get people there, so be it.
I came across a great article by Lisa Flynn on The Kid's Yoga Resource site: Food, Mood, Behavior, and Learning - What are You Feeding Your Kids this Year? It was full of great information on nutrition for kids. I started to think how I could incorporate this in my class...I asked Lisa for some suggestions and wah-lah! Her next posting: The Picnic Game: Nutrition Education for Kids contained some awesome nutrition focused activities for kids! And I had a wonderful class lined up for my 4-7 yr olds! We started with a focus on what the kids had for breakfast, that it was the most important meal of the day and gave us energy so we could move and have fun in yoga class! We read "Little Pea" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - the story of the little pea who would get no spinach for dessert if he didn't finish his candy! We then played the Picnic Game recommended by Lisa. The kids checked out their play-food choices and did some yoga poses to mimic the food, which was very entertaining! Ask a your little yogi what they think Watermelon Pose looks like and see what you get! We then did a coloring activity break down of the Food Pyramid recommended by Team Nutrition at the USDA. The kids enjoyed themselves because it was a fun and interactive way of learning how to take care of ourselves! Not to mention, they are able to walk away with some information that they can value the rest of their lives. You can never start too young!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hope is a Game Changer

"Hope is the most important thing that people need to move forward. The slightest ray of hope can ignite the human spirit's ability to overcome: The Power of the Invisible Sun." - Bobby Sager
Chronicle Books and photographer/philanthropist Bobby Sager has released an amazingly moving photographic journey into the lives of children living in the most war-torn areas of the world. The pictures include refugees, orphans, child soldiers, and just plain children living among things that no child should have to deal with. The great part about this book is that all proceeds will go towards the Hope is a Game Changer-Project, making it a tangible way to begin delivering hope. At the end of the book, Bobby asks, "Now what?" He asks with hope that you will do something...and that something is "not to feel sorry for them, but to take strength from their strength, feel more thankful in your own life, and find ways to give others hope, by giving something of yourself."
So, I asked myself - what can I do? My answer...I'll start in my own community. Reading about how Bobby has brought a bit of hope and peace into the lives of children around the world through the Hope is a Game Changer-Project, has inspired me to bring a bit of focus on PEACE into the Yoga Classroom this weekend. Why not start with the children right under your nose? The children of today are the ones who will become the leaders of tomorrow. Instill peace in them now and it will make a world of difference.
For my 8-12 year old students, I've decided that now is the perfect time to introduce the Yamas. The first one, Ahimsa - non-violence, peacefulness towards others and yourself. Dakiniyogini at Shanti Generation, recently noticed that many of her students having been doting the peace sign on their clothes, bags, key chains...it's become one of the latest trends. She asked her students if they wore the peace sign as a trendy fashion statement or if they really believed in peace as a way of being. It's the perfect question to bring up to a tween to get them thinking about what peace really means and what they can do to make a difference. It all starts with baby steps.
"Giving someone hope is the ultimate concrete baby step." - Bobby Sager

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yoga Toes

Just for fun...Little Miss Matched!
"Nothing matches, but anything goes!"
Yoga is more fun with Yoga Toe Socks!

Favors for our birthday parties at Alluem Kids are always changing. Our most recent favors were Toe Socks by Little Miss Matched. The girls loved them! They're fun to look at and they break the rules - they don't match! Makes folding laundry a lot easier, too. I've just discovered tons of cool activities for kids on their website that are worth checking out and that I just may use in some of my classes...Eye-Catching Eye Pillows (great for Savasana)...Dream Catchers...or even design your own socks, pjs, or bedding to keep the creativity flowing in your kid! Oh, and you must check out the KnitWits...they would make great Breathing Buddies (stuffed animal or toy to place on your child's stomach during reclined deep breathing exercises - watch your buddy get a ride as you inhale and exhale)! I heart Little Miss Matched!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Yoga Mittens

This cold Sunday morning, the Alluem Kids (4-7 yr olds) huddled together to listen to the classic story, "The Mitten". This Ukrainian folk tale has been retold many times, but I chose the version written by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. The little boy in the story looses his mitten after a day of fun in the snow. His Grandmother assures him they will find it the next day. While the boy and his Grandmother warm up with a mug of hot cocoa, a couple of chilly forest animals find the boys mitten - first a squirrel, then a rabbit, a fox, and even a bear. They are all convinced that this mitten could warm their toes, and one by one they squeeze into the mitten. Just then, a tiny mouse comes along and wants in. After a deep inhale from all the animals, the tiny mouse squeezed in and all was well for a short minute until the mitten BURST! All the animals dispersed to find a new place to stay warm. The boy and his Grandmother set out the next day to find the mitten, but all they found was a hundred tiny little pieces of yarn. They had no idea what could have happened, but the Grandmother assured him she would knit him a new one, because she loved him. It's an adorable tale with plenty of animals, perfect for a yoga story time.
The children were instructed to do the yoga pose of the animal name that they heard each time in the story:
-Prayer Squat for Squirrel
-Rabbit Hops for Rabbit
-Hands and Knees with one leg back and up for Fox
-Bear Walk for Bear
-Child's Pose for Mouse
Story time was followed with a craft - our very own Yoga Mittens filled with all of the animals from the story!
The children laced and decorated their mittens and reviewed the animal poses drawn on the animals that they could slip into their mitten. This was a perfect project to take home, review, and do over and over again with their parents or siblings!