Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tis the Season

Last night I had the privilege of leading my second official adult-only yoga practice. The woman of Chabad invited me to their Mom's Night Out to share some yoga with them, and I feel like we did just that  - SHARE. I brought some yoga knowledge, and they welcomed me into their fold. I helped them twist, balance, breathe, and relax, and they helped me refine my teaching flow, allowed me to share from my heart, and continue to follow my dharmic path.

For that I am grateful - my light shines a bit brighter!

As the solstice approaches, the full moon wanes, and the year winds down, we stress about the family visits, holiday schedules, completing home and work projects, and staying healthy, let's remember this is a time to look ever more inward, and keep the karmic energy that flows amongst us all well kindled. Perhaps you can bring a moment of calm, a moment of clarity, a moment of relaxation to someone you love, or maybe even someone you barely know.

Let's set the example for our children that material want isn't paramount, that patience is a gift in and of itself, and that even if all you are able to do is take a deep breath and PAUSE - that is a yoga practice.

I don't normally talk in such a philosophical/metaphysical/sentimental vein, but I was treated by the universe (and Eli) to a good night's sleep, and I'm feeling quite grateful and thoughtful.

Saturday I'll be creating Sun Salutations Smiley Faces (complete with puffy stickers and googly eyes) with a group of toddlers for a birthday party, and I'm really looking forward to exploring yoga with a new group of yoginis!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Savasana songs

What's your favorite song for savasana? Traditional practices teach no music, but some people prefer blissful soundtracks like nature sounds, and others soft songs with lyrics to help them tune in, far in. For children I like to have something playing they can listen to to help suppress the urge to talk and give them a break from the sound of my voice. Favorites include The Rainbow Connection and I just had the inspiration that Dobie Gray's Drift Away might be nice. Your thoughts/suggestions?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Autumn Yoga Activites

Now that even San Diego is steeped in the spirit of Fall (rain, days below 70, russet and gold leaves blanketing every outdoor surface), it follow suit that our yoga should reflect this time of coming (more) inward, but still remaining aware of the earth around us.

I thought about collecting fall leaves before a class and having each child pick out one that resonates (though I'd use the word "one you like"). Then we'd hold the leaves, feel the texture, recognize the colors, maybe see if they had scent...are they brittle, or still a little pliable? We could use our breath to move the leaves on the mat and see how powerful our breath can be. With this exercise I need to remember to not have them do a lot of powerful exhales in a row as this can leave (many of) us a little lightheaded (though kids might enjoy that feeling, with the explanation that letting out too much breath too fast can make you feel less balanced).

Then we could start with tree pose, holding our leaves, then letting them go and seeing if we could hold our tree strong and still even while our gaze 'fell' with the leaves. And then, the fun begins. WE would be the leaves, falling slowly, spiraling around the room, drifting up and down, letting the wind carry us, and eventually coming to rest on our own mats in child's pose, taking a few calming breaths after our journeys.

Another activity would be to do leaf rubbings with thin paper, an assortment of leaves and some nice unwrapped crayons (the fat ones made for smaller children would work really well). That would allow to really intergrate the sense of the leaf texture, and allow them to have a keepsake of their yoga experience.

For savasana (or a brief rest if it can be incorporated) I could speak about leaves gently falling from a tree to rest on the soft ground, perhaps if there is time, falling into a stream of water, floating effortlessly along in the slowly setting sun...that might be nice guided imagery.

It's also nice to teach them, esp. during awakening after savasana, how to generate their own heat by rubbing their hands fast fast fast fast fast.... then placing them over their eyes that might still not be ready to open, and feel the warmth.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Byomyoga at MKC Bonita today

Today is the last regular class of the year at MKC Bonita - at 10:30 we'll get our OM on and celebrate glorious Autumn in all its colorful splendor! For all future classes please email, text or call to sign up in advance by at least the night before and we'll be sure to be there to yoga with you!

Same for Friday classes at Poway. No class this week, with sign ups required for all classes starting 11/11.

Both locations will have breaks for Thanksgiving and the December holidays.

Mention this blog, get your first class FREE!

Friday, October 28, 2011

end of year special

I know towards the end of the year finances get tight as do our schedules. So I'd like to offer something to satisfy both constraints. Have b'yom yoga come to your regularly schedule playgroup for an introductory kids and caregiver class for just four dollars per child! I'll meet you at the park or home...I'll bring the yoga, you bring the yoginis! This would be a great way to introduce yoga to your babies, your toddlers, your preschool age kids and even older brothers and sisters before the holiday crunch, and offer you stress reducing ideas to help you get through the end-of-year crunch with fun and finesse!!

Call, text or email me anytime-I'd love to share a practice with you!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's on your playlist

I always have tunes from Laurie Berkner and Elizabeth Mitchell and Ziggy Marley ready for all my kids classes...and I'm starting to make awesome lists for future adult classes.. but tell me, what do you like to play or listen to when you do yoga..alone? with your kids? with friends???

my list include Queen, Sting, Michael Fronte, Alicia Keys, Jack Johnson, Natalie Merchant and more....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Breath in through your nose...

When I bring out the Hoberman Sphere (aka the Breathing Ball), all eyes (and sometimes hands) gravitate my way.... this large collapsing sphere is a fantastic tool for illustrating how we open our insides for breath, then constrict our muscles to release. It's almost natural to start breathing IN and OUT as the sphere opens and closes.

We sing the song "Breath IN through your nose...Breath OUT through your nose...." slowing down or speeding up as needed.

Even little Eli (who was the first in class to crawl INTO the sphere!) understands the connection between the ball and the breath, even at 25 months. Often when he's upset I'll just sing the "breath in" song and depending on his mood he'll follow along with the breath. Sometimes, if he just wants to be upset (and, heaven knows, we all have that feeling sometime) as soon as I start to sing, he wails "Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!"

But I know the simple trick is to just say "okay, let's just take a deep breath" and sure enough, he'll inhale through his nose, then actually do an energy releasing mouth exhale. And voila, the crying is abated even just for a moment. People have looked at me slack jawed when they see this little boy doing a deep breathing exercise, long before the notion of what "breathing in and out" really means....

I'd like to think that all that yoga I did while pregnant has ingrained some things into his little spirit. But truth be told, it's me RE-learning that taking a deep breath is a sure fire way to break the stress cycle, and passing that on actively to my little punkin' that has worked.

For classes where passing around a $40 "toy" is not possible, I like to do the pretend breathing ball exercise. I show them how it works, and ask them to imagine that they have one inside of them. Then we put our hands in front of us, cupped with fingers wide, making our OWN little breathing ball, that we can open and close on our own. We can close our eyes and REALLY imagine we are holding a ball. We can go around the room and ask "what color is YOUR breathing ball?" - we can open it just a a little, for puppy breaths, or a LOT for big balloon breaths (check out YogaKids for more on Balloon Breath).

And, not surprisingly, after giong through any breathing exercise with the families and children, I too always feel a sense of calm, groundedness, and health. Brain, Body, Breath - united.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yoga for the Hallo-day! Trees and Spiders and more....

So you want to 'scare' up some kooky Halloween ideas for yoga? No need to get elaborate, some of the basic first yoga poses, so fundamental yet so accessible, can be turned into great Halloween fun.

Tree pose takes on a whole new dimension of balance challenge when you have the children take the form of a craggy, creaky, crabby, bare limbed and rickety tree. Have them change arm positions while balancing on one leg, then hold the arm position while switching legs. Try trees blowing the wind - and let them have fun (gently) falling over.

Something I'd like to try with an older group, after setting some ground rules (e.g, no touching, no getting too much in someone's face): One student can be the wind and walk around the room blowing (gently) on the other trees. See how this affects the standing ones! We all know that just having a teacher walk NEAR us while practicing balancing poses can throw us off balance. I think this could be fun!

Scary cats on a fence is something I'm going to introduce with the young ones this week at MKC - let them caterwaul while exhaling into strong arched backs, long tails reaching down, for a really good spinal release! Then we're going to go into cat crawl (a modified up dog/lizard style pose) and creep along the floor, claws extended, hunting for "mice" (aka cotton balls)!

I also have a little ditty I composed while teaching at the JCC esp. for the little littles: it's called The Tiny Yoga Spider (to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider). For 2 and up, I mention that a spider has four arms and four legs (or 8 legs)...

Start on all fours, on the yoga mat
The Tiny Yoga Spider was on his yoga mat

Arch back low, crown of head up, tails up
First he was a cow

Arch back high
And then he was a cat

Now, lift one arm at a time, go around to each arm twice
Then he wiggled his arms, his arms, his arms, his arms

(breath) Lift each leg twice
Then he wiggled his legs, his legs, his legs, his legs

Curl up into child's pose, slowly

Then the tiny yoga spider, was ready for his bed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

B.Y.O.M. = ????

A little internet research (again) yielded some intersesting results, that made me smile. BYOM, while having meaning as a hebrew contraction, or just a catching name, actually has an urban definition that I think captures the spirit of the kind of practice I want to provide.
B.Y.O.M - Bring Your Own Music

And isn't that what yoga is supposed to be about? Bring your own song, your own light, your own inner (and maybe iPod!) to the practice, make it YOURS - like I say, "It's your day, make it your yoga."

So I thought I'd put out a little "comment please" teaser. Ask your inner light, ask your children, giggle about it with your friends...let's see what we can do with BYOM.

A few of my ideas:
Bring Your Own Mat
Bring Your OM
Bring Your Own Mantra

I think I have a theme for my next class!

byom yoga at My Kids Clubhouse - Poway and Bonita

Yoga for Kids & their parents/caregivers 
@ My Kids Clubhouse

10:30-11:15 Wednesdays @ MKC Bonita (no class 11/23, 12/21, 12/28)

10:00-10:45 Fridays @ MKC Poway starts (no class 11/4, 11/25, 12/23, 12/30)

Text, call or e-mail me to reserve your spot at least 12 hours in advance. We are no longer doing drop ins so please let us know if you want to share some OM time with us!

All ages welcome - under 18 months FREE!

$10 per child includes admission to Clubhouse ($2 off per additional child)
Members/Punchcard holders only $5 per child ($1 off per additional child)


Instructor Jackie Gadd weaves age-appropriate poses and breathing techniques into fun-tastic sessions filled with music, games, stories, art, dance, and of course, RESTING! No yoga experience needed – beginner to advanced, all are welcome! A practitioner for seven years, Jackie truly believes in its power for ALL AGES to calm and strengthen the mind and body, and would love to share her love of yoga with you and your children!