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.

Yoga & Me Come Be a Tree – A YogaKids Book Review

Yoga & Me Come Be a Tree book

Yoga & Me Come Be a Tree by Certified YogaKids Teacher and Occupational Therapist Tere Bowen-Irish is a lovely book that showcases various yoga poses in a very special light. Each pose is illustrated by two children performing a pose — one of whom is in a wheelchair. With this approach, the author does a wonderful job of showing how specific yoga poses can be modified for differently-abled children. And more broadly, how yoga is accessible to children of ALL abilities.

There are 2 pages dedicated to each pose. The only text is the name of the pose (including the Sanskrit name), and a short, simple poem about each pose. (For example, for Mountain Pose: “I am a mountain, strong and tall, When I look down, I see it all. I am made from rock, trees and granite. I am the strongest on the planet.” The book also includes a lovely introduction by Ms. Bowen-Irish that details how the book (and yoga, generally) can be used by parents, teachers, therapists, and other child-focused professionals.

Contact praxiscoachtere@comcast.net to order your copy!


Discover more about literacy and yoga in the YK Certification Program!

 

 

 

 

Wet Poses!

Swan
 

In traditional yoga, poses are categorized by the position of the spine. In the YogaKids program, poses are categorized by subject. This helps with planning engaging themed YogaKids classes! There are 20 categories of YogaKids poses — and one of our favorites is WET poses — a category for celebrating water and water-dwelling animals! Here’s a just a few…

Alligator: Lie down on your belly. Stretch your arms in front of you, one palm on top of the other. Open and close your arms like a jaw. Open and close your real jaw as you do this, too. Keep your legs together and lifted like an alligator’s tail. Gently bring your tail up and down.

Row Your Boat: 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. Try the pose while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Spouting Dolphin: Begin in All Fours pose. Lower your elbows to the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips. Grasp your elbows with the opposite fingers to keep proper spacing. Move your lower arms forward, interlacing your fingers, and make a triangle. Breathe in and out, letting your spine lengthen and your tailbone lift up and back. Work your legs as you press your heels towards the floor. Breathe in and out. Move your body forward so your chin touches down in front of your fingers. Then breathe out and lift out of the water.

Swan: Begin in All Fours pose. Bend your lower legs, pointing your toes to the sky. Glide your body forward. Lift your chest and lengthen your graceful neck. Breathe in and out.

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.

There are many more Wet Poses in the YogaKids Program — and you should always feel free to make up your own!  (Or encourage your YogaKids to get creative!)


Learn all the YogaKids poses in our Certification Program!

Dino Does Yoga – A YogaKids Book Review

Dino Does Yoga by Sofie Engstrom von Alten is a delightful book with a sweet story and beautiful illustrations. There are many ways to incorporate yoga poses into the reading of this sweet book.  A lonely egg who has lost its way, soon hatches Dino.  Dino does many yoga poses including; sun salutations, warriors’ tree and child’s pose and finishes in relaxation pose.  Breathing, body benefits and even self-esteem are all incorporated in this sweet story.  Dino Does Yoga would be a great bedtime story because several energetic poses are taught at the beginning helping kids get rid of anxious energy followed by several relaxing calm poses that will help kids drift off to sleep just like Dino.  Book is ideal for toddlers to elementary age children.


Discover more about literacy and yoga in the YK Certification Program!

 

 

 

 

A Classroom Management Success Story

feet

Classroom management can make or break an educator. This is why, during our Level 3 Transformations Training, we talk a lot about classroom management. We teach what we know works — and we ask our students to share their own success stories. From YK Apprentice Beth Clemenger came this awesome story of success…

As a school counselor, I work with students with a variety of disabilities: autism, ADHD, learning issues of many varieties, and others. Several of my students have behavior issues and can be disruptive to other kids.

Last year, I got a new student. She was 9 and recently adopted from an international orphanage. She was, for the most part, nonverbal and had no concept of appropriate behavior. We decided to try her in my yoga class that only had 5 students. Also, in this class, I had a boy that would challenge me often by saying” I hate this pose” or “why are we doing this?”

I decided to talk to the boy about being the “mentor” for this girl. He had already had contact with her as she was in his class. She had a 1:1 aide with her at all times for safety as she would try to bolt out of the building.  

Well, the first class was a disaster! The aide was so upset because she could not get the girl to “do the yoga poses.” The mentor boy was upset because the aide was doing his job.

I talked to the aide about it being okay if she just sat on her mat — that was the first goal. I added more engaging music, put a breathing buddies on each mat at the beginning of the class, used more props (such as hula hoops, scarves, balls, bubbles, balloons, marbles). This was really engaging for the nonverbal girl and it gave my mentor boy a way to “show “her how to use the props. 

I also had to explain to the other kids how to best interact with this girl — so that her behavior did not upset them or disrupt their yoga experience. We moved her mat a little toward the back and placed the mentor boy directly in front of her. The rest of the students knew that this boy was her “helper.” I also asked the aide to participate doing the poses with the class. This helped greatly. Rather than having an adult correcting the modeling, the girl was better able to engage with the yoga.  

We love this story so much. The techniques engage and empower both students. Well done, Beth! Thank you for sharing!


Transform your teaching in the YogaKids Certification Program!

Sock Eye Pillows

Sock Eye Pillow Craft

Created as eye pillow pals for Savasana — but can double as Breathing Buddies — this Visual Vignette idea from Certified YogaKids Teacher Sue Beres is super-cute and easy to make. Fill newly purchased socks with lavender scented rice * and tie with a ribbon. Add the eyes with a glue gun.

*Please note: Kids with sensory issues may have an aversion to the lavender scent so it’s good to have some unscented ones available.


Get more Great Ideas when you train to be a YogaKids Teacher!

 

 

 

 

 

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!