Archive for the 'Yoga for Kids' Category

Lion Pose

Ever seen a lion, sitting tall and brave in the jungle grass? Maybe you and your child have imagined one during play, saw one in a movie or enjoyed an adventurous story together.  Lion pose is enjoyed by both children and adults, inviting or playful selves to shine through! Click below to experience the lion pose with your child.  Enjoy as your ROAR and play!

Little Lotus Yoga- Lion

An 11 Year Old Yoga Teacher

I received a Google Alert a few weeks ago that caught my eye and I saved it in my inbox because I wanted to ensure I had it on file somewhere.  What was it that caught my eye? An 11 year old yoga teacher was what caught my eye!

My first thought was what type of training has she completed and does she really teach at reputable centres.  Not that I didn’t believe she was teaching yoga, but to what extent.  After a read through I was most definitely impressed. 

Wow, she has dedication and a great base of yoga education.  Now don’t think your child “is behind” if they have not completed a similar training in their field of choice alongside their education.  To be honest I think children need more time for explorative play and an environment that nurtures creativity and independence than the amount of scheduled programs some are receiving today. 

However, if Amadine had a passion to become a yoga teacher than I think it’s wonderful that she did it.  Amadine has her certificate from the Yoga Alliance that makes her a registered teacher.  We could have a whole other conversation, or three, on what makes a yoga teacher with respect to education, experience and the combination of the two but I will leave that for another time.  From my experience most people in intensive yoga training workshops and courses are there to expand their personal practice and then share it with others if they are teaching.   

Amadine Lerner who is 11 years old in Miami Beach says she “mainly did it to learn more about the body, and how everything’s connected.”  That’s the statement that really pulled me into the article.  Reading that a pre-teen is excited to learn about the human body and how it functions.  Could this pre-teen also possibly continue to respect, love and nurture their own body if they felt empowered by their lifestyle choices, thoughts, desires and physical health.  I sure hope so and by the sounds of Amadine she definitely does!  As you know I am passionate about children’s yoga, but I am even more passionate about creating environments that invite children’s spirits to shine through.  I want to create an environment in each class that ensures each child knows they should love themselves. Love their eyes, skin colour, hair length, voice, how tall they are, etc. I want to create an environment that empowers others to take control of their bodies and make healthy choices.  Amandine’s children’s yoga classes are blessed to have an individual such as herself to share their passion, create a welcoming environment for others to move their bodies and allow each child’s spirit shine. 

So I ask you, parents, teachers and yogis, what can you do to create welcoming environments that empower children to explore and learn more about their bodies and love their true self….inside and out.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful for us all to be as inquisitive as Amadine with regards to how our bodies work?

Namaste,

Amanda

DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus Yoga programs may be found at www.amandadegrace.ca  & http://littlelotusyoga.wordpress.com 

Yoga for Teens

The thought of having to repeat my high school years leaves me with chills.  I was a good student, volunteered for student council, environmental club and students against impaired driving, among many other things.  However, nobody gets passed those awkward teenage moments. 

Devastating fights with friends, constant battle to feel like you fit in somewhere and wanting to part of a certain group.  Life can just be plain awkward at times for pre-teens and teens and I feel it’s important that we offer a place for them to come and feel safe while exploring their mind and body as they grow into young adults and really explore who they are as a person. 

Teaching pre-teens and teens can be a challenge as there are many factors that can come into play.  As a yoga teacher I find it stimulating as there is always something new happening, a question that comes out that we explore together and the class dynamics continue to change from class to class.  Whether you are looking for a yoga class for your pre-teen or teen, looking to add some yoga into the life of a teen or teaching  yoga to this age group I have put together a few of my tips for working with this fascinating age group within the yoga environment.

1- It’s important that the yoga class environment welcomes all participants to feel completely comfortable.  A lot of changes are occurring within their bodies; their minds are growing and exploring new concepts and adventures in life.  Separate classes for boys and girls can be more comforting at times and assists in creating a class dynamic that creates empowerment and invites the student to take control of their own yoga practice.  Different postures are more challenging or easier for boys than girls and vice a versa. By having separate classes for each gender it can assist in creating an environment where each can explore their bodies and fully explore each posture.

2- Using teen friendly language and creating a teen friendly environment can bring more eagerness to attend each class as the student begins to look forward to their personal yoga practice.  Find music that students can relate to (maybe you have a hip hop yoga class!), invite them to voice their opinion with what postures they enjoy, don’t enjoy and whether individuals prefer a yoga flow style, power, or gentle classes.  Support student’s independence, possibly by giving time for them to explore yoga postures at their own pace.

3- Creating mutual respect between the student and teacher invites trust to grow over time.  With trust the student begins to feel support emotionally and mentally as well as physically through their yoga practice.  Lots of positive encouragement invites the student to feel more relaxed and at ease with their peer s and the teacher and they will be motivated to further explore their own practice.  Adjustments are usually not as much as a class focus, unless injury may occur, as teens can be self-conscious enough about their bodies, how they look in a yoga posture and whether they are doing it correctly.

4- Ensure that boundaries are created.  I like to discuss this in the first class if it’s a registered session.  What do the students want to see as boundaries and how do they feel about certain topics.   Are they welcome to try other postures on their own, or do you prefer to have a few familiar ones for them to come back to if they are feeling uncomfortable with any posture you may be teaching at that time.  Are they welcome to lie down and rest in savasana at any time, meditate, etc.  Once there are gently boundaries in place (because pre-teens and teens will test you, it’s their way of checking you out and gaging who you are as a person) let them explore within those boundaries. 

5- Give pre-teens and teens a full yoga experience.  Lots of time for savasana, deep rest, invites the student to get more of the much needed rest that their bodies require as they are pulled from one activity to another between long days at school and homework.  Meditation leaves the student with techniques to assist them with calming the mind before a big test, thinking before they speak unkind words in a stressful situation with peers, and time to calm internal chatter that occurs.  Through a full yoga experience they begin to put trust into their bodies as they continue to evolve into an adult and may be unsure of where they fit in as they are no longer feeling like a child but are possibly not ready to be an adult.

If nothing else remember to have fun.  Introducing yoga to any individual, no matter the age, brings for life skills that we can all use in our daily lives.  I am starting to see more schools recognize the need for yoga within the school environment.  This may be in the capacity of a 5 minute break in the class room, part of a gym class or an after school activity.  It doesn’t matter how long you practice, what matters is that we support pre-teens and teens in a manner that lets their true selves shine.

Namaste

~Amanda

DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus Yoga programs may be found at www.amandadegrace.ca  & http://littlelotusyoga.wordpress.com 

image credit: stock.xchng

Get your OM via email or on your Smartphone

The online world is full of great information and sites.  I sometimes think in amazement of all the material we have at the tips of our fingers.  As a mother who is also an entrepreneur I know that there are days I would not be able to fill my head with as much new knowledge if the internet was not available.  It was a lot more time consuming in the days of library visits (which I still love to do! I love the site of a well-loved and read book!) and expensive to purchase many daily newspapers!

Thanks to technology I can access wonderful information right from my smartphone, whether it be through daily emails, blog posts or apps.  I would like to share three of my favourites with you.

1. Daily OM- Who wouldn’t love getting a little “OM” brought right to their inbox?!  Daily OM brings you a fresh breath of inspiration, motivational stories and ensures that I tune in daily to my inner voice.  The voice that everyone should listen to. The one telling you to try something new, stop to look around and enjoy the moment, to play even as adults and to be true to who you are.  Check it out here: www.dailyom.com

 2. Young Yoga Masters- This blog and website is always a wealth of information.  Yesterday I was excited to get a new post into my mailbox which I turned around to share with my twitter followers.  This excerpt caught my attention as great info to share with you, the reader.

3 Keys to Good Brain Development In Kids – Different researchers categorize healthy brain development activities in different ways. We can organize them generally into the three E’s:

  • Exploring -moving around, getting to know their bodies, using imagination
  • Energizing – stretching poses, balancing poses, poses that develop motor skills
  • Engaging – conversation, problem solving, music and play

I like having wonderful information land right in my inbox when new posts are updated and shared.  Check out the site for more great information here: www.youngyogamasters.com

3. Ever wonder what some of the “big name yogis” have to say? You know the people you see on the books at the bookstore and in the videos?  Well, thanks to Yoga Peeps you can learn and listen from the comfort of your home or car without having to pay extensive fees and then travel to where they happen to be.  Yoga peeps has a motto of “bringing yoga to the people” and that is really what Lara Hedin has done.  Check out Lara’s site here: www.yogapeeps.com and then sit back and relax with a hot tea in hand as you dive deeper into the fun of yoga.

Namaste

~Amanda

DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus Yoga programs may be found at www.amandadegrace.ca  & http://littlelotusyoga.wordpress.com 

Follow @littlelotusyoga on twitter for up to date information, recommended resources and to continue enjoying yoga with your children.

Join our Little Lotus Yoga” fan page on Facebook to access pictures of postures, yoga sequences, guided meditations and recommended resources.

Image credit: stock.xchng

Disconnecting, Noticing your Breath

We took our first family vacation last week to Florida and stayed right on the beach. So close that you could hear the ocean waves crashing each night as we drifted off to sleep.  Mornings were spent enjoying coffee on the balcony watching the waves come into the shore, washing up on the beach and taking any lost seashells, jellyfish and debris back out with the tide.  I was afraid of disconnecting from my business, social media and leaving all my other commitments behind.  When you are in overdrive most of the time it can be hard to just stop.  You would think of all people a yoga teacher would always take time out to celebrate her mind, body and spirit.  But with my yoga teacher hat I also wear a mom hat, an entrepreneur hat, a wife hat, a friend hat and many others. 

So I let the waves of the ocean guide me while on vacation.  My mantra became “let it go” as I watched the waves come in and then travel back out to sea.  With each wave that crashed into the beach my body let go of a little bit more tension, my mind let go of another thought and my spirit lifted a little bit more.  I was amazed by the end of the week how relaxed I felt.   So even though I was a little disconnected from my personal posture yoga practice while I was on holidays I was still committed to my yoga practice through my breath (pranayama) and meditation.

The benefits I reaped from my week of disconnecting were amazing.  Don’t we all deserve a little TLC for the soul? When was the last time you disconnected and re-connected with YOU?  I know we all can’t escape to a beach for a week, and even then with kids in tow it’s not all about the adult.  I am committing to myself and my family more time where I disconnect. I have set up a plan in place to enable me to do so and I hope that it works out.  Take a look at your schedule and see where you can cut out a little time to disconnect from the world. When was the last time you looked out the window and just concentrated on your breath?  How does it feel as your breath enters and leaves through your nose? Calm your mind by slowing down your breath and giving it an opportunity to lengthen.  Celebrate you, you deserve it!

Namaste

Amanda

DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus Yoga programs may be found at www.amandadegrace.ca  & http://littlelotusyoga.wordpress.com 

Follow @littlelotusyoga on twitter for up to date information, recommended resources and to continue enjoying yoga with your children.

Join our Little Lotus Yoga” fan page on Facebook to access pictures of postures, yoga sequences, guided meditations and recommended resources.

Yoga at Home

A question I get quite often from parents is where they can find more information to incorporate yoga at home.  Of course I always recommend checking out my website and blog, but have a list of many other resources I like to share!  Taking time out to practice yoga as a family is a wonderful bonding experience and is a great way to release stress and improve your overall health.  Here are some resources available to you online to bring yoga into your home.

From my family to yours, enjoy!

YouTube Clips for Ages 3-6

YouTube Clips for Ages 6-12

Yoga Music For the Whole Family

Yoga Books for the Whole Family

My Daddy is a Pretzel by Baron Baptiste

The Happiest Tree by Uma Krishnaswami

Suggested Yoga DVD’s

Yoga 4 Kids- Marsha Wenig

Radiant Child- Shakta Kaur Khalsa

Shanti the Yogi- Snatam Kaur

DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus Yoga programs may be found at www.amandadegrace.ca  & http://littlelotusyoga.wordpress.com 

Follow @littlelotusyoga on twitter for up to date information, recommended resources and to continue enjoying yoga with your children.

Join our Little Lotus Yoga” fan page on Facebook to access pictures of postures, yoga sequences, guided meditations and recommended resources.

Yoga Meditation for young children

I am sharing with you today a guided meditation that you can share with your children before bed, or during quiet time in the afternoons.  Teachers and educators may find guided meditations helpful to bring calmness and relaxation into the classroom, whether practiced at a student’s desk, or at the end of a physical education class. This guided meditation is appropriate for ages 3-7.

___________________

Close your eyes and let your body rest. I am going to share with you a very special story that you get to be a part of.

You look out your window and you see a big and colourful tree. Its leaves are blowing in the wind. The colours are bright red, yellow, green and orange. The fall weather is cool but still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors without a jacket.  You run down the stairs and skip out to see the big tree.  You decide to sit under the tree as you watch the birds fly by and the butterflies flutter around.  A large bird with bright orange wings comes over to your tree and rests on a branch over your head.  He stops and looks at you.  Listen carefully; he is trying to tell you something.  You must be very still so he does not become scared.  “Come fly with me”, says the beautiful bird.  You stand up on your feet and the bird lowers down to the ground.  Reach out your hand and touch him, it’s okay, he is gentle.  You carefully swing your leg over the bird to sit on his back.  His big wings spread out and he slowly begins to lift off the ground.  You hold on and feel safe and secure by his gentleness.  Soaring through the sky you go, the view is amazing as you see the tops of all the trees, you can see the houses becoming smaller underneath you and you wonder where the bird is taking you to.  Slowly the bird begins to lower towards the earth.  You see a large beautiful river, ducks are floating by, frogs are resting on their lily pads and everyone is friendly and loving.  “This is my place of quiet”, says the bird, “I come here when I want to rest, relax and have some quiet time.”  The bird turns and looks at you.  “Where do you like to go for quiet time?” Go on, share with him where you like to go when you want quiet and enjoy being on your own.

When you are ready open your eyes and take a deep breathe in and out of your nose. 

Namaste,

~Amanda

*image credit: stock.xchng

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga During Pregnancy

Is there a new addition coming to your family in the coming months? With the joys of pregnancy can come nausea, aches, pains, fatigue and stress.   Take time to free your mind, relax, stretch and strength the mind and body as you prepare for your new bundle of joy to be placed in your arms.  I receive a lot of questions regarding prenatal yoga and who should be participating and what the benefits may be to them.  Here are my top 10 reasons for having a yoga practice throughout your pregnancy.  Most public libraries have DVDs from well-respected yoga teachers, check out the schedule at your local yoga studio, and visit your local book store to find a book that may suit you.

1. Ease symptoms such as morning sickness, backaches, and shortness of breath and fatigued limbs in a safe manner.  Reduce leg swelling and insomnia.

2. Celebrate the life of your child in a calming way that centers your mind, body and spirit.

3. Prepare your body for the adjustments and adaptations the body will make throughout the pregnancy.

4. Take time out for yourself. We get so busy at work, other family events and preparing for the birth of the child that we sometimes forget about ourselves. Celebrate YOU!

5. Maintaining an active lifestyle during pregnancy can create a faster post-partum recovery.

6.  Meet women who are pregnant and preparing for their birth, just like you! Who knows you may just make a new best friend or have future play dates for your little one.

7. Centre your mind, body and spirit as you prepare for the birth of your child. Your mind-body connection will assist you throughout the labouring process.

8. Become more in tune with your body.  Individuals who understand their body have found the pushing process of labour to go faster.

9.  Prepare for the labour and birth of your child by opening your hips, using meditation and calming breathing techniques.

10. You deserve this class and so does your child!

Namaste,

~Amanda

DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus Yoga programs may be found at www.amandadegrace.ca  & http://littlelotusyoga.wordpress.com 

Follow @littlelotusyoga on twitter for up to date information, recommended resources and to continue enjoying yoga with your children.

Join our “Little Lotus Yoga” fan page on Facebook to access pictures of postures, yoga sequences, guided meditations and recommended resources.

*Image credit: stock.xchng

A Happy New Yoga Year

Our Yoga for Kids blogger, Amanda DeGrace of Little Lotus Yoga, has a New Year’s video message for our readers! Enjoy!

Gifts for the Yoga Enthusiast

With the Holiday Season fast approaching here are 8 items I would recommend and put on my yoga wish list any day.

Gift Card / Class pass – This type of gift is always greatly appreciated for the newbie who wants to give yoga a try to the yoga enthusiast.  Don’t worry if you can only purchase a one class drop in.  Yoga enthusiasts know the value of a yoga centre drop in fee and any donation to our yoga practice is always appreciated ;) Expect to invest up to $20 for a drop in 90 minute blissful yoga session. 

TranquiliT Cardi Shawl – This piece of clothing is a staple in my wardrobe and I am hoping to get a new one this Christmas as I have worn mine out!  TranquiliT sells beautiful clothing that is ever so soft!  I have a few other pieces of their collection and have always worn them to the max!

The Happiest Tree  – This book is read every session in my preschool classes.  Read and learn about Meena as she uses yoga to help her get ready for an upcoming class play she is struggling with.

Shanti the Yogi dvd   – I am a true believer that if we are going to teach kids yoga it needs to be lead by experienced and knowledgeable yoga teachers who shine while teaching children. Snatam Kaur does just this.  With her beautiful grace and presence this dvd is a great way to introduce yoga to your children at home.

MC Yogi- Mantras and worldly insight all done to a great beat!  My older kids always ask for “Be The Change” a powerful song about Ghandi.  With a hip beat the Sun Salutations fly and the kids stay smiling!

Lululemon Everywhere Bag – I have used my lululemon bag as a diaper bag, travel bag, purse, fitness classes and much more!  There are always a variety of colours but after 5 years of use my black one still has tons of life left! Black coloured bags won’t look dirty, stained or worn over time with use.

Yoga Mat - Everyone needs a mat to practice on, it’s a place where you celebrate your personal practice.   For kids colour can be fun, especially a different colour for each child in your family to ensure everybody has their own place and space to practice.

Capital Yoga Publishing  Applications  – CYP is the fantastic work of Ottawa yoga teacher, Jamine Ackert.  Check out CYP great yoga apps buy respected yoga teachers.  Having the privilege of studying with Jamine at past yoga teacher trainings I am excited to see her classes now available to the world.

*Please note that I was not compensated in any way for the mentioning of any above services or products. They are all my personal opinion.

_____

Amanda

www.amandadegrace.ca

http://littlelotusyoga.ca/

*images from tranquilit.com, leeandlow.com, shop.lululemon.com

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