peace

Yoga for Children on the Rise!

Great news! We always new that the kids we taught loved yoga, and increasing enrollment has confirmed that. Now even ABC news is covering it. Here are a few excerpts from Genevieve Shaw Brown’s (@gsbrownabc) latest article on the subject:

Yoga: It’s said to be the fastest-growing sport in America, with 20 million people practicing. But the latest trend among yogis is that an increasing number of practitioners are pint sized.

Kids – from newborns to teenagers – are learning the terms down dog, sun salutation and more in kids-only yoga studios and even in their classrooms. It’s also one of the only non-competitive sports available.

“More practitioners and more parents are becoming aware of the benefits of yoga and seeing their kids can benefit too,” said Liz Eustace, CEO of Alignyo, an online yoga community with a newsletter devoted to all things yoga. “The things that benefit an adult will also benefit a child. Stress reduction, mind- body connection, physical strength – these are things that benefit kids as well as adults.”

At a recent kids yoga class for 6-9 year olds, both parents and children were anxious to talk about the good yoga has brought to their lives.

“It clears your mind off something that’s really bothering you,” said one little girl.

So how does a kids yoga teacher keep the kids attention on the “oommm” for an entire class? While there are similarities between kids and adult yoga, a kids class is far more relaxed.

“[Kids and adult classes are] very different, but the foundation is always the same. There’s still the mind-body connection that is the foundation of all yoga,” said Eustace. “But what’s great is there’s a ton of creativity with kids yoga, like meowing like a cat, barking in downward dog or hissing like a cobra. There’s an incredible amount of creativity and playfulness within the foundation of yoga. And it’s these kids moving in such a creative and conscious way that makes it such a fun practice for children to get involved with.”

“My daughter’s in third grade,” said Gail Tobias, mother to one of the girls in the class. “There’s an abundance of homework already. After she’s done with the (yoga) class I find she’s much more eager to go home and sit and do her homework and be more focused. ”

A little boy – one of two in the class – told me yoga helps him forget what’s bothering him. “After class is over it seems like I’m not so worried about my problems as when I was in school,” he said. ” Like when I’m here I’m not thinking about oh how much homework do I have, or what do I have to do, what do I have to not do.”

Experts say parents should do their research before signing their kids up for a yoga program. A good place to start is the Yoga Alliance web site, where parents can search for a instructor that’s been trained in children’s yoga. The voluntary standards put forth by Yoga Alliance require 95 hours of training to become registered.

If there are no children’s yoga programs in your area, your kids can still benefit from the practice. “There’s great resources online and through books and through DVDs,” said Eustace. “Whether you’re in a small community or a larger community you can still integrate a lot of the practices and teachings of kids yoga.”

There are many kids yoga classes going on through out NYC and beyond. If you have a particularly neighborhood you want kids yoga class info on, feel free to contact us @asanaalphabet.

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.