Kitchen Safety – It’s Important!

Kitchen.

Making food can be super fun and awesome, and to keep it that way, it’s important to practice a few safety tips when you’re in the kitchen. Having adult backup, knowing how to sterilize and clean your work area, and understanding the proper way to handle different types of foods are all things you need to know and do.

Grown-up Back-up

Before you get started, make sure you get permission to start your cooking project. Let your parent know if your recipe uses knives, a stove or any other appliance used to heat food, or other types of kitchen appliances (blenders, food processors, and other stuff like that), you need to ask an adult for help, especially when you’re just learning.

Having an adult helping you while you cook will help keep you safe, and make sure you have the ability to act properly and quickly if something goes wrong. Besides, it’s always great to have a second set of hands in the kitchen…even the professionals have assistants, and sometimes even whole teams!

Wear an apron to keep your clothes clean and avoid staining. Make sure your shirt, especially, isn’t too large and baggy, as loose fabric can get caught on moving appliance parts, catch on fire, and create other hazards.

Big Bad Bacteria

When you’re working with raw food (even vegetables), you have to keep your kitchen, your cooking gear, and yourself — CLEAN. When you keep your materials clean, it keeps bacteria from contaminating your food.

BACTERIA is what makes you sick (germs), CONTAMINATION is what happens when dirty stuff (like bacteria) gets into clean stuff (like your food).  Food doesn’t have to LOOK dirty to BE dirty, so it’s important to:

Practice the following SUPER IMPORTANT safety tips all the time

  1. Before you start, wash your hands with soap and clean water
  2. Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat, poultry, egg, and fish products. < Really important
  3. Wash your cutting board, knives, and surfaces, especially in between switching from meat to raw veggies and fruits
  4. Make sure all your fruits and veggies are thoroughly washed (you can fill up the sink with water and a couple Tablespoons of white vinegar to make a good veggie wash)
  5. Clean as you go
  6. Don’t eat raw eggs, or foods that have uncooked eggs in them (like dough)
  7. Wash your hands before you eat
  8. Have an adult help you properly store leftovers

Sharp and Hot – PAY ATTENTION!

Always ask your grown-up if you can use appliances with cutters, blades, or heating elements. If they say it’s ok to use a knife, point the blade away from your body and keep your fingers away from the blade when you’re cutting. And watch it when you’re not using it, too. Be careful where you wave that thing!

Pay Attention! Give 100% of your attention to what you’re doing at all times.

Don’t get burned

  • Use potholders or oven mitts when handling hot pots, pans, or baking trays. Don’t use your shirt, or a towel, or the cat.
  • Turn pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove so you won’t flip them over by accident.
  • Never try to relight the pilot light on a gas stove. Only an adult should do this. An adult should also light the burners for you and make sure to pay close attention when you’re near the stove so you don’t catch yourself, clothes, or utensils on fire.
  • Use only microwave-safe dishes in the microwave. Some dishes can break, crack, explode, or get too hot in the microwave. If you’re not sure if something is safe for use in the microwave, ask your grown-up.
  • NEVER put anything metal in the microwave. Even a little foil on a label can cause sparks and fire.

If you practice good safety and cleanliness, and pay attention to what you’re doing, cooking can be a grand adventure. If you have any questions about what’s safe and what’s not, ask your grown-up! Chances are, they know a thing or two about kitchen safety.

Winter Lesson Plan

Winter officially starts on December 21, and ends on March 19.. In this fun YogaKids lesson plan we will explore the winter season’s animals, characteristics and interesting facts while practicing yoga in a fun, safe and educational way.

AGES:  2-6, 7-11

MATERIALS
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, paper, scissors, markers, tape or glue

KEY ELEMENTS
Ecological Echoes

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC 
We will explore the winter season’s animals, characteristics and interesting facts while practicing yoga in a fun, safe and educational way.

DISCUSSION POINTS
“Winter officially begins on December 21 and ends on March 19.  What happens towards the end of fall that lets us know winter is getting closer?”  (Weather gets colder, leaves fall, days become shorter etc… )

CONNECTING CIRCLE
Share what you like about winter
Peace BreathAs you say the word “Peace”, feel the peace inside you.  Affirmations Element, Quiet Quests
“This pose Increases oxygenation and triggers the relaxation response in the body” Body Benefits Element

POSES AS PATHWAYS TO LEARNING
“During winter, the sun’s rays hit the Earth at a shallow angle, which minimizes the amount of energy that hits any given spot. Additionally, long nights and short days prevent the Earth from warming up”. Ecological Echoes  “Let’s warm up by saluting the sun.”
Sun Salutation  – teach any variety of a sun salutation

“What do people do to prepare for the winter season?”  (Chop wood, buy winter clothes,)
Wood chopper- “Time to chop wood to keep our house warm” – Chop back and forth several times. “We need 10 logs for the fire, let’s count 10 chops.
Note:  for older kids, count by 5’s or 10’s.  Math Medley Element

“Over winter break, many people visit their relatives, do any of you?  Let’s take an imaginary trip to our Grandmas on a boat.”
Row your Boat – sit up on the tailbone, balance the legs in the air, row your arms in a circle.

“Many people take car trips to visit relatives:”
Driving My Car:  Sit in a “L” sit and pretend to be driving a car, move forward by lifting up your tail right then left, then move back.  “Think of a place you could drive to in your imaginary car that starts with the same letter as your first name, Marsha Memphis, or Don Denver Julie Jacksonville” (Note:  For younger students, the teacher should create the locations for the kids) Laughing Language Element

 “Snow falls in many parts of the country in the winter, imagine cool snowflakes softly falling on you”
Finger Dancing– Move from the head to the toes pretending that snow is falling all over you.  Quiet Quest

“Birds migrate south for warmer weather in the winter.  Let’s practice a bird pose”
Eagle –Squat down make an “x” out of the arms.  Brain Balance Element, Ecological Echoes

“Geese fly in formation and work together as a team; we will now practice a pose that takes teamwork”
Circle of Friendship flowers – Hold hand in a circle.  Sit back in child’s pose, inhale and rise up opening the arms wide, exhale back to child’s pose.  We all Win Element

Polar Bear – Sit in child’s pose, make a cup out of your hands, rest your nose in the cup.  “Polar Bear is a cold weather animal There are five nations with polar bears: U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.”  Ecological Echoes

 Reading Comes Alive with Yoga Element
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle – Teach the following poses while reading the book:
Lion – Sit in child’s pose, rise up and open the back of your throat as you breathe out with a quiet, throaty “Rrrroar.” Quietly roar.  Practice this pose round robin style and have one child start, by rising up and doing a unique roar, have the children repeat this, one by one until everyone has done the pose. Bridge of Diamonds Element
Flamingo – stand with one leg and the opposite elbow bent, switch sides.
Cobra- lie on the belly, push into the hands and rise up into a back bend.  “A snake’s backbone is made up of many vertebrae attached to ribs.  Humans have approximately 33 vertebrae and 24 ribs.  Snakes have between 200-400 vertebrae with as many ribs attached! That is what makes them so flexible and helps them move along! Ecological Echoes Element, Awesome Anatomy Element

VISUAL VIGNETTES
Cut two large circles, and 3 small circles for each child in advance.  Let the children paste the two big circles on to a piece of construction paper to form the polar bears face.  The Three small circles will be the ears and nose.  Let the children decorate the eyes and mouth.  Be creative!

QUIET QUESTS – Guided Visualization
“Lie down on your backs and get comfortable, close your eyes.  Listen to the sweet sound of your own breath ….in…..and out……Feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breath…….pause………..Imagine you just spent the day sledding or skiing with your family and now you are resting.  You can hear the snow as it gently hits the walls and roof of your house….pause…….Once again feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly.  Up…..and down…….pause several minutes.  Now bring your attention back to the room, gently wiggle your fingers and toes…..slowly roll onto your right side and rest….gently push yourself up to sitting.

CLOSING CIRCLE
Fountain of Oms – Everyone chants OM at their own pace and rhythm. We start together, but everyone’s duration is different. Just let the OMs keep coming at various intervals; some short, some long.


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New Years Lesson Plan

It’s time to celebrate a new decade and welcome in 2020  — Take your YogaKids on a trip through 2019 and into 2020 through movement with this FREE New Years Lesson Plan from YogaKids! It’s the perfect teaching tool for the home, studio or classroom.  Help your little Yogis set good intentions for the new year.

AGE GROUP:  3-6, 7-11

MATERIALS:  music, construction paper, crayons/markers, black fine tip markers, white craft glue or glue stick, scissors, magnet strip (optional)

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC:  To celebrate the passing year, and the beginning of a new one and to set positive intentions (resolutions).

DISCUSSION POINTS:  We are going to take a journey through 2019, and experience some of the highlights of the year.  We will also welcome in 2020, and set intentions for a good year.

CONNECTING CIRCLE:  Sit in easy sit and do torso circles while you sing the Welcome Song (sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down)

Welcome to YogaKids, YogaKids, YogaKids,
Welcome to YogaKids
We’re so glad you’re here!
Musical Musings

YogaKids Pledge:
“I will stay on my mat!”
“I will keep my hands and my feet to myself”
“I will always do my best”
(Include any pledges that would be appropriate for your group)

Peace Breath – Hoping for peace in the coming year; send peace to the circle, to your town, to the world.  (Inhale and on the exhale quietly say the word “peace”) Quiet Quests

POSES AS PATHWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

Sun rise/Sun set – The sun rose on a January 1st day 2019, one year ago.  (Sit on your heels with hands by the right foot, rise up, lift the arms up and drop over to the left side) Ecological Echoes
Sun Salutation – Play Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves and teach any variety of Sun salutations you like appropriate for your group.  Musical Musings

January brought snow, and cold winds, we warmed our noses with Polar Bear Pose.  (Child’s pose – make a cup out of the hands and bury the nose in the hands) Ecological Echoes
Fun Polar Bear Facts

  1. Polar bears are not white, the hair of a polar bear is actually transparent, and reflects light.
  2. They’re great swimmers and spend a lot of time in the water, some scientists classify them as marine mammals.
  3. They have tantrums. Experts have observed frustrated polar bears throw chunks of ice, kick piles of snow or growl in disappointment after losing prey they’ve been trying to catch.

February came and we celebrated Valentines Day by spending time with people we love.
Partner Pose – Sit and Twist (Sit cross-legged in front of your partner with your knees touching. Put your right arm behind your back, reach out with your left hand and grab your partner’s right hand. turn away from your partner, twist your spine, and look over your right shoulder.  Unfurl and change sides.  Bridge of Diamonds

 March brings a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  We looked for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Rainbow Pose (side plank lift up the hip and drop the head making a rainbow shape, modify with knee down) Ecological Echoes
Fun facts to share about rainbows,

  1. “Roy G. Biv” is a way to remember the colors of the rainbow; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  2. Rainbows have relaxing and healing qualities and are the universal symbol of peace and harmony

In April we celebrate the rain, and the blossoming plants and flowers with Acorn to tree – Tap on the backs of each child while they are in acorn (Child’s Pose) to symbolize the rain, once they are tapped, they grow into a tree (Tree Pose).  Ecological Echoes and We all Win

We Reach for the Sun and welcome in May (Reach the right arm up, bring it to the solar plexus as you say “Ha”, repeat left) Bring the warm energy of the sun into your own energy center. Ecological Echoes

In June we go for a Boat ride on the lake.  (lean back, lift the feet of the floor and balance, circle the arms and pretend to row your boat.)  Share fun facts about muscles.  Awesome Anatomy

  1. The largest muscle is the gluteus maximus, the muscles of the buttocks.
  2. One of our strongest muscles is the tongue

In July we celebrate the birth of our country, The United States of America

Happy Birthday Candle Series (Easy sit to plough to shoulder stand, back to easy sit) Have the children hold their shoulder stand, and let each child blow out the candles.  Have the student’s count the candles as they blow them out.  Older students can count by 5’s or 10’s.  Math Medley

In August we head to the sea shore for vacation where we find many fun sea creatures:

Crab – crabs have been around since the Jurassic period, 200 million years ago. (walk sideways on hands and feet, like a crab)
Seal – Because they can spend months at sea, seals can sleep underwater(from sitting, click heels together, roll back and click the heels and “Arf Arf” like a seal) Laughing Language, Ecological Echoes, Math Medley

In September we head back to school, and greet old friends we haven’t seen all summer  Namaste – (bow to each child in the circle and say “Namaste”) Bridge of Diamonds

In October we celebrate Halloween.

Pumpkin – A French explorer in 1584 first called pumpkins “gross melons,” which was translated into English as “pompions”. (roll like a ball using your fingers on the top of your head as a pumpkin’s stem.)  Poses as Pathways, Laughing Language

In November we celebrate Thanksgiving, and give thanks for all that we have to be grateful for.  Let each child share something they are thankful for. Bridge of Diamonds

December is the time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Party Blower Breath  (have the children pretend to blow slowly into a party blower, and take several silent breaths)  Quiet Quests

It is time to set some resolutions for the new year.  Resolution Magnet Visual Vignette

How to make it:  Cut a sheet of white construction paper in half.  Across the top write “I RESOLVE”.  Choose your resolution (i.e. “to keep my room clean”).  Draw a colorful picture depicting your resolution below the words.  Glue your artwork to a piece of construction paper.  Glue a magnet strip to the back of your resolution art and hang on the refrigerator.

Relaxation and guided visualization – Take the class on a journey of the past year, ask them to think of an experience they had that they really enjoyed.  Have the students re-live that experience.  Ask the students to share their experience if they wish.  Quiet Quests

Fountain of Oms (Chant several “Om’s”) Quiet Quests


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Holiday Lesson Plan

It’s that special time of year again! It’s time to celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Las Posadas. Teach your YogaKids the story of these special holidays through movement with this FREE Holiday Lesson Plan from YogaKids! It’s the perfect teaching tool for the home, studio or classroom.

 

Holiday Lesson Plan

AGE GROUP:  7-11, 12 +

MATERIALS:  Cotton balls, straws, Christmas tree cutouts, markers or crayons.

KEY ELEMENTS:  Poses as Pathways

SHORT DESCRIPTION/TOPIC:  Children will learn about holiday traditions around the world.

DISCUSSION POINTS:  We will learn about holiday traditions from different areas around the world including Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Las Posadas.

CONNECTING CIRCLE:  Share a holiday tradition in your family.

POSES AS PATHEWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

Peace Breath Send peace to peoples of every nation Quiet Quest, Bridge of Diamonds

Sunrise/Sunset – The winter solstice occurs when one of the earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern).  Ecological Echoes, Math Medley

Cat/Cow In Iceland, there’s a special Christmas tradition that involves a very special cat that roams the streets one time per year.  Poses as Pathways, Ecological Echoes

Downward Facing Dog (Inn pose) – Las Posadas means “the inn” or “the lodging” and is a Mexican Christmas tradition that symbolizes the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.  Poses as Pathways

Warrior Series with Affirmations – Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.  “I am the light” “I share my light”.  Affirmations, Poses as Pathways

Tree Pose –Evergreens are a symbol of eternal life and rebirth. Latvia is home to history’s first decorated Christmas tree, back in 1510.  Ecological Echoes, Poses as Pathways

Half Moon Pose – Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20.   Poses as Pathways

Star (Jumping Jacks) Wise men from the east were inspired by the star of Bethlehem to travel to Jerusalem to meet baby Jesus.  Ecological Echoes, Poses as Pathways

Caterpillar to ButterflyIn South Africa, every December locals feast on a seasonal delicacy, deep-fried caterpillars!  Poses as Pathways, Ecological Echoes

Birthday Candle SeriesThe menorah is the nine-branched candelabra used during the celebration of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. Poses as Pathways

Circle of Friendship FlowersThe poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America, where it was known as “Flower of the Holy Night”. It is believed to have been used as a holiday decoration as early as the 17th century.  Ecological Echoes, Poses as Pathways, We all Win

Table of Contents – Kwanzaa is a week-long annual celebration to honor African heritage and is celebrated with gift-giving and a feast.  Poses as Pathways

Bubble Fish – The Feast of the Seven Fishes is part of the Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration.  Don’t push too hard on your cranium which is part of the skull.  Poses as Pathways, Ecological Echoes, Awesome Anatomy

WE ALL WIN

Traveling Snowballs – Have students blow a cotton ball across the circle with a straw, have them see how far they can move their cotton ball.  Quiet Quest, We all Win

VISUAL VIGNETTE

Have the kids color Christmas tree cut outs making two that match perfectly.

MUSICAL MUSINGS

Play “Let it Snow”, “Frosty the Snow Man” or any holiday song while the kids draw.

WE ALL WIN GAME

Partner Christmas Tree Matching Game – Lie the Christmas trees face down and have the children take turns trying to find two trees that match.

QUIET QUESTS – Winter Meditation

Lie down, close your eyes, and begin to relax.  Each time you exhale, feel more and more relaxed.  Pause.  Imagine lying in the snow in your back yard on a cool winter night.  You are all bundled up with your warm winter clothes, so you aren’t cold, you feel warm and safe.  Pause.  You look up and see the night sky full of stars.  Pause.  Each star sparkles bright in the dark sky lighting up your whole yard.  Pause.  Imagine feeling safe and warm, as if each star is protecting you.  Pause.  Imagine that it starts to softly snow.  Pause.  You feel soft, wet snowflakes fall on your cheeks…..your chin….and each hand.  Pause.  Imagine feeling safe and warm.  Pause.  Stay and rest here for a few minutes.  Pause.  Now bring your attention back to the room, wiggle your fingers and your toes.  Slowly roll onto you side.  Come to sitting.

 

CLOSING CIRCLE

Share Time – allow the children to share their experience during the meditation.  Quiet Quest

Grug – Hugging releases pleasure hormones, it makes you feel good.  Body Benefits, We all Win

 


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Car Yoga

Family on Road Trip Together

My husband likes to take family rides in the car, as a way to spend time together and get out of the house. But, the minute I think of our three young kids cooped up in our mini-van, I immediately see into the future and hear “Stop kicking my seat,” “I’m bored,” “I’m hungry/thirsty,” or the ever so popular “Are we there yet?” This is where car yoga comes in!

Driving in the car is not an appealing adventure for our kids, unless there is an exciting destination. We can listen to music and play a few car games, but after an hour or so, their attention shifts and bothering each other becomes their primary focus. Car yoga helps to redirect their energy and calm their minds and bodies.  My kids are familiar with the YogaKids breaths and poses, so they can typically adjust them for the car as needed.

I begin by explaining why we need car yoga in that moment– and it is usually because someone is upset or bothered by their sibling. We might begin with “Peace Breath” and after a deep inhale, we exhale and whisper the word “peace.” We begin to imagine peace inside the car, peace between siblings and peace in the world.

We then want to bring our attention to parts of our bodies that have been still since sitting in the car. We might do “Eyes Around the Clock” to exercise our eyes; looking up and down with our eyes a few times, while keeping our heads still. Then looking left and right a few times. We can then start at the top of the ear and gently squeeze or massage down the curl of the outer ear to the lobe and back up. This is a great way to bring their attention to their ears and be sure they are listening to and respecting their siblings.

Keeping our eyes and ears open, we can do a modification of “360-Degree Owl” pose. We turn our heads slowly from side to side stretching our necks and wrap our arms behind us, so that we can open our chest. Followed by “Lizard Tongue,” we flick our tongues in and out as we pretend to catch a bug for a snack. This helps release tension in the jaw and bring our awareness to our mouths and our words – remembering to be impeccable with our word choice.

Lastly we do a seated “Lemon Toes” exercise. We imagine we are sipping sour lemonade up from the bottom of our feet to every part of the body and then breathe out and relax. Doing this a few times, helps release the physical tension that was build up in their bodies. With the kids’ attention redirected, we can keep driving and hopefully reach our destination before they get bored again!  Learn all these car yoga poses in the YogaKids book, available in the YK Shop!

YogaKids Poses:

  •   Peace Breath
  •   Eyes Around the clock
  •   360-Degree Owl
  •   Lizard Tongue
  •   Lemon Toes

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Celebrate the Season with Edible Poses

Girl in Swinging Pretzel Pose

If you’re planning a kids yoga class about Thanksgiving, you might want to include a few fun facts about the holiday. You may also want to include poses that are inspired by food! Here are some facts to share and some of our favorite YogaKids’ “edible” poses! In addition, you can include this very cool Mandala coloring page featuring a few of our favorite healthy foods!

Fun facts about Thanksgiving

  • The first Thanksgiving feast lasted an entire 3 days
  • The average American eats 4500 calories on Thanksgiving, 2500 more than most of us need.
  • Turkey is the traditional dish served because in the 1600s, Turkeys were the most plentiful wild game.
  • Speaking of turkeys, did you know they can drown if looking up while it is raining?!

November 27th is Thanksgiving which is a special day to spend time with family and friends, but most people associate this day with…EATING! Here at YogaKids we have many food-inspired yoga poses. To help you burn off some of the extra calories you will probably eat on Thanksgiving day; try this series of edible poses.

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Reach up and grab the peanut butter and jelly jars that have magically appeared in the air. Rub PB&J all over your hands and smear it between your toes. Spread PB&J on our legs and you belly. Wash you face and hair in peanut butter and jelly. Stretch your arms up again, fold forward at the hip hinge, and lengthen your spine and upper body over your lower body to make a peanut-butter-and- jelly sandwich. Press the backs of your legs into the floor. Press your chest into your legs. Squish those two pieces of bread together. Can you reach your toes to wash them clean?

Pizza
Sit with your legs wide apart. Get ready to make a delicious slice of Pizza. Roll out and stretch the pizza dough to the right by slowly sliding your hands down your legs from your right thigh to your right toes. Then repeat on the left side. Now spread some sauce on the slice by moving your hands from side to side on the floor in the space between your legs. Now let’s grate some cheese. Finger dance from the top of your head, to your chest, down your legs and sprinkle cheese all over that giant slice in front of you. Next add your favorite toppings. Make your pizza colorful and fun; olives, peppers, mushrooms, pineapple, red licorice sticks, whatever you want. Bon Appetite.

Popcorn
Start in child’s pose. Stay still and feel the warmth coming up from the popcorn maker beneath you. It is getting warmer and warmer. Your body is full of the heat and soon you will be ready to pop. Now if you are ready – jump high into the air and POP. POP. POP. Repeat and pop!

Table of Contents
Lie on your back. Bend your knees. Place your feet on the floor. Place your hands underneath your shoulders, fingers pointing towards your body. Press down with your hands and feet, lifting your body up until you are in table position. What is on your table? Set each other’s tables for a picnic, birthday party, smorgasbord, tea party, formal dinner, ice cream parlor, and any other ideas you can think of. Say each food or item aloud as you place it on your friend’s table.

Swinging Pretzel
Sit cross-legged. Take hold of your left ankle and foot and place them high up on your right thigh. Now you are in the half pretzel. If you can, do the same thing on the other side. When both ankles are on both thighs, you’re in full pretzel. Switch legs so that each gets a turn on top. Now swing your pretzel. Spread your fingers and palms flat on the floor just behind your knees. Press them down as you lengthen your arms. Lift your bottom and legs up off the floor. With strong arms and breathing, swing your pretzel back and forth.

Which edible poses are your favorite?


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The Importance of Connection

YogaKids class in Circle of Friendship Flowers Pose

YogaKids creator Marsha Wenig knew the importance of connection when she created the YogaKids program over twenty years ago. Marsha created 14 original Elements that YogaKids teachers weave into their classes to create fun, educational, creative lesson plans that are designed to help children thrive. Several of these Elements along with many poses, activities and techniques are designed to help children connect to each other, the world and to their own unique goodness.

Extensive research shows that having good-quality relationships can help us to live longer and happier lives with fewer mental health problems. A sense of connection helps children feel emotionally and physically safe and valued; they develop healthy social abilities and have a sense of sharing and caring for each other. The centerpiece of opening our heart is to remember that we belong to each other.

Professor Brene Brown says, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” The YogaKids program helps teachers offer children this sense of belonging and connection. Whatever we practice gets stronger and when children practice compassion and love, that part of them grows immensely and they tap into that part of themselves that is full of light, full of love.

The Ecological Echoes Element connects children to plants, animals and the environment. This Element allows teachers to weave in fun facts while teaching poses. In Downward Facing Dog pose, children might learn that dogs have the ability to detect changes in the human body and are used to help diabetic and seizure patients. While in Tree pose, students might learn that California holds the record for the oldest living trees, with some thought to be 4,000-5,000 years old. Children get the physical benefits of these poses, but also learn to understand their connection to the world.

The Bridge of Diamonds Element teaches children that they are like a diamond: unique and brilliant in their own way. And every child can build a “bridge” from themselves to the larger world. Many YogaKids poses can be transformed into partner or group poses. For example, in Tree pose, children can hold hands and notice how getting a little help from their friend helps them find balance. Bridge of Diamonds poses and techniques give children the confidence to open their hearts and connect to others.

Connecting poses help children feel a sense of community. Many YogaKids activities offer children the chance to work together, while simultaneously celebrating their own unique qualities. In Circle of Friendship Flower (pictured above) children kneel in a circle, holding hands. They inhale and reach arms up, then exhale and fold down into Child’s Pose.  In this pose, when children rise up and back bend, it symbolizes opening their hearts to life. Often when we get hurt, we fold in to protect ourselves, and in the effort, we close ourselves off to life and love. YogaKids helps us to teach children to rise up and stay open to life, open to love and open to seeing their own brilliance.

Poet Thomas Merton said, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” YogaKids helps children find their true destiny and bask in the beauty of their own true nature.


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Count Your Blessings Craft

Gratitude Jars

It’s so important to count your blessings! Our Blessings Jar began several years back on November 1s. We would nightly write what we were thankful for on a slip of paper and place it in the “Blessings Jar” that rested on the kitchen table. We would watch our blessings grow as the jar became fuller and fuller. One evening, my daughter asked if she could write more than one blessing to be placed in the jar. Of course!  Write down all your blessings.   

On Thanksgiving ,we would read what everyone had written in the weeks prior. However, one Thanksgiving about two years ago, we visited our out-of-town family for Thanksgiving and didn’t bring our Blessing Jar with us. Upon returning home, my oh-so-smart daughter said “let’s not read them but wait till New Year’s Eve and watch the jar get fuller.”   

Our once Thanksgiving Blessings Jar is now an Everyday Blessing Jar. On January 1st we empty the jar to remember all our Blessings from throughout the year. I have to admit it was a GREAT way to start the new year. As we eat dinner each of us choose a “blessing” (slip of paper with a blessing written on it) from the jar, read it aloud then passed the jar to next person to continue till the jar was empty and our hearts were full.   

I was in complete awe listening to what others found important, blessed or special in the months prior.  There were even days and events that I had forgotten. Not only was this a great way to “count our blessings” but also a nice revisit to the special and everyday events we all encountered.  

When we were finished revisiting our blessings, I place the small blessings paper in a special envelope marked “2013 Blessings.” In the years to come, it will be fun to return to the envelop to listen to our blessings and see our child’s handwriting, vocabulary and spelling evolve.

I look forward to watching the jar fill, grow and runneth over with love and gratitude for all our blessings.

Join our tradition of the Blessings Jar.

  • Choose a jar of your choice – mason jar, recycle jelly jar, pretty jar from the store…  look for something that speaks to you.
  • Decorate your jar with your favorite colors, ribbon, yard, stickers. Be creative. Make it yours.
  • Place paper and pen next to your jar to record your daily blessings.
  • Or place a stone, marble or trinket into the jar every time they feel blessed to watch their blessing grow.  

Make this project yours. We would love to hear what you do or see a photo of your blessings jar. May you be blessed with love and gratitude,


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Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

Thanksgiving Cornucopia

It’s that special time of year again! It’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving — and encourage the greatness of gratitude in our lives. Teach your YogaKids the story of this special holiday through movement with this FREE Thanksgiving Lesson Plan from YogaKids! It’s the perfect teaching tool for the home, studio or classroom.

AGES: 2-6, 7-11

MATERIALS

  • Music and music player (Suggested Music: Native American drums, Hallelujah by K.D. Lang, Colors of the Wind by Judy Kuhn, We Are Native American Tribes by Ella Jenkins)
  • Soft ball
  • Paper tree and leaves
  • Markers/crayons/pens

OBJECTIVE

To learn the story of Thanksgiving through movement. To learn a Sun Salutation as an example of how people from around the world celebrate and give thanks every day.

VISUAL VIGNETTE

Prepare a paper tree and leaves. Hang the tree on the wall, and as students enter the space, have them write on the leaves what they are thankful for. Have the students tape the paper leaves onto the tree.

CONNECTING CIRCLE

Introduce the Theme – We will start celebrating around the world with yoga today. We will start in the United States, celebrating THANKSGIVING!

Centering Circle – Say your name and your favorite thanksgiving food and roll a ball to another student and ask them to share. Go around the circle until everyone has shared.

POSES AS PATHWAYS/INTEGRATE THE ELEMENTS

Take 5 BreathLet’s learn about yoga first! Let’s learn yoga breathing…

Sit cross-legged. Lift one finger at a time as you breathe in through your nose and count in your mind: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Pause for a second with your hand up. Slowly breathe out through your nose and count backward – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, putting down one finger at a time for each number. Repeat.

Warm-up– Include any warm up poses you like here.

Volcano – Once upon a time, about 400 years ago, some English settlers were angry with their king!They were not allowed to worship the God they wanted to, so they decided to leave!

Begin in Mountain pose. Bring your fingertips together at the chest. Jump your feet apart. Place your palms together at the center of your body in Namaste Position. Breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over your head. Breathe out as you explode your arms outward. Lower them to your sides and return your hands to Namaste. Erupt and release again and again. Make big, exploding volcano noises. Jump your feet back together when you’ve finished erupting.

BoatThey bought a boat called the Mayflower. And sailed it across the ocean.

Begin in L-Sitting pose and place both hands, palms down, alongside your hips. Lengthen your arms and spine. Lean back and lift your legs up. Balance. Stretch your arms forward, palms up. Breathe in and out. Row your arms forward. Reverse, and row your arms backward.

WavesIt was a hard journey because there were a lot of waves.

Sit on the ground and bend your knees, placing your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Move your knees and legs back and forth to the left and right, as they ebb and flow like waves. Use this as a transition pose between the wet poses. It is a fun and accessible hip opener.

Moo and Meow and Yawn and FlopAnd they did not have much room to stretch out on the boat.

Begin in All Fours Pose. Line up your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and arch your spine to the sky. Loosen your neck and drop your head down. Breathe out long as you meow. Now lift your chest forward and look up with big cow eyes. Dip your belly down and tilt your sitting bones up. Your back will sink down like a cow’s. Make cow lips and moo deeply from the back of your throat. Go back and forth, meowing and mooing.

Stand in Mountain pose. Yawn as you stretch your arms upward with a big yawning sound and then flop forward in Rag Doll. Repeat several times.

Sunrise/SunsetThey were in the boat for 60 days and nights.

Sit on your heels. Open and close your wings several times. Then open your wings and interlace your fingers above your head. Stretch your arms up as you lift your buttocks off your heels with an inhalation. Exhale and drop your hips to the right as the arms drop left like the setting sun. Inhale and arch your arms overhead like the rising sun. Then, drop your arms to the right as the hips drop left. Repeat.

Tarzan’s Thymus TapThey tried to stay healthy.But many got very sick and some died.

Start in any of the base poses, seated or standing. Make two fists and pound your chest. Pound and tap under your arms, too. Howl, yowl and yodel. Feel the power and vibration of your sounds.

Child’s PoseAfter 60 days, they reached America at Plymouth Rock.

Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Open your knees a little, so your belly relaxes between your thighs. Bend at the hips and fold forward, letting your shoulders drop down away from your ears and spine. Your arms lie back along the sides of your legs with open palms facing upward. Place your forehead on the floor. Turn your head to one side and take a few breaths. Then, turn to the other and do the same.

Tree/Leaf and Woodchopper – They needed to get warm, so they started to chop down the trees.

Begin in Mountain Pose. Lift one foot and press your foot against the inside of your other leg. You can use your hand to place your foot anywhere between your ankle and inner thigh. Avoid the knee joint. As your balance gets stronger, you’ll be able to raise your foot higher up your leg. Bring your hands to your chest, palms together in Namaste position. Then raise your arms up above your head. Stretch them out wide, like the branches of a tree. Separate your fingers. Balance and breathe. Now repeat on the other side.

Take a stance like a woodchopper with the feet hip-distance apart. Interlace the fingers and swing your ax over your head with an inhale. Exhale as you bring your ax down and split your log. Come back and forth several times. Remain down and then roll up slowly. Repeat.

Warrior SeriesThey had a long, hard, hungry, cold winter, but they tried to stay strong.

Begin in Mountain pose. Step one leg back while bending your front leg. Keep your hips facing frontward as you raise your arms straight above your head. Say, “I am bold!” From Bold Warrior, turn your back foot slightly outward and bring your arms down parallel to the floor. Keep your front knee bent directly over your ankle. Say, “I am brave.” From Brave Warrior, shift your weight onto your front leg. Pick up your back leg and stretch it behind you. Keep both legs as straight and strong as possible. Stretch your arms forward and say, “My own power I can hold!” Repeat on the other side.

Child’s PoseWhen it got warm out, they needed to plant food, but the land was different here, and they had trouble. They also needed seeds.

Acorn to TreeThe Native American Indians had been watching the settlers, and they decided to help. So they shared their seeds and taught them how to plant.

Pretend to dig a small hole. Place an imaginary acorn in the hole. Pat it down and water it. Now pretend to be the acorn in Child’s Pose. Act out the process of an acorn becoming a tree, ending in Tree/Leaf pose.

The settlers were so happy and the Native Americans were too, because they grew so much food, and the settlers wouldn’t have to be hungry anymore! So they celebrated! And we still celebrate that friendship and cooperation today! If we take time each day to be thankful, we are happier and healthier.

Sun SalutationIn India, many people do a Sun Salutation each day to be thankful for the sun rising each day – let’s learn it!

There are numerous styles of Sun Salutations. This is one example. Start in Namaste, raising your arms overhead and stretching upward. Fold forward into Ragdoll pose. Step back with one leg into a lunge. Step back with the other leg into Lizard pose. Slowly come down to the floor with your knees, chest and chin. Bring your hips down to the floor, and lift up into S is for Snake pose. Curl your toes under and stretch into Down Doggity Doggy Down pose. Repeat, beginning with the opposite leg and finishing in Namaste.

Cool Down –Include any cool down or closing poses here.

QUIET QUESTS

“Waves” – Guided Imagery by Maureen Murdock

As you breathe in… and… out, imagine that you are on a wave on the sea going up… and… down… up…and… down. You are perfectly safe, either lying on your back in a sailboat being gently rocked by the motion of the sea. And as you continue to move up… and… down… back… and… forth, you will notice the warmth of the sun relaxing you and feel a gentle ocean breeze. You may notice the color of the sky, the smell of the sea air, and the sound of sea birds above. You notice a sense of calm throughout your entire body as you experience the gentle rocking motion of the sea. Allow yourself to feel nurtured and supported. Think about what you are thankful for. (pause 1 minute) Now it is time to come back. I will ring the bell 3 times. On the third time, slowly open your eyes. Now I will ring the bell 3 more times. When I ring it the third time, please slowly roll to your side. Now, begin to wiggle your toes and fingers, and when I ring the bell the 3rd time, please come to a seated pose.

CLOSING CIRCLE

Namaste Song – Use the song along with the movements to end your YogaKids classes.

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Put your hands together at your heart and bow to each other.)

I am the light and the light is me.
(Point toward yourself and then to the sun.)

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Put your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

I shine bright with all I see.
(Move your Namaste upward like in Volcano pose. Separate and arc your arms outward through the air, and return them to your heart in the Namaste position.)

The light in me sees the light in you.
(Gently touch your hand to your heart, palms down and extend your arm out to gesture toward another person with an open hand.)

Bow to me, I’ll bow to you.
(Place your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

The light in me sees the light in you.
(Point and bow to someone.)

Bow to me, I’ll bow to you.
(Place your hands together at your heart and bow to someone.)

Namaste, Namaste, Namaste, Namaste
(Repeat)


Learn to write and teach your own Thanksgiving Lesson Plan!

Gratitude and the Highest Happiness

Silver Outline of Person in Prayer

Santosha or contentment is part of yoga’s eightfold path. These eight steps help to guide us to a meaningful and purposeful life. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving during the month of November, this is the perfect time of year to pause and observe Santosha and explore how practicing contentment and gratitude can help make life extremely rich.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra verse 2.42 reads, “From contentment, the highest happiness is attained.”  Contentment blossoms, when desire is removed. Yoga teaches us that the moment is complete; we don’t need to look for something else. Contentment is all about being grateful for what we have instead of desiring something else, or something more.

When we spend our lives seeking, always looking for the better experience (bigger house, brighter diamond or newer car model), we are placing requirements on our own happiness that we can never meet. Once we get those possessions that we seek, we usually barely enjoy them before we are looking for that next bigger and better thing.

Yoga Teacher TKV Desikachar’s definition of Santosha is “to accept what happens.” In other words, when it is cold, let it be cold. We experienced one of the coldest and wettest winters on record her in the Chicago area last year, and the talk all winter was on how awful it was. Many shifted into survival mode and stopped enjoying life.

Looking back, there was so much joy to be had. I connected with many of my southern states friends when they called or emailed their sympathy. I was motivated to plan a great spring break vacation, and had several days to spend with my kids when school was cancelled. Our house was warm and cozy all winter, our old cars still started every day, and many mornings we woke to see our neighborhood blanketed in some of the most beautiful snow we had ever seen.  

Each morning when I trekked out to my studio to teach yoga, I found my students were more grateful than ever to have a beautiful space to come to, a respite from the cold, and a community to share a practice with. The weather couldn’t ruin the winter, only our attitudes towards the weather could do that.

Gratitude asks us to fall in love with our life as it is, and will keep us centered in joy and abundance. This Thanksgiving, take time to not only count your blessings, but to look for the joy in the perfect moments that will unfold right before you.


Live your life with gratitude as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!

Halloween Yoga Poses!

cats on halloween night

 

We LOVE Halloween! We love getting dressed up. We love eating candy. And we love adding a little bit of holiday fun to our YogaKids poses! Enjoy a few of our favorite Halloween Yoga Poses!

Scarecrow/Ghost Coat Swing

Imagine you are a scarecrow hanging in a field. Your spine is the post that holds you up. Place your hands on your shoulders with your elbows out to the side. With the rhythm of your breath, twist your upper body (head, face, neck, shoulders, and arms) around the post of your spine. Breathe as you move back and forth, side to side. Gradually build up to 50 rounds, then 100. Return to center. Let your arms hang down. Twist your spine back and forth and just let your arms hang loose, as if they were empty coat sleeves. Allow them to fly like a ghost with the momentum of your breath and movement.

Black Cat (also known as Cat Pose)

Begin in All Fours Pose. Line up your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and arch your spine to the sky. Loosen your neck and drop your head down. Breathe out long as you meow. Now lift your chest forward and look up with big cow eyes. Dip your belly down and tilt your sitting bones up. Your back will sink down like a cow’s. Make cow lips and moo deeply from the back of your throat. Go back and forth, meowing and mooing.

Dracula Pose

Roll yourself up in your yoga mat! Relax in one of our favorite Halloween yoga poses!

Broom Pose (also known as Birthday Candle)

Sit cross-legged. Take hold of your toes from the outer side of your knees. Breathe in and out. Roll backwards. Then, let go of your toes while bending your elbows. Use your hands to support and lift your back. Straighten your legs and lift them past your head until your bent toes touch the floor. Squeeze your shoulders and elbows together. Lift the legs straight up to the ceiling. Rest your weight on your shoulders and triceps. Life your chest. Your feet are the candle flames. Have someone light the candles, or blow with enough power to ignite the flame yourself. Wiggle your toes to make the flames flicker. Tuck your chin to keep your neck relaxed.

360 Degree Owl

Roll up your yoga mat and turn it into a tree branch. Bend your knees and perch on your branch. Find your balance and sit as upright as you can. Tuck your arms behind you. Gently flap your wings. Turn your head from side to side, opening your eyes wide. Make a gentle “who” sound.

Witch’s Hat Pose (also known as Dog Pose)

Begin in All Fours pose. Bend your toes forward. Spread your fingers wide. Press your doggy paws and heels downward as you lift your hips and tail to the sky. Lengthen your spine. Stretch your arms and legs as long as possible. Let your head hang down.

 

 

What Halloween Yoga Poses can you invent? 


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