Sunday, January 29, 2012

8 Limbs of Yoga for Kids - Week 1: Yamas

This 8 week session, the Alluem Kids and I will be exploring the 8 Limbs of Yoga! So often when we think of yoga, we only think about the poses, the physical...but there is so much more to yoga! Yoga is a way of life and these 8 Limbs act as guidelines to living a purposeful and meaningful life and there are so many good lessons within for the kids!
The 1st Limb of Yoga are the Yamas. The Yamas focus on our behavior and how we act in this world. It draws attention to the way we treat other people, animals, the earth, our belongings and the places we go. For an example, the kids and I talked about yoga studio etiquette. We should always treat a space the way we would want our own space to be treated. Removing our shoes to keep the floor and our mats clean. Entering quietly, rolling out our mats, sitting down and stretching or lying down and resting. Being respectful of the people in the room around us. Treating others the way we would want to be treated. Smiling and saying hello. Introducing ourselves to a new student. The Yamas also teach us that what we do in the world effects everything and everyone around us. This is the yoga we can practice every day!
A fun way to show this was with a Group Knot! Everyone stands in a circle shoulder to shoulder raising their right arm to the sky. Reaching across the circle we grab hands with a friend. Then raising our left arm to the sky we reach across and grab hands with another friend. We can now see that we've turned ourselves into a human knot! Now to untangle! The things we need are communication, patience and awareness of how we move. The person's whose hand you are holding is ultimately the most important. That hand effects the next person which effects the next person and so on in a chain reaction! So much fun!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nobody is perfect.

As I was prepping for Storytime Yoga and searching for some new reads by my favorite author/illustrator Peter Reynolds, I came across one of his recent blog posts...
Peter recently visited a school in NJ where 6th grader Sydney shared her essay reflection on his book Ish called Nobody is Perfect:

Nobody is perfect
by Sydney Abraham

Nobody is perfect. That is a fact.

Not a scientifically proven fact, but more like a fact that, quite frankly, most people refuse to believe. People want to be perfect. It is human nature to want to be 100,000,004% perfect.

I used to be like that. I would cry and scream and shout if I did something incorrectly. Everything had to be exactly accurate and correct. I would not settle for anything below amazing.

All that changed one day in first grade.

My first grade teacher read us a story called "Ish" by Peter H. Reynolds. This book illustrates that being a little imperfect is okay. It also suggests that older brothers are pests, but who doesn't know that already?

In the story, a little boy draws a picture. His brother belittles his picture and says all sorts of mean things about it. The boy, Ramon, was very upset. Ramon's sister comes and comforts him and tells him that his drawing is very good and that their brother was just trying to get on Ramon's nerves. She said the drawing was fine- not perfect, but good enough. Ish.

When I first heard that story, it was just another story that my teacher read to us during story time.

A couple weeks later, I was trying to perfect a picture that I was drawing. It wasn't turning out that way, and I was frustrated. I was not a happy camper. Then I remembered that book, "Ish", that we had read in school. At that moment, and at many moments that would follow, I realized that was so important that it needed to be perfect.
Settling for "Ish" was good enough for me.

It was that day, not when we actually read the book, but when I discovered its true meaning, that really did change the way I look at life.

To this day, whenever I try to do something perfect, I remember that one picture book that changed my outlook on pretty much everything that's important in life.

I still try to do my very best every day, but I know nothing will ever be completely perfect. I now know that if you try to be perfect in everything you do, then you will never achieve anything. You will be too busy trying to perfect everything that you've ever done. Of course, everyone is a perfectionist in his or her own way. I will not settle for any grade below an A- or a B+. Some people will spend an hour trying to make the finishing touches on a picture they drew for fun. Others spend endless amounts of time trying to improve in a sport they love.

For me, perfecting little things like these is okay, but I'd rather spend time improving, not perfecting, but improving, the bigger things in life. I believe that nothing in this universe is perfect, everything from the smallest molecule to the largest galaxy has its flaws.

Nothing is perfect.

It never has been, never will be.

Everything is a little imperfect, "ish", and that's just fine by me."

Sydney, you are amazing. What a great lesson to bring to your yoga class. So many times society sends messages to our children that we have to be perfect - that we have to look a certain way, wear the latest style, act a certain way, and like certain things just because everyone else is doing it. We feel pressure that our grades need to be perfect, our art needs to be perfect, our performance on stage or on the field need to be perfect. As a result, if we can't live up to these standards - we break down, we become hard on ourselves, we cry and scream and shout like Sydney did when something wasn't perfect. But like Sydney reminds us, NOBODY IS PERFECT.
Luckily, there's yoga. Yoga teaches us to be who we are in the bodies we're in today. As we move through poses on our mats we find that everyone is different - we find that nobody is perfect. There are poses that someone may be able to do that the person next to us may not be able to do - and THAT'S OKAY! We learn to breathe through the difficult times and embrace ourselves whether we can do the pose or not. When we listen to our bodies and treat them with kindness and respect - moving how ever we are comfortable, we begin to enjoy being who we are on the mat and we learn to take that with us off the mat. We accept who we are without judgement. We accept that we are not perfect...and that's the beauty of life. I mean, if we were all perfect - how boring this life would be! So be a little "Ish" and love you for who you are today!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowy Days with the Alluem Kids

Quiet down on snowy days with your kids...take time to just be.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Session starts this Monday!

Classes are filling! Sign up today!
Register online: - workshops tab

Monday, January 16, 2012

Peace Exchange - Nepal

The Peace Cards are officially on their way to Nepal!
67 cards from 67 amazing Alluem Kids!
They are so excited and anxiously waiting for the kids in Nepal to write them back. Thank you Ross Holzman of the Create Peace Project! Thank you for this work you do! Thank you for taking this trip and hand delivering the cards for us! Thank you for sharing our messages of peace with kids in other parts of the world! Thank you for being the change!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year with Little Flower Yoga!

Great news for those looking to expand their knowledge of yoga for children!
Little Flower Yoga is offering some great workshops in the NY area!

Children's Yoga Basics: February 25, 2012, 1pm - 5pm
Jenn's Home Studio: 212 Colabaugh Pond Road, Croton on Hudson NY 10520
Tuition: $125
Come learn the fundamentals of the Little Flower approach to teaching children how to live their best possible life. We will discuss the core practices that should be a part of every class, expanding beyond movement to include breathwork, mindfulness activities, self exploration and community building. You will leave this workshop with a solid understanding of what the overall experience of a LFY class will be like for a child, as well as several activities that you can begin using right away with your children. Visit more information. Advanced registration is required. Croton is a 45 minute train ride from Grand Central Station.
Mindfulness and Meditation Practices for Children: March 24, 2012: 1pm - 5pm
Karma Kids Yoga Studio: 104 W. 14th St. NY NY
Tuition: $100
This course offers you ways to introduce children to a mindfulness practice that both engages them, and gives them space to listen to their own thoughts and feelings. Includes both still and moving meditations. Help children tune in, focus better, make sense of their emotions, make good decisions, and experience a richer and more fulfilling day to day experience of life. Visit for more information. Advanced registration is required.
The Compassionate Classroom (and Living Room): April 14, 2012, 1pm-5pm
Jenn's Home Studio: 212 Colabaugh Pond Road, Croton on Hudson NY 10520
Tuition: $125
Are you ever frustrated by the behavior of your students or your own children? Ever frustrated by your reaction to their behavior? Feel like you don’t want to yell but don’t know what else to do? The Compassionate Classroom (and Living Room) workshop will give you tools and techniques to keep your students engaged through cooperation rather than control. You will learn to communicate in a way that shows compassion and respect for all children, and use powerful strategies to create an environment of mutual trust. Visit for more information. Advanced registration is required. Croton is a 45 minute train ride from Grand Central Station.