Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alluem Thanksgiving for Off the Mat into the World

We are so blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing community at Alluem Yoga. This Thanksgiving Benefit Class was held for Off the Mat Into the World, a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging yoga and activism, founded by Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, and Suzanne Sterling...

"The season of giving is upon us! Make a difference in the life of a Haitian affected by a natural disaster by donating whatever you can to Off The Mat Into The World as entry for this class. All proceeds will go directly to Haiti. Each year, OTM sponsors an international service project called the Global Seva Challenge. The Global Seva Challenge is a transformational journey that builds community, provokes critical consciousness about global issues of social justice and equity, and raises significant funds to support communities in crisis. In our first two years, the Global Seva Challenge has raised over one million dollars for NGO’s in Cambodia and Uganda and has left a powerful legacy in the communities we have served. In 2010 our Seva Challenge will be focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and education in South Africa. Haiti is our 2011 focus. I am participating in the 2011 Seva Challenge to raise $20,000 through collaborating with my local community. Upon reaching my fundraising goal, I will embark on the Bare Witness Tour, a journey to Haiti where I will spend two weeks working directly with the organization your funds support. I believe that giving is essential to cultivate the soul. Although this invitation to Haiti comes with a price tag, I believe that money is not enough. Money can be earned, gotten and rewarded. But empathy and love can not be bought. I will go and love with my own heart, give with my own hands and speak with my own words. More importantly, I will not fix but listen and love and do what ever I can to help and empower the Haitian community. Please help me embark on this journey and I promise you I will bring back real stories about how you helped people less fortunate than us. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. love and gratitude, gina"

Attendance was awesome and the energy was incredibly moving! Among the students was one of my Alluem Kids who attended with her mother. It was her first adult class and she rocked it! I am so proud to see my students want to further their practice! Even more, having her be a part of something as inspiring as Off the Mat into the World will hopefully have a hand in encouraging to take her yoga practice that much the mat and into the world.
Enjoy the video from the class!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Make a Change

After the Alluem Kid's Identical Flags Class, one of my 10 year olds came back with a reflection piece she did during free writing in her 5th grade class. It was a proud moment...they're listening:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On My Way to a Happy Life

“There’s something incredible inside of you. It’s the power to make all your dreams come true. The gift you’ve been given is that you can create absolutely anything, whether small or great. So imagine, believe, and set your dreams free. There is no limit to what you can do or be.”

"On My Way to a Happy Life" is the first book by Deepak Chopra (along with Kristina Tracy) that I've ever read and I ask myself...what was I waiting for?? Okay, granted this book took my less then 10 minutes to read and the illustrations were more then I could ask for, the message was incredible! Inside is 7 lessons for even the youngest child that plant the seeds for living a life of joy, honesty, strength, and love:

1 - Everything is possible. There is no limit to what we can do.
2 - If you want to get something, give it. Always give with a happy heart.
3 - When you make a choice, you change the future. Your choices bring changes.
4 - Go with the flow. Create peace within by learning acceptance of what is outside our control.
5 - Everytime you wish or want, you plant a seed.
6 - Be open to life and enjoy the journey.
7 - You are here for a reason.
So true. I can't wait to share this book with the Alluem Kids!

“From the day your baby is born, you are a teacher of spirit. Look upon spirituality as a skill in living, since that is what it is. I believe in imparting these skills as early as possible by whatever means a child can understand.”
— Deepak Chopra

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why I Practice Yoga...

On the first day of the Winter Session, I prompted a journaling question for the Alluem Kids to reflect on..."Why do you practice Yoga?" Everyone comes to the mat for different reasons. I was curious to see why some of the Alluem kids do!
Here are few responses that really put a smile on my face!:

-"I come to build strength and to get some time to relax. I also come to yoga because it makes me happy and if I'm frustrated about school it calms me down. Alluem rocks and is full of many new adventures and friends!" age 11

- "School is hard and yoga is relaxing. If I had a hard day at school, yoga helps cheer me up and calm me down." age 10

-"I come to yoga because I need peace and love. I also like being around people who care. We are thankful to have yoga!" age 10

-"I practice yoga to help me relax and to help me fall asleep. It really calms me down if I had a bad day." age 9

-"Yoga helps me get strong and it exercises my mind." age 10

- "I realize the light in my heart and in my soul. It makes me strong and helps me realize who I am." age 10

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Operation Gratitude - Thank you!

To the Alluem Kids, families, and all that participated in donating candy to Operation Gratitude...
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

We've collaboratively collected over 300 pounds of candy! We were certainly thrilled by the outpouring of gratitude!! The amount of candy that everyone has donated to the men and women who are so far removed from our society and the fun of Halloween is more then we could have ever imagined! It is sooooo great!!! It is so worth the smiles it will bring to the soldiers. The candy is sent to the California National Guard where it is then divided into care packages for the soldiers. Some people may think - "it's just candy" and "I'm glad to get it out of my house", but to them - it's a reminder of home which they may not have experienced in months, or years even! I've talked to each one of my classes about this and they get it...they get the fact they are doing something great by simply donating their candy. I constantly remind the Alluem Kids to open their hearts while they're practicing yoga. This time they've taken it off the mat and opened their Trick or Treat bags. This is the goal of yoga - learning to take your practice off the mat and help make the world a better place.
To learn more about Operation Gratitude and what you can do to bring a smile to the men and women fighting for our freedom, visit:

"Halloween candy reminds the troops of the great traditions we celebrate at home-- which they are protecting by serving in harm's way" said Operation Gratitude Founder Carolyn Blashek. "In addition, the troops give the candy to the children in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of the 'winning hearts and minds' strategy. Often the children will provide critical information in return, prompting one Marine to write: 'You are not just putting smiles on our faces, you are saving our lives.'"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alluem Kids Movie Night

Alluem Kids Movie Night
featuring "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"
Friday, Nov. 12th 7:30pm-9:30pm
Join us for this magical movie about an eccentric toy store owner, a young manager who is more then she ever imagined, and a boy who loves hats. Fall in love with a toy store that is full of endless surprises and learn about the power of believing in yourself!
$10 entry fee - 100% of the proceeds go to Off the Mat into the World Global Seva Challenge. Entry fee includes snack, drink, and a chance to win prizes! You do NOT have to be a registered student to attend (ages 5-12yrs). Please register online and make your donation at the door.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Fun at Alluem!

Yoga Pumpkins, Witches Brew, and Scary Tree Poses! What more do you need for a Halloween Yoga class??