We All Win: Rock, Tree, Bridge!

Child in child's pose, children in tree pose and child in bridge pose

This is a great cooperative game to play with friends! Get into a wide circle and have everyone get into alternating poses of Child’s Pose (rock), Tree, and Bridge. Then, one person gets up and goes around the circle stepping over the rock, walking around the tree ,and through or under the bridge.

Move slowly and mindfully so as not to disturb the rocks, trees and bridges. Work together to get through the obstacle course without a tree falling over or a bridge breaking! Everyone gets a turn.

Child’s Pose Instructions: 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 Pose Instructions: 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.

Bridge Pose Instructions: 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.

Create and teach your own Great Ideas as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!

Courage in Heartbreak: Healing After a Pregnancy Loss

Jua Sandra Nnafie - van Dijk

“You don’t realize how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have.”

Adapted from a quote by Bob Marley

If you are reading this, that means that I found the courage to share the story of my pregnancy loss.

If you are reading this, that means that we are one step closer to sharing and opening up to stories about pregnancy loss.

Thank you for reading.

I am sure that my journey in the YogaKids program has given me the strength to get back up, after I took a big fall into the dark in early November 2018. As part of an assignment in the YK program, reading Judith Hanson Lasater’s book Living your Yoga was what helped me start reliving my own yoga.

When I was almost eleven weeks into my fourth pregnancy (or sixth if you’d count my two earlier miscarriages), my gynecologist gave me the heartbreaking news that I would most likely lose this baby within the next two or three weeks. BOOM! Just like that, I fell from cloud nine all the way into the deepest, darkest black hole I had ever known.

I have a husband who loves me dearly and I have three amazing children. This fourth baby, however, had been a forever wish inside my heart. That wish would now go up in smoke. The three weeks that followed were so confusing. Still pregnant, but not really. My mind and heart were swinging from hope to despair to deep sadness. For the first time in my life as a yogi and a mom, even my own yoga practice couldn’t keep my thoughts calm and collected. I did have over 15 years of yoga experience, but this sudden shift from happiness to sadness was too much to handle.

I felt lost and alone. Honestly, I felt like giving up on trying to feel happy again. I had to keep going for my family though. I had to find a positive vibe somewhere. But where?

Only three people knew about my pregnancy. My husband, my mom, and a friend in school — whom I had told at only 7 weeks pregnant, driven by a gust of pregnancy enthusiasm when I heard she was selling baby stuff. I had been keeping my nausea, fatigue and mood swings hidden from the rest of the world for 11 weeks. I had already been fantasizing about how I was going to break the happy news to my friends and family. Now, I was all of a sudden keeping something else a secret. I was secretly carrying a life that was slowly being “absorbed back into my body.” That’s what my doctor said. It hurt, but I wasn’t showing my pain to anyone. Nobody knew I was pregnant, right? So, no one could know I was having a miscarriage during those long, agonizing three weeks.

It wasn’t until a few weeks into my grieving period that it hit me: we do not tell people we are pregnant, so we do not have to share the sad news if we have a miscarriage. (I think you may have noticed that I put my other two pregnancies that ended in a miscarriage in parentheses. I do count them as pregnancies, but would others do the same?) Why I wonder? Why can we only share happy pregnancy news?

Is it wrong or weird to feel sad about losing someone I never even met?

Well, on November 15 2019, when I lost my pregnancy, all my belief in my own yoga and meditation practice went down the drain. Not a single method could calm me down. I cried so much, so loud and non-stop. I was sadder than I had ever been and nothing could help me to take away this feeling. Not a single moment did I think that my breathing could calm me down. I have lost loved ones before, but never in my life had I experienced this much hurt and pain before. For the first time I really felt heartache, there where my heart lives. It hurts. So much.

There I was, lying in bed, listening to my family living, and trying to hold onto my heart, almost trying to squeeze the hurt out of my heart. What was I to do? How could I ever get back up and running, full of smiles and energy, like I always am?

For no particular reason, I remembered the next YogaKids assignment I needed to complete. It involved reading Judith Hanson’s book. Just like you started reading this post, I started reading her book. And….it turned out to be a step in the right (or should I say ‘light’) direction.

I took the liberty of using the assignment as part of my grieving process. It was as if each chapter in the book touched upon another part of the pain I was feeling. Each chapter seemed to be offering me another way of dealing with all the emotions racing through my heart and all the thoughts twirling in my mind. After each page, I felt that I was reconnecting with myself a little bit more. Baby steps.

Tears ran down my face while reading the book, and writing up my assignment, but I allowed myself to feel the hurt, the anger, the disappointment, the shame. I tell you, I feel a lump in my throat even as I am writing this post. The pain is still there. I have found ways to deal with it, most of the times. I have found a way to start living my yoga again.

Thank you, YogaKids, for offering me a way out of total darkness.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read my story.

I feel stronger every time I find myself able to share this experience with others. Even though I do not know you, it feels we are now sharing a heavy load, which makes it a little bit easier to carry.

I would like to finish by suggesting that if you went through a miscarriage yourself, please find people who will listen to your story and who will support you while you are grieving your loss.

Sorry for your loss. Sharing the pain really does help.


With a smile,



“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Winston Churchill

Learn more about the YogaKids program here.

YogaKids Poses to the Rescue

girl meditating

Is your child feeling angry? We have a pose for that  Is your child feeling anxious, we have poses, breathing exercises and techniques for that! Are you kids fighting with each other, we have a pose for that! YogaKids has tools for all of life’s challenges, and when used regularly, yoga can help you and your child find joy, good health and peace!


If your child does poorly on a test, misses the goal in a soccer game or is upset about getting braces, they may lack confidence which can lead to low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness or lack. Reach for the Sun is a YogaKids pose that would be a great way to start the day, or can be used after a disappointment or challenging situation. This pose brings energy to the solar plexus which is our area of personal power. It also includes a slight back bend which will improve mood, and help to build joy, optimism and confidence.

Reach for the Sun – Begin in Open Mountain pose. Breathe in and reach up. 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. Repeat ten times.



When peers are critical, judgmental or just plain mean, kids can be left feeling helpless and sad. Sun salutations help to bring positive energy into the heart, are energizing and uplifting. Practice before or after school for a jolt of joy.

Sun Salutations – From Mountain, raise arms overhead and stretch upward. Fold forward into Ragdoll. Step back with right leg into a lunge. Step back with left leg to Lizard. 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. Curl your toes under and stretch into Down Dog. Step forward with right leg into a lunge. Step forward with left leg into Ragdoll. Stretch arms outward and return to standing. Raise arms overhead and stretch upward. Repeat cycle, leading with the opposite leg. Repeat one to ten times.



Kids often have a hard time dealing with life’s challenges and have not developed the skills to cope with disappointments, disagreements or not getting what they want. If anger is kept inside, it can lead to much suffering, and affect long-term health. Volcano is a pose designed to discharge feelings of anger in a healthy way.

Volcano – From Mountain pose; bring the fingertips together at the heart. Jump the feet apart.  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. Jump your feet back together when you’re finished erupting. Repeat ten times.



Staying in the present moment is often a great antidote to fear. Fear is often a product of worrying about some future perceived threat. Peace Breath is a way for kids to stop and notice how they feel in the present moment.  They focus on their breath and notice the softness of their own lips as the say “peace” or feel the gentle rise and fall of their belly.

Peace Breath – Close eyes and relax the face muscles. Let your skin drape over your bones like a soft blanket. Breathe in. Breathe out and whisper the word “peace.”  As you say the word, feel the peace inside you. Send peace to the animals, trees and plants. Send peace to your family and friends. Send peace to countries in the world that are at war. Send peace to all the people you love. Repeat 3-10 times.



Grieving is an important part of accepting that a loved one, pet or friend has died. When feelings of grief become overwhelming or don’t dissipate over time, yoga can help kids feel happy, uplifted and joyous. Direction breath is a children’s version of a pose called the Breath of Joy, it brings awareness and light to the heart.

Direction Breath – Stand in mountain, inhale and stretch arms forward, out to the side and overhead.  Exhale and bend forward into Rag Doll.  Repeat about 10 times.



Worrying about school, friends, sports or life’s challenges can cause anxiety. When feelings of anxiety distract kids from being able to enjoy life, Eyes Around the Clock is a technique that can help kids learn to focus attention on the present moment instead of living in possibility of a future problem.

Eyes Around the Clock – Imagine a clock hanging in front of your eyes.  Move your eyes from 12 to 6 and back to again.  Look right to left from 3 to 9 and back.  Look diagonally from 1 to 7 and back, then 11 to 5.  Now start at twelve o’clock and look at each number around the face of the clock. Then start again at twelve o’clock and move in the opposite direction. Try to keep your head still and move only your eyes.



Opening the chest, and taking in a full inhale has been found to improve mood, confidence and our outlook on life. Dromedary Delight is a back-bend that can help kids feel open to the magic of life. Warm up the spine before doing this pose, and encourage kids to pause during the day for a gentle version for quick pick-me-ups. This can be done seated at a desk, or standing with hands gently clasped behind the back. Pause in the pose for several breaths.

Dromedary Delight – Kneel on the floor with your legs and knees hip width apart. Press the tops of your feet into the floor, push your thighs forward, bring your hands to your lower back, fingers pointing upward, and 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 curl your toes forward and bring your hands to your heels to imitate a camel’s hump. Delight in the dromedary for ten seconds. Rest in child’s pose after each back-bend. Repeat. Increase the duration and repetitions of the pose as your spine and chest become more flexible.

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

Yoga for Kids with Anxiety

girl smiling on yoga mat

During a 900-hour yoga therapy training, I learned many techniques to help adults and kids with anxiety. Over and over again, I would realize that specific yoga tools presented were actually YogaKids poses or techniques. YogaKids founder Marsha Wenig had incredible vision and insight into how to help children, and her program has helped thousands of children and families since she first began teaching over thirty years ago. Marsha once shared with me that she met with a gifted intuitive who told her she would have thousands of children.  his prediction came to fruition as Marsha has helped so many children and families with her life-changing techniques and tools to move through life with not only ease, but abundant joy.

“I am so stressed” is a common phrase heard daily from kids grade school to college as children deal with demanding schedules, pressure to excel and are bombarded with social media and technology. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 30% of adolescents have experienced some kind of anxiety disorder and an estimated 8.3% have had severe impairment. Symptoms and signs of anxiety can include fatigue, muscle tension, sadness, restlessness, loss of interest, agitation, tiredness, feeling nervous, disturbance in sleep or appetite, increased breathing rate, excessive worry and restlessness. Causes of anxiety include: school demands and frustrations, negative thinking, changes in body, problems with friends, not enough sleep, taking on too many activities, unsafe living environment, and past trauma.

Anxiety is closely related to fear which is a response to a perceived or real immediate threat. Anxiety is linked to the fight or flight response which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Stimulation of the SNS can be constructive such as improving sports or test performance or public speaking. Problems arise when the SNS response is too strong, turned on too easily or not turned off when danger is absent.


Behaviors and Techniques to Decrease Stress

Move or exercise regularly. Exercise helps to release endorphins that reduce feelings of anxiety. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is highest in the morning – so scheduling movement first thing in the morning will help to decrease stress.

Eat regularly. “Hangry” is a new term used to describe what may happen when we are hungry. Children, when hungry, may get agitated or angry. A healthy diet should include fresh foods, warm foods, warm water and little or no stimulants like caffeine — especially in the AM.  Make eating healthy fun! Check out the YogaKids Bendy Blog for fun and easy recipes that your kids will love like snowman skewers. 

Decrease negative self-talk. Negative words have been found to release a stress response. Encourage kids to practice gratitude. A gratitude talk is a great way to end every day, having your kids share or write down experiences from their day that they are thankful for.


YogaKids AM Sequence for Anxiety

This morning sequence starts with energizing poses to discharge anxious energy, and includes a few poses that take a lot of focus to keep students in the present moment. It ends with nurturing calming poses to set them up for a peaceful day.

Volcano – From Mountain pose, bring the fingertips together at the chest. Jump feet apart. With palms together at the heart, breathe in. Watch your hands as you raise them over head. Breathe out as you explode arms outward. Lower arms to your sides and return hands to heart. Erupt and release again and again and make loud volcano sounds.  Repeat at least 4 times.

Brave Warrior (Virabhadrasana II) – Stand with feet wide apart, arms parallel to the floor, and front foot at 90 degrees with knee bent over the ankle. Keep the back foot turned slightly in.  Say, “I am brave!”

Bold Warrior (Virabhadrasana I) – From Brave Warrior, turn your hips toward the front leg, keeping the leg bent. Raise arms straight above the head and say, “I am bold!”

Powerful Warrior (Virabhadrasana III) – From Bold Warrior, shift weight onto the front leg, pick up the back foot and leg and stretch it behind you. Keep both legs as straight and strong as possible. Stretch arms forward and say, “My own power I can hold!” Repeat the Warrior series the opposite side.

Shake Like Jelly – Shake like jelly. Shake all over. Go crazy. Jiggle, wiggle, and giggle.

Ragdoll Ann and Ragdoll Andy – Hang out in a forward bend. Breathe in and feel your whole body lighten. Breathe out and fold yourself in half, bending from the hips. Loosen your neck and let your head and arms hang down. To come up, place your hands on your tailbone and inch your fingers up your spine, feeling the bumpy vertebrae as you slowly straighten back up to standing. Repeat at least 4 times.

Eyes Around the Clock – Imagine a clock hanging in front of your eyes. Move your eyes from 12 to 6 and back to again. Look right to left from 3 to 9 and back. Look diagonally from 1 to 7 and back, then 11 to 5. Now start at twelve o’clock and look at each number around the face of the clock. Then start again at twelve o’clock and move in the opposite direction. Try to keep your head still and move only your eyes.

Child’s Pose – From heel-sitting pose, open knees a little, so the belly relaxes between the thighs. Bend at the hips and fold forward, letting the shoulders drop down and the arms lie back along the sides of the legs with open palms facing upward. Place forehead on the floor.  Rock back and forth. Take at least 5 breaths.

Peace Breath – 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.” Do this 3 to 6 times. As you say the word, feel the peace inside you. Send peace to the animals, trees and plants. Send peace to your family and friends. Send peace to countries in the world that are at war. Send peace to all the people you love.

O is for OM – Sing the sound “Ommm.” Feel the Om dance throughout your body and throat, bringing a sense of happiness and peace. Repeat at least 3 times.


YogaKids Bedtime Sequence for Anxiety

This evening sequence releases tension in the spine, calms the nervous system and ends with a gentle technique to leave children feeling focused but very calm.

Sunrise Sunset – From kneeling, interlace the fingers above the head and stretch the palms up.  Exhale and drop your hips to the right as the arms drop left like the sun setting. Inhale and arc the arms overhead like the rising sun and drop them to the right as the hips sit left like the sun setting. Repeat 4 times.

Moo and Meow – From all 4’s, arch the spine to the sky and inhale, exhale and round the back as you meow.  Repeat at least 4 times.

Child’s Pose – From heel Sitting pose, open knees a little, so the belly relaxes between the thighs. Bend at the hips and fold forward, letting the shoulders drop down and the arms lie back along the sides of the legs with open palms facing upward. Place forehead on the floor. Rock back and forth. Take at least 5 breaths.

Swim Ducky Swim – 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.) Give your ducky a slow and gentle ride with your breathing. Keep the focus on the exhale breath, and try to lengthen it gently. Continue for 2-5 minutes.


Create and teach your own Great Ideas as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!


Balloon Squeeze Balls

balloon squeeze craft

About Stress

The word “stress” has many meanings. It can be a noun — emotional and physical pressure you experience. (“Homework is such a major stress!”) It can also be a verb — emotional and physical reactions in your body as a result of the pressure. (“Homework is totally stressing me out!”) Stress can also be subjective, meaning it can be good or bad depending on the person experiencing it. (Maybe you love doing homework!)

Nevertheless, when people talk about stress, they’re usually talking about negative stress. This is the bad kind — and it’s important to know how to recognize and deal with it. When you feel negative stress, you also often feel anxious, frustrated or angry. It can also show up in your body — with a stomachache or headache.

So what can you do when you’re feeling negative stress? One GREAT thing is… (surprise!) yoga. Another great thing to do is to use a stress ball — a squishy toy you can squeeze when life gets challenging.

Balloon Squeeze Balls

Create these super-cute Balloon Squeeze Balls for yourself — or for someone special!


  • Balloons
  • Flour
  • Funnel
  • Permanent Markers


  1. Blow up the balloons, then release them — to stretch them out.
  2. Use the funnel to fill the balloons with flour.
  3. Tie the ends of the balloons. (Get a grown-up for help!)
  4. Draw faces on the balloons with a permanent marker.


Create and teach your own Great Ideas as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!


Holiday Stress Busters for Parents

Woman with Head in Hands

The holidays are upon us and as rich, wonderful and filled with love as the holidays might be we sometimes find ourselves surrounded by stress. But why choose that when you can choose something much more fun instead?

Use The Energy of Asking to make your YogaKids holidays the most stress free ever.

“Ask and you shall receive.” The great thing about the energy of asking is that you’re not looking for an answer. In fact, the point is simply to ask a question and then let it go. Easy! Not getting attached to the results of our actions is a core idea of yoga. Sit back and let the universe provide and dazzle you.

Here are 3 tools any parent can use in just seconds to stay cool as a breeze through the holidays

Question #1: Have you noticed how many people around you appear stressed out? Friends, family and even people on the street you don’t even know, right? What if the stress you’re experiencing is just picking up on everybody else’s stuff? What if that stress isn’t even yours?

So if you start feeling a little stressed, try asking the question, “Who does this belong to? Wait, is it really even mine?” Maybe just asking the question will help you feel a little lighter, a little more peaceful and relaxed. If asking the question brings even a twinge of a smile to your face, then you can say, “Return to sender.”  Whatever ‘it’ is —  just return it to sender, back to wherever it might have come from. You don’t have to know or try to figure it out! That part is not your job! Just pack it up and let it go.

Question #2: Having a holiday multitasking overload? Is rushing around making you crazy (see tool #1)? What if you can get everything you’d love to get done in a fun, centered, grounded way?

Your kids have learned to Take Five, how about you?

Take a moment, ground your feet to connect with the earth and and bring your awareness out of your head and into your heart. You can close your eyes if you like. Put one hand on your belly and use the other to take in a slow, five count inhalation. Exhale just as long or longer. Try doing this five times, although even once will work wonders.

You can do this anywhere and anytime. Sitting, standing or even laying down. If you’re in the middle of a store or at an auction you might want to keep your hand down!

Question #3: If you are shuddering at the thought of an upcoming holiday, gathering this simple question might just make all the difference in the world.

Simply ask, “How can this turn out far greater and more amazing than anything I could possibly imagine?” Remember you’re not looking for an answer, or a way to figure it out. Just ask the question and let it go. If your brain had the answer, you would have figured it out already! Ask the universe to show you something amazing and have fun seeing what happens!

Being in The Asking Energy allows the universe to do her stuff and show up for you in unpredictable and unexpected ways. Ask and let go of your expectations. One of the great lessons shared in YogaKids is that more joy and laughter serves us in the most magical of ways. Would you like to have some more of that? Just ask and and see what shows up!


Body Concert

Holiday Bells

We all learn in different ways and some of us learn best through music and rhythm. By incorporating music with yoga poses, we not only tap into the passions of children, but poses come alive, are more fun and memorable. During the holiday season, we hear many familiar songs. This year, don’t just sing the songs, act them out or add movement – to make it a total body experience.

Many yoga poses mimic animals and many animals make noises. While doing Bug Pickin’ Chimp pose, kids can walk around like chimps and maybe even sing a holiday song with “ooo” and “eee” instead of words. Try singing “Jingle Bells” that way… it is fun and will surely make you smile! While on your belly, reach back and grab a hold of your ankles for Rocking Horse pose. Sing “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” and pretend to fly through the sky. Lift into Down Diggety Doggie Down pose. While walking around the room on all fours to the beat of the music, sing a rhythmic song like “Frosty the Snowman.” Don’t forget to walk backwards too!

Why not play a little game? Stand up for Tarzan’s Thymus Tap. While tapping just below the collarbone with your fingertips, tap out the beat to a holiday song everyone might know. See if someone can guess what song it is. Maybe try “We wish you a Merry Christmas” or “My Dreydl.” Maybe do Ankle-Heel-Toe Walking around the room for another game. While signing the “Twelve Days of Christmas” determine a certain way each “gift” walks. Maybe the first one is walking on the heels. Then each time you get to “a partridge in a pear tree” everyone walks on their heels. This can be a really fun way to sing the song and challenge your memory. Get creative and have fun with it!

Your kids will be so excited those holiday songs are now a full body experience – they just might add the poses the next time the family breaks out in song! (Learn all these poses in the book, YogaKids: Educating the Whole Child Through Yoga, available in the YogaKids Shop!)

YogaKids Poses:

  •   Bug Pickin’ Chimp
  •   Rocking Horse
  •   Down Diggety Doggie Down
  •   Tarzan’s Thymus Tap
  •   Ankle-Heel- Toe Walking

Create and teach your own Great Ideas as a Certified YogaKids Teacher!

Winter Solstice YogaKids Lesson Plan

Snow Covered Forest

The Winter Solstice is a time of renewal. Bring in new light, joy and peace. Enjoy this FREE YogaKids Lesson Plan that will help your kids celebrate this special time of year!


Suggested Music: Reach for the Sun (YogaKids Musical MusingsCelebration (Kool & The Gang), So I Jump in the Soup (Laurie Berkner), Namasté (YogaKids Musical Musings)


Sit in a circle and share the following information:

The winter solstice is the longest night of the year and falls on December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. People all over the world recognize this day as the “return” of the sun in a variety of ways. Some traditions actually influenced current holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah.

Go around the circle, share something you love to do in the winter time and act it out in your very own yoga pose or movement.


Take 5 – Let’s begin by connecting with our breath.

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 with your hand up and then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count backward: 5,4,3,2,1, putting down one finger at a time for each number. Do “Take 5” twice more.

Reach for the Sun – Let’s celebrate the return of the sun after the longest night of the year.

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 belly, your inner sun. Exhale with an audible “HAH” breath. Repeat with the other arm. Alternately reach with the left and right arms, pulling your hands into your center. As you practice, increase the force of your breath. Repeat a few more times (or play the YogaKids song “Reach for the sun” while you act it out).

Freeze and Flow – We can celebrate the winter solstice with a game.

Put on some fun music (ie Celebration), dance around the room and celebrate the Winter Solstice. When the music stops, freeze in a pose pretending to do something you love to do in the winter time. (Remember your ideas from our connecting circle). When the music starts again, continue to celebrate and dance.

*Soyal is a winter solstice celebration of the Hopi Indians of northern Arizona. Ceremonies and rituals include dancing and gift giving. At the time of the solstice, The Hopi welcome protective spirits from the mountains.  

Volcano  Let’s do Volcano pose and allow those spirits to release from the mountains.

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. 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.

Bold Warrior 1/ Brave Warrior 2 – Let’s be like the brave Hopi Indian Warriors.

Begin in Mountain pose. Step back with one leg 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 brings your arms down parallel to the floor. Keep your front knee bent over your ankle. Say “I am brave.” Return to Mountain pose and repeat on the other leg.

*Yalda is a festival in Iran that started in ancient times. It is a celebration of the victory of light over dark and the birth of the sun goddess Mithra. Yalda is a Syric word that means “birth”. Families would stay awake all night long to welcome the morning sun and celebrate with special food like nuts, watermelon and pomegranates. It is believed that by eating summer fruits at the begin of winter, one would not fall ill during the cold season.

Seed to Tree – Time to plant our favorite summer fruit and grow it for the Yalda festival. Fruit grows on trees, so let’s plant a seed and become our favorite fruit tree. Which fruit would you like to grow?

Come down to your knees, pretend to dig a small hole in the earth. Plant a small seed and cover it up. Pretend you are the seed. From Child’s pose, begin to sprout leaves, allow your hands to grow away from the body and grow, lifting onto your knees and extending the arms up high. Grow taller and taller into Tree pose, standing on one leg with the opposite foot planted on your calf or thigh. Raise your arms above your head and stretch them out. Repeat on the other leg – and grow a new fruit tree.

Table of Contents – Now that we grew our favorite fruits, it is time to eat them at our winter celebration. We will make a table with our bodies for the yummy feast.

Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Press down with your hands and feet, lifting your body up until you are in table position. Be sure to keep your hands underneath your shoulders, fingers pointing towards your body.

*Dong Zhi, means “winter arrival” and  is an important festival in China. It is a time for family to get together and celebrate the year they had. It is thought to have started as an end of the harvest festival, with workers returning from the fields and enjoying the fruits of their labors with family and traditionally eat a sweet soup made of rice balls.

Plough – Farmers use ploughs to break up the soil and prepare it for planting. We can pretend to be ploughs too.

Sit cross-legged. Take a hold of your toes from the outer side of your knees. Breathe in and out. Roll backwards, 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. Breathe in and out.

Soup Bowl (Row Your Boat)We can make our bodies into the shape of a soup bowl.

Begin in L-sitting pose and place both hands next to your hips. Lengthen your arms and spine. Lean back and lift your legs off the floor. Balance. Stretch your arms forward, bend your elbows and round your arms like the sides of a soup bowl.  (play the song “I jump in the soup” by Laurie Berkner, follow the lyrics and add arm movements to represent swimming, galloping and splashing in the soup).”’

Sunrise/Sunset – The day is done and our celebrations around the world have come to a close. It is time for the sun to set on our Winter Solstice.

Come down to your knees and sit your hips back to your heels for a Child’s Pose. Let’s walk our hands to the right, since the sun rises in the East. Inhale your arms up the sky as you come up onto your knees, reaching North. Exhale as the sun sets to the West, releasing your hands down to the left and returning your hips to your heels. Each time we lift up is like the Sunrise, and come down like the Sunset. Repeat a few more times as we prepare our bodies for rest.   


While facing each other or sitting in a circle or small group, place a candle in the middle of the circle representing new light. Eyes may be closed, or open and focused on the candle flame. Breathe slowly. Hands may be placed on your belly or in your lap. Take a few moments to just be with yourself, your breath and your thoughts.

Envision your family and friends – forgive anyone you are not getting along with, and allow any negative thoughts to stay in the darkness. Time to focus on the light and the light in others.

Give thanks to these people – give them a gift of quality (peace, joy, love). Take a moment to think of each person and and send them their special gift.


Namasté – Bringing the hands to heart center, say Namasté to each other, acknowledging the light within each of us.  Namasté 


Learn to write and teach your own YogaKids lesson plans!

Learning to Unhurry

Elementary Students on School Bus

Wow! Where has the summer gone? Prior to my mommy years, I always thought I would look forward to my children returning to school. However, here I sit  — one week before school is to start — feeling sad, anxious, nervous and downright icky… as I have for the last five years right before school begins. I love our relaxed summer routine.

This “unhurried” theme seems to be calling me this year. My mother posted on Facebook a blog from Huffington Post (“The day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up”) and Yoga Journal’s Daily Insight spoke about the hurried life of children. Just try Googling “Unhurried Child.” You’ll be amazed at what you find. (And if you come across a book called The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon by David Elkind, it’s wonderful.)

And so… I vow this school year will be different — relaxed and unhurried! But how are we going to accomplish such a huge goal in our “hurried” and “multitasking” world? I searched my “mommy tool box” and was quite surprised how many of these strategies I teach in my yoga classes and trainings. Taking what we learn in class into our daily lives — this can help us in our search for balance between pushing and yielding. We learn more, grow more and enjoy more when we “let go and be.”


Morning Magic:

  • Wake up yourself and your child with music rather than the loud, jolting buzz of an alarm clock.
  • Open the windows and blinds to greet the sun with a smile. The whisper of fresh air is an affirmation of what the day will hold for you.
  • Practice a slow, soothing and smooth sun salutation  — or simply stretch together. Open up all your muscles and joints to fresh blood, oxygen and a positive mindset.

Homework Harmony:

  • Develop a daily homework routine. Know your child. Is it better for him/her to do homework directly after school or later in the evening? Or perhaps you have a bright morning child who studies best before school. There is no wrong or right time — just the perfect learning time for your child.
  • Have a clear and neat calendar, listing homework as well as after-school activities.  Your calendar can use pictures, colors and/or words. Remember to keep it fun and engaging!
  • The homework place needs to be as quiet and uncluttered as possible, and should have all the items required for work (pens, pencils, highlighter, books) within reach.
  • Add movement to homework time.
  • Perform Downward Facing Dog while practicing spelling words. (Lifting the feet to “sky write” the words.)
  • Balance in Eagle Pose while practicing vocabulary.

Peaceful Bedtime:

  • Reduce sensory input with your kids and give your children a chance to un-charge. Do a few relaxing YogaKids poses with your kids, such as Child’s Pose and Take 5 Breath. Get more Bedtime Breeze tips here.
  • Snuggle Story Time: No matter the age of your child, reading a bedtime story from a book that’s slightly more difficult than the child’s reading level can help the child learn new vocabulary and generate ideas. And it’s a wonderful connecting time for both of you.

One of the most important lessons to learn is to say “no” to outside obligations that disrupt these routines. From the time your child is born till he/she leaves for college, you only get 936 weeks. How do you want to spend them?


Create your own flows with our YogaKids Pose Cards!



Bringing Laughing Language Home

What do you do if you come home and find your kids playing soccer/football in the house? Well, I came home and my girls were playing football in the house with a (don’t laugh) bag of onions. The skins were EVERYWHERE! My kids are not toddlers, of which I could almost expect that sort of game – they’re teens! They just thought it would be fun and knew the repercussions would not be too great. They were right.

The experience became a YogaKids moment — a Laughing Language opportunity. After the mess was cleaned up, we chatted about different types of kicking games. We talked about the success of the teams and their form of practice and how football has evolved to what it is today. We discussed the designing of the ball, how heavy the balls are, and why they have panels on them. We even discussed what forces are at work when the ball is propelling through the air or rolling on the pitch. Later, we looked up some follow up information online so we could learn more about the game.

I enjoy bringing the Laughing Language to my home.  I’m a goofball, and it allows my kids to let their guard down and be kids or “de-mature.” It keeps things the atmosphere light an open — while also letting them know that the lines of communication are open for serious discussions too. There are some pretty heavy duty subjects that come up in young people’s lives and I wouldn’t trade those difficult talks for anything. I also wouldn’t trade the funny or the strangest things we talk about like odd laws, ridiculous music lyrics and the worst jokes ever.

Laughing Language also makes it easy to compare and contrast between other households and cultures to ensure your kids are well rounded and rooted with the morals and values you hope to ingrain.My kids and I discuss different education systems, forms of government, and talk about different rules that people find important.As parents and as advocates of YogaKids principles, it is invaluable to remember that Laughing Language can be used both lightly and seriously and that it’s easy to incorporate  into your everyday life. It is not simply having fun with language. It’s bringing diversity into your class or home using language or interpretation as the delivery vehicle.