Yogi Playground is Growing Up!

This past weekend I had the honor of participating in Next Generation Yoga‘s 8-13 year old teacher training. And the training was led by the one and only Jodi Komitor! Jodi is THE children’s yoga instructor. Her book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Yoga with Kids was the first book I purchased after my training with MiniYogis in Santa Monica about 6 years ago. Even more, Jodi opened the first children’s yoga studio IN THE WORLD in 1998. Needless to say I was more than excited to meet Jodi and train under her profound experience and expertise.

The weekend was so full of Light and Love and information. Over three days, ten trainees, including myself, practiced yoga classes, took part in practice teaching sessions, observed classes, journaled, and shared more than I could have ever expected. Jodi was accompanied by her beautiful and inspired business partner, Nicole Koleshis. We were so fortunate to soak up both their energies and wisdom, and to witness their lovely, true friendship on top of being business partners!

Below are some photos from the weekend (all photos courtesy of Next Generation Yoga). Yogi Playground is happy, inspired, and ready to bring all this Light into our spring classes here in Encinitas. What a beautiful community….

Bringing Yoga Home

Happy 2013 Friends! I read that the coming year “holds the vibration of home and family.” In this spirit, I’m often asked by parents and friends, how do we bring yoga and meditation into our family lives? As a new year’s gift to all of us, here are some thoughts on creating a yogic rhythm in your home for the whole family.
But what does this mean to bring “yoga” in? For some who are familiar and have our own home practice,  we seek to incorporate our children into our routine. This could be as simple as pulling out two mats and inviting your child to “do some poses” with you, or meditate with you on occasion (while also allowing and finding time for our own private practice!). For others who are not so familiar, this is a learning process together. How beautiful! And what a valuable lesson for our children to learn we don’t know everything…yet!

Yoga as a whole includes poses (asanas), wellness, nutrition, peaceful well being, spirituality, connection to nature and planet, and the potential for truly meaningful time together being fully present…the best gift we can give. So let’s all put our smart phones and tablets aside and start to dive deeper…..

:: First, as we do with all yoga practices, we establish an intention. Why are you interested in bringing yoga into your home? Take a look at your family “portrait,” your rhythm. What do you wish for your home? What works for you? Where can we shed some light or focus? What does it mean to bring yoga into your family? For some, this means a morning yoga practice, others meditation, for some a moment of absolute harmony, togetherness.

:: Please don’t give the process too much power. YOGA. The word, for some, is so natural. For many, so so daunting. Images pop up of 2 hour daily practices, standing on our heads with our legs wrapped like a pretzel while chanting strange vowel sounds. Let’s just toss, for the moment, the idea that it must be so regimented. This is not yoga bootcamp (there are classes for that if you are interested). If the idea of yoga is so daunting, we just won’t make it happen. Remember, it’s about our children and family. Let’s make it fun, natural, sometimes chaotic, and silly. Again, let it all evolve naturally.

:: But how do we know what to do? Videos are a great tool! And ooh child, there are some wonderful ones out there. Again, if videos aren’t your flow and you want something with less instruction, we enjoy following books together to learn and develop poses. At night, my son has taken to pulling out Babar’s Yoga Book, along with his mat, and stretching a bit before he settles in. Books are a wonderful tool to open the imagination, follow without fear of doing it “wrong,” and to expand on the stories with the poses.

(see some links below)

:: Meditation is a whole other blog post! If you have a practice again let your child sit with you for a moment, or repeat “Peace Begins with Me.” Breathe in Peace, breathe out love. Afterwards, play some music and draw together.

OK, but how are we supposed to get into the groove of all this? With school, sports, meals, carpooling, homework, oh my! It’s important to remember that small steps go a long way over time. Begin with simple things, not all at once, little by little. Here are some suggestions for placing one yogi toe in front of the other….

1. Establish a quiet space in your home. This is where you will stretch together, perhaps meditate together. Nothing fancy needs to be placed here. Perhaps just your mat, a wonderful reminder to practice!

2. Consider incorporating some small changes to your routine, in hopes of bringing more peace and harmony into your home. For example, make your bed, eat a meal together, ask questions, listen. What about our days was good/bad/happy/sad/silly?

3. Try creating one small change in your routine. Perhaps, for example, when you child wakes up, you practice one sun salutation. Or after homework, before dinner, you stretch together for 5 minutes. Before bed, you read through a book together to get your yoga. Maybe this happens only once a week, maybe every day. A little yoga is better than no yoga (at least in my world)!

A few more thoughts to ponder…

:: Have fun and be creative.

:: Let your child lead once in a while. Twisted upside down piggie pose? Sure! Let’s give it a try!

:: Sunrise and sunset are special, serene times of the day. Sunrise is hard to capture in our home, but try to get outside for the sunset when you can.

:: Dance, be silly…after dinner dance parties!

:: Play more music.

Most importantly, do what feels right for your family. I’d love to hear some more ways you bring yoga into your family’s life. Please do share! And Namaste dear friends…

Yogi Beth

Resources (Please note this is an ongoing list. Feel free to add your personal favorites in the comments!)
Videos
Books