Recently, one of my friends, who also happens to be an Alluem Mom-to-Be, had a most wonderful Baby Shower. Her mother-in-law had framed a poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte that I instantly loved and wanted to share here:
Children Learn What They Live
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
We must be so careful what we teach our children, intentionally or unintentionally. They pick up on everything and while none of us are perfect, as long as we strive to do the best we can and live in the present, so will our children. This poem was a great find! Thanks, Michelle! We can't wait to have you back with your new at Baby & Me !
Baby & Me Yoga is a 6 week session postpartum class for mothers with babies from 6 weeks to 12 months old that starts May 1st. It's a wonderful transition from the pre-natal class, which is held on Saturdays, 11:15am-12;30pm. Baby & Me enables mothers to continue their yoga practice and foster an ongoing maternal sense of community. A typical class emphasizes postures designed to tone the abdominal muscles and realign the inner body. Special attention will be given to post-pregnancy recovery due to epidurals or Caesarean sections. Most importantly, Baby & Me classes are a great way for mothers to connect physically, emotionally, and spiritually with their babies.
Sing up today: www.alluemyoga.com - workshops tab
OR purchase a package for a friend! Alluem Yoga Gift Cards can be used for Baby & Me Yoga classes! Makes a great !
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
I explain to the kids that yogis use these bowls while they meditate to reinforce the practice of being mindful. After a brief discussion on this, I explain how we are going to use the bowl to honor our birthday child. Everybody will get a chance to hold and ring the bowl. As the bowl comes to you, hold it flat in your hand and silently think of a wish you would like to make for the birthday child. It can be anything from wishing he or she receives happiness and peace the entire year through or wishing he or she gets the present they are hoping for. Whatever the wish is, take a deep breath in and blow the wish into the bowl. Then take the mallet and ring the bowl. Let the vibrating sound of the bowl carry your wish all the way from your hands into the birthday child's heart. The kids love this.
This past weekend at a 9 year old's birthday party, after the first child rang the bowl, I simply asked the birthday girl if she felt that. She nodded, and said, "Yes, it made my heart feel warm." The bowl went around a little further to a family friend, who was only approaching 3 years old, but wanted to participate in the class (and she did a great job of keeping up! Even through Sun Salutations!). She took the bowl flat in her hand, blew into the bowl, and with an ear to ear smile she gave the bowl a great big ring! I looked at the birthday girl and she whispered, "That was the warmest one of all." I could've cried right then and there. Beautiful.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Being mindful means engaging the 5 senses that we are born with - sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch. This weekend with the Alluem Little Kids, we honed in on our sight. Kids are often care-free at this age, and as a parent, you'll probably find yourself repeatedly saying - "Watch where you're going. Pay attention to where you're stepping. Look both ways." Kids need those reminders as they are learning to be mindful in their actions, to be aware of what they are doing.
A couple of simple games that can aid in the development of really "seeing" are probably some you are familiar with:
I-Spy: I emptied my Curious Bag filled with our Breathing Buddies (small stuffed animals and toys) into the middle of our circle and started, "I-Spy with my little eye...something green that jumps!" Herbert, the stuffed frog, of course! We practiced our Frog Jumps. Each child got a chance to "spy" something from the circle and we all did the pose that went along with the item.
What's Missing?: Now that they've gotten their chance to really see all of the items in the circle, I spaced them out for a couple rounds of What's Missing?. In this game, the children all come into Child's Pose. Closing their eyes they are instructed to deeply inhale and exhale while I remove one item from the circle. When I've taken the item away, I ask "What's Missing?" and the children must guess. This game usually becomes pretty high energy when they excitedly being raising their hands "I know!! I know!!!!" Having them go into Child's Pose and take a moment to breathe, gives them a chance to regroup, rest the eyes, and refocus before coming up to quickly scan the group of items to see what's missing. And sometimes I take nothing out to see if they are really paying attention - builds character.
Breathing Buddies: I reintroduced the Breathing Buddies, as we have quite a few new students this session. Each child picked on of the small stuffed animals to be their Breathing Buddies. Our Breathing Buddies are there to support us while we practice our deep breathing. Lying on our backs, our Breathing Buddies sit on our bellies and get ready for a ride. As we inhale we fill our bellies with air raising our Buddies up to the sky. As we exhale, we pull our bellies in watching our Buddies lower down. Inhaling and exhaling we watch our Breathing Buddy rise and fall. Having a focus on the breath becomes very relaxing and having a Breathing Buddy with us keeps us company. This is a great exercise that is good to do right before bed or if you child has trouble sleeping at night - instead of waking up mom or dad, having a Breathing Buddy can be just the comfort they need.
After our Savasana with the Breathing Buddies, we came up to sit for a short storybook that is probably familiar with every child - Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Eric Carle. To go along with our story, I passed out the below drawing sheet "What do you see?". I played off Eric Carle's story writing, "Yogi, yogi, what do you see? I see my breathing buddy sitting with me. Inhale. Exhale. Breathing deeply. Sitting together we are as calm as can be." The kids were asked to look closely at their Breathing Buddies. Looking at the colors first, they picked what they needed from the crayon box. Next they looked at the shape of their buddy and drew that. Finally they added details and color. A still life art project if you will, but an exercise in mindfulness, none the less.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Learning to Follow -
"As grown-ups, we often approach children with ideas about what we can teach them about this life to which they have so recently arrived. It’s true that we have important information to convey, but children are here to teach us just as much as we are here to teach them. They are so new to the world and far less burdened with preconceived notions about the people, situations, and objects they encounter. They do not avoid people on the basis of appearance, nor do they regard shoes as having only one function. They can be fascinated for half an hour with a pot and a lid, and they are utterly unself-conscious in their emotional expressions. They live their lives fully immersed in the present moment, seeing everything with the open-mindedness born of unknowing. This enables them to inhabit a state of spontaneity, curiosity, and pure excitement about the world that we, as adults, have a hard time accessing. Yet almost every spiritual path calls us to rediscover this way of seeing! In this sense, children are truly our gurus.
When we approach children with the awareness that they are our teachers, we automatically become more present ourselves. We have to be more present when we follow, looking and listening, responding to their lead. We don’t lapse so easily into the role of the director of activities, surrendering instead to having no agenda at all. As we allow our children to determine the flow of play, they pull us deeper into the mystery of the present moment. In this magical place, we become innocent again, not knowing what will happen next and remembering how to let go and flow.
Since we must also embody the role of loving guide to our children, they teach us how to transition gracefully from following to leading and back again. In doing so, we learn to dance with our children in the present moment, shifting and adjusting as we direct the flow from pretending to be kittens wearing shoes on our heads to making sure everyone is fed and bathed."