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)

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??

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Operation Gratitude!

Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. For safety and security, the assembling of all packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California.

Tens of thousands of American Service Members are deployed in hostile and remote regions of the world, including the Middle East, Afghanistan, and on ships throughout international waters. The physical conditions they must endure are difficult and they may be separated from loved ones for long periods of time.

Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm's way.
Through Collection Drives, Letter Writing Campaigns and Donations of funds for shipping expenses, Operation Gratitude provides civilians anywhere in America a way to express their respect and appreciation to the men and women of the U.S. Military in an active, hands-on manner.

This Halloween, the Alluem Kids are donating their candy to the men and women overseas. You can, too!
Drop off your Halloween Candy at the studio between now and November 10th
Be grateful for what you have. Give when you can.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

-The Girl Scout Law

Yoga is much like this. You do your best each and every time you come to your mat. Be honest with yourself, know what your body can handle. Be considerate and caring to yourself - push only as far as you can go. Respect your practice and the practice of those around you. Little by little, this attitude will help make the world a better place.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Since 1912, they've touched the lives of more then 3.3 million scouts, and that number continues to grow as the Girl Scout organization continues to inspire and empower girls across the US. This past weekend at Alluem Yoga we had our first scout troop come for a yoga class where they would continue on their path of growth by learning to move, breathe, and listen to their hearts. Discovering that Yoga means to "yolk" or come together, much like their own troop does, we moved through partner and group poses in support of each other. They sat through breathing exercises in order to truly listen to the needs of their own bodies. And of course, there was games, laughter, and fun!

If your troop would like to attend a private session at Alluem Yoga for an hour of yoga and fun, contact the studio at 908-276-YOGA (9642) or email:
Pick a date most convenient for your troop and if you would like to work on a topic to fulfill the requirements for a certain badge - such as the:
- "Stress Less" Badge - teaching girls ways they can relax using breath, calming music, and being in the moment.
- "Highway to Health" Badge - teaching girls to listen to their bodies and what it's trying to tell them, which is one of the most important part of yoga.
- "A Healthier You" Badge - teaching girls to develop good habits for a fun and healthy life through moving and playing.
- "Fun and Fit" Badge - teaching girls to sleep better, study better, have more energy, and just feel great!
So many options with a yoga practice - we can cater the class to your needs!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Identical Flags

This session at Alluem Kids, we've been talking a lot about peace. Peace in our heart, peace in our home, peace in our schools, peace in our communities. For last week's class, I wanted the kids to think bigger. Children are constantly exposed to what is going on in the world - through the TV, newspapers, computers. I started to wonder how often kids get the chance to reflect and talk about all that they see. Often kids are brushed off while adults may think, they're kids - they won't understand. But they do. They hear it in the background as adults watch the news. They see it in the paper laying on their doorsteps. They get it. And if it's not discussed, it could possibly bring up anxieties that may not be necessary if only they were discussed. I know some parents discuss current events and I know there are schools that allow time for discussion, but just in case they don't get the chance, I wanted to give them that chance.
During our meditation time, I asked the class to think about the world as they know it. I asked them to think about the good parts of society as well as the bad. I asked them to tell me what they see on the news, in the paper or on the computer. War was brought up, poverty, theft. Some kids had stories to share and we discussed. I asked them to then close their eyes and take all of the things we talked about and push them aside, to let them go. I asked them to think about how it would be in the world if we all worked together with one goal in mind - Peace. I had the kids place one hand on their hearts and told them to tune into their heart beats. Then I said to them, "Every human, every person in this world, every child just like you has a heart beat." I had them take a deep breath in and out, and reminded them that, "Every human, every person in this world, every child just like you breathes the same air. We were all created the same in body, breath, and heart. It's how we grow, the decisions we make, and the love and peace we share with one another that makes the difference. Across the world, we are all the same." I asked them to imagine a world where there were no borders between countries and everyone was treated as equals. No you or me. Just us...and we all lived together in peace. The 3 important words: One. World. Peace. As we moved into a silent meditation, I encouraged the children to use a new mudra (or yoga of the hands - forming shapes with the fingers that hold meaning): One - extending the first finger. World - extending the first 3 fingers in the shape of a W. Peace - extending the first 2 fingers in a peace sign. As they sat with their eyes closed the hand over their hearts moved through the mudras - One. World. Peace. over and over.
After the meditation and many group poses where we would need to work together - such as Group Chair, Group Tree, Group Warrior 2, etc. - I posed another question..."If the entire world had only one flag, what would it look like?" The children came up with some awesome designs as seen in the video above! They also rocked out to K'naans "Waving Flags" while they worked. K'naan, who's name means "traveller", wrote this song after being exposed to so much trauma at a young age around his home and as he travelled from place to place. From this place, he has only become a stronger person today, as he sings in his song, "When I get older, I will be stronger. They'll call me freedom just like a waving flag."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Great Fall Reads

Fall is upon us! Leaves are starting to change! The air is getting crisp! I love this time of year!
We've been talking a lot about the changing of the seasons and how trees are preparing to let their leaves go even though they are at their most beautiful point. We know that sometimes we have to let things go even if they are special to us, even if they have been with us all year long, even if they look so good on our branches. It's all about letting go, moving on, and staying in the present moment. We must learn to embrace that!
I've listed below some great books to bring to your children for the Fall:

Let it Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler - Celebrate all things Autumn! Great book for talking about all the great things that happen in the Fall - practice jumping into leaves from Chair Pose, standing tall in Tree Pose to get ready for picking apples!

Autumn Walk by Ann Burg - Visualize all the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows that Fall brings to us as you take a mindful walk through the leaves. Practice a Kinhin meditation being ever so present while you walk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scarecrow Pose

Scarey Crow Poser
Moha Shanti Hay
Samadhi Strawdude
These were just some of the names submitted by our students here at Alluem in search of a name for our studio's Scarecrow for Cranford's Scarecrow Competition. So funny! Final decision was just to go with "Peace, Love, & Yoga".
He came together today with the help of one of our amazingly talented students, Suzy. So creative! I mean, look at the hand stitched face! And if you could see the toes...just like the foot of a Cabage Patch Kid - love it!!!
You can find our Scarecrow on Walnut Ave. in Cranford in front of Cafe Paris. Ommmmm. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Halloween For Hunger

October means Halloween time! Encourage your kids to do something different this Halloween...instead of Trick or Treating for candy, collect non-perishable foods for your local Food Banks and Homeless Shelters. Encourage your kids to "Be the Change" and make a difference whenever they can however they can.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Share Yoga with Your Kids?

This past Sunday at Alluem we held our first kirtan, or what I like to call, a Yoga Concert. The wonderfully talented Girish and his 7 piece band played amazing heart opening music off his new album. The whole evening was awesome! The best moment of the night was seeing one of my 6 yr old students walk in with his dad. This student is one who constantly amazes me! He is so open to learning new things and trying new poses in class. He takes his practice home with him and applies it to his every day life. (For instance, his father sent me a candid picture of him before his last judo competition in a headstand - yes, he can do a headstand in the middle of the room - to "get rid of the butterflies in his stomach".)
His father wrote a reflection on his blog, Yoga Sutras Meets Modern Science, after the inspirational evening with Girish that brought tears to my eyes. I had to share it here with you...

"Last night I sat together with my 6 y.o. son at a kirtan in our yoga shala listening, clapping, chanting and singing along with Girish and his band. My little guy is something of a yogi himself – even though we’re both newbies to yoga. (At left is his drawing of yoga class.)

At some point during the performance, as we sat together on the floor and the vibrations pulsed through us, I looked down at his gentle innocent face – and it suddenly dawned on me – why I’ve been feeling so compelled to expose him (and his younger brother) to
kids yoga classes – not to mention kirtans.

Someday, I’ll be long gone from this world.

How will my children find me when I gone?

Where will they look?

How can they find comfort in time of distress? How can they connect with “me” – my heart and soul?

There amidst the chanting, it became clear – that yoga, being a form of spirituality in its barest, stripped-down most primitive form – is a way that folks come to know their true selves, heart and soul.

Suddenly I realized that, someday when I am long gone, my sons will be able to find “me” - my own self, heart and soul – RIGHT HERE! On the bare floor – wherever they are – between their own hands, in the place where their own beads of sweat fall. They will find their own selves – hearts and souls – in their practice – and know that their dad found his true self, heart and soul right there – in the very same place – where the sweat falls from the brow.

It felt so wonderfully comforting to realize that there IS a way to stay connected. To share a living, breathing bond that survives long after the body. There is a path! I think doing yoga with my kids is a way to build a passageway – through space and time – to find each other again – long after we leave this world. I will never forget that moment of clarity.

I’ve seen many great dads in my town, and I think they all feel the same way – whether it be baseball, football, basketball, soccer etc. Yoga – although a deeply spiritual endeavor – does not have to be special in this regard (you should see some of the fanatical baseball dads in my town!). Perhaps, we all imagine that someday, our kids will play and teach their own kids in the same way we taught them. Perhaps, many years from now, they’ll stop for a moment and think fondly of us – about the simple joy they shared, and – in that instant – realize that there is a living bond that cuts across space and time.

Whatever you LOVE to do –> teach it to your kids and you will forge a bond that survives long after you are gone!"

Thank you, John, for your inspirational message. It truly warmed my heart.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Easing into Back to School

Have you ever been to Staples the day before school starts? I walked in and quickly made a mental note - never visit a stationery supply store the on this day again! Kids and their parents were hustling and gathering school supplies to ready themselves for the year ahead. They just had to dash through the pencil aisle, dodge the tumbling stacks of notebooks, and get through the line that wrapped half way through the store! Whoa! The look on some of the parent's and kid's faces made me want to make a sign with the available poster board that read: Free Hugs. Poor guys.
Back to School time is often a stressful time. Getting the children out of the summer mode and getting them psyched for the year of learning that is ahead of them may be a task in itself for some. Not to mention gathering the correct school supplies and clothes, packing lunches, carting them to and fro keeping to the schedule! Again, whoa!
Some of my fellow children's yoga bloggers have compiled some nice tips for Back to School:
Start the School Year with Awareness - Shanti Generation
Eliminate Back to School Stress while Strengthen Family Bonds - The Kid's Yoga Resource
Bringing Yoga to Schools - Donna Freeman
How Yoga Can Help of Your Kids Drop Out of School and Join the Circus - Young Yoga Masters
Take it slow, breathe, and enjoy the year!! Namaste!

Soccer Yoga Workshop

Calling all soccer players ages 7-12!!!!! Soccer Yoga is next Friday, September 24th - 7:30-9pm!
Yoga is a great compliment to any sport - improving focus, concentration, felxibility,
endurance - the list goes on and on!!
Grab your teammates and sign up today on our website:
To learn more about Soccer Yoga, read the previous Soccer Yoga article:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Storytime Yoga

Once upon a time...there was an old red mill perched on the river next to a little waterfall. The mill was a deep, vibrant red with huge windows letting in the beautiful natural sunlight. Outside the mill was a family of ducks and one small turtle splashing in the cool water under a clear blue sky. Inside the mill were children moving as children move, taking in deep fresh breaths of air, and listening to the sounds of nature surrounding them. They played games, they read stories, they created works of art, and they practiced yoga. They enjoyed life in the moment just being kids...
Bring your child to Storytime Yoga every Thursday from 1:30-2pm! Enjoy a story together and make reading come alive as we move and stretch while we read and learn!
All ages welcome! Kids under 4 must be accompanied by an adult. ($5 per child)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Music Fest and Yoga

Looking for something to do this weekend? Head on over to the 4th Annual Centennial Village Music Fest - featuring Alluem Yoga!!! It's a big weekend! In honor of National Yoga Month, free classes are going on nationwide, such as the free classes Alluem Yoga will be giving at Music Fest outside at Lincoln School on Centennial Ave!

Saturday, September 18th
Adult Flow with Gina - 5:30-6:30pm
Kids Yoga with Karen - 5:30-6:30pm

Not local to the Cranford area? Check out for an event near you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to School Yoga

Barnes & Noble @ School featuring Alluem Yoga of Cranford, NJ!
Barnes & Noble Menlo Park brings you B&N @ School Open House! Local educators and administrators are invited to join us in the debut celebration of the new B&N @ School department. Come see all of the great new products featured in the brand new aisles! Enjoy games, storytimes, raffles, entertainment, author talks, and yoga for students and teachers! This event, going on all weekend, is free to the public!

September 11th - Join Karen for Yoga for Students at 1pm! All ages welcome! Learn the benefits of yoga for students through the use of stories, games, breath work, and playful yoga poses!

September 12th - Join Gina for Yoga for Educators at 6pm! Learn the benefits of yoga for teachers and support staff! The new school year is a great time to develop your yoga practice, or introduce yourself for the first time, as a way to help you manage and deal with the pressures of the school year. Find more joy in doing what you love, educating today's youth, and equip yourself with additional tools and knowledge for helping your students achieve.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Live the the L M N O Peas.

"We are peas - alphabet peas! We work and play in ABCs.
We're acrobats, artists, and astronauts in space.
We're builders, bathers, and bikers in a race.
We're painters, poets, plumbers fixing leaks.
We're pilots, parachutists, we're peas and we're unique!
We're weavers, wishers, and x-ray doctors, too.
We're yogis in a pose, and zoologists - that's who!
We are peas from A to Z.
Now tell us, please...who are you?"

"Who are you?" When I came across Keith Baker's book L M N O Peas, I immediately used it in a lesson with my Alluem Little Kids, asking the children - "Who are you?" With adults, this question often brings on a pinch of anxiety, but with kids - they embrace it! They love this question as they are continuously exploring everything around them. What do I like to do? What do I like to play with? Where do I like to go? Who do I like to be with? What makes me happy? What makes me feel loved? What brings me peace? What brings me joy?
As I approach the 30th year of my life, I discover that I am still on my way to finding my answers to those questions, as I believe the questions never stop. That is the beauty of life. We live the questions. This Friday, September 10th, brings me closer to living that very question that I have been asking for quite sometime now. Who am I? Having graduated from college with a BFA in Illustration and spending much of that first year post college trying to self-promote as a freelance artist, I struggled. Finding a part time job with a major retailer and quickly moving up the ladder to the corporate ranks, I still struggled. Commuting in and out of New York City everyday for the past 5 years living the corporate life, I continued to struggle - constantly asking the who am I question and all the questions that follow.
On September 10th, I will be trading in my 6'x8' cubical with the 5th Ave window for a 2'x6' yoga mat with endless possibilities. As the students and teachers at Alluem Yoga celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the studio, I am more then honored to celebrate with the growth and expansion of the Alluem Kids program. In addition to the current Sunday classes, we will be adding 4 weekday opportunities for the Alluem Kids to grow their practice, along with welcome new and younger yogis to the studio! Here you will find fun and exciting workshops and events for kids, like the upcoming Soccer Yoga Workshop on 9/24 and free lessons at Cranford Musicfest on 9/18. You'll even run into Alluem Kids at your local Barnes & Noble for the upcoming Yoga for Students and Educators on 9/11-9/12. And you may even find me in your classroom for Yoga in my School lessons this school year. The list goes on and on!
I am unbelievably grateful to be so supported by the community, my friends, my family, and by Alluem as I make this transition in my life. Yoga is a practice in which we constantly grow, constantly change, constantly discover new things about ourselves and those around us. When I started practicing yoga 8 years ago under the loving instruction of Clarissa Alliano, I never would have believed it would have brought me to where I am today. I can not thank her and my classmates enough for planting the seed of possibilities of where this practice could take me. After going through my first year of teaching children's yoga, every time I'm greeted by a studio full of students, my heart goes out to the most amazing children's yoga organization, Little Flower Yoga, of whom I trained with. Founder, Jennifer Cohen, and director, Kate Reil, have been such a light to me and so many of the trainees that have crossed their paths. They will touch more lives than they will ever know. And given the opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge they have provided me with, would not have been possible without the dream of Gina Pachkowski, owner and founder of Alluem Yoga. I am very lucky for our paths to have crossed just as her dream was taking form in the beautiful Old Mill on the Rahway River that has become such a sacred space and sanctuary to so many adults and children alike.
I feel so blessed to come to this point of my life as I live the questions and learn to embrace them. My mother often reminds me that everything happens for a reason. With the love that she and my father have instilled in me and the strength that they both show everyday, I am encouraged and ready for each new day with all it has to offer. Everyday will bring a new outlook, a new challenge, a new opportunity. I believe I am at this point in my life for a reason and I welcome this opportunity to grow with open arms. And of course, I will continue to live the questions...just like the L M N O Peas!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Alluem Kids Movie Night

Join the Alluem Kids for Movie Night

Friday, August 27th from 7:30-9:30pm

Featuring Disney's Mulan
Drop the kids off at Alluem and enjoy two hours to yourself on a Friday night!!!
Your kids will enjoy an enlightening Chinese-folktale that celebrates honor, courage, and the importance of family!
$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. ALL CHILDREN ARE WELCOME!
Sign up online at - workshops tab
Please make your donation at the door. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Orange you glad you took the time...?

With the fast pace of the American Culture, more times then intended, our nutritional intake takes a hit. We rush around from activity to activity, errand to errand forgetting to slow down and truly take care of ourselves and our nutritional needs. I may go as far as saying we are the generation of "Grab and Go". Too many times we grab what we can and then eat on the run. When I asked the Alluem Kids how often they take time sit around the table and eat dinner together, the consensus was they do more eating on the go. My challenge to the kids was to bring back mindful eating. Take time with your food.
Orange Meditation:
Handing an orange to each child...they held it with both hands, simply being grateful for having that orange. We recognized that there are people in the world without food and that we are lucky to have such an abundance in our lives. We then thought about where that orange came it grew...who picked the fruit...cleaned it...brought it to the supermarket for us to buy. We recognized that a lot goes into getting food from the land it came from to our very hands. Then we smelt the orange - taking deeply breaths in and out. Rolling it between our palms intensifying the scent, we took the time to actually enjoy the yummy citrus scent. We looked closely it each of our oranges, noticing the color, feeling the texture. Oranges are one of the fruits that take some time and effort to get to. Taking the time to peel the orange, feeling the texture of the rind. As the orange becomes exposed, we noticed all the complexities of it - the sections it is conveniently divided into for us to easily peel apart, the tiny seeds and juice compartments that make up this yummy fruit. Yes, we picked apart every detail of this orange which got us to our ultimate goal of staying in the present while we take part in the act of eating. Eating the oranges the kids were able to truly engage all their senses while appreciating every bit of their food - a great experience for everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reserve your Hoop today!!!

Join Karen and the Alluem Kids for a fun-filled Hoop Yoga Workshop!
This Sunday, August 22nd - 4-5:30pm!!!
Hula Hooping is a great tool for connecting with your body, which is what we strive to do in yoga! Grounding your feet into the earth for stability, being mindful of your surroundings, utilizing core strength, and feeling the hoop rotate the circumference of your body - all aids in achieving body awareness. And what better way to teach a child about body awareness then through play!
Ages 7-12
Hoops will be provided!
RSVP is appreciated at under the workshops tab!