NJ

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!

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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.”

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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)

Emergency Yoga

Whether you have been affected by the recent east coast Hurricane Sandy directly or not, if you have been watching the news even, your body and mind could be reeling from the effects of traumatic shock.  Of course, a regular and consistent yoga and meditation practice are the best ways to stay calm, cool and collected in times like these but there are some techniques that work at a faster pace to rebalance your system. 

Here we have the “Earthquake Meditation” which really can be used for any major catastrophe.  Anne Novack does an excellent job of calmly leading us through the “how to” here: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdxqL_JsGD0

If you need something closer to a ‘workout’ feel free to do a search for Anne’s other calm yet challenging videos of Kundalini Yoga kriyas. 

Great for kids and adults, if you are facing a situation of grief, pant like a dog and “hit” yourself on the pecs with your “paws”.  This quickly alleviates severe depression, grief and anger, basically detoxing you physically and mentally.  Try 3 minutes and work up to 11.  

The 3ho yoga community also has some words of advice as well as volunteer and coordination of help here: http://www.3ho.org/ecommunity/2012/11/hurricane-sandy-support-tools-and-help-getting-to-winter-solstice/

For longer term anxiety relief, check out Mukunda Stiles’s book, “Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy”.  The vata series of hatha poses certainly brings calm with even one repetition. 

Many blessings to those of you suffering due to Hurricane Sandy. May we all cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” and recognize the other as you as we try to help each other in this time.