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.

Beach Ball Yoga

beach ball

June 21 is the first official day of summer! Celebrate the season with this super-simple We All Win game! You can play it with 2 or more people — all you need is a marker, a beach ball, and knowledge of a few YogaKids poses! Perfect for classes and parties!

 

Instructions:

  1. Write YogaKids poses on each section of the beach ball. (See below for list!)
  2. Throw the ball to a friend to catch. If in a group, you can pass the ball or throw it to someone across from you.
  3. When you catch the ball, see which pose your right thumb is pointing to — and read it aloud.
  4. Everyone does the pose together.
  5. Keep going — and make sure everyone has a turn to catch and throw the ball!

 

YogaKids Poses to include:

Volcano – 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.

Lizard – Lie on your belly. Place your hands under your shoulders. Spread your fingers out like lizard claws. Bend your lizard toes forward. Push up until your arms and legs are straight in Plank Pose. Draw your shoulders back and away from your ears. Walk like a lizard, slowly and carefully.

Tree – 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.

Snake – Lie on your belly. Gently squeeze your legs together to shape your body long and strong, like a snake’s. Place your hands under your shoulders and breathe in. Lift up your chest and head. Pull your shoulders down away from your ears. Breathe out and hiss the sound of a snake. Flick out your tongue. Lower your chest and rest on the ground. Repeat.

Eagle – Begin in Mountain pose. Lift your right leg and wrap it over your left leg. If you can, hide your right foot and toes behind your left calf. Bring your bent arms up in front of you and place the right elbow on top of your left. Twist together your forearms bringing your palms together. You can also interlace your fingers. Bend your knees. Untangle yourself and change sides, bringing your left leg over your right leg and your left elbow on top of your right. Try to balance for 10 seconds on each side and gradually increase the time. Use a focus friend if you need guidance.

Flamingo – Begin in Mountain Pose. As you extend one leg straight back, bend forward at the hips. Spread your arms open like graceful wings. Establish your balance by clearing your mind and fixing your attention on your breath. If you feel like flying, gently flap your wings. Repeat with the opposite leg.


Learn all the YogaKids poses as a YogaKids Teacher!

 

 

 

 

 

Dragon Breathers

Dragon Breather Craft

 

From Certified YogaKids Teacher Melissa McDonough,  this Visual Vignette is a perfect addition to any dragon-themed class. Don’t forget the inclusion of the YogaKIds Dragon Breath Pose — a child-friendly variation of Kapalabhati that tones the abdominal muscles and energizes the entire body.

 

Dragon Craft Instructions

Begin with toilet paper tubes and decorate them  with markers and foam stickers. Then glue red, orange and yellow tissue pager to the center of the inside of the tube and lightly push the rest of the paper into the tube. When the kids blow into the opposite end of the tube, the tissue paper would come out like a dragon breathing fire.

 

Dragon Breath Pose

Sit comfortably in any of the seated poses. Place your hands on your belly. Breathe out through your nose with a strong snort as you snap your belly back toward your spine. Focus on your breath as it goes out. A little bit of air will naturally sneak into your nose after each snort — you don’t need to think about inhaling as it will happen naturally. Repeat this breath. Then breathe in and out normally. Add more rounds of Dragon Breath as you feel comfortable. Your Dragon Breath will get stronger and longer with practice.


Learn all the YogaKids poses as a YogaKids Teacher!

Ozone Shield Craft

ozone craft

A Visual Vignette classroom idea for integrating important Earth science from YogaKids Apprentice Rebecca Lizotte:

Stand in Mountain Pose with the Earth (a print out, globe, or ball) in the center of the group. Imagine your climbing a gigantic ladder up to the cloud into the stratosphere. (Ladder to the Clouds pose). Share the following about the Earth…

The stratosphere is between 5 and 31 miles above the ground, where the earth is protected by a brave group of tiny defenders called ozone molecules. They band together and form a shield around the globe called the ozone layer. She then had the group hold hands and protect our earth like the ozone molecules. These molecules let in the suns life giving warmth but shield off the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Unfortunately on earth, years ago, humans made chemicals that attack the ozone layer, called CFCs. These chemicals were used in refrigerator, air conditioners and aerosol spray cans. Once we figured out that these chemicals were harmful to the ozone layer, most countries in the world stopped making them. But we still have to be aware of the bad ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays are bad for your eyes and your skin. That’s why it’s important to stay out of the sun or wear sunscreen and sunglasses when we go outside.

Have your class make an Ozone Shield Pomander Ball using an orange, whole dried cloves and toothpicks. Students perforate the orange with the toothpicks and creatd the outline of a shield with a circle (sun) in the middle. Have the kids insert the cloves (ozone molecules) along the perforation. Pro Tip: To preserve, place the pomander in a paper bag to dry out for a few weeks. The cloves will draw out their moisture. Throw away if mold appears.


Change the world as a YogaKids Teacher! YogaKids!

My YogaKids Journey

Julie Pate

When I started the YogaKids training, my two sons were two and four; I was knee-deep in diapers, temper tantrums, and playgroups. I would often sit, buried in piles of brightly colored plastic toys and wonder if I would survive the toddler years. Days would pass slowly, filled with an endless stream of mundane parenting tasks. I felt as if pieces of me were being carried out of the house with each bag of dirty diapers.

The yoga tradition teaches us to be present in the moment, because it is in the moment that true joy can be found. Fretting about the past and worrying about the future is said to be a true path to suffering. This is a tough realization when your moment is a 2 year-old screaming in the grocery store because he wants to get out of the cart and throw paper towel rolls across the aisle.  

The first few years of my son’s life, I did have a yoga practice. However, what I found was that a few hours on my yoga mat each week was just scratching the surface of what I really needed to cultivate a connection to joy. My previous practice was perfect for the life of a carefree young thirty something with a great job and a loving husband. Introducing two energetic toddlers to the mix, for me,  was a recipe for stress and unhappiness.

Shortly after my youngest son turned two, I was teaching adult yoga at a wellness center when the program director approached me to start a kids program. I didn’t know anything about teaching kids, and I could not imagine teaching children what I considered to be a very adult practice. I wondered how I could get kids to sit quietly and breathe, when my own sons seemed to be racing through their days at 110 miles per hour. The idea intrigued me enough to look into certification programs. I decided to pursue certification with YogaKids because the program is well-known, respected, and comprehensive. I had read Marsha Wenig’s book YogaKids Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga and loved her creative, fun approach to not only yoga, but life.  

When I began on my YogaKids journey, it never occurred to me that I would benefit so personally from the program.  My spiritual, personal, and professional growth was so profound, it became central to the certification process for me — and the actual CYKT (Certified YogaKids Teacher) behind my name was a fringe benefit.  

During the At-Home Practicum, YogaKids introduced me to some wonderful resources. Erich Schiffmann in Yoga the Spirit and practice of Moving into Stillness shares that “The way you think and define yourself is central to your perception, behavior, and experience of the world.” This really resonated with my experience at the time. I was seeing myself as caretaker, and had pushed aside the wife, friend, teacher and student that I was before I had children. My time on the mat helped me to connect to my best self, the part of me that I most wanted to cultivate — and the YogaKids program helped me to see that.

Another one of Marsha’s suggested books is Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater. In the book, Judith says “Everything changes in this world, but flowers will open each spring just as usual.” This too resonated deeply with me. Even though my life had changed so dramatically, the beautiful things remained and were just waiting for me to notice them. Not only had the beauty remained, but my whole life was opened up to new possibilities of love that only a parent can fully understand. The joy of seeing your child laugh, learn, grow, and love is a joy that is almost beyond comprehension.

There are over 175 original YogaKids poses, and Marsha teaches to remain present while practicing each pose.  The awareness I practiced while in the poses stayed with me and began to affect my whole life. I noticed my body response when I became angry with my children; it was almost as if I could step outside of myself and view negative behaviors with compassion and understanding. I didn’t want to become angry when my sons fought with each other or were disobedient. I wanted to parent with kindness, love, and gentle guidance.  

The awareness that YogaKids required of me in the practice began to seep into the rest of my life.  I was able to pause and notice when I was about to exhibit a behavior I didn’t want to with my family. I was able to change my mood quickly and react from a place of love to the many challenges in the day of a parent. The time I spent as a YogaKids Apprentice (YKA) was time spent cultivating love, creativity, and a childlike wonder for the world.  YogaKids helped me to see that, for me, anything was possible.  As a YKA, I was in my heart-space, and it was a place I really liked to be. I began to yell less, stress less, react to challenges with patience and love, and truly savor moments with my family.  

Parenthood can be a time of great inner turmoil, but the YogaKids program teaches a calm approach to caring for yourself and your children. It teaches you to be with your children in the all-important present moment. YogaKids teaches you to be mindful, and mindful living provides you with energy, calmness and the potential for insights. Here is hoping you have many great parenting moments with your YogaKids today.


Transform your life in the YogaKids Certification Program!

Spring Time Yoga Poses

girl in butterfly pose

Spring is such a magical time… and here in the Magical Garden, we LOVE IT so much! The weather gets warmer and flowers begin to bloom. It’s a time for bunnies, butterflies, and flying kites. Join us in celebrating spring with some of our favorite YogaKids poses!

 

Reach for the Sun

  1. Begin in by standing tall in Mountain pose.
  2. Breathe in and reach up high with an outstretched hand.
  3. Grab a piece of sunshine and pull the power into your solar plexus, your inner sun.
  4. Exhale with a “HAH” breath.
  5. Repeat with the other arm.
  6. Alternately reach with the left and right arms.
  7. As you practice, increase the force of your breath.

 

 Circle of Friendship Flowers

  1. Kneel in a circle with a group of your friends. Hold hands.
  2. As you inhale, reach your arms up, lift your buttocks off your heels, and stretch back arching your back and neck.
  3. As you exhale, continue to hold hands and fold down into Child’s Pose.
  4. Repeat a few times imagining all the different flowers that you could be.

 


Butterfly with Antennae

  1. Begin in L-Sitting pose, with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, with your heels close to your body and your knees out to each side.
  3. Stretch your neck and the top of your head toward the sky and make your spine longer.
  4. Place your hands at the sides of your head and stick up your pointer fingers to make antennae.
  5. Pull your arms back like they’re your wings.
  6. Breathe in and out as you flap your wings forward and back, up and down.

 

Kite  

  1. Begin by standing tall in Mountain pose.
  2. Come onto your tippy toes and stretch your arms up and out to the side like tree arms.
  3. Lean to one side and stretch a leg out to the other side.
  4. Change sides.
  5. Play with your balance as you find your way and move with the wind.
  6. Feel your body flying like a kite!

 

Bunny Breath

  1. Get comfortable in a seated pose.
  2. Make your neck and back as long as you can, tucking in your chin slightly and letting your lower jaw relax.
  3. Take short, quick breaths in through your nose.
  4. Twitch your nose like a bunny. Then breathe out through your mouth with a long, smooth sigh.
  5. Repeat, increasing the number of inhalations and the length of your exhalations as your breath power gets stronger!

Learn more Spring Time poses as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!

Help Children Experience More Joy with Lemon Toes

Lemon Toes pose

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was developed by Dr. Edmund Jacobson, and is a technique in tensing and relaxing the muscles. This technique leads to an increase in relaxation throughout the entire body, essentially, physical tension melts, which in turn relaxes the mind and emotions. YogaKids creator Marsha Wenig developed the Lemon Toes technique to take a very adult practice and make it kid-friendly. In this version of PMR, children imagine their toes are straws, sipping sour lemonade up from their toes to every part of the body. Children sip, pucker, breath and relax.

Cultivate Contentment

Santosha is one of the niyamas, yoga’s observances, and it means contentment. Life can be very challenging, and Lemon Toes helps kids understand that pain comes and goes. Children develop tools to cultivate contentment even in challenging times. In Lemon Toes, we experience the sensation of constriction, tightening and compression in the entire body, followed by a feeling of ease. This can be very comforting to children as they begin to trust that pain in life is inevitable, but suffering is not. Living a joyous life is less about avoiding challenges, and more about how we deal with and think about life’s challenges. Lemon Toes helps kids experience tension and realize that they are still OK. It gives them trust in the universe.

Author and happiness expert Shawn Achor says that only 10% of happiness is based on our external world meaning where we live, what fun “stuff” we have, the weather etc… 90% is based on how our brain processes what happens to us. We could be sitting on a beach in Hawaii sipping a fruit drink while someone rubs our feet and still be miserable — or we could be walking in Chicago on a cold dark windy April morning and experience much joy. Lemon Toes helps kids process discomfort as a natural part of life, and helps them to experience less fear and anxiety around discomfort.

Welcome Opposites

When we experience pain, it is important to also find the opposite of that — or ease. Dr. Deepak Chopra spent time in a monastery in India, and part of their practice was to go out into the streets barefoot and beg for their food. Deepak told his teacher that walking barefoot was extremely painful and his teacher told him to focus on the foot that is in the air. In Lemon Toes, kids experience constriction and then the opposite of that, extreme ease. The ease is much sweeter after the constriction than before. Children are able to notice their being more easily and the practice is very mindful. Welcoming the opposite of sensation improves focus and concentration.

Body Sensing

Mindfulness refers to staying in the present moment; it leads to a deeper sense of peace. When we shut of the mind’s constant stream of thoughts (many of which are negative), we tap into that place in ourselves that is full of peace. Body sensing is a mindfulness technique used to draw focus inward. We can’t sense the body and think at the same time so thoughts begin to melt away. Lemon Toes draws the attention inward, and children improve focus, concentration and reduce stress.

Practice

Lie on your back. Imagine that your toes are straws, sipping sour lemonade up from the bottom to every part of your body. Hold your breath as your toes curl and pucker. Breathe out as you relax your toes. Work your way up your legs, belly, chest, and arms, sipping, puckering, breathing and relaxing. Make a sourpuss face. Tighten up your nose, eyes, cheeks, teeth and forehead. Let our hair curl. Hold it, squeeze it tense it. Release. Finally, tighten your whole body at once. Hold it for 5-10 seconds. Completely release, relax. Feel the difference between sour, tight and ten


Learn ALL the YogaKids poses and their benefits as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!

 

Teaching English Language Learners

Little girl playing with blocks at home

Yoga benefits our students physically, mentally, and emotionally, but yoga for learning language? Let’s explore how yoga promotes language acquisition in English Learners.

English Learners (ELs) are people whose native language is one other than English. They are learning the culture of a new country, academic language in school, and social language for daily interaction. Sometimes young ELs live with the added stress and responsibility of interpretation for family members in a variety of business and medical settings.

We know practicing yoga can aid with relaxation, self-regulation, and self-awareness. In addition, yoga can be a great resource providing further experiences with expressive and receptive language. Yoga offers mental and emotional release in the midst of a long day, where ELs are constantly trying to make sense of the language and routines around them. Using minimal verbal cues, children can participate in breath and movement.

Total Physical Response, TPR, is a well-known language teaching method coordinating language and movement. YogaKids exemplifies the Total Physical Response, combining language with physical movement and modeling. Think of how often yoga instruction includes direction and position vocabulary such as up, down, left, right, in front, behind, around, etc.  Body parts of humans and animals is another category of terms used throughout YogaKids instruction.  These are just a few Laughing Language activities that are perfect for ELs.

Participation in yoga class also offers ELs a fun way to engage with peers. YogaKids provides children the opportunity to participate in large and small group partnerships. ELs can take a turn as pose leader, promoting oral language development, even if they know very little English. As YogaKids Teachers we provide a safe environment in which to experiment with language.

Listed below are a few ideas to support English Learners in your YogaKids class:

  • Modeling is key. (You are an actor in a silent movie.)
  • Visuals, like pose cards, are helpful. After introducing a sequence, students can use the pose cards to retell the pose story or create their own.
  • Speak slower, not louder.
  • Repetition; remember multiple exposures are needed to internalize a new concept.
  • Simplify language; use precise terms with paraphrasing.
  • Position EL near socially positive peer.
  • Choral responses provide a safe way to participate orally.
  • Allow children to simply observe (safety of choice as they learn receptively).
  • Offer ways to demonstrate that do not require speaking. “Show me…”
  • Provide options for student responses, i.e. “Mountain or tree?” (Model as you say the options.)
  • If you have your own space, label the room. (window, blankets, blocks, water, wall, etc.)  This is helpful for ELs with strong oral language but limited written skills.
  • Implement music. It teaches the rhythm of language, and culture.

Remember facial expressions and body language can be easier to understand than words.  So let your light and love of children shine!


Learn how YogaKids can help you teach children of all ages and abilities!

Spring is in the Air (a free YogaKids class plan!)

butterflies and flowers

Spring is just around the corner! Yay! Enjoy this delightful spring-themed YogaKids class plan with the children in your life!

MATERIALS

  • name tags
  • crayons
  • sharpies
  • coloring pages
  • ping pong balls
  • straws

 

CONNECTING CIRCLE

Spring is March 20 to June 21. When it’s spring in the northern hemisphere, it’s fall in the southern hemisphere (Australia). Share fun facts about spring as you do the following poses together:

  • Reach for the SunWe are closer to the sun in the spring.

Begin in Open Mountain pose. Breathe in and reach up high with an outstretched hand. Grab a piece of sunshine and pull the power into your solar plexus, your inner sun. Exhale with a “HAH” breath. Repeat with the other arm. Alternately reach with the left and right arms. As you practice, increase the force of your breath.

  • Moo and Meow  – Many animals have babies in the spring.

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.

  • Polar BearAnimals such as bears who hibernate start to wake up and become active.

Begin in Heel-Sitting pose. Open your knees wide apart, toes touching behind you. Bend forward at the hips and slide your chest along the floor. Place your chin on the floor and put your paws over your nose to keep yourself warm. Breathe in and out.

  • Finger-Dancing/Salutations to MeDuring April, you will see more rain showers.

Sit on your heels or cross-legged. Begin at the top of your head and gently stimulate your hair and skin by lightly dancing your fingers all the way down your body. Allow the self-touch to feel good, as it wakes you up, stimulates your skin and lymph system and makes you feel alive. Do this technique along with Salutations to Me. Each time you touch a part of your body say a silent affirmation or kind statement to that place: toes; skull, hair, face, ears, neck, throat, chest, breasts, belly, bottom, legs, arms, feet, etc.

  • Circle of Friendship FlowersMay the flowers will start to bloom.

Kneel in a circle, holding hands. As you inhale, reach your arms up, lift your buttocks off your heels, and stretch back arching your back and neck. As you exhale, continue to hold hands and fold down into Child’s Pose. Repeat a few times imagining all the different flowers that you could be.

 

POSES AS PATHWAYS

Do a Planting Seeds Yoga Flow together!

  • Mountain Stretch your arms up overhead and say “hello” to the sun and pluck some “seeds.”
  • Ragdoll Dig a little hole and plant the seeds.
  • Standing Half Forward BendLift halfway and pretend to pour water on the planted seeds.
  • Ragdoll Pat down the dirt around the planted seeds a bit more.
  • MountainClasp hands overhead, making a “sun” with raised arms.
  • Repeat the previous poses one time.
  • Low SquatIt’s time to see if anything has sprouted! Squat down low. I see something!
  • Mountain
  • TreePlace one leg on the shin and grow your branches up. What kind of tree are you?
  • Repeat the transition from “squat” to “tree” on the other side.

Celebrate springtime activities with the following poses:

  • Kite

Begin in Mountain pose. Come onto your tippy toes and stretch your arms up and out to the side like tree arms. Lean to one side and stretch a leg out to the other side. Change sides. Play with your balance as you find your way and move with the wind. Feel your body flying like a kite.

  • Wind Chimes

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart. Swing your arms back and forth in harmony with your breath. Be sure to keep your feet planted. You are a wind chime moving with the wind. Now separate your feet into a wide stance. Bend forward and take your right hand to your left leg. Lift your left arm to the sky and look up. Now lower your left arm and take it to the right leg. Twist your torso towards the sky and look up. Go back and forth several times.

  • Roller Coaster – Amusement parks are open in the spring, and many towns host festivals!

Sit down in a line with your legs spread wide. Clasp your hands around the person in front of you. As the roller coaster climbs up the hill, lean back. Then lean forward as you speed downhill. Be brave and raise your hands as you lean from side to side

  • Butterfly with Antenae

Begin in L-Sitting pose. Bring the bottoms of your feet together, with your heels close to your body and your knees out to each side. Stretch your neck and the top of your head toward the sky and make your spine longer. Place your hands at the sides of your head and stick up your pointer fingers to make antennae. Pull your arms back like they’re your wings. Breathe in and out as you flap your wings forward and back, up and down.

  • Bridge – Some people take trips in the spring to visit family!

Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Place your feet hip-width apart as close to the sit bones as possible. Press your feet into the ground and lift your hips to the sky. Place your hands however it’s comfortable to support your lower back and pelvis. Lift your chest and arch your spine.

 

WE ALL WIN

Play Ping Pong Ball Breathing. Give each child a straw. Blow a ping-pong ball around the circle by blowing.

 

VISUAL VIGNETTES

Print or draw flowers with 4-8 petals and have the students color in the flowers with a light color crayon, then write something they love about themselves on each petal.

 

QUIET QUESTS

The Cherry Blossoms – “My friend Rengetsu was returning from a pilgrimage when she stopped in a town to rest for the night. Although she appeared tired and hungry, each door she knocked on refused her lodging. As the sun began to set behind the hills, she hiked up to a cherry orchard on the hillside. There she made a little bed of leaves under the trees and fell asleep. But something stirred her in the middle of the night. A beautiful scent fell over her. Pulling herself up from the sleep, she saw the loveliest of sights, the black sky behind dozens of trees with pink cherry blossoms, all blooming radiant and shimmering in the moonlight. Rengetsu took in the beautiful experience. Then she turned toward the town, gave a little bow, and said, ‘Oh people of the village, thank you so much for turning me away tonight, for if you did receive me, and give me a place to rest in your home, then I would never have been able to witness such beauty!’” Imagine you are lying in the cherry blossom.

 

CLOSING CIRCLE

  • Fountain of Oms

Everyone chants OM at their own pace and rhythm. Start together, but everyone’s duration can be different. Let the OMs keep coming at various intervals; some short, some long. Feel the Fountain of OMs wash through and around you. The sound and vibration is very powerful. Keep your eyes closed and keep chanting. Keep the OMs flowing and allow the sound to cease with its own natural conclusion.

  • Namaste

Put your hands together at your heart and bow to each other.

 


Learn to write and teach your own YogaKids lesson plans!

Yoga Tools for Temper Tantrums

child screaming

When my son was 3, he was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. Not long after the diagnosis he had a meltdown over a Sponge Bob ice cream cone at a local zoo. Despite my efforts to entice him into a non-dairy treat, he insisted on the ice cream, and as the discussion continued, we both became more and more agitated. Eventually the incident ended in a full out screaming fit with my son lying down on his back and kicking his feet, while making balls out of his little fists. As a small crowd of people watched, I tried desperately to calm him down, eventually getting so angry myself that I picked him up and dragged him back to the car literally kicking and screaming.

Most parents of toddlers can relate to this story. Shortly after the zoo incident, I started yoga teacher training with YogaKids. In the ,training I learned many techniques to calm the body and the mind. I soon began to incorporate what I learned with my own children and it led to a harmonious journey into peaceful parenting the YogaKids way.

 

Take Steps to Prevent Tantrums

Setting clear boundaries, offering rewards for good behavior, and staying away from triggers will help to prevent tantrums. My son’s ice cream meltdown could have been prevented if I had steered clear of the ice cream stand in the first place. It would have also helped if, as a family, we avoided ice cream when together. Finding special non-dairy treats that my son liked and having those at-the-ready would also be a helpful tool to promote peace and happiness.

 

Stay Calm

During a temper tantrum, it is very easy to get angry and frustrated yourself, but this will only fuel the situation. If you stop and observe how you feel during the tantrum, you may find an inner calm present behind the stress that eases the tension in the situation. If you find calm, that energy will help to calm your child. Your child will come to understand that they can trust you to be peaceful and calm no matter what, and will find this comforting. Observing your breath is a great tool to focus on while the tantrum is happening. Once your child has calmed down, speak softly with kindness and empathy. Let your child know you understand why they were frustrated, and practice peaceful breathing or a mindfulness technique after the tantrum is over. This will build your child’s “peace muscle,” your child’s ability to tap into that part of them that is full of ease and joy.

 

Tantrums Can Help Your Children Get Their Feelings Out

As long as your child is safe, tantrums can help them to release frustrations. Small children often have a hard time articulating how they feel, and they may not have developed coping skills to handle life’s everyday stressors.  It is very healthy to release tension instead of keeping negative thoughts in. Crying, jumping up and down, or lying down and kicking can help to release tension. If we don’t express frustrations often, they lay dormant and can block positive energy and affect our ability to enjoy life.

 

YogaKids Tools for Temper Tantrums

YogaKids offers many tools to help kids release excess energy, move their bodies in healthy ways, and calm down and find peace.

Volcano – This pose offers a healthy outlet for tension.

Begin in Mountain pose; bring the fingertips together at the chest. Jump the feet apart. Place your palms together at the center of your body. Breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over head. Breathe out as you explode your arms outward. Lower them to your sides and return your hands to heart. Erupt and release again and again. Make big, exploding volcano noises.

Rocket Ship is another healthy way to blow off steam in a fun way.

Begin from a Squat, inhale and shoot your hands and body upward to the sky and make blast off noises. Come back down and do it a few more times.         

Peace Breath – Once stored energy has been released, Peace Breath is a great way to calm the nervous system.

Close your eyes. Relax your face muscles. Let your skin drape over your bones like a soft blanket. Breathe in. Breathe out and whisper the word “peace.” Repeat 3 to 6 times

Swim Ducky Swim is a technique that can be used at the end of a yoga practice, at bedtime or anytime you have 5-10 minutes to calm down and help to increase focus.

Lie down on your back. Place a rubber ducky on your belly. Breathe gently in (your belly button rises) and out (your belly button sinks down.) As your belly rises and falls like the waves, your ducky surfs the waves as you inhale (breathe in) and floats as you exhale (breathe out). Give your ducky a slow and gentle ride with your breathing. You can used any small stuffed animal or favorite toy for this exercise.


Learn ALL the YogaKids poses and their benefits as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!

Facing Fear and Anxiety with Challenge Poses

child in crow pose

At a small amusement park along the Jersey shore, waiting with my kids for a turn on the ride, my eyes and ears were drawn to one particular child. High excitement could be felt from the kids in line anticipating glimpses of the ocean, onlookers, and sand sailing by as the ride whirled around. Kids already on the ride were happily screaming and yelling, at times waving to family and friends, their eyes wide with seeing a blur of blue ocean and sky.

Except for one child. One little girl, crying uncontrollably as the ride increased its speed and circular motion. Unprepared for the motion and sensations, her whole being shouted “stop the ride, I want to get off!”

Like the response expressed by the little girl on the ride, trying new things can leave one feeling under prepared, overwhelmed, and over faced. Teens especially, already grappling with physical and emotional changes, may find trying new experiences daunting while trying to navigate their ever-evolving inner and outer worlds. Awkwardness and shyness can prevent them from trying anything different or novel. They don’t want to appear silly, inept, or clumsy in front of their peers!

Trying new asanas can produce anxiety in a student who feels it is beyond their ability. It gets even worse if they feel they are the only one in class who cannot do the pose! This is a great learning opportunity! An idea to address these concerns is to incorporate “Challenge Poses”.

First, provide and maintain a safe and supportive learning environment. Suggest that awareness of the breath is a great aid for the students to gauge their response. Then have the students pick a pose (example: Camel, Crow, or any pose your students find challenging and out of their comfort zone). The students can choose individual poses or all work on the same one as a group.

Example: Dromedary Delight (aka Camel pose)

Instructions: Kneel on the floor with your legs and knees hip-width apart. Curl your toes, push your thighs forward, and bring your hands to your lower back. Lift your chest. Breathe evenly in and out as you extend your rib cage and broaden your chest. Continue to lift your chest with each breath as you bring your hands to your heels. Increase the duration and repetitions of the pose as your spine and chest become more flexible. Rest in Child’s Pose after each back-bend.

You can take the pose “apart” by doing it in stages:

  • Beginner  (just touching backs of legs)
  • Intermediate (feet flexed, touch heels)
  • Advanced (feet flat, touch heels)

Have the students decide how far to go and how long to stay in the pose (defining edges). Explore adding props (the hands rest on two blocks next to the heels rather than heel touch). This modification makes the pose more accessible.

Here are a few more challenging YogaKids poses. Think about how they can be broken down into stages.

Wheel: Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, with your heels as close to your sitting bones as possible. Raise your arms up over your head and bend your elbows. Place your palms flat on the floor beside your ears with the fingertips pointing toward your shoulders. Pull your elbows toward each other. Press down into your hands and feet, as you straighten your arms and legs. Your chest and thighs lift toward the sky. Imagine a wheel underneath you, supporting the spine in this convex shape.

Headstand: Lace your fingers together and place your forearms on the floor. Set the crown of your head on the floor, placing the back of your head in your interlaced hands. Inhale and lift your knees off the floor, slowly walking your feet closer to your elbows. Exhale and lift your feet off the floor, pulling your knees to your chest. With a firm upper body and abdomen, extend your legs skyward. To come out of Headstand pose, draw your knees into your chest and bring your toes to the floor. Walk your feet away from your elbows and gently drop your knees to the floor. Rest in Child’s Pose.

Crow: Begin in Mountain pose. Bend your knees and squat down. Place your arms to the inside of your bent legs and press your hands with outstretched fingers into the floor. Lean slightly forward. Bend your elbows to make a shelf for your knees. Lean forward and balance with your feet off the floor. With patience and practice, you can increase the time you can stay balanced.

Whenever working on challenging poses, be sure to give time for exploration. Allow for feedback of the experience. Ask questions; what was felt prior to trying this pose? Was it a positive attitude; I will do this! Or a negative attitude; this is impossible! No way! Discuss feelings around the process. Did they feel self-criticism? Were there feelings of accomplishment, happiness, frustration, or discouragement? New experiences can test our edges, whirling us way out of our comfort zone. But it also opens us up to new possibilities and a great opportunity for growth.


Learn ALL the YogaKids poses and their benefits as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!