music

Black Friday Yoga Style

Yes, it’s Black Friday and there simply are not enough articles on where to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.  Not only are we supposed to boost the economy by buying, but it probably gives many of us a distraction from having to continue entertaining friends and relatives.

As a yogic shopper, the mantra is “less is more”.  Do you really need to buy things in order to achieve greater happiness? Probably not.  If you’re a shop-a-holic, meditating on the roots of the desire can be of great help or at least you can consult a Yoga Grump here on the topic. 

So if you can’t resist shopping today, here are some holiday gifts you may want to consider that have a “lower impact” on the environment and will make others feel good too.  How Yogic of you!!!  Here are 3 categories of shoppers reading this blog:

 

  1. Buy nontangibles. 
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A young reader loves his yoga book!

This could be a yoga, dance or music class from a favorite instructor (good for kids and adults) where you give a gift that lasts while giving a freelancer a job, a donation to a favorite cause (hello Hurricane Sandy relief), or my favorite, a massage with a certified practitioner.  If you’re reading this blog because you’re into yoga, you can even send one of our amazing teachers to a local public school to give an afterschool class—we’ll take a photo and send a thank you to the recipient.  

 

  1. Buy almost nontangible.

You need the necessary equipment in order for these to work, but purchasing music online is another way to cut down on unnecessary packaging.  Browse local bands on Bandcamp.com.  For children, we of course recommend Asana Alphabet’s Yoga Songs for Kids.

     3.   I MUST give a tangle gift.  If you’re in this category, at least consider buying from a local artist or from somewhere that will not over-package your gift.  Though it’s a “thrift store”, The Angel Thrift Store in Chelsea (NYC) often has fashionable, brand new items that anyone with fashion sense will love.  Our favorite kid items include Annika Jermyn’s beautifully designed teddy bears (great for leading a children’s savasana or incorporating into a family yoga class), the yoga book Yogi and Yogette Learn the Asana Alphabet, or cool yoga cookie cutters designed by Karen La Du.

Well, if you just don’t want to give anything material, you can spread the word of yoga, starting by hugging yourself and twisting from side to side. Inhale left, exhale right. 3 minutes.  You’ll open your spine, your heart and make yourself feel good!

KIDZ ZUMBA!!  Free trial in April!

Kids just want to have fun…a great way to get your cardio then take kid’s yoga for the relaxation! Zumba mixes fun Latin rhythms and songs with dance steps that improve the cardiovascular system, help to release pent up energy, and help the brain work in tandem with the body. Asana Alphabet’s teacher Daniela, a rock star of a dancer leads this amazing class. See the photo for all the info or check out http://www.kidsfunhouse.com

Using music in a teen yoga class

A week before our next teacher training workshop (Jan. 21-22 in NYC..one spot left!) and once again I find myself going through the guidebook making sure I’ve caught every last spelling mistake.  I thought I’d share a new excerpt from our upcoming preteen/teen yoga teaching guide…enjoy!

MUSIC for Teen Yoga Class

As an adult yoga teacher, I have strayed from using music in my classes so that my students can more easily listen to the sound of their own breathing. While music can inspire us to go deeper, it is often relied upon by some teacher to distract us or, if you will, to continue the ongoing chatter in our brains that we are trying to smooth out.

I also want my teen students to listen to themselves and silence can really be golden for them; but I feel music is a great gateway for getting teens to be interested and engaged in yoga, or even to want to attend in the first place.  A useful technique is to play background music softly during the majority of class then slowly begin to fade it out.  I find that the contrast of music then silence can bring the students more in touch with themselves.  If you are good at keeping rhythm, using a drum to count breathing rhythms can also be engaging.  Most teens love music they listen to in their free-time, and it may be a fun option to allow students to play DJ or have a free choice once in a while.  Most of the time, teachers need to “re-select” choices because of language and subject matter that is not promoted in schools, so asking for music choices a few days beforehand is advised.

Teachers can use this opportunity in yoga to expose students to a variety of music styles.  Perhaps using a relaxing piece by Bach that they are also studying in music class or taking a pick from the wide selection of music from other cultures. If you don’t have these selections on hand, try exploring the website GrooveShark where you can sample full songs of many artists (but be mindful….if you constantly pick an artist or a certain song, it’s worth the good karma to actually purchase it).

Finally, we school teachers also need to watch out for yoga music that chants about a particular God.  Many schools I have worked in will not tolerate a chant praising Ganesha or Shiva so perhaps opt for a more “nonreligious” choice like Dharmma Mitra’s long Aums.  And if you teach younger kids, you can also find some child-friendly yoga songs for purchase at www.AsanaAlphabet.bandcamp.com.