Review of Wee Yogis Play CD

 

Description: A yoga-themed music CD for kids! Each fun song teaches a pose or sequence through music.

The sweet songs on this CD are a perfect companion to a kids yoga class. I use some of the songs on the CD to teach yoga poses. I also play the CD in the background while we color mandalas and work on crafts.  KayLee Smiles has the voice of an angel, and her calming, creative songs are a fun addition to my class. I like that the songs are specifically geared towards yoga, as some children’s music can be too hectic for setting the mood of relaxation.

A few of my favorite songs:

“Cat Cow”– Super fun song for flowing from Cat to Cow. Lots of Meows and Moos to keep it fun. I’ve had this catchy tune stuck in my head all week!

"Proud Warrior”- Great song for flowing from Warrior 1 to Warrior 2 and Warrior 3. Beautiful melody, and a fun drum beat.

"Melt Melt Melt"- Nice and relaxing Savasana song.

Price: $9.99, 16 songs on the CD

To Purchase:

Itunes
Amazon

For More Info:

www.weeyogis.com

Facebook

Twitter

 

Happy yoga-ing!

~Carolyn

 

 

Using Storybooks: Rachel’s Day in the Garden

If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know that I LOVE the books from Kids Yoga Stories written by Giselle Shardlow. I have always used storybooks in kids yoga classes, and now we are so lucky to have yoga-themed storybooks like hers!

When you teach a lot of children’s classes, you realize that you don’t always have the energy to keep up with the kiddos. Maybe you have an injury, maybe you are under the weather, or maybe you’ve taught a million classes in a week, and you are SO tired. My solution is any book from Kids Yoga Stories! You read a beautiful story, and the kids follow along with the poses that are illustrated on the colorful pages of the book.  It gives you a moment to honor how your own body is feeling, while still keeping the kids active and engaged.

My favorite book right now is Rachel's Day in the Garden: A Kids Yoga Spring Colors Book. It is beautifully illustrated, and it has a timely springtime theme that incorporates all the colors of the rainbow.  I used it today, while teaching at a Montessori preschool that had just planted its spring garden. 

First, I asked the kids to tell me what they planted in the garden. They were growing tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, cucumbers, and flowers. Lucky kiddos! After we talked about planting a garden, we planted our own yoga garden, by becoming seeds (Child’s Pose). We imagined the rain gently watering our seeds (Use your fingertips to mimic raindrops on their back).  Then we sprouted into seedlings (Standing on your Knees). Finally we stood up to grow into our plants (Tree Pose).

After this fun flow, we settled into reading Rachel’s Day in the Garden, and following along with the character of Rachel (and her puppy!) as she did yoga. Extended Mountain, Standing Forward Bend, Tree Pose, Warrior 3, Squat, Caterpillar, Hero Pose, Butterfly Pose, Flower Pose, and Savasana are all poses included in the storybook’s flow.  The poses are sequenced well, and the story is sweet.

Since the book includes Savasana, we transitioned nicely into relaxation time after reading the book. I guided them through a progressive muscle relaxation using “Tight and Soft” (from Imaginations 2), and then I read the “Rainbow Flower Garden” guided meditation (also from Imaginations 2).

If my class had been longer, I would have had the kids plant a bean seed in a Dixie cup, or color a flower mandala.

You can find out more about Rachel’s Day in the Garden, and all the books from Kids Yoga Stories here.

You can learn more about guided meditations from Imaginations 2 here.

Happy yoga-ing!

~Carolyn

Love, Love, Love!

My absolute favorite holiday and theme for kids yoga is Valentine’s Day and Love! I LOVE this time of year. I love passing around a stuffed heart and hearing what kids say who and what they love. I love doing dancing and freezing to “All You Need is Love”. And I love leading love-themed guided imagery, like the "Love Balloon" and "Loving Kindness" from Imaginations and Imaginations 2.

Sending love to the people you love (and to the people you don’t) is calming and therapeutic. The Loving Kindness meditation for kids is always a free download from BambinoYoga.com because I just don’t think there can ever be enough love sent around!!!

Some other fun Valentine’s Day activities:

Mudra Finger Stretch

-Form a heart with your hands,  back of fingertips touching and thumbs joining below ("Heart Position", pictured above).

-Lift your pointer fingers and touch the fingertips.

-Bring them back to Heart Position.

-Lift your middle fingers (Pyramid Mudra).

-Bring them back to Heart Position.

-Lift your ring fingers.

-Bring them back to Heart Position.

-Lift your pinky fingers.

-Bring them back to heart position.

Benefits: Stretches and exercises fingers and hands (good after keyboard use, texting, gaming, etc.); increases focus and concentration due to fine motor skills; Pyramid Mudra boosts feelings of love and compassion

Heart Yoga

Use heart stickers to help all kids see that we all have hearts! Like these.

Have each child put a heart sticker over their heart. It is a good visual to help kids understand the idea of sending love to someone else's heart!

The fun part of using these stickers is that any yoga pose becomes a Valentine's Day pose!

Benefits: Fun! Also, helps conceptualize love and our Heart Chakra.

For more fun ideas, check out this Love Lesson Plan:

For Love-Themed Stories:

The Love Balloon
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Add To Cart
Loving Kindness
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Namasté and love,

Carolyn


Review & Giveaway of Lucinda’s Magical Yoga Adventure

Product:

Lucinda's Magical Yoga Adventure by Betty Larrea

Description:

A children’s book about a yogini named Lucinda. Lucinda goes on an adventure and does yoga poses along the way. The story is written in free verse and rhyming poetry with beautiful illustrations that demonstrate the yoga poses. I have been following Betty Larrea’s blog for several years, and she always has fun kids yoga ideas to share. This book captures the magic of Betty’s enthusiasm for kids yoga.

5 Things I Love About It:

  1. Fun intro to yoga for kids written by a kid’s yoga teacher.
  2. Nicely sequenced poses that flow from seated to standing, and then back down to the floor (or bed for bedtime).
  3. Colorful illustrations that show Lucinda doing each pose.
  4. Traditional yoga poses that all the kids in my class already know, including Balloon Breath, Butterfly, Frog, Tree, and Bridge.
  5. Ends with Lucinda in bed, resting, which transitions nicely to Savasana and a guided meditation from my books, Imaginations or Imaginations 2.

To Purchase:

Price: $16.99

The book is available for purchase on Betty's website at http://www.beyogabelove.com/books/

For More Info:

Betty Larrea is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher who has been teaching yoga to children since 2001. She founded Be Yoga Be Love and is currently providing Author Visits, her yoga curriculum, staff development training, and event services for children, families and educators in schools, libraries, and yoga studios throughout NJ and NY.

Website: www.beyogabelove.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/beyogabelove

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bettylarrea

Giveaway:

Lucinda and Imaginations 2.jpg

Win a copy of Lucinda's Magical Yoga Adventure and Imaginations 2!

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below by January 31st, 2016 at 11:59 PST. US entries only.


Essential Oils for Children’s Yoga Webinar at Kids Yoga Academy

Thursday, Oct 15th, 8-9:00 pm Eastern/5-6:00 pm Pacific LIVE

(or watch recorded webinar online anytime after the event)

 

Presenter: Carolyn Clarke, founder Bambino Yoga and author of Imaginations and Imaginations 2

 

Essential oils and children's yoga compliment each other with their similar benefits of boosting relaxation, focus, and immunity. Join us to learn how to use essential oils in a yoga studio, classroom, or at home.

 

In this class you will learn how to:

  Choose and use essential oils that are safe for children

  Set the mood and tone with essential oils

  Support children's and your own wellness using oils

  Sanitize yoga mats and hands with essential oils

  Incorporate fun essential oil- themed crafts, activities, and games

  Use essential oils to enhance guided imagery during Savasana

 

Participants will receive a sample relaxation story to use with essential oils.

 

All participants will have a chance to win a bottle of lavender essential oil and a copy of Imaginations 2: Relaxation Stories and Guided Imagery for Kids.

  

Register here:

http://kidsyogaacademy.net/upcoming-live-webinars/

$29 or free with monthly Kids Yoga Academy membership

 

Can't attend the live event? No worries!

Everyone who registers will receive a copy of the webinar in their inbox following the live event. Watch it when it's convenient!

Kids Yoga Business Tools Review and Giveaway

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Ah… Summer… My class schedule slows down, and I finally have time to focus on my teaching and writing business. I schedule time to reflect on my business, create and write new products, and market my services. Two fabulous tools that I rely on for this are The Marketing Guidebook for Kids Yoga Teachers by Jodi Komitor and The Biz of Kids Yoga (“TBOKY”) Online Course. I re-read the book, and review my notes from the TBOKY course. Then, I evaluate what I am currently doing well, set goals for improving areas of my business that need work, and get started! This process has helped me to write a second book (Imaginations 2), post more frequently on this blog, and have a more consistent social media presence. 

I’m so excited to be offering you, my dear readers, the chance to win one of these tools in June! They have both helped me gain clarity and focus in my business, and I think you will find them as helpful as I have. I consider the TBOKY course and the guidebook like taking your kids yoga business to a yoga class. Your business comes out relaxed, refreshed, and focused!

Enter the giveaway here for a chance to win either a “seat” in The Biz of Kids Yoga 8-week Online Course or The Marketing Guidebook for Kids Yoga Teachers by June 30th at 11:59 PM PST!

~Reviews~

The Marketing Guidebook for Kids Yoga Teachers

Description:

The Marketing Guidebook for Kids Yoga Teachers is a 39-page PDF booklet filled with practical marketing tools specific for Kids Yoga Teachers.

Things I Love About It:
 

1. It is specifically for Kids Yoga Teachers! 
There is so much marketing advice out there, but you have to hunt and peck for information that applies to our industry. How wonderful to have a resource like this, just for us!

2. It is well organized.

There are clear sections relevant to any kids yoga instructor, regardless of how long you have been teaching. Traditional marketing (like flyers and business cards) as well as online and social media marketing are covered. She also explains that you are “marketing” just by connecting with your community and being your own fabulous you.

3. Each section has a Take Action box.
These boxes give specific ways to put the marketing ideas into work for your own teaching business. This is where the magic happens, when you take her ideas and use them to reflect on your own marketing.

4. It is written by a leader in the kids yoga industry.
Jodi has been teaching for years, and she has one of the most successful kids yoga businesses out there. How lucky that we can learn her secrets to success.

5. It compliments and reinforces the Biz of Kids Yoga (TBOKY) course that Jodi also provides.
I took TBOKY a year ago, and it is nice to have this guidebook as a refresher on the ideas shared in that course.

Price: $49.97

Purchase and more info here.
 

The Biz of Kids Yoga 8-week Online Course

Description:

The Biz of Kids Yoga™ (aka TBoKY) is an 8 week online course where you join together with other Kid Yogi-preneurs to learn specialized business education that will take your offerings to the next level.

Things I Love About It:

This class was previously reviewed here

In summary, I loved that it was based on the experience of a kids yoga teacher, well-organized, collaborative, convenient, and open-ended. It was like taking my business to a yoga class.

Price: $297

Purchase and Find More Info: www.TheBizofKidsYoga.com

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway here for a chance to win either a “seat” in The Biz of Kids Yoga 8-week Online Course or The Marketing Guidebook for Kids Yoga Teachers by June 30th at 11:59 PM PST! Winners will also receive a copy of Imaginations 2.

 

Sun Salutations for Kids Yoga

I recently read Yoga Journal’s article, Wake Up + Revive with 3 Sun Salutation Practices. It shows Sun Salutations from the  Kundalini, Yin, and Ashtanga perspective. I love how one flow can be transformed using different yoga styles.

It got me thinking about kid’s yoga and our different styles of Sun Salutations. There are so many ways to transform this flow. This is good if you want to do Sun Salutations every class, but you also want to keep them new and interesting. If I am working with a group for an extended period of time, I always do Sun Salutations for each class so that the children can see their progress week after week.

8 Ways to Practice Sun Salutations with Kids

Music:
-Play music (“Mr. Sun”, Kira Willley’s “Dance for the Sun”, and the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun” are all fun).

Affirmations:
-Use affirmations with each pose in the flow ("I am calm", "I am strong", etc.).

Sanskrit:
-Teach the Sanskrit names of the poses. For the first round, use English. For the second round, use Sanskrit.

Nature:
-Take the class outside and do Sun Salutations in the sun!

Props:
-Use props like paper plate suns, rainbow ribbons, or even pumpkins!

Breath:
-Focus on the breath by only cueing with “Inhale” and “Exhale”. This will work well once a group knows the poses by heart.

In a “Round”:
-Similar to singing in a round, where each group starts at a different time, have each person around the circle start their Sun Salutation when the person next to them is in Extended Mountain. You can do one round this way so that there is an endpoint, or have them keep going until you ring a bell telling them to wrap up their last round of Sun Salutations.

With Books:
-Use picture books like Rhyme and Shine: Yoga Sun Salutation for Kids by Karen Thygerson and Luke’s Beach Day, by Giselle Shardlow for visual aids. (Here’s a beach-themed lesson plan based on Luke's Beach Day.)

Need even more Sun Salutation ideas? Check out this blog post from Full of Joy Yoga.

Have fun and Happy Sun Saluting!

Carolyn

Eyeball Yoga for Kids

"Eyeball Yoga" is a great way to help kids wind down and get ready to relax in yoga or go to sleep at home. It's also a fun way to give their eyes a rest after screen time. Here are a few techniques I love using in my classes:

Eyeball Stretches

- Up and Down- Have kids keep their heads and necks still, but move their eyeballs to look up at the ceiling and then down to the floor.

-Left and Right, Side to Side- Keeping head and neck still again, have kids look to the left and to the right. If they don't know their left from their right, say things like "Left to the Door, Right to the Window" to give them clues about which way is which. If you are facing the class, don't forget that your right is their left, so you have to "mirror" your directions. 

-Circles- Keep the head and neck still, and move your eyeballs clockwise from the top to the side, to the bottom, to the opposite side, and back up to the top. Try counterclockwise, too. If kids don't know these terms, use spatial clues  in the room again to help (Look at the ceiling, look at the window, look at the floor, look at the door, look at ceiling again.)

Fingertip Massage

-Have kids close their eyes and gently tap their fingertips on their eyes. If you are teaching to girls with long fingernails, remind them to use the pads of their fingers, not their nails. 

Palming the Eyes

-Have kids rub the palms of their hands together quickly to build heat. When their palms feel warm, ask them to place their hands over their eyes, take a deep breath, and say "Ahhhhhhhh....". This is like Savasana for the Eyeballs...


Try using Eyeball Yoga when transitioning from a high energy activity to slower poses and notice how the energy of the room shifts! If you are using these exercises at home, notice if your child seems to fall asleep faster by helping the eyes relax.

Have more Eyeball Yoga ideas? I'd love to hear about them!

Happy Relaxing,

Carolyn 






Better Sleep Month for Kids with Yoga

Happy Better Sleep Month! This month we are having a Sleepytime Yoga Giveaway that includes  several tools to help kids relax at bedtime or before relaxation in yoga. Prizes include Good Night, Animal World book by Giselle Shardlow, Imaginations 2: Relaxation Stories and Guided Imagery for Kids, and a bottle of Lavender essential oil. We are also reviewing the matching Good Night, Animal World Yoga Cards.

Fun fact: Good Night, Animal World was the inspiration behind the “Nighttime Animal Adventure” story in Imaginations 2!



Review of Good Night, Animal World Yoga Cards

 

Description: Say good night to the animals of the world at bedtime with these yoga cards to match the book, Good Night, Animal World (previously reviewed here). Match and sort thirteen calming yoga poses for kids with their respective animals. Age group: Toddler, preschooler. Ages 2-5.

Price: $12.95

Where to Buy:
KidsYogaStories.com

5 Things I Love About Them:

1. The 3x5 Notecard size is small enough and light enough to keep in my yoga bag as an emergency “Oh No I Have Nothing Planned” Activity.

2. The Index Card has a list of the poses in order from standing to relaxation as well as a color coded key showing the animal/yoga pose pair.

3. Calming poses are sequenced well from active to relaxing yoga poses. They are all good poses to settle before bedtime or before relaxation time.

4. The cards can be used individually, in a series, or as an animal matching game.

5. They come in a sweet, mesh bag that keeps them together, but visible.

As a yoga teacher, I think you will LOVE these cards as an addition to your classes. As a parent, I think you will LOVE how fun these will make bedtime.

More Info about Kids Yoga Stories:

Website: www.kidsyogastories.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kidsyogastories

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kidsyogastories


Tree Yoga for Kids ~ Earth Day and Arbor Day

I love celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day in kids yoga. Here are a few of my favorite ways to incorporate a tree theme into yoga for children:

Set the tone with a mini-tree

Bring a bonsai tree to class and place it in the center of the circle to set the tone.

Plant a Tree 

1. Child’s Pose
2. Give kids a spritz of water from a spray bottle
3. Sing, “Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me.”
4. Sprout one arm and then the other.
5. Come to kneeling.
6. Come to standing.
7. Tree Pose.

Tree Freeze Dancing 

Play tree-themed music. Dance when the music is on, and freeze in Tree Pose when the music is paused. Here are some songs to try:

1. Under A Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner
2. Up A Tree by Frances England
3. Apple Tree by Justin Roberts
4. Apple Tree by Bari Koral Family Rockband


Act out The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

This ideas came from a YogaKids training. 

1. Write the names of the characters from the book (animals and the woodchopper) onto cards. These are acting parts.
2. Read the story, and have the kids act out their part by doing the corresponding pose when their character is mentioned in the story.
3. You can also read the story first, and then have the kids act it out from memory to reinforce comprehension and retention of the story.

Read Tree Relaxation Stories and Guided Imagery

Making Friends with A Tree from Imaginations
My Treehouse from Imaginations


More Earth Day and Arbor Day Resources

Using Live Flowers in Kids Yoga on Bambino Yoga

Earth Yoga from Kids Yoga Stories

Earth Day Every Day from OMazing Kids

Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids DVDs with Jodi Komitor (Review and Giveaway)

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Earlier this month, I posted “10 Ways to Help Kids with Stress” here in honor of Stress Awareness Month. One of those things was yoga! (Of course!) An easy way to introduce kids to yoga is through a DVD.

I am so excited to introduce Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids Dino-Mite Adventure and Outer Space Blastoff DVDs with Jodi Komitor. These videos are creative, relaxing, and fun. I love that the themes of dinosaurs and outer space coordinate perfectly with two of my relaxation stories, “A Trip in Your Spaceship” from Imaginations and “Dinosaur Friend” from Imaginations 2! (Be sure to enter the giveaway to win these kids yoga resources!)

Each DVD has 4 yoga practice sections, each approximately 15 minutes. I love that the DVDs are divided into these mini-sessions which include warmups, active poses, and relaxation time. This makes it easy to integrate the DVD into a classroom or home routine with little “bites” of yoga. Of course, kids will probably want to do more than one section since they are such fun!

The DVDs are geared towards kids ages 5 and up, and I have found that this age group LOVES kids yoga classes with dinosaur or outer space themes. What kid doesn’t romp around like a dinosaur or blast off into space? Gaiam and Jodi clearly know their audience.

The background sets are colorful and fun, and there are kids doing the yoga poses along with Jodi. Her instructions are clear, and she is able to not only teach the kids, but also interact with the DVD audience.

Here are the sections of each video and a few of the yoga poses they include:

Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids Dino-Mite Adventure with Jodi Komitor

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Baby Brontosaurus

Kids start off as an egg and transform into a baby dinosaur.  (Poses: Child, Extended Cat, Dog, Volcano, Sun Salutations, Savasana, and more.)

Dino-Mite Yoga

Kids become a series of different dinosaurs. (Poses: Dog, Leg Kicks, Standing Wide Angle, Extended Mountain, Savasana, and more.)

Dino Dig

Kids dig for fossils and stretch after their hard work. (Poses: Butterfly, Child, Thread the Needle, Dog, Table, Savasana, and more.)

Bonus: Dino Duo

Kids do fun partner poses with a friend or parent at home. (Poses: Dog, Cat/Cow, Moutain, and more.)

Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids Outer Space Blast off with Jodi Komitor

Outer Space Blastoff

Kids get ready for their outer space adventure by putting on a space suit and blasting off into space. (Poses: Cat/Cow, Sun Salutations, and more.)

Solar System Yoga

Kids take a tour of the different planets.  (Poses: Down Dog, Plank, Volcano, Warrior 2, Side Plank, Happy Baby, and Savasana and more.)

Out of this World

Kids say affirmations while doing outer space inspired poses.  (Poses: Cat/Cow, Down Dog, Plank, Upward Dog, Sun Salutations, Warrior 2, Savasana and more with affirmations, “I am smart! I am healthy! I am flexible! I am strong!”.)

Bonus: Space Balance Balls

Kids do yoga poses on Balance Balls.  (Poses: Chair, Star, Plank, and more.)


Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids Dino-Mite Adventure and Outer Space Blastoff DVDs with Jodi Komitor are a great combination of learning, fun, and yoga! Jodi transports kids with their imaginations using dinosaur and outer space poses and activities.  These videos are must-haves for any parent or teacher wishing to share yoga with kids.

Price: $14.98

Find them here and here.

Find out more about Jodi Komitor and Next Generation Yoga here.

For a chance to win a DVD and an Imaginations book, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here.

One winner will receive:

Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids Outer Space Blast Off with Jodi Komitor and a copy of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids.

Another winner will receive:

Gaiam’s Yoga for Kids Dino-Mite Adventure with Jodi Komitor and a copy of Imaginations 2: Relaxation Stories and Guided Imagery for Kids

Enter the giveaway here by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time April 30, 2015.

10 Ways to Help Kids with Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month. While most adults are aware of the stress in their lives, it is important to remember that kids feel stress too. It could be from big stressors, like divorce, moving to a new home, or a death in the family. Stress could also be something that we may see as “smaller”, but still significant in the eyes of a child, like something mean that was said to them at school, not having enough time to get ready in the morning, or losing their favorite toy. It is important that we teach kids how to deal with stress in their lives so they can have happy, healthy, and calm lives.
 
Here are some stress relief techniques for kids:
 
1.     Identifying stress in the body
 
Even though we all talk about stress and being stressed, it is actually an abstract concept that can be difficult to define for kids. It isn’t something you see, but something you feel. The source of stress is different for everyone. 
 
When I talk about stress with kids, instead of trying to define it, I focus on how stress makes the body feel. If they are feeling stressed currently, ask them where they feel it. Clenched teeth? Upset stomach? Tight shoulders? Headache? Identifying where they hold stress will help kids notice when they are stressed and when they need to do something to relieve it.

To explain the difference between stress and relaxation, I ask them to first tighten and squeeze every muscle of their body (i.e. put “stress” on their body), and then make every muscle soft (i.e. relieve their stress).

 
2.     Yoga
 
Kids may be sedentary at school with little time for recess or PE. When they come home, they may be in front of a  TV, computer, or doing homework. Movement is one of the best ways to burn off stress. My recommended movement of choice, of course, is yoga! Not only does it strengthen muscles and increase flexibility, but its mind/body connection is an added stress reliever. There are so many kids yoga resources now, including this great dinosaur-themed DVD from Gaiam with Jodi Komitor and these Kids Yoga Stories. For information on yoga poses, try Lisa Flynn's Yoga for Children or Marsha Wenig's YogaKids book.
 
3. Breathing
 
Kids can learn to notice their breath. If they aren’t exercising, but they are breathing rapidly, they are probably anxious and stressed. Use a breathing ball (Hoberman Sphere shown above) to play with and teach how to take deep slow breaths.  Or have kids lie down on the floor, put their hand on their bellies, and take big, slow breaths. 
 
4. Guided Imagery
 
Using guided imagery helps bring the mind to a relaxing peaceful place. The body responds accordingly and relaxes too. When you imagine a tropical vacation, your body feels like it is on that tropical vacation. Use a guided meditation or relaxation story to help guide kids to a relaxing state of mind. My two books, Imaginations and Imaginations 2, include relaxation stories written specifically for kids. Or simply ask them to imagine a place that makes them happy and calm.
 
5. Essential Oils
 
Lavender and chamomile oils are known for their relaxation properties and are an easy way to make a room feel more relaxing. Diffused in the air, spritzed on a pillow, or dropped onto a cotton ball and put in a shirt pocket are all ways to ease stress and promote relaxation.
 
 
6. Routines
 
There is something soothing about a routine. Having structure and routine can soothe stress by taking away some of the fear and anxiety of “what’s coming next”. At home, a regular morning routine like this one can help the day run more smoothly. In a classroom, having a mini-relaxation session before a test and after recess can make transitions flow more easily and reduce stress for kids. In a yoga class, always ending with Savasana and relaxation is an important stress reliever before sending kids back out into the world. 
 
7. Get out in Nature
 
Have kids do yoga outdoors, go for a nature walk, or just lie in the grass. Take deep breaths of fresh air together, and hug a tree.
 
8. Mandala Coloring
 
Kids love coloring, so give them something meditative to color. The symmetrical and repetitive pattern of a mandala clears the mind and helps kids relax. I’m always amazed by the shift in energy in a kids yoga class when I pull out the mandala coloring pages and crayons. So simple, but so relaxing. Find a few here.
 
9. Compassion
 
Doing nice things for other people helps take us out of our own worries and helps us focus on helping someone else. Encourage kids to do things for others through service projects, random acts of kindness, or reaching out to friends and family in need.
 
10. Model Stress Awareness
 
Don’t feel like you need to hide stress from kids. I think it is healthier to admit to kids when you are feeling stressed than acting like superwoman. Verbally acknowledge your stress and demonstrate doing something about it. 
 
Examples:
 
“I was in a lot of traffic to get to yoga class, and now I feel a little stressed. I am going to take a few deep breaths so I can focus… Okay, now I am ready to teach.”
 
“Today was a busy stressful day. I need to do a little yoga to make me feel better. Will you do some with me?... Ah, that’s better now.”
 
“I am feeling stressed from working on my computer all day. My body needs a walk and some fresh air… I feel so much better after my walk!”
 
Let’s model stress awareness all month and help the kids in our lives learn to deal with their stress too!
 
Namaste,
 
Carolyn

The Poetry of Kids Yoga Giveaway

Happy World Poetry Day! Kids yoga and poetry go hand in hand…  Yoga has even been called the poetry of the body, so it feels very natural to include poems in kids yoga sessions. Here are a few kids yoga poetry ideas:

Laila’s Lullaby by Puja Shah

 

Puja Shah is a fellow kids-yoga instructor and blogger in Southern California. I met her at a Kids For Peace holiday party, and that night she performed some of her own poetry. It gave me goosebumps to see her spoken-word performance. There is something about poetry that makes the author so vulnerable, and performing it live just increases that intensity.

At that party, Puja told me that she had written a yoga-themed poem for her daughter and wanted to turn it into a book. And now she has! She has published a sweetly illustrated book called Laila’s Lullaby based on the original yoga-themed poem.

 The pictures are colorful, peaceful, and dreamy, and it incorporates yogic themes of compassion, love, and courage. It also introduces and explains Sanskrit words like "ahimsa" (peaceful) and "vinyasa" (flow). 

While this book is certainly one to read to the little ones at bedtime, I also think that prenatal yoga students would enjoy hearing the poem during Savasana. Afterall, Puja wrote the poem after a particularly profound meditation while she was pregnant.

Now if only we could get Puja to come to all of our yoga classes to perform it out loud!

Find the book here on Amazon.

Visit Puja Shah's website here.

Twist by Janet Wong

Another fun yoga poetry book is Twist. Each poem is about a different yoga pose, including Child’s Pose, Cat/Cow, Dog, Warrior, Cobra, Crow, Half-Moon, Triangle, Tree, Eagle, Mountain/Volcano, Lion, Bridge, and Twist. There are also poems for Breath and Finding the Center. The illustrations are beautiful with Indian imagery and patterns that remind me of henna tattoos.

I use this book in my classes by picking a poem, and reading it out loud while the kids do the corresponding pose and look at the picture. It is a nice way to incorporate a picture book into a class with older kids, too.

Find the book here on Amazon.

Kids Yoga Haikus

I am not a poet, by any means, but I have had fun coming up with some haikus to use in kids yoga sessions. You can try teaching your yoga class with haiku, too! It’s a fun way to make the “same old poses” feel a little different.

Prompt kids to do poses by reading haikus. You can tell them the pose before you read the haiku or they can guess the pose from the poem and then do the pose. If you have time, have kids make up their own, too, and read them to the group. The beauty of the haiku is that there is a structure you can follow, so it makes the idea of writing a poem less intimidating.

Download Haiku Printable

Tree Pose          

A trunk tall and strong

Arms up and wiggle your leaves

Breathe in, breathe out, ahhh

 

Snake Pose

Flat on your belly

Heart opens, head lifts, strong arms

Hiss… Slither… Hiss Hiss

 

Dog Pose

Upside down Letter V

Big ol’ fat paws and wet nose

Wag your tail! Woof woof!

 

Dog Pose 2

Trying to be good

My leg goes up and – Whoopsie!

Puddle on the floor

 

Cat Pose

Round back, fur stands up

Purr Purr Purr Meow Meow Meow HISS

It’s time for a nap

 

Mountain

I am tall and brave

Standing strong, head in the clouds

Nothing can shake me

 

Crescent Moon

Arms up, bend right, left.

Sliver of light in the sky

Or a banana

 

Enter the giveaway to win a copy of Laila’s LullabyTwist, and Imaginations 2 by April 1, 2015 Midnight PST on our Giveaways and Contests page.

 

 

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats by Giselle Shardlow

Kids Yoga Stories has recently released a 2nd edition of Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats by Giselle Shardlow.  It is one of my favorite books for a kids yoga class, and it was in the Top 3 of the Top Storybooks for Kids Yoga by OmAzing Kids and Bambino Yoga.

Anna is a new student at school and a child with hearing loss. Her classmates think she is weird, and point out all the things that make her different. As they make fun of her, she follows her heart and does what makes her happy, yoga! Eventually she makes a new friend, who also has hearing loss. Each day they do yoga together, and eventually all the classmates join in with colorful yoga mats to make a rainbow.

The book includes lots of fun yoga poses for kids including Cat, Horse, Duck, Tree, Jaguar, Snake, Pyramid, Sphinx, Camel, Mountain, and Bears. Multiple themes of rainbow colors, individuality, bullying, and staying true to yourself allow you to integrate the book easily into a yoga class or classroom.

The yoga book is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French on the Kids Yoga Stories website or on Amazon.

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats book is also a recommended Time Extender activity in the “End of the Rainbow” lesson plan offered here.

Want to win a copy of Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats by Giselle Shardlow and a copy of Imaginations 2 by Carolyn Clarke?

Enter the giveaway to win this book by April 1st Midnight PST on our Giveaway and Contest page.

Rainbow Ribbons and Lesson Plan

 

Dance ribbons are so fun to use in kids yoga classes. You can buy dance ribbons on sticks online, but sometimes it is hard to hold the stick and do yoga poses at the same time. So, I prefer to make my own (or have the kids make them themselves) using rubber bracelets.

Rainbow ribbons and tuille are tied onto a bracelet, and then kids can put them on their wrists for a hands-free dance ribbon experience. Any yoga pose is fun with these dance ribbons, but they are especially fun for painting rainbows and freeze dancing.

Don’t skip using the tulle ribbon. The tulle gives the ribbons more “body” and helps the ribbon stay in the air longer, instead of just hanging down. As you paint in the air, the tulle and  ribbons float behind your hand so you really do feel like you are painting the air.

Check out the bottom of the page for a downloadable The End of the Rainbow Lesson Plan Package that uses these Rainbow Ribbons.

Rainbow Ribbons for Kids Yoga

Materials:

-Rainbow Ribbon, or an assortment of different colored ribbon (a good way to use up ribbon scraps)

-Tulle Ribbon - This ribbon helps keep the ribbons floating in the air. Find it in the wedding section of a craft store.

-Rubber Bracelets (like Stretch Magic Silkies Bracelets or Jelly Bracelets) or have kids bring in their own bracelets

-Scissors

Steps:

1. Measure and Cut Ribbon and Tulle

Decide the length of the ribbons and tulle you want for the prop, and then double that measurement.  For the dance ribbon in the picture, 4 feet of ribbon was used to make a 2 foot dancing ribbon.  Try making the ribbons the arm’s length of the child for dancing, so two arm’s lengths for cutting.

2. Tie Ribbons and Tulle to Bracelet

 

Tie the ribbons and tulle to the bracelet. (I like using the Lark’s Head Knot.)

Tie them closely together on the bracelet or tie both pieces on at the same time like in the picture above.

3. Do some yoga or dance with it!

Now slip the bracelet on your wrist and paint some rainbows!

P.S. My neighbors officially think I am crazy after watching me take pictures of myself dancing with Rainbow Ribbons in the street! 

We've created an entire lesson plan that uses these Rainbow Ribbons! You can download The End of the Rainbow Lesson Plan Package, which includes "The End of the Rainbow" relaxation story from Imaginations 2. It includes rainbow poses, games, a "recipe" for making a rainbow, and time-extender activities. 

The End of the Rainbow Lesson Plan Package PDF
9.99

This lesson plan is all you need for a fun, rainbow-themed kids yoga class. Perfect year-round or in March for St. Patrick's Day. Class is based on Rainbow Ribbon props, and includes instructions for assembly.

Lesson Plan Package includes:

Part 1: Rainbow-themed Lesson Plan

Full lesson plan with poses, props, suggested music, and verbal cues. 

Part 2: Relaxation Story- The End of the Rainbow

A rainbow-themed relaxation story from Imaginations 2: Relaxation Stories and Guided Imagery. 

Part 3: Time Extenders

Some classes are longer than others, so these are some extra ideas to help you keep time filled. 

Part 4: Lesson Plan at-a-Glance

An outline of the entire lesson. It is a convenient, at-a-glance list to use while teaching.

After checking out, you will receive an email with a link to download your PDF Lesson Plan Package. The link is good for 24 hours.

Add To Cart


LOVE-themed Lesson Plan with Loving Kindness Meditation

Last year many of you participated in a survey to let me know what guided imagery products and services you'd like to see. The majority of you asked for Lesson Plans with Guided Imagery as your top choice for products.

I have listened to what you want and created the first ever Bambino Yoga lesson plan. It is a love-themed lesson plan, perfect for Valentine's day or anytime you want to teach about love, and includes the relaxation story of the month "Loving Kindness". I think you are going to LOVE it (haha!).

It is a whole package that includes:

Part 1: Love-themed Lesson Plan

Full lesson plan with poses, props, and suggested verbal cues.

Part 2: Relaxation Story- Loving Kindness Meditation

A love-themed relaxation story from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids.

Part 3: Time Extenders

Some classes are longer than others, so these are some extra ideas to help you keep time filled. 

Part 4: Lesson Plan at-a-Glance

An outline of the entire lesson. It is a convenient, at-a-glance list to use while teaching.

I am offering this first lesson plan for free until February 15th. I am hoping that by providing it for free, you will be so kind as to offer feedback so I know what you love or don't love about it.

Thanks!

Here it is:

Enjoy!

Love,

Carolyn

Relaxation for Kids During the Holidays

Are the holidays feeling hectic? Here are a few things to bring a little relaxation into your home or classroom during these busy December days.

Snow angels


Plop down in the snow (or the sand if you live in SoCal!), and make snow angels. Inhale: Move your arms up over your head and move your legs out. Exhale: Move your arms down and legs in. Look up at the sky, take deep breaths, and feel the joy!
 

Star drawing with breaths


Hold an imaginary pencil (or a real one), and draw a star in the air (or on paper). Inhale: Draw a line of the star. Exhale: Draw another line of the star. Continue drawing and feel your mind sync with your breath. Ahhh…

Gratitude


With each present you wrap, each card you stamp, take a moment to feel gratitude for the person it is for. Share a funny story, think of a nice thing they’ve done, or just send them some love.  Share this practice with your kids and students.

Cinnamon Stick Breaths


Hold a cinnamon stick to your nose and take deep slow breaths in and out. Smell the holidays!
 

Yoga Bedtime Story


Try winding down with some yoga at bedtime (or anytime you need to bring the energy down). I love Giselle Shardlow’s Good Night, Animal World.
 

Relax in Savasana


Try a relaxation story to help kids calm their minds while they settle their bodies in savasana.  As a gift, you can download the Wintertime relaxation story from Imaginations 2 here. (You will need to enter your information into the shopping cart, but there is no charge for the story during December.)

 

Happy Holidays! Remember to breathe and take in all the moments of this holiday season!

With love,

Carolyn

Why We Need Kids Yoga on TV

 

It’s an exciting time in the world of kids yoga. When I started teaching yoga in 2002, I didn’t have any local resources or fellow teachers. Only a handful of kids yoga books existed. And most people had never even heard of kids yoga, let alone someone who only taught yoga to kids for a living. 

Now fast-forward 12 years: We’ve had our first national meeting of the minds—the National Kids Yoga Conference in DC. There are multiple books and resources specifically for kids yoga, like Giselle Shardlow’s Kids Yoga Stories and Lisa Flynn’s Yoga for Children. And now… drumroll… kids yoga is coming to TV!

Bari Koral launched a musical yoga TV program called Yogapalooza with Z Living Network this fall. YogaKids has a pilot for the YogaKids Magical Garden that is being considered by major networks. And now Shakta Khalsa, of Radiant Child Yoga, is teaming up with Yoga Dog to create a live and animated TV show for kids. 

I know that sometimes we think of TV as this evil time sucker that is rotting our brains and making us fat. But screens aren’t going away, and kids yoga on TV is a good—dare I say wonderful?—thing! Here are some reasons why:

1. It encourages movement.

With childhood obesity being a major problem, we need to bring movement to the kids in a fun and easy way. If we can’t get kids away from the screens, let’s bring movement to the screens—with yoga! Shows with yoga will get kids moving during TV time, instead of just staring at the TV.

2. It’s fun.

Yoga on TV will be fun. A television show can introduce kids to the active movement and balancing poses of yoga and then transition to the stillness of yoga in a colorful, musical, and fun way.

3. TV reaches kids we can’t.

Certain barriers can prevent a child from having the opportunity to practice yoga. Money and transportation, as well as geography, can be limiting.  And of course, even the best yoga teachers can only be in one place at a time (so far), and we can’t bring yoga to every child in our community at every hour. A TV show that runs on every TV in every home could reach the kids that we can’t.

4. Yoga brings positive messages to TV.

There are negative messages on kids’ shows today. Some of these messages, like violence, are obvious. Some are more subtle, like racial and gender stereotypes. Kids yoga programming is a chance to counteract those negatives with positive messages of self-love, compassion, and non-violence. We need any and all positivity streaming on the airwaves!

5. It reaches kids in their comfort zone.

We talk often about yoga being a great form of exercise for kids with obesity, but an overweight child may not feel comfortable in a public class environment. Having yoga on TV can offer those children with body image issues an opportunity try yoga poses in the privacy of their own home first. As their confidence grows, they may be more comfortable in a public class.

6. It’s convenient.

Rainy or snowy days at home or school can lead to boredom and inactivity. The convenience of turning on a TV show will lead to more opportunities to practice yoga! Which leads to more peace, love, and exercise.

7. It offers repetition and reinforcement.

Seeing and practicing poses repeatedly on a kids yoga TV show will reinforce anything that a child has learned in yoga class. This will make yoga teachers, like myself, look even more amazing as children master the poses with lightning speed! ☺

8. TV can educate the masses.

Fear of the unknown has lead to “shenanigans” like a lawsuit in Southern California involving a school that offers its students free yoga. Kids yoga on TV would help educate the public on the benefits and appropriateness of yoga for kids by showing it for what it is—a system of stretching and breathing that makes kids healthy and happy. Nothing scary here, just fun and relaxation.

9. Promoting kids yoga is always a good thing.

Having kid’s yoga on TV helps promote the idea of kids yoga overall. As a yoga instructor, I’m looking at every kids yoga TV show as free marketing and promotion. Some teachers might have the gut reaction of, “Oh no, if everyone is watching kids yoga on TV, who will come to my classes?” I would argue that kids who watch the shows will fall in love with yoga and ask Mom and Dad for more yoga. Then Mom and Dad will discover the amazing classes in their community and enroll them!


So, now you are probably really excited and wondering what you can do to help support kids yoga on TV. Lucky you!  Shakta Khalsa, one of the world’s leading experts on children and yoga, and Jennifer Foster, founder of Kids’ Wellness Alliance, are running a Kickstarter campaign to create a TV show called Yoga Dog. The 22-minute children’s program focuses on imagination, emotions, and movement. It follows the adventures of Yoga Dog, an innocent, fun-loving pup, and his friends. 

Check out the campaign for the pilot of Yoga Dog. Watch the video, contribute if you can, and help spread the word! Let’s get kids yoga on every screen in every home, so “screen time” can be called “yoga time.”


Pumpkin Spice Yoga Lesson Plan

Pumpkin Spice Yoga For Kids

If pumpkin spice lattes, muffins, and ice cream aren’t enough, now there is Pumpkin Spice Yoga for Kids! I love using mini-pumpkins as a fun prop for kid’s yoga. They are an inexpensive and natural way to spice up (sorry, couldn't resist!) your class. Look for ones that have short stems.

 

Here’s how:

 

-Set up mats in a circle with a pumpkin on each mat. Write your name on the bottom of your pumpkin. (Or write it for them ahead of time). Give a few sprays of a spicy essential oil- like cinnamon or clove (always check for allergies). Now you have your Pumpkin Spice!

 

-Pumpkin Gazing-

 

Look at your pumpkin. Notice the color, the shape. Take 5 deep breaths staring only at your pumpkin.

 

-Pumpkin Pie-

 

Sitting down, put your legs in a “V”. Put your pumpkin on the floor in the middle of the “V”. Reach your arms up, and over your legs reaching for your feet. Take a deep breath in and out while in the oven. Ding! It is done!

 

-Pumpkin on the Table-

 

Balance your pumpkin on your back (or belly) depending on which version of Table you are doing. Or, try both!

 

-Pumpkin Seed-

 

Curl up into child’s pose and hide your pumpkin underneath you (tucked under your body, arms, wherever you have room to hide it.) Imagine you are a seed planted in the soil. The rain comes and gives your seed water, now it gives it sun. Let your seed sprout! Hold onto your pumpkin and “sprout” your arms up. Come onto your knees and lift your arms high in the air holding your pumpkin.

 

-Pumpkin Salutations-

 

Namaste Pumpkin- Stand up in Mountain and bring hands and pumpkin to your chest.

 

Flying Pumpkin- Reach your pumpkin up to the sky.

 

Plant a Pumpkin- Bring your pumpkin to the ground (hinging at your hips). Set it down.

 

Pumpkin Lunge- Step one foot back into a lunge (your pumpkin is cheering you on!).

 

Lizard Smells a Pumpkin- Stretch back one leg, and then the other for Plank Pose. Stick your lizard tongue out and smell your pumpkin.

 

Snake Smells a Pumpkin- Drop your knees down, legs straighten and chest lifts up for Cobra Pose. Smell that pumpkin with your SSSSSSSSsnake tongue!

 

Dog Smells a Pumpkin- Press back into Downward Facing Dog and imagine that you are a puppy dog smelling the pumpkin. Dogs love to sniff and smell everything!

 

Pumpkin Lunge- Step one foot forward into a lunge (your pumpkin is cheering you on!).

 

Pick a Pumpkin- Step one foot and then the other into Standing Forward Fold. Pick your pumpkin up off the earth.

 

Flying Pumpkin- Bring your pumpkin up to the sky.

 

Namaste Pumpkin- Bring your pumpkin to your heart.

 

Repeat on the other side

 

-Pumpkin Patch

 

Put your pumpkins in the center of the circle. Practice some balancing poses while focusing on your pumpkin.

 

Tree

Warrior 3

Eagle Pose

Use more balancing poses if time permitting

 

-Pick Your Pumpkin

 

Crab walk to your pumpkin, pick your pumpkin, and then table walk back to your mat with your pumpkin on your belly.

 

-Pumpkin Toes

 

Lie on your back and hold your pumpkin up in the air with your feet.

 

-Pumpkin Breathing

 

Lie on your back and put your pumpkin on your belly.

 

-Pumpkin Relaxation

This is a version of the "Planting a Seed" story in  Imaginations. You could also use "A Fall Day" from  Imaginations 2 if you are using this lesson to celebrate fall.

Imagine that you have a magical seed in your hands.

Whisper a secret to the seed.

Tell it you’d like it to grow into a pumpkin.

Now dig a hole in the ground.

Plant your seed in the hole and cover it with dirt.

Imagine that it starts to rain.

Water slowly soaks into the soil.

Now the sun comes out and shines brightly on the garden.

You start to see a tiny sprout poke up out of the soil.

Tangled roots grow down into the ground.

And the seed grows

And grows…

And grows…

And grows into a beautiful pumpkin.

What color is your pumpkin?

What shape is your pumpkin?

What is special about your pumpkin?

Enjoy looking at your beautiful pumpkin.

 

 

Pumpkin Craft-

 

Decorate your mini-pumpkin.  Choose from any of the suggested materials:

 

Stickers

Markers (need to be permanent so they will write)

Glitter glue

Paint


I hope you LOVE using mini-pumpkins as much as I do! Have other ideas for using them in yoga classes? Share them in the comments section below.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke
BambinoYoga.com
Info@bambinoyoga.com
 

Imaginations 2 is here!

Imaginations2Cover.jpg

If you liked the first book, you are going to LOVE the second book! I am so happy with the way Imaginations 2 turned out.  This book contains breathing exercises, yoga poses, and guided imagery for kids.

All of the stories have themes that easily fit a kids yoga class. Here are the story titles:

Tight and Soft (Progressive Relaxation)

A Fall Day

Wintertime

Springtime

Summertime

Rainbow Flower Garden

The Thunder Drum

The End of the Rainbow

Nighttime Animal Adventure

Lavender Fields

Rainbow Bubbles

Butterflies

Mandalas

Sunset

Dinosaur Friend

In the Desert

Making Chocolate

More Loving Kindness

 

You can find it here on Amazon, or at The National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington, DC on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. Stay tuned for more retailers!

Wholesale orders at $10 a book are welcome- contact us at info@bambinoyoga.com for more information or order online.

I hope you love it and find it a helpful tool for the children in your life.

Namaste,

Carolyn