Two Kids Yoga-Friendly Books on My Gift Giving List This Year

Check out these two great children’s books that I plan to give as gifts this year. Enter the drawing to win a copy of both books, plus an Imaginations book here. THE ABC’s of Australian Animals by Giselle Shardlow

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Giselle Shardlow’s The ABC’s of Australian Animals is my new favorite ABC book for kids! Each colorful page includes an Australian animal, many of which were new to me, and a corresponding yoga pose. This book is so fun to read to kids because they are learning and moving at the same time! Check out all of these fun animal poses:

Anemone Pose

Brolga Pose

Crocodile Pose

Dingo Pose

Echidna Pose

Frilled-Necked Lizard Pose

Goanna Pose

Humpback Whale Pose

Ibis Pose

Jellyfish Pose

Koala Pose

Leadbeater’s Possum Pose

Magpie Pose

Numbat Pose

Octopus Pose

Platypus Pose

Quoll Pose

Red Kangaroo Pose

Sea Star Pose

Tasmanian Devil Pose

Ulysses Butterfly Pose

Venomous Snake Pose

Wombat Pose

Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Pose

Yabby Pose

Zebra Bullhead Shark Pose

As a kids yoga instructor, I find Giselle’s Kids Yoga Stories invaluable. Her book is fun, the pictures are colorful, and each page has a corresponding yoga pose, making it really easy to use in a children's yoga class . If you are a parent, you will love keeping your kids active and healthy while reading them a story. The book includes a guide for parents and teachers that gives tips on using yoga with kids. Thank you, Giselle, for another great kids yoga resource!

Softcover, 42 pages, Retail: $15.95

See sample pages and purchase here:

http://www.kidsyogastories.com/product/abc-australian-animals/

Win a copy here!

The Museum by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter Reynolds

museum

Susan Verde’s The Museum is one of my new all-time favorite children’s books. The illustrations by Peter Reynolds are colorful watercolors that include clever reproductions of famous artwork, like The Scream by Munch and The Starry Night by Van Gogh.

The story is about a girl that goes to an art museum and is inspired by each piece of art she sees. She interacts with each piece of art in a different way- dancing, twirling, and making silly faces. Then she comes to a blank canvas, and after closing her eyes, she fills the white space with all the colors and magic she sees in her imagination.

Susan is a children’s yoga instructor, and that comes through in her book. There are lots of opportunities to integrate creative movement and yoga, and the book also empowers kids to tap into their own creativity. Yoga can boost creativity, so this book is a perfect way to transition from an active yoga session to an art activity. Thank you, Susan, for a fun and colorful addition to my library!

Hardcover, 32 pages, Retail: $16.95

Purchase: http://www.amazon.com/The-Museum-Susan-Verde/dp/1419705946

Win a copy here!

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

www.bambinoyoga.com

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Fall Yoga and Guided Imagery in the Classroom

Maple tree

I was asked to write a guest post on the YogaKids International Blog. Here's an excerpt:

"Guided imagery is a directive story that includes descriptions to stimulate the senses. When reading it aloud to children, you bring them to a relaxed place by using lots of sensory descriptions -- including what they see, smell, hear, feel, and even taste. It can help them calm their bodies, focus their minds, and boost their creativity. Try this fall-themed relaxation story to help your students visualize and learn about the season."

To read the full post and special fall-themed guided imagery, visit:

http://yogakids.com/_blog/YogaKids_Blog/post/fall-yoga-and-guided-imagery-in-the-classroom/Maple tree

Top Storybooks for Kids Yoga- Poll Results!

Image Here are the results of the poll with OMazingKids.com and KidsYoga101.com!

1. Sophia's Jungle Adventure by Giselle Shardlow 2. Anna and Her Rainbow Colored Yoga Mats by Giselle Shardlow 3. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle & Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean 4. The ABCs of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Anne Power 5. Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean & Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst 6. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, It's a Tiger by David LaRochelle, The Three Questions by Jon Muth, Zen Shorts by Jon Muth, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds & Storytime Yoga: The Treasure in Your Heart by Sydney Solis.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited to have a new list of fun books that compliment kids yoga. I'm also looking forward to reading these books and writing relaxation stories inspired by their themes and stories.

Are there other storybooks you love using in your kids yoga classes or with your kids? Leave a comment below with some of your favorites! Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Luke's Beach Day Review, Giveaway, and Beach Yoga Lesson Plan

Review of Luke's Beach Day

luke beach day

In case you missed it on Amazon.com, here's what I had to say about Luke's Beach Day by Giselle Shardlow:

"Luke's Beach Day, by Giselle Shardlow at KidsYogaStories.com, teaches children's yoga and environmentalism with a sweet story and easy-to-follow yoga pose pictures on each page.

The story follows Luke and his friends at the beach, discovering sea life, boats, and litter! Luke is bothered by the trash and makes sure to put it all in the garbage can, setting a good example and teaching readers to do the same. The book includes a list of all of the poses used in the book, including Kangaroo pose (fun!) and Sun Salutations. There is also a list of tips that are helpful for people who have never done yoga with kids (it is definitely different than doing yoga with adults!).

I love all the books from Kids Yoga Stories, especially this one that has the corresponding poses listed on each page. I love that as I read a story to my classes, the kids automatically go into the poses that they see in the top corner of the pages. It is much easier than trying to hold a book and to demonstrate a yoga pose at the same time.

Giselle Shardlow has created another invaluable resource for parents, teachers, and kids yoga instructors wishing to share yoga in a fun, healthy, and eco-friendly way."

I think it's a great book for kids yoga classes (enter the giveaway below!), so I've put together a lesson plan using it (this lesson plan was originally created for an OMazing Kids lesson plan constest last year). The lesson plan (below) includes a story from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids, too!

A Relaxing Day at the Beach Lesson Plan

Suggested materials – Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids book by Carolyn Clarke Luke’s Beach Day by Giselle Shardlow Shell collection displayed inside of yoga mat circle Cardboard laminated suns Hobermann Sphere Ocean wave music Printed pictures of sand sculptures chosen from: Cat http://tinyurl.com/9tujuck Cow http://tinyurl.com/8qmh4sc Dog http://tinyurl.com/9crw6n8 Tree http://tinyurl.com/8ed6ua4

Sequence of Poses:

Breathing with the Hoberman Sphere

Rub Palms together and feel your own energy

Shell Meditation (Pass around shells and listen to the sound of the ocean)

Shoulder Rolls

Neck stretches (move head like yes and no)

Arms circles

Sand sculptures (Show pictures of sand sculptures and then mimic them with poses) Cat Pose Cow Pose Dog Pose Tree Pose

Dig a Hole (Standing Forward Bend to Extended Mountain with an imaginary shovel)

Jump the waves (Imagine you are jumping over waves staying on your yoga mat or have two kids hold the ends of a long piece of blue material for kids to jump over)

Sun Salutations

Beach ball game (Pass the ball around the circle with your arms, then lying down with your feet.)

Read Luke’s Beach Day and act out the story with the included yoga poses

Starfish Stretches (Arms, legs, and head are starfish arms. Sit down, open legs in a V. Stretch your arms overhead to one side, then the other side, stretch forward, and then stretch backwards until you are lying on your back.)

Kelp Forest (Lying back, arms and legs up in the air. Sway arms and legs slowly with the current. )

Cool-down Flow Knees to Chest, Legs Up, Dead Bug/Happy Baby, Savasana/Relaxation Pose 1_KneeHug_Book_Picture 2_HappyBaby_Book_Picture 3_LegsUp_Book_Picture 4_Starfish_Book_Picture

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (tighten and relax each body part) followed by this story from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids:

A Day at the Beach

Imagine you are walking on the beach.

Feel the sand between your toes.

Is it wet or dry?

When you find your perfect spot, spread out your towel and lie down in the sand.

Feel the warm sun on your skin and a cool, refreshing breeze.

Listen to the waves crashing on the shore…

Children playing…

Seagulls singing…

And people laughing.

Listen to the sound of the waves.

A wave comes into shore, and then the wave moves back into the ocean.

Now, put your hand on your belly.

Feel it rise up when you take in a breath, and feel it fall down when you let out a breath.

Up and down, in and out.

Just like the waves in the ocean…

Enjoy lying here feeling your body relaxed at the beach.

© 2012 Carolyn Clarke from Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

Activities: Choose any of the beach themed activities from the Pinterest board for A Day at the Beach http://pinterest.com/relaxationstory/a-day-at-the-beach/

Enter the Giveaway

So now you are probably REALLY excited to have a copy of Luke's Beach Day of your own!

Enter the giveaway by Friday, August 2nd, 2013 at midnight PST to win a copy of Luke’s Beach Day and Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids.

Click Here to Enter

Rules of Participation:

  • Must be 18 years or older with a valid e-mail address.
  • Employees or family members of Bambino Yoga are not eligible.
  • No purchase required.
  • Comments submitted via Rafflecopter  may be copied & pasted into the blog posts on KidsYoga101.com, ImaginationsForKids.com, or Bambino Yoga.com.
  • Odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  • The winner will be chosen via a drawing of valid entries on Monday August 5, 2013.
  • The winner will receive Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids and Luke’s Beach Day. Luke’s Beach Day will be shipped separately by Kids Yoga Stories.
  • The winners will be notified via e-mail, will be posted on the blog posts & will be posted on the ImaginationsForKids/Bambino Yoga Facebook page.
  • Legal Info:This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Rafflecopter. You are providing your information to Bambino Yoga, not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for our internal purposes in relation to the administration of the giveaway. Your information will NOT be sold to any outside parties. Indemnification/Hold Harmless: By participating, entrants agree: (a) to the decisions of Bambino Yoga which shall be final in all respects; (b) to release, discharge, and hold harmless Bambino Yoga and its respective representatives and agents from all liability, injuries, losses or damages of any kind to persons or property resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from the acceptance, possession, misuse or use of a prize, or from participation in and/or entry into the Contest or any Contest-related activity and for acceptance, delivery, or use of any prize; (c) that the foregoing parties have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation or guaranty, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relating to any prize.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Your Vote Needed to Break the Tie in the Storybook for Kids Yoga Poll!

Cover Collage with Tie Break1

Last month, OMazing Kids and KidsYoga101.com hosted a poll and to find out the top 10 storybooks for yoga.

Here were the results of the book poll:

  1. Sophia’s Jungle Adventure, by Giselle Shardlow

  2. ???

  3. ???

  4. ???

  5. ???

  6. ???

  7. ???

  8. ???

  9. ???

  10. ???

See all those question marks? We need your help to vote for the remaining 9 of the top 10 books! Please vote in the form (below) or here by midnight PST, Friday July 19th, 2013.

Cover Collage with Tie Break1

[googleapps domain="docs" dir="forms/d/1istizvnnatttBCB9trqToTx5tfxlqWYVIjAH-zgS-z4/viewform" query="embedded=true" width="760" height="1000" /]

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

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How Teaching Yoga Has Taught Me How to Help Kids Go to Sleep at Night

Disclaimer- I don't have kids to put to sleep at night. But, over the years I have babysat my fair share, so I am familiar with the struggle of getting a child to go to sleep. The little pitter patter of feet coming down the hall when you think they are finally fast asleep... The feeling that you would do anything to be able to take a nap yourself, so why wouldn't they want to???

My recommendations come from watching children arrive to my yoga classes revved up, and then seeing them afterwards calm and relaxed, saying they could go to sleep.  The techniques that I use in yoga class are geared toward helping them use up and burn off their excess energy and transition into being calm and relaxed.

Here's how I apply what I know from teaching kids yoga (in italics) to helping kids go to sleep:

1. Burn it Off -

What I know: Do active poses first to help burn off energy.

Bedtime advice: Help kids sleep at night by keeping them active earlier in the day. If they aren't involved in afterschool activities like sports or yoga classes (hint hint), encourage games of catch, bike rides, frisbee, putting on music and dancing, jumping on the trampoline etc. Anything to get them moving. Lead by example getting exercise yourself, or better yet, play with them!

2. Winding Down -

What I know: In order to bring the energy level of the kids down, environment is important.

Bedtime Advice: As adults, it is hard for us to run around doing a million things during the day and then flop right into bed and go to sleep. We might need to take a shower or a bath, read a book, and listen to some jazz to bring our energy level down. The same applies to kids. Think of the evening as a time to bring the energy level down. Don't have a tickle fight in the living room and then march the kids off to bed.   Instead, choose quiet evening activities- coloring, reading books, writing or drawing in a journal, etc. Also, set a time-limit on screen time before bed. Experts have recommended powering off anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime. Experiment to see what works for your family. Use soft, quiet voices and dim the lights. Think of this time as a transition time from a hectic day to a calm night.

3. Yoga Poses -

What I know: Certain yoga poses help calm the body and are particularly relaxing.

Bedtime advice: Yoga is a great way to wind the body down at night. However, not all yoga poses are created equal at nighttime, especially yoga geared towards children that tends to be more active and playful. Use poses that are calming, balancing, and restful. (Tree and child's pose instead of Sun Salutations.)  Balance poses clear and focus the mind, and forward bends help quiet the body. Also, any poses lying on the back are particularly restful (Happy Baby/Dead Bug, Knees to Chest, Legs on the Wall or Legs Up in the Air).

1_KneeHug_Book_Picture
2_HappyBaby_Book_Picture
3_LegsUp_Book_Picture
4_Starfish_Book_Picture

4. Guided Imagery -

What I know: Guided imagery helps give active minds something to focus on.

Bedtime advice: Reading a bedtime story is well-known as a nighttime activity. But sometimes the stories really get your mind going! I suggest reading a guided visualization afterwards that helps replace busy thoughts in a child's mind with calm, peaceful images.  You can read them a relaxation story (Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids has 18 to choose from) or make up your own using a theme or place that you know your child enjoys. Remember, always use a slow and soft voice.

5. Essential Oils -

What I know: Good smelling essential oils have powerful effects.

Bedtime advice: Lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile oil are all essential oils that are known to help bring about sleep. Experiment with different oil scents to find the one that works best with your child (what works for one, might not be the same for another). Remember, always look for pure essential oils (not synthetic fragrance oils), especially when using them with kids. When using essential oils with kids, you only need a tiny little drop, and you can even dilute that drop in a carrier oil (like coconut or almond oil).  Try a bedtime foot massage or using a drop in the bath. Try them for yourself too... I can't sleep without lavender or ylang ylang, and I always travel with them.

6. Eye Pillows -

What I know: Eye pillows can make the most fidgety child calm and content during relaxation.

Bedtime advice: Eye pillows are a fun bedtime "prop" that really help with sleep. When you put the pillow over your child's eyes, the weight of the pillow helps relax the muscles of the eyes and face. Have your child use one while you are massaging his or her feet with essential oils, and your child might start asking to go to bed early!

7. Can't Force It -

What I know: You can't force a child to relax. You can only guide them there and create a relaxing environment.

Bedtime Advice: You can't force your child to sleep at night, just as I can't force a child to relax in yoga. As Rachel Rainbolt says in her book , Sage Parenting, "It is your job to offer your child sleep, not to make her sleep. In other words, it is your job to provide the conditions for sleep. It is ultimately up to your child whether or not she chooses to walk through the door to dreamland, and you should grant her that respect and control over her own body."

So, together, let's keep creating relaxing experiences for the children in our lives, whether through yoga or a calming bedtime routine or both, so that children not only choose to drift off to sleep but that they look forward to it.

Have suggestions or comments - please leave them below!

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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20 Reasons I Love Teaching Kids Yoga

Teaching Rory Yoga I recently wrote a guest post on Giselle Shardlow's Kids Yoga Stories blog. It's a list of some of the reasons I love teaching kids yoga. Giselle originally asked me for a sentence or two about what I love most about teaching kids yoga, and I was stumped. It's a hard thing for me to sum up in a few words because every day I love something different about it. So, I started procrastinating... And avoiding. And mulling... I finally motivated myself to write when I decided to have fun with it by making a silly (yet soulful) list. I think it was a good reminder that in order for me to accomplish something, I have to make it fun and not take "work" so seriously!

Here's a few from the list:

 

  • Feeling the frenetic energy of a group of kids come into the room before class
  • Kids saying “Hi Yoga” because they think my name is Yoga
  • Having the trunk of my car filled with Beanie Babies, yoga mats, chimes, toys, Lavender oil, Heart pillows, picture books, and a parachute, instead of something “boringly adult” like car cleaning supplies or the dry cleaning

To read all 20, visit the full post at Kids Yoga Stories.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Using Live Flowers in Kids Yoga Classes

Sunny One of my favorite things to do in a springtime yoga class (or anytime, really), is to bring in fresh flowers for my yoga students. Here's why I love using fresh flowers in yoga:

1) Smiles-

The children's faces light up when they see them. It is an instant mood-lifter. That alone is enough of a reason, but there are more reasons...

2) Mindfulness-

Flowers invoke mindfulness. Thus the phrase, "Stop and smell the roses."  Their beauty and fragance can stop us in our tracks. Ever go on a walk with a toddler? Chances are they stopped to look at each flower along the way.  I like to encourage mindfulness by having each child hold a flower (stay away from thorny stems like roses).  We gaze at the flower in silence for an age appropriate amount of time. I find that the longer that you look at the flower, the more colors and textures you notice. I discovered this when I was lucky enough to get a massage in French Polynesia- the therapist put a hibiscus flower in a vase on the floor under the head rest, so for an hour I gazed at the flower. At first it was just a red hibiscus, but then I started to see variations of colors and textures that I never would have noticed if I'd just walked past it.  So, ring a bell to start the flower meditation, have a period of silence, and then ring a bell afterwards. Ask the children what they noticed about their flower.

3) Breathing-

If your flowers are fragrant (which I recommend), do a "breathing exercise". Take long deep breaths to smell the flower all together as a group. Discuss.

4) Balancing and Standing-

I love holding a flower while doing standing yoga poses:

  • Extended mountain- Reach your flower up to the sky
  • Crescent moon- Bend side to side with your flower, just like it does in the wind
  • Flowering tree pose- Hold the flower in one of your branches and pretend your tree is blooming
  • Warrior 3- Strecth your flower out in front of you
  • Seed to Tree- Curl up child's pose and then sprout out of your seed to become a flowering tree (inspired by YogaKids)
  • Ask the kids for their ideas- they will have some ideas, too, for doing yoga with the flowers

5)Sitting/Floor Work-

There are lots of fun things you can do with the flower while on the floor too.

  • Make a bouquet- Have all the kids sit in a circle with feet touching, extend your flowers up in the air (Staff Pose), then forward bend and bring your flowers to the center towards your toes
  • Rest your flower in your lap for any kind of arm stretches or side stretches
  • Table pose- Set the table with a flower on your belly, or a flower on your back depending on which style of table pose you are doing (or try both)
  • Ask again for kids ideas!

6)Relaxation-

Rest the flower on your belly for belly breathing and savasana (Prompt the kids to picture the flower, smell the flower, feel the flower while they are relaxing.)

7) Paying it Forward-

You can send the flowers home with the kids. OR I bring in a vase or mason jar, and suggest to the kids that we put all of our flowers together in the vase and give it to someone that might appreciate it (teacher at the school, someone's parent that just had a baby, or the owner of the studio, etc.) It's fun to see who they come up with to give it to. If they can't all agree on one person, then ask each child to give their own flower to someone of their own choosing.

8) Eco-friendly-

I love using props in kids yoga, and I especially like when a "prop" is from the earth and biodegradable... Remind them to put the flower in their green garbage bin or compost bin if they are taking the flowers home. Using flowers helps bring a connection with the earth into the classroom or yoga studio, and it is fitting for the week of Earth Day!

A few tips-

Make sure that the flowers you bring in aren't poisonous or prickly.... I like picking out flowers with rigid stems (Think sunflowers over tulips) so that they stay straight during our poses. If you are just doing mindfulness exercises and not asana with the flowers, then choose beauty and fragrance over sturdiness!

Also, if you have too many kids in your class to make flowers feasible, a single flower or a small potted plant is a nice addition to the center of a circle of mats and creates a good focus point for meditation and balancing.

Have a wonderful time using flowers in your class! And take some pictures!

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Music for Kids Yoga - Johnette Downing, Fins and Grins & The Second Line: Scarf Activity Songs

Do you get a sense of glee when you discover new music?  Music that is perfect for kids yoga? I know I do! Have you heard of Johnette Downing?

Here are two albums that are great for kids yoga classes:

Fins and Grins

fins and grins

Here are the songs (which you can tell are good for kids yoga just by the titles):

1. Rock Hopper Penguin

2. Amazon ABCs

3. Amphibians

4. Clamshell Clap

5. Circle of Life

6. L'ecrevisse

7. I Want to be a Frog Today

8. A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea

9. Moving Along

10. Stingray Shuffle

11. Camouflage

12. Most Fish Swim

13. Seahorses Listen

14. I Went to the Aquarium

15. Tooth Fairy

16. Turtles

This is a wonderful CD with an aquatic theme.  I’ve found lots of songs about cats, dogs, and barnyard animals, but this CD has songs about penguins! Clams! Stingrays! Turtles! Sea Horses! Johnette’s voice is great, and the music is fun and lively. She reminds me of Laurie Berkner, but with a New Orleans style of music. Pretty much all of the songs are great for an ocean themed class!

The Second Line

Scarf Activity Songs

Song list:

1. Introduction

2. The Second Line

3. Shake Your Scarves

4. Scarves Up and Down and Around

5. Water, Wind and World

6. The Sacroiliac

7. Thread the Needle

8. Scarves on Your Laps

9. Flitter Flutter

10. Crazy Eights

11. Wow!

12. Rhythm In The Scarves

13. Circus Parade

14. The Second Line Reprise

I like to integrate Music and Movement activities into my yoga classes. Is it technically yoga, maybe not, but I think it provides child-friendly body awareness and helps burn off some of their energy so we can do some calming yoga poses. And isn't everything yoga if you are doing it with awareness? These songs are really fun scarf activity songs. Sometimes when we use scarves, I have a few ideas on how to use them and then my mind draws a blank. With these songs you could do a whole class with them!

P.S. This isn't a formal review or anything... I just found something that I like and wanted to share.

Her work can be found at her website and at Amazon.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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March Giveaway- Imaginations and Good Morning Yogis Book Prize Pack

Enter here: We're having a Rafflecopter giveaway! CLARKE_IMAGINATIONS book cover

good morning yogis jpg The winner will receive a copy of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids and Good Morning Yogis by Cate Stillman.

Read the review of Good Morning Yogi's Here.

Enter the giveaway Here.

Good luck! Carolyn Clarke

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Good Morning Yogis Book Review

good morning yogis jpg I love this sweet book on an Ayurvedic morning routine for kids- Good Morning Yogis Big and Small by Cate Stillman. This book will be helpful for teaching kids helpful morning habits, but it will also be a good reminder for adults to have a healthy morning routine other than a shower and a cup of coffee!

The story follows a little girl through her morning routine, and each section talks about one of the following steps:

Going to bed early and waking up early Stretch, Ah, and Om Have a Family Hug Morning Poop Scrape Your Tongue Oil Your Nostrils Stretch Eat a Light Breakfast Play

The pictures are cute, and each section has kid-friendly verbiage on the left, and then a page on the right for adults with more detailed information. I think this is a good way for kids to be interested in the book without having all the factoids get in the way. There are a few recipes, too. I tried the Green Smoothie recipe, and it was delicious.

I sometimes find Ayurveda confusing, so I like the simple, whimsical approach that Good Morning Yogis Big and Small has.

Details:

Good Morning Yogis Big and Small by Cate Stillman

It is 8 ½ x 5 ½, 18 pages, and retails for $6. Check out the author's website for bulk deals.

Enter giveaway here.

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Kids Yoga and Relaxation for Fear, Anxiety, and Worry

Local Authors with Arrow

I was honored to be part of the San Diego Local Authors exhibit. My book is enclosed in glass in the San Diego downtown library, along with a few hundred other local authors' creations. All the authors gathered for a reception and to accept an award.  This seems like a great thing, right?

Well, I was afraid.

It's funny how fear works.  Sometimes it's good- your fear might get you out of a dangerous situation. Other times it may be completely irrational.

I was scared to go to this author reception, alone, where I knew no one. What was I afraid of? I don't know, really. I guess the usual.. What if no one talked to me? What if no one liked me? What if I did something that made me look stupid? What should I wear? Ironically, I had anxiety about accepting an award for writing a book on relaxation!

So to help me face my fear of walking into a big reception alone and unknown, as I was driving to the reception, I thought through some of the stories in my relaxation book, Imaginations. I took deep breaths, and I walked in relatively relaxed and calm.  I ended up meeting many interesting authors and learning about a ton of local books.

I am an anxious, worrier. Sometimes I feel like a fraud for writing a relaxation book. BUT, I've realized that it's a good thing that I truly have to WORK at staying relaxed. I have to remind myself to breathe deeply. I have to do yoga. I have to tell myself that it is going to be okay, and I have to actively picture a "happy place" .  Each of the stories and techniques in my book have actively helped me, so I know they work, and I know that they can help an anxious, worried, or fearful child too.

I've been working on a lesson plan for my kids yoga class about fear, and thought I would share a  few suggested yoga poses for kids and fear/worry/anxiety:

  • Mountain Pose- Abby Willis has written a blog post called Yoga Poses for Kids: A powerful asana for soothing fear. It's a sweet way to address fear in Mountain Pose.
  • Warrior Pose- YogaKids Brave Warrior with Affirmations: "I am BRAVE"
  • I find that when I am scared, I contract my chest, so any chest-opening, heart opening yoga pose would be helpful. Like: Camel pose.
  • Sun Salutations or any Vinyasa flow- I find that when I get my body moving, the fear dissipates. It's like it burns off... Here We Are Together has a cute collection of pictures of a child doing Sun Salutations.
  • Animals- Anytime I am using fear as a theme, I give kids a chance to share what they are afraid of- lots of times they afraid of animals. We act out those animals with yoga: Dog Pose, Alligator Pose, Shark Pose, Bee Pose. If there isn't a pose, we make it up! I make sure to make it fun and silly... (I secretly am afraid of dogs, so anytime I'm around a dog that makes me uncomfortable, I imagine that I'm in Downward Dog Pose, and that helps.)
  • Breathing exercises- Slow calming breaths are great for facing fears. Try breathing with a Hoberman Sphere. Open it big and tall when you breathe in and close it when you breathe out.
  • Guided Relaxation- Reading a relaxation story, or "going to your happy place", can help calm your fears. Check out the Freebie section for a relaxation story here.

Here's a book that I have found helpful: What To Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner

Also, I love:

There's An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Meyer

And don't forget some music for Savasana:

Three Little Birds by Renee and Jeremy

I hope these techniques help the children in your life! (Or maybe even you!)

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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"Lovey-Dovey" Yoga- 5 Valentines Activities for Kids Yoga

Hearts and rory and words

My favorite month for kids yoga is February! I use the theme of L-O-V-E  all month long!

1. Love Breath-

Take a deep breath in, say LOVE when you breathe out.

2. IKEA Love Pillow Breath-

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Hold this heart pillow.

Bring the arms out when you breathe in to make room for the air, and then wrap the arms around the heart when you breathe out. Visual cues like this make it easy for kids to play with their breath.  You can have the kids take turns using the pillow to lead.

3. Rocking Chair pose-

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  • Lie on your belly.
  • Bend your knees.
  • Stetch your arms back to reach your feet.
  • Pull your feet up to make the front of your body rounded.
  • Rock back and forth like a Rocking Chair.
  • Feel how open the area is around your heart- send some love to someone who needs it!

4. Partner Back Massage

  • Sit on the floor, with your legs stretched out like a V.
  • Have a friend sit in front of you, and they can stretch their legs out like a V too. Keep having friends sit down in the same way until you run out of friends J
  • Give the person in front of you a shoulder and neck rub.  You can use different techniques- lightly rub their back, gently chop (like a gentle karate chop), and then draw heart s or other shapes with the palms of your hands or your fingers.
  • Note: I always have kids ask the person in front of them if it is okay to give them a back massage. If you are doing this with lots of kids, and someone doesn’t want a back rub, have them be the first one to sit down. If you are doing this with only one partner, then switch places so both have a chance to receive a massage.

5. A FREE Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving Kindness meditations are a sweet way to integrate love into yoga. Download this FREE Loving Kindness relaxation story from Imaginations here.

I hope you enjoy doing Lovey-Dovey yoga with your students or family.

Sending you lots of love,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

 

Kids Yoga Giveaway to Help End Childhood Obesity

Help End Childhood Obesity!

This is big! Send a fellow kids yoga teacher, Leah Kalish of Move With Me, to present to Michelle Obama at the Health Summit in DC in March 2013!mwm_logo

Please vote now for Move with Me Yoga in the Innovation Challenge Contest here. Leah Kalish, founder of Move with Me Yoga, is a finalist in the Partnership for a Healthier America - End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge.She is 1 of 10 finalists and must be in the top 3 to present her ideas (CHILDREN NEED YOGA!) to Michelle Obama and other health/education leaders at the Health Summit in DC in March 2013.

Four Red Gift Boxes

Then enter the Raffle here for a chance to win one of the 75+ Prizes (see the full prize list here too). To encourage voting, over 75 kids yoga prizes have been donated by Children's Yoga Leaders from around the world. Please take a few seconds to vote and then reward yourself by entering the raffle. We have donated several copies of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids.

This is an exciting opportunity for children's yoga to be presented as a major health initiative! Think of all the good that could happen if yoga for children was being supported at a national level!

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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The Grinch's Heart Chakra!

GrinchHeart (Image from SpoolandSpoonBlog.com)

I lucked out yesterday with a last minute ticket for Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas at the San Diego’s Old Globe Theater!  It’s been a long time since I read the book or saw the movie, so it was as if I was hearing the story for the first time.  What struck me about the play was how “yoga” it is.

This is actually a story about the heart chakra! Initially, the Grinch’s heart is cold and closed- he hates Christmas, carols, holiday feasts, toys, and children.  But, he connects with one little girl, Cindy Lou Who.  She shows him compassion and forgiveness for being the Grinch that he is, and her open heart helps him open HIS heart! On stage, the Grinch’s heart lights up and we hear it beat loudly. His heart chakra is opening! The chakra of love, compassion, and kindness. And guess what color is the color of the heart chakra- GREEN! The color of the Grinch!

I was planning on putting together a Grinch yoga lesson plan, and stumbled across this post on my friend Angela’s Moorad’s blog, OmAzing Kids, here.  This makes my lesson planning easy! We must be connected at the heart chakra this week! Thank you Angela!

I also thought of the Loving Kindness relaxation story in my book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids. It says:

"Now think of someone who is mean or unfriendly. Send this person some love, too. Sometimes people are mean because they don't feel loved. So send this person some extra love."

So our challenge as yogis is to send some extra love to all the Grinches out there from our heart chakras to their heart chakras!!!

With love and gratitude,

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com www.sdyogakids.com https://www.facebook.com/imaginationsforkids

Great article on helping kids get ready for school using Yoga!

I love this article and I think it's got some wonderful ideas, including using a focus point (Drishti), breathing, taking care of yourself, the importance of the company you keep, leading with kindness, and experiencing with a beginner's mind. Only thing I'd add is guided imagery, like the stories you can find in my book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids! Here's the article on Patch.com!

Guided Imagery and Athletes

Great article on imagery boosting performance. We use lots of guided imagery in kids yoga! Maybe they'll be in the Olympics twenty years from now! Guided imagery for kids can be found in my new book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids! http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/07/31/imagining-gold-how-imagery-helps-athletes-boost-performance

(Picture from TakePart.com)

Namaste,

Carolyn

www.sdyogakids.com www.imaginationsforkids.com

Announcing My New Children's Relaxation Story book!!!

A collection of read-aloud relaxation stories for kids accompanied by guided imagery that allows them to close their eyes, imagine, relax their bodies, and focus their minds. Image

This book provides stories to help children learn to calm their bodies and relax their minds. Teaching children the ability to consciously relax the body and clear the mind can also help address larger issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders, nightmares, or being scared of the dark at bedtime
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem or negativity
  • Life changes such as moving, divorce, changing schools, etc.

Wildly imaginative and full of whimsical joy, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids imparts to children a life lesson as important as any other they will ever learn: relaxation makes your body feel good, your mind calm, and it's fun!

Here's a preview of the pictures inside:

Image

Purchase this gift for your children, grandchildren, neices, nephews, students and any other children in your life here.

10 Inexpensive Yoga Props for Kids Yoga Teachers to Use in Class

If I’ve learned anything in my teaching, it is to keep things fun and new (for myself and the kids!) I Nothing seems to spruce up a yoga class better than some new props! Sometimes I feel like I have to spend lots of money on expensive, fun props, but sometimes the cheapest really are the best… Here are some great, inexpensive props all under $20 and some for free: 1. Pom-poms -Pom Pom Again

Use them to have kids do breath work. Put them on the ground and blow them, or blow at them through a straw. My preschool kids go bananas for these!

2. Bubbles - Great breath play, and you can usually get a package of bubbles at a party supply store or at Oriental Trading Company.

3. Paper plates- A paper plate can be a steering wheel in Car Pose, a shell in Turtle Pose, a plate in Table Pose, a sun for sun salutations, a dish of milk in Cat Pose, a bowl of Dog Food in Dog Pose, and on and on… Decorate them with markers as a fun craft- make your own mandalas. For less environmental guilt, get them at Whole Foods where they are biodegradable or recycled.

4. Easter Egg Shakers-Easter Egg Take large dried lima beans and put them in plastic easter eggs- viola! Musical egg shakers to dance and move with.

5. Tulle- A long streamer of tulle (sp?) is a fun dance streamer. Fun for music and creative movement.

6. Dry erase paperboard- Use these over and over, for drawing crafts, visual displays, card games, etc…

7. Music- Download a fun song or two off of I-Tunes, or get a CD that you know you will use all of the songs over and over again to get your money’s worth (like Kira Willey’s Dance for the Sun on redyogamat.com, or any of the Laurie Berkner CD’s)

8. Library books- lots of fun books can be found at the library, and they are free! Just remember to return them on time (I seem to have trouble with that…)

9. Nature- Go on a nature walk at the beach, in the woods, etc. Gather anything that you might want to use in a yoga class as a prop. Rocks are fun focuses for balances and can be used to create worry stones or inspirational paperweights (decorate with words like “peace”, “love”, “Namaste”.) Or simply gather some flowers, feathers, driftwood, etc that would make a nice altar for the class. Of course, be respectful with what you take and use… Also, a bouquet of gerbera daisies are one of my favorite props. They cost only a few bucks, and can be wonderful for gazing meditations, or a gift at the end of a yoga class for each child. There is something magical about yoga and fresh flowers combined!

10. Stickers- Print your own or find fun packs. Use them as rewards at the end of class, as focus points for balancing, or use them on hands and feet for right and left.

Have fun!

Namaste,

Carolyn Clarke www.sdyogakids.com www.redyogamat.com

YogaKids Summer Camp

This is the first summer that I'll be offering a summer yoga camp! I hope that your child can join us! My friend, Amanda Perez, a social worker specializing in children, and I will be co-leading the camp at Point Loma Assembly. We'll have lots of time to do yoga and fun summer activities. Call me if you have questions about it at 858-752-2950. point loma assembly

down dog

Monday July 27th - Friday July 31st, 2009 1pm-4pm Ages 5 and up Point Loma Assembly Building, 3035 Talbot St, San Diego Cost: $150 (includes all materials and a healthy snack!) Bring a yoga mat or a towel. Yoga, Breathing, and Relaxation! Games! Creative Movement! Theater Games! Journaling! Arts and Crafts! Cooking Healthy Snacks! Music!

Join in on the fun by registering at sdyogakids.com.