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!