NJEA 2014: Strike a Pose!

yoga photos ps 20

Thanks for joining us at the NJEA conference in Atlantic City. Truly, the best way to do kids yoga in the classroom is to practice teaching it. Don’t worry if your first try isn’t perfect. Yoga is a great way to give kids a mental and physical break while still enhancing the learning process. We would love to hear about the positive results you experience!

 Our contact information for your reference:

Ann Robideaux                                                         Sue Tobert

Founder/Director of Asana Alphabet™ Yoga             stobert@hamilton.k12.nj.us

AsanaAlphabet@gmail.com

www.AsanaAlphabet.com

Why we love yoga in the words of our students:

“It’s very fun and makes your strength a lot.” -John

 “You get to stretch and do stuff you never did before.”-Jason

“Yoga is kinda like stretching and has helped me in my balance. It’s so fun!”-Rachel

“Yoga is…moves and movement.”-Afriyie

“In yoga you exercise and there are a lot of fun things to do.”-Kailey

“It’s relaxing and worth giving up recess.”-Ashley

 We sang some yoga songs today! Kids yoga music downloads are available at AsanaAlphabet.Bandcamp.com. We mostly recommend “Asana Alphabet’s Yoga Songs for Kids” located in the right hand column for elementary school teachers.

How Does Yoga Benefit Kids Physically?

  • Increases physical strength and flexibility
  • Cultivates body awareness
  • Develops coordination
  • Improves overall health

How Does Yoga Benefit Kids Academically?

  • Improves concentration & attention
  • Helps kinesthetic learners
  • Improves integration of sensory input

How Does Yoga Benefit Kids Socially?

  • Tree Pose in a circle

    Tree Pose in a circle

    Builds confidence & self-esteem

  • Fosters relationships with peers
  • Promotes teamwork and respect for others

What is a Kid’s Yoga Program?

  • Pranayama—breathing exercises
  • Asanas—poses
  • Mudras—hand gestures that communicate with the brain
  • Mantra—singing and giving ourselves positive
  • Savasana—relaxation
  • Savasana at School

How Can Teachers Incorporate Yoga?

  • Story time
  • Transition time/Breaks
  • Indoor/Outdoor recess
  • Free time
  • Curriculum

Can Everyone Do Yoga?

  • Yes!
  • Yoga is a fun and constructive activity that kids of all ages and abilities can enjoy and benefit from.

Easy Classroom Yoga Poses: We recommend these because they can be done next to a desk if need be!

 Mountain Arms Up

model: Christiane from Canada

Chair

chair pose girl

Forward Bend

forward bend boy

Warrior II

wa

wa

Triangle

Triangle pose with middle school students

Triangle pose with middle school students

Downward Dog

theater dogs

Squat/Easy Crow

crow squat 2

Tree Pose

rosa candela tree pose

Childs Pose: the miracle calming, relaxing and quieting pose!

teen child's pose

Simple Routine #1

  • Mountain
  • Mountain Arms Up
  • Forward Bend
  • Mountain Arms Up
  • Mountain

Simple Routine #2

  • Mountain
  • Mountain Arms Up
  • Forward Bend
  • Mountain Arms Up
  • Mountain
  • Tree Pose

Simple Routine #3

  • Mountain
  • Mountain Arms Up
  • Forward Bend
  • Squat/Easy Crow
  • Chair Pose
  • Mountain Arms Up
  • Mountain

Simple Relaxing Activities

Hold a musical instrument like a bell. Walk from one end of the room to the other or pass it from person to person around a circle without making a sound.

Have your students close their eyes. Students are asked to mentally count the number of times they hear the sound of a bell (or other relaxing tone). Once eyes are open, students can say how many of the tones they heard and see how close they got to getting the right answer.

Additional Resources

Yogarilla 55 Yoga Cards by Kimberly Mielke       Yoga Journal (www.yogajournal.com)

Children’s Book of Yoga by Thia Luby                 Omazing Kids (www.omazingllc.com)

Yogi and Yogette Learn the Asana Alphabet by Ann Robideaux

Asana Alphabet Yoga Songs for Kids (song download; look in right hand column of page

While qualitative research definitely indicates that yoga is a positive class at many levels, research is still out on more quantitative data.  Please click on the links for more in-depth readings:

Hawn Foundation Research

Yoga Australia Research

Promotions by Physical Therapists

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Halloween Yoga Q and A

Lately we have received a lot of questions from trained kids yoga teachers so we’d like to share some responses in the coming weeks.  Here’s one on Halloween!

Teacher Question:  Do you have any ideas for Halloween inspired class? I am running a blank on this one.

Asana Alphabet Answers: Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Even if a school doesn’t celebrate Halloween (check before you create a full Halloween inspired class!), often kids come dressed up in favorite costumes and it’s so adorable. One of my favorites was visiting a parent/baby class where each child was dressed up as some sort of bug.

For all of the below, note that the Asana Alphabet style is to use the authentic name for a yoga pose; for instance, we wouldn’t say “witch pose” we’d say “warrior 3 like a witch on a broomstick”.

Here are some ideas for this Yoga Halloween for Kids:

Savasana “Mummy” Sit Ups: Lie down on your back and cross your arms over your chest. On the count of three try to sit up without using your hands!

Frankenstein Leg Lifts: These are Kundalini Yoga Style leg lifts. Lie down on your back with a tall spine like Frankenstein. Take one leg straight up to the ceiling as you breathe in, then let it down with an exhale. Now switch sides. Keep going 30 seconds!

Witches flying away on a warrior 3 broomstick

Giant monster warrior 1 and warrior 2 steps

Owl breath work: Take a long “hooooooot”

Wolf breath work: Howl like a wolf

Standing forward bend to grab a pumpkin.

Handstand like an upside down bat

If you’ve taken an Asana Alphabet™ training before, then you’ll know about making a “witches brew” (soup breath activity). If you haven’t taken a training, consider signing up!

Half moon and crescent moon poses

Say thank you for all the treats you received!  Happy Halloween!

Join us June 11th in Brooklyn and have fun while networking!

Hi everyone! 

It’s been a while since we posted so we are happy to have some inspiration! Over the past few months, people have been asking for advice on how to start a kids yoga business.  Our director and founder always says to start from the heart.  You can only do really well, and have a truly “yogic” business, if your intentions are pure and you aim to help others.  Intentions combined with professionalism and hard work ensure PROSPERITY!  We also highly recommend mantras and kriyas for prosperity and to overcome obstacles.  

Another great idea that many business coaches recommend is to get out and network.  Here’s an event June 11th certain to be filled with like-minded business yogis and fun people! Partnering with other enterprises can also be a great way to help grow your own seeds. We hope you’ll join us. (See info below…and if you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see a special offer to get you in for half price!):

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Retreat in Paradise: Puerto Rico

Casa Grande Mountain Retreat: Mid-Afternoon Swim

June 17-22, 2014

Silver Kim, owner/director and yoga teacher at Kula Heart Yoga, and Ann Robideaux, Kundalini Yoga teacher and founder of Asana Alphabet Yoga for kids, invite you to an incredible retreat of yoga, nature, cultural excursions and all around beauty.

Retreat includes:

5 days of All-Level Hatha Yoga and Kundalini Yoga classes with Silver and Ann

5 nights accommodation at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat in the El Yunque rainforest

3 meals per day with vegetarian options

3-hour adventure hiking excursion

              All hotel taxes and service fees

A la carte goodies include massages, extra morning yoga classes by the retreat owner, zipline excursion, bird watching and other local day trips to lakes, cultural sites and caves.  Airfare to San Juan International and airport transfers to hotel are NOT included in total price.

Casa Grande Mountain Retreat: View of mountain sides

  Take $100 off if you register with a deposit by March 1, 2014

Single Occ: $1350; Double occ: $975; Triple occ: $925; Quad occ: $875.

Please contact Ann at AsanaAlphabet@gmail.com or Silver at info@kulaheartyoga.com for info to reserve your spot.

Casa Grande Mountain Retreat: This is about a 5 minute walk from the hotel

T is for Teacher: Basic Training plus Teen Intensive!

Image  Learn how to teach fun and effective yoga for kids!

Led by Asana Alphabet™ founder with guest teachers. 

March 1-2 in NYC; 10am-6:30pm both days

Full Workshop: Early Birds (by 2/1/14): $395; After 2/1: $435

Basic Only (ends Sunday afternoon): $365

Teens Only (Sun. 2:30-6:30pm only; prereq: basic training required): $108

Basic TrainingTopics covered include:

Asana Appropriateness: Safety and fun of yoga poses    Why Yoga for Children? Benefits

Breathwork for Kids                                                         Mantra and Song for Kids

Mudra and handwork for Kids                                         Kids partnering/group games

Yoga ball skills                                                                 Parent-Child Yoga Class Ideas

Prek-Grade 1 Class Outline and ideas                             Grade 2-4 Class Outline and ideas

Grades 5-8 Class Outline and ideas                                 Building your kids yoga business

Special Needs (how to adapt in general)                          Controlling Your Class

Teen Portion:  Today’s teen issues; advanced poses/partnering; talking to teens in class                                 Mediation and Relaxation; Grades 9-12 Class Outline/lesson plans/ideas

Full  training includes teaching guides, yoga songs download, detailed letter of completion & other teaching goodies. Informed by both Hatha and Kundalini Yoga Styles. Workshop can be taken on its own or in conjunction with Asana Alphabet’s basic certification. Teen intensive can be taken as a stand alone if you have already taken the basic training or have ample prior experience. Please speak with our director if you’re interested in this option.

REGISTRATION: ASANAALPHABET@GMAIL.COM

www.AsanaAlphabet.com

logosmallemailtm

2013 in Review

It’s amazing to look back on 12 months and see how small accomplishments add up.  So here’s to Asana Alphabet’s yoga for kids achievements, mainly to give thanks to all of the great teachers we have serving youth and school teachers.

 —Asana Alphabet’s first “long” training at Synergy Yoga takes off resulting in yoga class for kids in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and to as far north as Orlando!

 —A record number of students with special needs served this year, thanks to our teachers Kate, Ann, Naila and Nechama.  Considering it can be a struggle to get some of these kids out the apartment door, we are grateful to maintain such a loving and accepting community.

Asana Alphabet Yoga in the schools: NYC

Asana Alphabet Yoga in the schools: NYC

–The first half of the year found kindergarten students at PS 20 in NYC receiving complementary yoga classes thrice per week thanks to our numerous volunteer teachers.

–Several of our senior teachers had newborns themselves–we are happy to have such enlightened moms in this world.  Congrats Kate, Kate, Denis and Kenzie!

–Asana Alphabet’s founder, Ann, was asked to speak at New Jersey Educator’s Association this fall, thanks to the proposal-writing skills of Sue.

Our first time to volunteer for Camp Clio, a summer camp devoted to children who have been adopted.  Wow! We really loved this place and the counselors and campers were so much fun to dance with.  Thanks Sandy and Pete!

cartwheels

Teen yoga in Princeton, NJ has hit a record high as well with a wait list of 25 students to get into this class.  Many of those who got into class claim that yoga helps them to be energized through out the day and sleep better at night.


ronasiameditates 2

 

Now to make that list of goals for 2014trainings in NYC in March, yoga retreats abroad and much more yoga for underserved youth…stay tuned.


NJEA: Post Workshop Information!

Thanks for attending the NJEA conference with us!  We really enjoyed having such an enthusiastic group willing to try out everything.  If you weren’t able to join us, feel free to look over the below.  We have several upcoming teacher trainings  in case  you want to go more in-depth with bringing kids yoga to your classroom. 

To refresh your memory, here are some of the effective yoga poses you can use in any small space (along with additional ideas) and that kids will love!

Mountain Pose: Standing Tall (Great for working on your posture); Sit down or stand up to work on posture going from a “happy back” into a “sad back”….the spine will open up and kids will learn to associate a tall spine with a positive emotional state!

Standing Forward Bend: helps elongate the spine, aid flexibility and de-stress

Warrior 2: Strength, Endurance, Focus

Triangle pose with middle school students

Triangle pose with middle school students

Triangle Pose: Core strength, flexibility, body awareness

You can also do triangle pose with a partner as we tried out in the workshop!

Downward Dog at age 2.5

Downward Dog at age 2.5

Downward Dog: Build the nervous system and get blood to the brain

Tree Pose in a circle

Tree Pose in a circle

Tree pose: Balance

In bigger spaces, this is fun to do while holding hands with a partner or practicing holding hands in a circle with the entire class. (Pictured left)

Child's Pose: the magic pose for kids and teens

Child’s Pose: the magic pose for kids and teens

Child’s pose: a miracle pose! It nearly guarantees your students will be quiet.  If you don’t have room to do a full child’s pose, consider having the student sit on his/her knees in a chair and lay forehead on desk.

 

 

 

There are many ways to combine yoga poses into easy sequences that kids can memorize and do on a regular basis. The ones below are what we covered in the training; taking up less space so you can do it next to a desk if need be.

Simple Routine #1

• 1. Mountain
• 2. Mountain Arms Up
• 3. Forward Bend
• 4. Mountain Arms Up
• 5. Mountain

Simple Routine #2
• 1. Mountain
• 2. Mountain Arms Up
• 3. Forward Bend
• 4. Mountain Arms Up
• 5. Mountain
• 6. Tree Pose

Simply Routine #3
• 1. Mountain
• 2. Mountain Arms Up
• 3. Forward Bend
• 4. Squat
• 5. Chair Pose
• 6. Mountain Arms Up
• 7. Mountain

Playing with calming yoga techniques is also advised and helpful for students on many levels.  Sue demonstrated walking silently while holding a bell in your hand and we also “passed the squeeze” by holding hands and sending a squeeze from one end of the room to another.  Perhaps the most authentic yoga technique that is used in Western therapy modalities now is Kirtan Kriya.  Click on Kirtan and you’ll see a reminder video on how that goes.  Finally, always a big hit is the BALLOON BREATH!

Additional Resources
Yogarilla 55 Yoga Cards by Kimberly Mielke

Make your own yoga flashcards from the yoga dictionary here: Yoga Journal (www.yogajournal.com/poses)

A whole wealth of kids yoga information here…we highly recommend this website! Omazing Kids (www.omazingllc.com)

Yogi and Yogette Learn the Asana Alphabet by Ann Robideaux…this is the one with 26 poses, one for each letter of the alphabet.  Those who attended our NJEA workshop are eligible for our wholesalers discount (email us if interested).

Full-time school teachers always receive a discount on our teacher trainings.  Our next one is coming up very soon, Nov. 16-17 at Kula Heart Yoga in Nazareth, PA.  Also “local” to NJ is our next NYC training March 1-2.  We are currently in discussion about our next NJ training…please be in touch if that is what would most interest you.

Namaste! Ann (with Sue)

Kundalini Yoga Workshop Follow Up: Kriyas and More!

This weekend in Edmond, OK, we led workshops on using sound in Kundalini Yoga, tuning up the immune system and going over simple morning routines for a fresh start to each day. As a reference to those of you who attended the workshops, or those of you who couldn’t come but are interested, please find some of the kriyas we did listed below!  Sat Nam and be well, Ann

Friday evening: We explored how naad yoga, the yoga of sound, can multiply the positive effects of your yoga practice.  One amazing example of the effects of sound on us are from Masaru Emoto’s Water Crystals…more on that here: http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/index.html

har aerobic kriya:

http://www.kundalinirising.org/KRIResource/Kriyas/HarAerobicKriya.pdf

fire up the metabolism:

http://www.kundalinirising.org/KRIResource/Kriyas/Firing%20up%20the%20Metabolism%20Kriya.pdf

Kriya to Become Superhuman

http://www.kundalinirising.org/KRIResource/Kriyas/Kriya%20to%20Become%20Superhuman.pdf

Saturday’s workshop was on boosting your immune system through Kundalini Yoga.  A simple 3 minutes of dog panting, a quick cold shower and of course, eating healthy foods all help to boost the immune system.  When you want yoga to help out too:

immune 1:
http://www.pinklotus.org/-%20KY%20Kriya%20for%20Strengthening%20the%20Immune%20System%201.htm

kriya to boost your immunity:

http://www.kundalinirising.org/KRIResource/Kriyas/ImmuneSystemII.pdf

The inner sun (l. nostril) immunity meditation, 3-5 minutes (which I originally learned from Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa)

http://www.yogibhajan.org/ybkriyas/index.php?id=99

Sunday:

First thing in the morning: 1.  Stretch pose with Breath of Fire 2. Tuck pose with breath of fire 3.  Rock n Roll on Spine  4.  Ego Eradicator with Breath of Fire

And the 15 minute (not really 15 minute) morning set: http://www.pinklotus.org/-%20KY%20Kriya%20for%20fifteen%20minutes%20in%20the%20morning.htm

Business Tips from a Yogi: Starting up your kids yoga teaching practice

As with any field, creating a new business initially takes some ground work and, like a garden, constant watering.   Here is a basic list of things you can do to make sure you’re ready to interview:

–Make your resume; list any yoga training and teaching you have done in the past, even if it was as a volunteer.  If you don’t have experience as a kids yoga teacher, get some! Go volunteer, even if it’s just for your friend’s kids.

–Make business cards, website or however you want people to remember you.

–Tell your friends, family and colleagues that you are interested in teaching kids yoga. This includes posting on sites such as facebook and linked in.  NETWORK!

–Be vigilant about scanning want ads for kids yoga teachers.

–Approach local schools and introduce yourself..even if they don’t have a position open now, maybe they will in the future.

–Return emails and phone calls within 24 hours of an offer or inquiry regarding your teaching.  The early bird catches the worm.

–This article has some other good ideas: http://sportsnrecreations.com/how-to-actually-begin-a-yoga-business/

Those teachers that are proactive, are often the ones who get the most work!

The don’ts and dos of teaching and ways of not impressing the boss:

A recent colleague said, “if you simply show up and be nice, you’ll start getting work.”  It is true that good business etiquette goes a long way to getting (and keeping) yoga jobs. The following may seem like no brainers, but they are actual scenarios that we have seen in the classroom:

–DON’T check your cell phone/text messages/twitter page etc while you are teaching.

–KEEP YOUR PHONE OFF.

–If you forgot to turn your phone off, DON’T answer your phone while teaching.

–Wear appropriate clothing.  Examples of inappropriate clothing at a school might include wearing jeans that show your underwear while demonstrating uttanasana or other yoga poses.

–A yoga teacher should embody the spirit of yoga. Most people would agree that a yoga teacher should be nice.  DON’T tell off another teacher or school administrator, even if you think they deserve it, and especially in front of kids.

–DON’T curse while teaching kids.  DON’T demean any child.

–DON’T tell your teenage students about the new love or lust of your life or that you used to love to drink alcohol in high school and college.

–Be on time for class.  On time means arriving to the class before your students do and being fully prepared.

–If you accidentally arrive late for a class one day, DO NOT do it on a regular basis.  (By the way, this is the number one reason we have seen teachers get dismissed from a position.)

–Come in with an awesome lesson plan with extra activities you can do if need be.

–DON’T come in without a lesson plan.  Kids want and need structure.  Only the most experienced teachers will probably feel comfortable (and good at) “winging it” or “just going with the flow”.

One big difference between the regular approach to business and growing a yoga-based business, is you can use the technology of yoga to ehance your business! You may not believe it, but you won’t know unless you try (and give it some positive intention). Chanting, and even listening to specific mantras can help boost your business.  The “har” prosperity of Kundalini Yoga and the following mantra are two examples you can use:

http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/mantra-for-a-struggling-business-aap-sahaee-hoa/

Other spiritual traditions place a bowl full of coins at the entrance to your home, a constant visual reminder that financial prosperity is not only within reach, it is already there!

A regular yoga and/or meditation practice will not only help you to control your classes, but will let you radiate the energy of a great teacher.

Frustration and negativity are deadly. When you are frustrated that you “just don’t have enough”, we recommend this meditation on gratitude. Click on link for full instructions:

http://kundaliniyogabootcamp.com/gurprasad/