YouYoga

YOGA THAT LETS YOU BE YOU

Starting kids off with good habits and preventing them from learning the bad ones… June 14, 2012

I picked up a copy of “Yoga Essentials” this week – an issue entitled “Back to Basics.” This got me thinking about how kids’ yoga is really all about providing the basics of a successful practice, which the students will hopefully continue to build on as they mature.  And hopefully, learning some yoga skills – calming the mind, non-competitiveness, honoring the body – will help prevent children from taking on the bad habits of our crazy, fast paced society that is riddled with ill-health and dis–eases. Or at the very least, kids who learn yoga, will have tools to combat the unhealthy habits of “success” that modern life instills.

Hillary Dowdle, the editor of “Yoga Essentials” notes that all that is essential to a thriving practice is the right intention and the commitment to show up on your mat regularly. But it sure does help to have a handle on the basics. There is nothing new or revolutionary or even terribly complicated in a successful yoga practice, she goes on to note, only good solid instruction. And how wonderful if we can start as kids with that good solid instruction! How much sooner, and with how much more ease then, will the asana and the yoga path off the mat, become second nature, a way of life.  Some of the questions Dowdle hopes to answer in her issue of “Yoga Essentials” are: “How can I better control back bends? How can I stop wriggling and freaking out in savasna?” (my pet question!) “What constitutes safe inversions?” “How can I heal/treat injuries with therapeutic yoga?”

Though, when teaching children, especially younger ones, we don’t generally give very specific corrections on alignment and physiology, kids’ yoga is a great place to start introducing answers to these concepts, or at least creating an awareness of the questions.

I try to show kids alternatives or modifications for unique bodies and for safety, in poses, and all life situations, in a way that is accessible to young minds and bodies. If a child is wobbling and falling over in tree pose, one might suggest a drishti or gazing point, or come out of the pose, work on understanding the concept of engaging the pelvic floor muscles and then try again. Or just a suggestion of having the hands at heart center rather than overhead, or tipping off a wall slightly, may plant the seed of, “It’s ok for me seek other options, to find a way that works for me, to modify to my unique body.” These insights will translate into a freer, more relaxed, less competitive child in all spheres of life.

I wonder how different my life would have been thus far, if I had internalized ideas on necessary relaxation, stilling my racing mind and managing anxiety through breath control, non-competitiveness and listening to my inner voice at an early age. I’d wager I probably would have had an easier time battling anxiety and depression, an over- achiever’s mindset and burn out.

I realized how ingrained the patterns of our pressing, fast paced modern life are in me, when I arrived at a yoga class this week, anxious, headachy and stressed after a day of sitting still and doing admin work and trying to catch up on mails. After two minutes of deep breathing, I felt like a different person, lighter, more joyous, calmer, rejuvenated.  How different would my day have been if I had heeded the quiet inner voice (which I didn’t even think to listen for) and stopped my work once or twice to connect with the most basic of life functions just breathing. How sad that I internalized so many negative patterns of modern life and not this simple, yet essential health habit.  And though I teach this stuff to others every day, I still battle to implement it myself.  Silly! And, if kept up non-stop, debilitating!

Another essential yoga lesson I see kids learn in little bite size pieces in yoga class, is one-pointedness. It is, in fact, something we all once knew how to do to some extent, but have unlearned. It is one of the eight limbs of yoga – dharana  – sometimes translated as concentration. It really means more than concentrating – it means being present in the moment you are in, alert and aware with all your faculties, and not scattering your energies outward every which way. Another bad habit of modern life I have internalized is to be constantly busy (or multi-tasking and efficient, as my ego likes to think of it,) always doing more than one thing at a time – “Just think of the time I’ll save and how much more I can cram into my day if I read my email while I eat breakfast or talk on the phone while I unpack the dishwasher (or drive!)” Yoga teaches us to be fully present in the present moment and harness all the powers of awareness, mind, body and spirit. B.K.S. Inyengar says, “The practice of asana, performed with the involvement of all the elements of our being, awakens and sharpens intelligence until it is integrated with our senses, our mind, our memory, our consciousness and our soul. All our bones, flesh, joints, fibers, ligaments, senses, mind and intelligence are harnessed.” And thus, yoga asana teach us to connect to our body intelligence, our intuition, our inner voice. What could be a more precious lesson?

May we teach all our kids yoga lessons with which to combat the ills of modern life, so that they grow up never doubting the strength of the stillness they have within, and are able to draw on it every day, truly saluting the light within themselves and each other in all ways. Namaste!

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The YOGA BREATH – a microcosm of all we are April 23, 2012

Breath is the most basic of all life functions – it’s the first thing we do on earth, and the last thing we do when we leave this world. It is what nourishes every cell, what makes us alive, yet we are too often so unaware of the quality of the breath and it’s power to influence how we feel, how we move, how we are. When we concentrate hard or are in pain, we tend to hold the breath, but breathing into the pain and through the challenging movement or situation is so helpful! It’s a gift to give ourselves – breath awareness.
 
I found this lovely simple deconstruction of what makes up a breath, and how each breath is a microcosm of all the elements of our lives. 
Breath really is the basis of all yoga… uniting mind to body, movement and breath, and so uniting body and spirit, and so reaching for enlightenment.
 
“The inhale is an expression of Self, of receiving, of making a place for me on this earth
The rest at the top of the breath is an expression of strength
The Exhale is about the Other, about giving, sharing
The rest at the bottom of the breath is about trust. Trusting in silence, trusting in the body, trusting in the world.”
 -Bersma and Visscher (Yoga Games for Children)
 

YOUYOGA Kids: Junior Yoga Instructor Program with Danelle Drury April 9, 2012

We’re looking forward to having your child(ren) participate in YOUYOGA Kids:  Junior Yoga Instructor Program.   You might be wondering what exactly is Kids’ Yoga?   Well, at YOUYOGA we believe it’s a combination of many things, and over the course of 6 yoga practices your child will experience the following:

First, we tap into your child’s creativity by pretending we’re animals or elements that occur in nature; such as  large mountains.  When we use our creativity we also learn to think for ourselves, and challenge our minds.

Movement is another aspect of YOUYOGA Kids.  By practicing asana, also known as yoga poses, your children will build strength and focus. They’ll also learn to appreciate their bodies, and what they are capable of accomplishing through consistent effort and awareness.

We’ll also focus on your child’s love of sound.  Connecting movements through song helps to build brain power, which is great way to increase memory.  The children will also learn the names of poses along with various breathing techniques.

The best part about YOUYOGA Kids is: During the 6th session each child will lead part of a yoga practice sharing with their families what they’ve learned.  That’s right……they’re going to teach YOU!  At the end of their instruction they’ll be presented with a Junior Yoga Instructor Certificate.

At YOUYOGA, we believe that sharing yoga with your child  can help promote self-awareness, discipline and self-confidence. It’s the ultimate learning through play!  We can’t wait to get started!  Here are the dates for the summer session, and we’re looking forward to seeing you there.  Each class is limited to 12 students, so don’t delay:

Summer Sessions:

 

Wednesdays, May 9 – June 6

4:00 – 4:45 pm, Ages: 5-8

5:00 -5:45 pm, Ages: 9-12

 

Wednesdays, June 13 – July 25

4:00 – 4:45 pm, Ages: 5-8

5:00 -5:45 pm, Ages: 9-12

 

Cost: $54 for each 6 week session

 

Danelle’s Take on the Teachings of Marsha Wenig, Creator of the YogaKids Curriculum March 14, 2012

 

 

 

Kids' Yoga at YOUYOGA: Half-Moon Pose at the wall

 

Since YOUYOGA’s kid’s program will be influenced by the teaching of Marsha Wenig, creator of the YogaKids video and educational curriculum,  I felt it important to share what she says and believes on the topic of yoga for kids:

“When presented in a child’s language, yoga can help counter the stress experienced by young people living in a hurry-up world. Our children live in a hurry-up world of busy parents, school pressures, incessant lessons, video games, malls, and competitive sports. We usually don’t think of these influences as stressful for our kids, but often they are. The bustling pace of our children’s lives can have a profound effect on their innate joy—and usually not for the better.”

Wenig explains that yoga can help counter these pressures. Yoga for kids teaches:

  • techniques for self-health,
  • relaxation
  • inner fulfillment
  • self-esteem
  • body awareness with a physical activity that’s noncompetitive.
  • cooperation and compassion
  • flexibility,
  • strength,
  • coordination
  • concentration and sense of calmness 
 
Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self, and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them. When yogis developed the asanas many thousands of years ago, they still lived close to the natural world and used animals and plants for inspiration—the sting of a scorpion, the grace of a swan, the grounded stature of a tree. When children imitate the movements and sounds of nature, they have a chance to get inside another being and imagine taking on its qualities. When they assume the pose of the lion (Simhasana) for example, they experience not only the power and behavior of the lion, but also their own sense of power: when to be aggressive, when to retreat. The physical movements introduce kids to yoga’s true meaning: union, expression, and honor for oneself and one’s part in the delicate web of life.

Yoga with children offers many possibilities to exchange wisdom, share good times, and lay the foundation for a lifelong practice that will continue to deepen.  Wenig notes that when teaching yoga for children, one needs to honor the children’s innate intelligence and use the yoga asanas as a springboard for exploration of many other areas—animal adaptations and behavior, music and songs, storytelling, drawing—it is a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning, informed by the flow of child’s play.

Wenig’s program, YogaKids,  combines yogic techniques designed especially for children using Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner, an author and professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, describes eight intelligences innate in all of us—linguistic, logical, visual, musical, kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal—and emphasizes that children should be given the opportunity to develop and embody as many of these as possible.  In keeping with this theory, YogaKids integrates storytelling, games, music, language, and other arts into a complete curriculum that engages the “whole child.” We employ ecology, anatomy, nutrition, and life lessons that echo yogic principles of interdependence, oneness, and fun. Most of all, our program engages the entire mind, body, and spirit in a way that honors all the ways children learn.  When they stretch like a dog, balance like a flamingo, breathe like a bunny, or stand strong and tall like a tree, they are making a connection between the macrocosm of their environment and the microcosm of their bodies. The importance of reverence for all life and the principle of interdependence becomes apparent. Children begin to understand that we are all made of the same “stuff.” We’re just in different forms.

For more information contact Martha Wenig at (800) 968-0694 or e-mail innerwrk@niia.net

Adapted from “Yoga for Kids” by Martha Wenig, Yoga Journal


 
 

Spring Break: “Mini” Kids’ Yoga Sessions with Danelle Drury at YOUYOGA March 7, 2012

 
 
 
 

Kids' Yoga at YOUYOGA: Turtle Pose

 
 
 
 
 
 
Don’t Forget:  FREE Kids’ Yoga Mini Session during Spring Break with Danelle Drury on Wednesday March 14 and Thursday March 15 at 5:30 – 6:00 pm.
 
Come join us and sign up for our first 6 week Kids’ Yoga Session beginning April 4 on Wednesday at 4 :00 – 4:45 pm. 
 
Help your children develop compassion, focus, and self-awarness. Looking forward to seeing you there! — at YOUYOGA: 9653 W 87th St., Overland Park, Ks within AKKA.
 

KIDS’ YOGA Is Coming to YOUYOGA March 1, 2012

On Wednesday, March 14 and Thursday March 15 @ 5:00 – 5:30 pm Danelle Drury will be sharing two FREE Kids’ Yoga session at AKKA in Overland Park, Ks. located at 9653 W. 87th St.  Come join us so that your kid’s can get a taste of yoga for themselves.  After the session you can sign up for our first 6 week session beginning in April.  Looking forward to seeing you and your family there!

Join YOUYOGA for 6 weeks of KIDS’ YOGA

Begins: Wednesdays, April 4 – May 9 @ 5:00 – 5:45 pm

Age Group: 7 – 12 years

Cost: $54 ($9 per class), or Drop-In: $12

Deadline to Sign-Up: March 28

Contact: Ericka @ youyogakc@gmail.com or 913.645.7974

 

Got 8 Minutes? Slip in Some Kids’ Yoga February 29, 2012

 

Danell Drury, 200 CYT

 
 Parents! Here is a little video that shows some cute yoga activities to help expend some extra energy at the end of a day in as little 8 minutes!   When your little ones are wound up, and bed time is approaching, or anytime when your little ones are wound up, and you need to unwind them some! It’s a fun family activity that has benefits for all involved.  Follow the link below and let the unwinding begin!