teacher training

Basic Yoga Poses for P.E. Teachers

Our founder is really looking forward to working with PE teachers from the Chatham School district in New Jersey tomorrow.  Here are most if not all of the poses we will go over in detail.  We like Yoga Journal’s pose dictionary because it gives contraindications and very clear pictures. Enjoy

If you don’t see a particular pose below, check out the general Yoga Journal dictionary here:


Mountain Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/mountain-pose/

Easy Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/easy-pose/

Boat Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/full-boat-pose/

Cat Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/cat-pose/

Chair Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/chair-pose/

Child’s Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/child-s-pose/

Cobra Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/cobra-pose/

Savasana: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/corpse-pose/

Cow Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/cow-pose/

Downward Dog: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/downward-facing-dog/

Eagle Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/eagle-pose/

Plank Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/plank-pose/

Standing Forward Bend: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/standing-forward-bend/

Tree Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/tree-pose/

Staff Pose: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/staff-pose/

Warrior 1: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/warrior-i-pose/

Warrior 2: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/warrior-ii-pose/

Warrior 3: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/warrior-iii-pose/

Straddle: http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/wide-angle-seated-forward-bend/


Star Wars Yoga

From the Founder of Asana Alphabet Yoga for Kids, Ann Robideaux, c. 2016

star-wars-yoga1.jpgI don’t often design kids yoga classes around commercialized characters, as we can get much more  authentic in our kids yoga practice than talking about the wonders of Disney (of course there are others, but most of my young students seems to mention Disney characters and stories the most).  Some schools we bring kids yoga to explicitly say they do not want ANY lesson plans using commercialized characters.  BUT, a yoga teacher recently asked if I had ever done a Star Wars yoga class (no I have not), but if I was going to, I’d probably add these few things in. You know, sometimes meeting kids where they are at with what they already like is one way to entice them to start yoga in the first place.In the end, yoga is about being happier, and if Star Wars is the way to get you there, so be it.:

—Take long deep breaths…loud through your nose like Darth Vadar. These are good breaths though! 

—Explore Warriors, 1, 2, 3 and Peaceful War with positive energy lightsabers.

—Meditate like yoda in the mountains.

–Practice half-moon rising and crescent moon poses as you explore the galaxies.

—Inhale turn your head left and exhale turn your head right like R2D2 (Kundalini Yoga inspired here)

As a small but important note here, I personally call yoga poses by their given names ALWAYS.  So for instance, I may say, “take giant warrior 1 steps like Chewbacca” but I would never say, “do Chewbacca Yoga Pose”. Let’s keep yoga authentically yoga please.

So after creating a few quickie ideas, I turned to Ye Olde Google Search and wasn’t surprised to find some great Star Wars Yoga Cartoons as well as a fun kids yoga video on that theme.  If you teach Star Wars Yoga to kids, let me know how it goes. If you want to learn more fun ways to engage children in real yoga, come train with Asana Alphabet. Our next basic trainings are in NJ and Arkansas as well as a Baby Specialty training in NYC this May.  Namaste!


True Yoga Stories: Success with Middle Schoolers

Report from today, March 11, 2016; All boys yoga class; average age: 11

Teacher: First day of yoga, please come in and lie down on a mat to relax a bit.

Students: Everyone runs to a mat. Three boys make a pile up on one mat and wrestle, the rest of them flop down in various positions.

Teacher: Please keep your voices off so you can hear what to do.

Students: Two boys call out, “I’ve done this before!” ; another, “ssshhh!” and yet another pretends to snore in savasana. A few do listen quietly.

Teacher: OK, time for sun salutations

Students: Everyone participates while yelling out what poses they can’t do (mainly touching their toes).

Teacher: Now for some partner yoga.

Students: Several partners wrestling and play hitting each other, then trying out the partner yoga poses with some success.

Teacher: Let’s learn warrior 1, 2 and 3 poses.

Students: I want to do warrior 7 and 9 instead!

Teacher: Ok, everyone into child’s pose please.

Students: everyone (literally everyone) is quiet

Teacher: Ok, now some challenge poses. Let’s try side arm balances.

Students: All doing their best. Some giving up but finally giving it another shot to find out they can do it.

Teacher: Now let’s lie down in savasana.

Students: Everyone (well, ALMOST everyone except for one trying to pinch his neighbor) is quiet and still.

Teacher: Time to go, please clean up your mats.

Students: “Yoga is over already?! That was too short.”

PDS child's pose.JPG

2015, Asana Alphabet Kids Yoga in Review

So many exciting events happened with Asana Alphabet this year!


First off, we held our first ever trainings in Vitoria and Vila Velha, Brazil. With the help of several amazing translators, our guidebook could be given out and the teachings spread orally. Really, our photos convey best how much fun we had!

IMG_2411 IMG_2528

With our continued partnership with the Cornelia Connelly Center, we were able to host three successful teacher trainings in NYC this past year. When we rent from a school like Cornelia, our training participants are directly supporting positive educational programs—in this case, for middle school girls at an all-scholarship school. Second level trainings were then held in Bethlehem, PA at Kula Heart Yoga—one of our favorite spots always full of smart and positive students.

11890943_994288043924799_5037588151039084905_nSilver Kim, director/owner, is always posting photos of her in handstand—we think this would be a fun project for high school students to take on as well!

End of the year celebration!!! We received the tremendous news that the grant funding Asana Alphabet yoga classes at SCO family of services has been extended for 2016! This grant funds 20 KIDS YOGA CLASSES PER WEEK for lower income students. Not only are students served but this gives three of our expert teachers a significant chunk of hours to rely upon so they can do what they love for work.

addie baby yogaOur founder and director gave birth to a baby this year too and she’s already practicing yoga with baby. She especially recommends kundalini sufi grinds (or criss cross legs then rotate them around and in gently towards the stomach) for relieving baby gas, baby massage before bedtime and cobra pose (aka tummy time) to our followers with infants. IT WORKS! Note, you too can become a baby yoga expert by taking our May workshop in NYC.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Stay tuned for our post on what’s in store for 2016.

Summer Solstice in Times Square NYC

The summer solstice is considered one of the most auspicious times of year to practice yoga!  We are happy to help promote the amazing and giant event Mind over Madness yoga where hundreds of yogis get to practice yoga in the heart of Times Square for free on Monday, June 21!  We will also be providing a discount goodie in their giveaway bags, so we hope you come down to celebrate! Though the majority of people who attended last year (2,000 of them) were adults, I think this would be appropriate for mature preteens and teens as well.  Enjoy!!

We love Mott Haven Academy!

Downward DogsWhen Asana Alphabet started several years ago, the original intention was to create an organization that would primarily serve students in the lower income bracket as well as help train those who teach them.  While we have gratefully expanded to serve many other children and teachers, we always keep our eye open to helping those who may not always be able to afford such “extracurricular” activities as yoga and dance.

To this end, I was thrilled to open the New York Times this past Sunday and see Mott Haven Academy on the cover of the Metropolitan section (under education online).  I can honestly say that knowing the directors and teachers at this school (Asana Alphabet brings movement and yoga to the school twice a week), Mott Haven Academy moves fully towards bringing a strong education to their students.  Though their school is full, I always see the school’s teachers taking an extra moment for one-on-one attention to the kids.  Please click on the above link to read more…then perhaps consider donating to the school via the New York Foundling.

Teaching Children’s Yoga: Recommended Reading

A great children’s yoga teacher not only knows alot about yoga, but more importantly can work well with the learning styles of children.

This is a reading list for inventing fun, creative and in control classes:
First Steps in Teaching Creative Dance to Children by Mary Joyce
Theater Games for the Classroom, A Teacher’s Handbook by Viola Spolin
Yoga Nidra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (particularly for teen classes)
Yogi and Yogette Learn the Asana Alphabet by Asana Alphabet (prek-grade 2)
Meditating with Children by Deborah Rozman
The Anatomy Coloring Book by Wyn Kapot (middle and upper school yoga)
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton (prek/k movement inspiration)
Babaar’s Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff (prek/k)
Yoga for the Special Child: A Therapeutic Approach by Sonia Sunar
Mudras, Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi

Sue Beck has also written a great guidebook for staying centered when you are a teacher. Email her at retuta@crestonehac.com.