Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Winter Session!

8 Week Session starts the week of January 9th!
Alluem Little Kids (ages 4yrs-7yrs):

Sundays -10:00am-11:00am
Thursdays - 3:45-4:45pm

Alluem Kids (8yrs-12yrs):

Sundays - 11:15am-12:15pm

Mondays - 3:45-4:45pm

$96 per 8 wk session

Sign up at under the workshops tab!

Teen Yoga

8 Week Session Starts Wednesday, January 12th!

6:00pm-7:00pm - All teens!

$96 per 8 wk session
Sign up at under the workshops tab! Drop-ins welcome! ($15)
All fees and packages are non-transferable, non-exchangeable and non-refundable. Any classes not used in duration assigned are forfeit.

Storytime Yoga

Kids off from school today? Bring them over to the snow covered Mill for Storytime Yoga at 1:30pm!

Thanks, John, for capturing these sweet moments with your boys at Storytime Yoga!!!
Storytime is every Thursday from 1:30-2pm - $5 per child. Ages 1-100 (kids under 4 must be accompanied by an adult).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Om Franti Om

Hands down one of my favorite artists, yogis, and all around role model...Michael Franti. Listen to his words, follow his example, love his music. From now until Jan. 1st his kid's book What I Be is on sale at!

For the children in your life or the child in you, enjoy Michael's first children's book! Illustrated by Ben Hodson, 'What I Be', is a visual and musical journey about self acceptance. It's okay to be just who you are and strive to be the best that you can be, by embodying the best characteristics of nature. Be as radiant as the sun, as healing as the rain or as generous as a tree.

This story was adapted from one of my favorite songs and one I play in my kid's classes - "Everyone Deserves Music"...because face it, we all need a little music in our lives! PS - If you ever get the chance to see Michael Franti in concert - GO! You will LOVE it! And bring the kids - he usually invites them up on stage!
My next wish is for a trip to the center of Bail for a stay in Michael's Stay Human Yoga and Retreat Center!!! Ahhhh.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Holidays from Rudolph and the Alluem Kids!

You may not know this, but Rudolph loves to meditate! It's good for him to sit still, clear his head, and prepare himself for that hard job of leading Santa's Sleigh around the world!
The Alluem Little Kids know that it is important to try to quite our minds (ever since our Meditation Owl project), but they also know it can be a challenge to sit and meditate in order to quiet our minds. Sometimes we need something to focus on or we may need to move. Sometimes it's a word or a sound we can repeat (a mantra) or it can be a slight movement such as touching each one of our fingers repeatedly to our thumb one after the other. It's a slight movement that may be just what we need to do to quiet the rest of our bodies.
The kids loved the Sa, Ta, Ma, Na Rudolph project we did as a Holiday Celebration! The cutting and pasting to make Rudolph acted as great single pointed focus to prepare them for meditation. They then traced their hands to use as antlers. On each of the fingers we wrote a common Mantra, "Sa, Ta, Ma, Na". Sitting tall and going through the mantras is a great way for the kids to go inside, focus, and listen...all of which is great practice for a growing child. (See Bog Post: Yoga Mudras)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #12

Playing off of the Gift of Nothing post, I decided the final "Gift That Gives Back" would be one for yourself: The Gift of Yoga. Yoga is a practice that is so much more then an exercise. It is a time for you to take an hour and a half out of your busy day to dedicate to yourself. It definitely is a gift that gives back. When we give to ourselves we are more apt to open our hearts and give to others. We have more energy to give to others when we take the time restore and renew our bodies and minds - which is exactly what yoga does for us. Yoga gives us the opportunity to move freely in our bodies - stretching, sweating, finding that comfort within our bodies and with ourselves just as we are. Yoga gives us the opportunity to listen to our breath - simply taking the time to inhale and exhale. Yoga gives us the opportunity to be present to the moment, the only moment that truly matters. Yoga gives us the opportunity to open our hearts. Give the gift of yoga to yourself, to your children, to all your loved ones.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #11

What do you give to someone who has everything? In Patrick McDonnell's Gift of Nothing, Mooch decides that the best gift for Earl, his friend who has everything, would be to give him nothing! He fills up a box with nothing, but then decides he deserves more then he gets a bigger box!
While reading this book to the Alluem Kids, I realized how wonderful of a gift this would be for them. I hear about how these kids run from sport to sport, activity to activity non-stop after spending a day at school and before a night of homework. How wonderful would it be for them to do absolutely nothing even for a little bit this season.
When we were done reading the story, we took sheets of 9"x9" paper and folded little origami boxes...a gift for ourselves. What would we fill these boxes with? Nothing. The gift we would give to ourselves this season is nothing. I had the kids write a number between 1-20 at random on the outside of their boxes. I then told them this would indicate how many minutes a day I wanted them to spend doing nothing during their holiday break. If they were able to do that amount of time during the days of their break and if they enjoyed it, then I urged them to continue doing nothing for just a little bit each day - whether it's sitting up straight and still, practicing one of our mantras or mudras, or lying flat while relaxing the body. Slowing down is hard in this society especially when we're constantly going at such a fast pace trying to do it all. When we do that we forget to enjoy the little things, the simple things in life. Today I urge you to give back to yourself this holiday season. Give the gift of nothing. Enjoy nothing with someone you love. Then take a savasana.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #10

Dolls were an essential part of my childhood. I had many that offered me hours of imaginative play. This Gift That Gives More™ supplies one doll each to children living in exile in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma and Indo-Burma borders. By purchasing dolls for children, you not only bring big smiles to small faces, but also help women artisans in the camps earn a living wage for themselves and their families.
"Women's Education for Advancement and Empowerment (WEAVE) is a non-profit organization established in 1990. With project centers in the ethnic Karen and Karenni refugee camps along the Thai-Burma and Indo-Burma borders, WEAVE works to improve the lives of marginalized indigenous women and children by improving education, health, and self-reliance."
These dolls can be purchased through the Greater Good Network. Last December they were able to distribute over 900 dolls in 19 nursery schools. There are over 9,000 pre-school children in the 9 refugee camps along the borders. Let's help give them even more dolls this year! 100% of the proceeds go to WEAVE as a grant through

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #10

Bad News: You haven't sent out your holiday cards yet. No way they'll get there by Christmas now.
Good News: There is still time to send a City Harvest Holiday e-Card at Paperless Post and have it arrive in time for Christmas! For every virtual greeting purchased (23 cents), a pound of food will be donated to the hunger fighting NYC non-profits. Holiday greetings with snowflakes made out of utensils, soup cans with bows, and food delivery trucks that fly through the air like Santa's Sleigh. Cards sent and food donated! It's a win-win! Visit

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #9

I can't say enough about Me to We. Every time I turn around they are doing something new, changing someone else's life, reaching out to children, families, communities in need. And to think, it all started with 12 yr old Craig Keilburger. Me to We is a social enterprise with a mission. They transform consumers into world changers one transition at a time. Half of Me to We's profits are donated to their charitable partner, Free the Children. Recently, I discovered their Buy a Book, Give a Book program. See the video below!
I highly recommend you read Me to We and if you are a parent, teacher, or work with children in any capacity I recommend The World Needs Your Kid. Such great books! There are so many other ways you can also give. I urge you to visit both the Me to We site and the Free the Children site and spend some time learning how you can "be the change that you want to see in the world"!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #8

For over 30 years Mercy Corp has been helping millions of individuals, families, and communities turn crisis into opportunities for sustainable, positive change. They have over 30 programs through which they work from economic development and agriculture to education and youth empowerment. They work globally, including communities right here in the United States.
There are so many ways through which you can give to this organization...through feeding a child, outfitting a classroom, buying a goat for a family, vaccinations, buying a soccer ball, and so much more. The one I am most partial to naturally, is giving the gift of
yoga to youth in need.

While food, water, and medicine are crucial...knowing the power of yoga, giving them tools they can use in the present moment and for the rest of their lives is also crucial. Yoga classes can help young people recover from trauma and violence by increasing their confidence, focus, and sense of well being physically and mentally. The video below shows a class in Columbia where Mercy Corps incorporates yoga into its youth programs where decades of conflict have uprooted millions of people from the countryside to the urban neighborhoods.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #7

Giving is good, Charlie Brown. Everyone needs a little security for the holidays. Project Linus is a non-profit organization that provides love, a sense of security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill or traumatized through the gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans.
Project Linus has donated more then 3 million blankets since 1995!
Feeling crafty? Find out how you can donate one of your own homemade creations. Not so crafty? Find out how you can help distribute these blankets through your local chapter.
This Linus Blanket is sold exclusively at Urban Outfitters.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #6

"When it comes to kids, Kohl's cares." Kohl's has raised over 150 million dollars to support kids health and education initiative nationwide through the Kohls Cares cause merchandise initiative.
This Holiday Season Dr. Seuss is leading the way to helping local children! Each Dr. Seuss book or plush is only $5 and 100% of the net profit is donated back!
Where does the money go exactly? One way is through Hospital Partnerships. Kohl's supports 160 hospitals nationwide to help parents educate their kids in injury prevention, asthma, immunization, and more. Another is the Kohl's Kids Who Care Scholarship Program. Every year Kohl's rewards volunteers between the ages of 6-18 across the country for their amazing contributions to their communities. This year they recognized 2,100 kids with more than $410,000. TO find out more ways that Kohl's Cares visit their website!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #5

"Got Your Back"...literally. The Shirt for Shirt Campaign is helping to change the lives of children all over the world. For each shirt you purchase, a child in need will be provided with a school uniform. Many children can not attend a public school without a school uniform. Those living in impoverished countries have no chance of getting an education with these requirements. Your purchase "helps create a sustainable change in struggling communities around the world by opening the doors for children to receive an education." This is huge.
Got Your Back is currently partnering with organizations in Kenya, Kentucky, and Haiti to assure that children get the education they deserve.

I urge you to check out their website and help out where you can!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #4

I often have to take a deep breath and focus before I open an email newsletter from Unicef. What they stand for and the awareness they bring to others is often more then words can describe. I recently learned about their efforts to aid in the fight against the Cholera epidemic in Haiti. Below is a video of Anthony Lake, Executive Director of Unicef who personally made the trip to Haiti to bare witness.

What can you do to help? Plenty...visit the Unicef website for cards, gifts for the kids and adults in your life. Every Unicef Card and Gift you buy helps children around the world. One of my favorites is the Children Around the World 24 Piece Puzzle and of course, the Kids Around the World Holiday Card I sent out this year.
Visit Unicef's website to learn about the MANY ways you can help.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #3

Maybe I'm being partial by posting one of our own products, but the new Alluem Bracelets are a worthy fundraiser going on now! These locally handmade bracelets, when paired up with another handmade strand of beads of your choice, make a great gift for yourself or a loved one! When you purchase these bracelets for $20, one hundred percent of the proceeds go toward our $20,000 goal for Off the Mat into the World's Seva Challenge - 2011. The money donated will benefit the people of Haiti as they rebuild their lives and their spirits. (To read more about Alluem's participation in the Seva Challenge, click here.)
Many people wonder what Alluem actually means. We've often been asked, is this Latin or Sanskrit for something? No, it is not another language...unless that other language is love. Alluem is a combination of the names of Gina's (founder of Alluem) three beautiful children - Alexandra, Luke, and Emma Grace. In combining the first 2 letters of each child's name, Al-Lu-Em was formed and defines itself as "gratitude"...being grateful for all we have in our lives, especially our children, our families...the people we support and who support us and give us life. By wearing these bracelets, we are reminded of just that...carrying a little bit of "Alluem", a little bit of gratitude for our own families and for all we have in our lives as we move through our days and glance down at our wrists. And as we are grateful for what we have, we are also reminded we are helping those less fortunate then ourselves - those who may have lost loved ones in the devastating earthquake. Please keep them in your heart this holiday season and always.
Stop by the studio to purchase a bracelet or to order, email -

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #2

Blake Mycoskie is an amazing soul (no pun intended). Blake is the founder of TOMS Shoes, a company that matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. "One for One." The Toms mission transforms customers in to benefactors. As of September 2010, TOMs has given over one million pairs of new shoes to children in need through Giving Partners around the world. I have 2 pairs of TOMs and I LOVE them!!!!!
Check out the video below to learn more about this organization.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gifts That Give Back #1

I first learned about the FEED Foundation when I was living the corporate life and it was my turn to bring coffee to Lauren Bush, the CEO of FEED Projects, LLC. Our company was working with her to design a tote bag that would benefit children of the world in the fight against hunger.
FEED Projects' mission is to create good products that help FEED the world. They do this through the sale of FEED bags, bears, t-shirts, and other accessories by building a set donation into the cost of each product. They take great pride in using environmentally-friendly and artisan-made materials, along with fair-labor production, in creating all FEED products.
"Plumpy®" the FEED 5 Bear is an adorable teddy bear made of 100% plush organic cotton and natural burlap and is approximately 16" tall. FEED Projects has partnered with Teddy Share, a charitable bear company, to create the FEED bears. Each FEED 5 Bear that is sold will provide Plumpy'Nut®, a high nutrient paste, to 5 children under the age of 5 years old through the non-profit organization Industrial Revelation. Taking "Plumpy®" home will allow you to support 5 children. Plumpy is available for purchase through the FEED website shop. I LOVE this organization!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 Days to Give Back

Recently it seems I've been running into a lot of great organizations that are not only making great gifts, but that are giving back in the process. This is what the circle of life is all about. When you give, you get...not only in the material sense, but on an emotional level that just makes you feel good. Of course that is not the reason we give...people like to help and people should do their best to give when they can, if they can.
Over the next 12 days until Christmas, I'll be picking one organization a day and featuring one gift. Hopefully it will inspire others to purchase from companies that give back!
Twelve days til Christmas -12 Days to Give Back!!! 'Tis the season!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Make the Best of It

We all make mistakes, but sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest accomplishments. Wrong turns may take us to wonderful places maybe we never thought we would go. Adding an incorrect ingredient to a recipe may create a new culinary experience. An uncomfortable situation may allow us to handle things we never thought we could. The wrong brush stroke on a painting may create the next artistic masterpiece.
I incorporate a lot of art into my Alluem Kids classes because I believe it to be a needed expression for the developing child. Many times I have seen a child get very upset when they misspell a word or color outside the lines. I often remind them that they can make no mistake when creating a piece of art, and while I appreciate a good spelling bee, there are no grades in yoga - so don't stress over the little things.
In reading the book Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg, the Alluem Kids were reminded that "a smudge and a smear can make magic appear" so "when you think you made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful!" You can find beauty in everything if you take the time to look! We began by ripping up paper (aiding in mental development) and then letting the imagination run wild! The goal: Create a mess and then make the best of it!!! Making pictures, scenes, designs, whatever we could think of! So much fun! At one point one of my 6 yr old students walked up to me and said, "Miss Karen, I kinda messed up over here...ehhh, I'll just make the best of it!" Namaste, little guy, namaste.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Grateful for 30

My Cousin, Diana, has been keeping a blog for over a year now where she religiously posts at least one positive thing she was able to pull out of her day - every day. The blog is called: The Cup is Half Full. Love this blog and her dedication to literally sitting down each and every day to inspire the lives of others. She has surely inspired mine. For the month of November, she pulled together the 30 Days of Thanks where guest bloggers reflected on what they were thankful for. The point - to spread the cup is half full attitude and get the perspective of others. So real. So down to earth. So possible.
For my 30th birthday this past Dec. 1st, I was honored to post the 30 things I am grateful list could have went on and on, but I decided to stop at 30!
Thankful for Gratitude (And Turning 30)

Gratitude. Over the past month I've been taking the time to keep up with my
cousin's 30 Days of Thanks here on her blog. The gratitude that each individual
who posted shared is just awesome! I have LOVED reading these posts! When we
share what we are grateful for in life we are practicing gratitude. The practice
of gratitude takes much training, which I'm sure my cousin, Diana, can attest
for. Often times life can seem rough...there are endless lists to get to,
outstanding bills to be paid, jobs that are lost, hungry mouths to be fed,
diseases that need cures...that it maybe hard to see the positive in life. But
here my cousin sits down everyday for almost a year now and finds the positive
in it all. It takes effort. It takes training your mind to constantly make the
shift from dark to light - finding the good in even the most crappiest
conditions. To you, Diana, I say thank you. Thank you for taking the time and
the effort to starting this cycle of gratitude...with each post you share you
help the rest of us do the same. Yesterday I turned 30...and with all
the ups and downs over these past 30 years I am so grateful for this life....(click here to read more)