More Yoga Fun With Essential Oils

Wait, there's more! Last week I wrote about lots of fun ways to use essential oils in a kids yoga class. There are also fun ways to use essential oils for arts and crafts activities. These may take more time, so use them when you have some extra time with the kids, like at a summer camp or extended workshop. You could also make them ahead of time and bring them to class as ready-to-go props or gifts.

Lavender Cloud Dough

A fun way to use lavender oil for a relaxing sensory activity. Click on the picture for more info.

Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace

An easy craft to do with clay and essential oils. Click the photo for details.

Need More Ideas?

There are lots here on my Pinterest Board:

http://www.pinterest.com/relaxationstory/aromatherapy-and-essential-oils/

While you are there, you can check out the activities that go along with each story in the Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids book, too!

Namaste,

Carolyn

 

Essential Oils and Kids Yoga

I've been really excited about using essential oils lately, and I've been learning so much about their benefits. There truly is an essential oil for every health issue! Essential oils are distilled or cold-pressed from plant parts (leaves, flowers, fruits, stems, etc depending on the plant). They can have healing properties both physically and emotionally.

Word of caution: Essential oils are powerful and children are sensitive to them- so always dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil (like coconut, almond, olive, etc.) if using topically, and always have parents sign a form that asks about allergies! Some children with special needs are especially sensitive to smells, so it is always better to double-check with parents about sensitivities. Be sure to ask permission of the venue as well (some schools don't allow scented products in the classroom). The safety of using specific oils with children depends on the age range you are working with. For great info on this and a helpful chart, check out Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood. Luckily for us, she lists lavender oil as being safe for all ages, even newborns. So if in doubt, go with lavender!

If I haven't scared you off yet, here are some games and uses for essential oils in a kids yoga class:

1. Guess the Scent game-

Select a variety of essential oils. For each oil, put a drop on a cotton ball, and then put the cotton ball in its own small jar or container (like a film canister). Be sure to label the jar with a color or number so you can keep track of which oil is in which container. Pass the jars around to each child so they can guess the oil. You could also have 2 sets of each jar of oils and have kids work with partners. One partner closes their eyes and one partner holds the bottles for them to smell and guess.

2. Match the oil-

Similar to the Guess the Scent game, but have 2 sets of the same oils on cotton in jars. Children get to smell one set, and then finding the matching oils in the other set with their noses.  (Be sure that you label one set with numbers and the other with colors so that they are truly using their noses.)

3. Relaxation spray for the room-

Give a spritz at the beginning of class to help soothe a rambunctious group, at the end during relaxation and savasana, or even in the middle of the class when you feel like the energy level needs to be brought down.

4. Relaxing foot rubs with lavender oil diluted in coconut oil or unscented lotion-

Have kids massage their own feet or take turns with a partner. It's a fun time to introduce a kid-friendly reflexology chart too.

5. Keeping the room germ free

Do you cringe when there are a lot of sniffles and sneezing around you in yoga class? Help keep everyone healthy, including you (!),  with a spritz of essential oil- most are antibacterial and antiviral! I like doTERRAs OnGuard or Young Living Thieves Oil (both are a combo of citrus, clove, and cinnamon and specifically blended for immunity boosting).

6. Concentration-

Lemon Oil and Peppermint Oil both help with concentration. Do an experiment where everyone tries a balancing pose, then spritz some essential oil spray, and do the pose again. Was it easier the second time after smelling an oil that helps you concentrate? (Lemon and Peppermint are safe for ages 2+ according to Worwood).

7. Lavender Oil Smudge at Third Eye-

One of my favorite memories in a yoga class was when a yoga teacher gave me a smudge of lavender oil in between my eyebrows during savasana. I could feel the sensation of the oil long after she left, my concentration naturally drew inwards, and I could smell the scent of lavender as I continued relaxing.  If you are doing this with kids, always dilute the lavender with a carrier oil, don't get it in their eyes, and of course, ask their permission first. FYI- I would only do this in a private lesson setting so that I didn't feel rushed to get to every single kid in the class before savasana was over...

8. Read "Lavender Fields" and Spray Lavender Oil Spray-

Imaginations 2 has a story about a lavender field. Read it to them while spraying lavender essential oil room spray. It is the perfect way to integrate lavender essential oil, relaxation, and yoga. Kids can imagine that they are lying in a lavender field while they are smelling the fragrance of lavender! The story is here.


The connection between smell and memory can be powerful, so if nothing else, you are creating powerful memories in kids yoga by using essential oils!

Have fun with oils, and stay tuned for some more fun ideas for using essential oils in class!

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

Website: www.bambinoyoga.com

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How to Give a Kids Yoga and Relaxation Book to a Homeless Child

Buy an Imaginations book straight from the author in December, and a book will be donated to a homeless child through Project Night Night.
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Project Night Night donates over 25,000 Night Night Packages each year, free of charge, to homeless children who need our childhood essentials to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn, and significant. Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children's book, and a stuffed animal -- all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag.

When you buy an Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids book from the author, Carolyn Clarke (me) at Bambino Yoga, a book will also be donated to a homeless child through Project Night Night.

I am SO excited to have found this organization, and I hope to donate a big stack of books to their Night Night Packages!

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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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

Virtual Trip to India with Flying Carpet Ride Relaxation Story

chai mommas guest postI’ve always wanted to travel to India. Studying yoga for 18 years and teaching it to children for 12 years has made me long to visit its birthplace. I channeled this desire into a sensory experience that I use in my yoga classes to teach kids about yoga’s origin. You, too, may find it helpful if you want your kids to experience India but can’t afford to hop on a plane with your family. If your kids have been lucky enough to visit India already, this can help them reinforce the memories of that vacation. The virtual trip uses all five senses, and a special Indian-themed guided imagery story at the end will leave your kids relaxed and focused. You can find the full adventure and a brand new relaxation story at this guest post on ChaiMommas:

http://www.chaimommas.com/a-virtual-trip-to-india/

For some great India themed yoga poses to go along with the adventure, check out this page at Kids Yoga Stories.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

www.bambinoyoga.com

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Review of Lalaalu Urban Yogi KidBox

I was recently sent a Lalaalu Urban Yogi KidBox Collection for review. It is an eco-friendly gift box of yoga-themed goodies for toddlers. Curated, themed gift boxes are all the rage, and it’s fun to see one geared towards kids yoga put together by yoga teacher, Elena Brower. Here’s what was in the box:

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The Little Yoga Mat

A super-cute yoga mat for kids aged 0-4. It is blue and orange with a sunshine pattern, latex-free, and recyclable. I’m familiar with this brand of kids yoga mats and had planned to invest in some for preschool yoga classes that I teach. I like the lightweight feel of the mat, so it would be easy to lug them to and from classes. Also, they don’t have a stinky “toxic” odor that some new yoga mats have. This is a huge plus when working with kids who are more sensitive to chemicals.

Nature Sounds Growing Minds With Music Twin Sisters CD

Music paired with nature sounds, like the ocean, rain, and wind. I love using nature sounds in my kids yoga classes, and I was very excited to learn of this CD. It is soothing and calm, and adds some nice ambience to kids yoga. I would use it at the end of my yoga class while reading a relaxation story with some guided imagery.

mOmma Straw Cup with Dual Handles

A BPA free cup that transforms from a bottle to a sippy cup. Although this isn’t a specific yoga product, it would be helpful during yoga sessions with young ones. It’s nice to have water nearby in a cup that won’t spill.

Snacks

Organic drink boxes from Orgain Healthy Kids and Nurturmeals Quinoa packs. I don’t often incorporate food in my yoga classes, but these organic products are good to know about for future summer camps or extended classes where I need to provide a snack.

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The only thing I wish the box included was something instructional about kids yoga- a book, a DVD, or a game. While this box would be a perfect gift for a parent that already knows some yoga, and wants to include their child in their home practice, it would be difficult for a parent that is new to yoga to get started with their child. Overall, I think that this is a box is a great  collection of wellness and relaxation goodies for toddlers, especially those with yogi parents.

Lalaalu also offers boxes for older kids (which include yoga games), and babies too. See them all and access an exclusive sale at this link thru Sept. 21st, and use the code LLLPERKS for free shipping:

www.lalaalu.com/kidboxes/exclusive

Note:  I was sent a free Yogi KidBox for the purpose of writing an honest review.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

www.bambinoyoga.com

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Giveaway/Review of Namaste Playground's Bedtime Yoga Training

Giveaway:

Win a copy of Imaginations and Namaste Playground’s Peaceful Bedtime Online Training!

Enter Rafflecopter drawing here. Enter now until Midnight PST 9/6/2013. Winner will be notified by email.

Review:

I am loving Namaste Playground’s Peaceful Bedtime Online Training. I received a copy of the multimedia training to review, and I think it will be so helpful to parents that are having a problem with getting their kids down for bed (or really any parent for that matter…).

Here’s what it includes:

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One Hour Audio Training - MP3-

An audio training that explains the benefits of a good night’s sleep along with leading sleep research. The training goes over tips to improve sleep including food to eat and turning off electronics. (It also recommends reading a story from my book, Imaginations! Thank you Namaste Playground!).

Jackie includes personal stories about her own daughters and her experience with putting her kids to bed at night. She also brings up some interesting points about the similarities between ADHD symptoms and extreme sleep deprivation. Good food for thought.

Playbook Manual – PDF

A thorough 11 page PDF that outlines the research and suggestions from the audio training. Also includes suggested music and the benefits of all the suggested yoga poses. I am looking forward to downloading all of the music she recommends for bedtime to create a good savasana playlist for relaxation time during my kids yoga classes.

Meditation to Use With Your Children - MP3

A sweet recording of a guided visualization to help lull your child to sleep. Jackie’s reads the story slowly, softly, and soothingly.

Video Clip of a 5 Minute Yoga Practice for Parent and Child

A fun video of her daughter doing the yoga routine next to her bed. I’ve adapted my nighttime yoga routine to include some of these poses too.

Heart Shape Eye Pillow Video instructions and Heart Shape Eye Pillow Pattern

A fun craft idea to make an eye pillow! I love the heart shape, and I am excited to try making one.

Although this training was all done through the computer, it has a really nice personal touch from Jackie, by her sharing stories and using videos. Overall, this is a well thought-out online training with tools that any parent will use for years. You can download it from Namaste Playground.

I received a free copy of this training. I had no obligation to give it a positive review.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Learn to Use Guided Imagery with Kids- This Thursday 8/22

Imagining Rainbows and Rocket Ships:

Guided Imagery for Relaxation and Learning

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Recipe for Guided Imagery:

1 Fun Theme

1-5 Senses with Imagery

A sprinkle of whimsy

Stir slowly. Take a deep breath. And relax....

I hope you can join us for this webinar. It's going to be informative, imaginative, and fun!

P.S. Bring a piece of chocolate for the webinar!

CC_Book_ImageSamplesADetails:

Thursday, August 22, 5:00-6:00 pm PDT/8:00-9:00 pm EDT

Presenter: Carolyn Clarke, author of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

Join Carolyn for a webinar on child-friendly guided visualization techniques filled with rainbows and rocket ships. Participants will learn about the benefits of guided imagery, as well as practical ways to create a child-friendly environment for guided imagery and relaxation. Participants will also experience a guided visualization leaving them calm, relaxed, and ready to share guided imagery with children.

Who should attend this webinar:

  • Yoga teachers striving to create a more relaxing and imaginative yoga class experience
  • Parents wanting to reduce their child's anxiety and stress in daily life and at bedtime
  • Educators looking for ways to create a calm classroom to facilitate learning

Bonus: One lucky participant will win a copy of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids

COST: $29 USD / FREE for Members of Kids Yoga Academy

Register Here at Kids Yoga Academy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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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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Review and Giveaway of Lisa Flynn's Yoga for Children

Want to win a copy of both Yoga for Children AND Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids? Enter the giveaway here.

 

9781440554636cvr.indd

I have fallen in love with the book, Yoga for Children, by Lisa Flynn.  Here’s why:

1.    Good introductory info

The beginning of the book outlines what yoga is and the benefits of yoga for kids. It also has developmentally appropriate activities based on age range and a list of props and toys for yoga. It provides a good foundation before moving into actually doing yoga with kids. Invaluable for a new kids yoga teacher, or a parent that wants to do yoga with their kids.

2.    Doesn’t water down yoga for kids

Includes core principles of yoga and how to teach them to children using yoga, storybooks, and discussion points. Not all children's yoga resources do this!

3.    Wonderful mindfulness and meditation ideas to do with kids.

Contains many original mindfulness ideas that I’ve never thought of or seen elsewhere.  Mindfulness is such an important aspect of yoga, and it’s nice to see this section in the front of the book before the asana section.

4.    Tons of yoga poses, all listed in ABC order so they are easy to find.

Each pose includes the benefits of the pose along with prompts of “what to do” and “what to say” when teaching the pose. The “what to say” section truly captures the essence of kids yoga with imaginative prompts and child-friendly language.

5.    Great pictures.

Each pose has a simple and sweet photo of a child doing yoga, all in full color.

6.    A whole section on partner poses.

Kids LOVE partner poses. There are some fun ones in this book that I’ve never taught before.

7.    Fun games

Lots of fun games that could be used in group yoga classes or family yoga classes.

8.    Songs for yoga

This is a fun section of songs, some set to classic children’s tunes, that include yoga poses and flows.

9.    Great section on relaxation and visualization

Fun ideas on transitioning into relaxation as well as beautiful guided imagery for visualization. I was also humbled to find that my book, Imaginations, was included as a resource in this section. What a nice surprise to find as I was reading the book!

10.    Yoga flows for kids

There is a whole section on “Putting It All Together” filled with sequences of the poses. Each one has a length of time and an age range, making this section very useful for kids yoga teachers when lesson planning, or for a parent to follow along with.

---------------------------------->>>>>>>

I’ve been teaching yoga for over a decade, and I thought that I had every wonderful kids yoga book out there.  This resource is something, though, that the children’s yoga world has needed- an encyclopedia of essential kids yoga poses, games, breathing, and mindfulness techniques, that is brimming with new ideas and techniques to try. I'm going to pull this book out anytime I need some new inspiration. It’s like the “Light on Yoga” for children’s yoga.

Buy the book:

Childlight Yoga

Amazon.com- Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children

Win the book:

Enter the giveaway of Yoga for Children and Imaginations here.

Legal stuff:

I received a copy of this book to review. I was not obligated to like it or write a positive review. But I did. :)

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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Top 10 Favorite Storybooks for Yoga~~ Poll and Giveaway

storybooksfinal2LARGE What is your favorite storybook for yoga?

Do you have a book that you love to use in your kid’s yoga classes? Or is there a storybook you love because it embodies yogic ideas? Or is there a storybook that teaches yoga through the story itself? Or maybe it is even a book you read to your kids at bedtime that leaves them peaceful and calm. Tell us and you have a chance to win an Amazon gift card and Imaginations book for you AND for the non-profit of your choice!

Angela Moorad at OMazingKidsllc.com and Carolyn Clarke at KidsYoga101.com are co-hosting a poll and “A  Way to Give” giveaway to find out the Top 10 Favorite Storybooks for Yoga of the kids yoga community!

Why do we want to know?

-Angela Moorad wants to create a gallery of the top 10 storybooks for yoga on her blog, OMazingKidsllc.com!

-Carolyn Clarke, author of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids, wants to write some new relaxation stories that correspond to storybooks. This poll is a way to find out which stories would be most useful for the kids yoga community!

 

The winner of the giveaway will receive:

A copy of Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids $15 Amazon gift card $100 Amazon gift card and Imaginations book sent in their honor to the non-profit of their choice

Here’s how it works:

-Enter the drawing at Rafflecopter by 11:59pm PST June 30th, 2013.

-You’ll be asked to share your favorite children’s storybook and why you love it as a kids yoga enthusiast

You’ll also be asked to share a non-profit and why you are nominating them to receive the $100 Amazon card.

-We’ll tally up the results and announce the winner on July 8th.

Rules of Participation:

  • Must be 18 years or older with a valid e-mail address.
  • Only USA, UK, and Canada entries are being allowed for this particular giveaway. Employees or family members of OMazing Kids, LLC or Bambino Yoga are not eligible.
  • No purchase required.
  • Comments submitted via Rafflecopter  may be copied & pasted into the blog posts on OMazingKidsllc.com, 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 July 1st, 2013.
  • The winner will receive Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids and a $15 Amazon.com Gift Card. Their nominated non-profit will receive directly a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card and Imaginations.
  • The winners will be notified via e-mail, will be posted on the blog posts & will be posted on the OMazing Kids and ImaginationsForKids/Bambino Yoga Facebook page.

Other Legal Stuff:

This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook or Rafflecopter. You are providing your information to OMazing Kids, LLC and 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 OMazing Kids, LLC, and Bambino Yoga which shall be final in all respects; (b) to release, discharge, and hold harmless OMazing Kids, LLC and 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.

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).

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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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How My Mom Taught Me Yoga, Sometimes Without Teaching Me Yoga

I was so lucky. My first yoga teacher was my MOM, Laurie Clarke in Charleston, SC! I remember her coming to my preschool to do animal yoga poses with my classmates, and I remember her being in Shoulderstand in the living room quite often. But, I didn’t embrace yoga fully until my senior year in high school. I started attending her classes, and it was a welcome relief from the pressure of applying to colleges and making big decisions.  At times I have felt regret that I only discovered the amazing yoga knowledge of my Mom during the last year that I lived at home. I could have had a daily, free private lesson!!! But in writing this list, I realize that while we may not have been doing asana together for all 18 years I was at home, she was teaching me “yoga” my whole childhood by teaching me to love and respect all living beings and to find joy in life. And by example she taught me to respect my body and to live in the moment.

Things I learned from my mother (and first yoga teacher):

Do Lion pose to get kids interested in yoga

Eat a salad with dinner, always

Soothe the body and soul with progressive muscle relaxation

Sing while you are doing the chores

Exercise every day

Drink lots of water with lemon

Take your vitamins

Spend as much time outside as possible

Sing when you are in the shower

Dance while you cook

Listen to your body- don’t be afraid to use a strap, pillow, or bolster

Give generously and receive enthusiastically

Sing while you garden

Hold a pose - it is practice for staying very still if you are lucky enough to see a hummingbird

Visit the beach as often as you can and breathe in the ocean air

Practice yogaevery day (even just a few minutes) instead of a long session once a week

Meditate- it is where the magic happens

Be good to your body and it will be good to you

Have and do a little of everything in moderation

Invert to see the world in a different way or find something you’ve lost

Elongate and breathe, always

Om and chant often

Take a leap and start your own yoga business, cherish your students, and expect it to grow

Sing!

I love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

Love and Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

 

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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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Happy Family Prize Pack- Kids Yoga Video, Imaginations Relaxation book, Sage Parenting book, and Infant Massage DVD

Now is your chance to win a fun Happy Family Prize Pack which includes a copy of my book, Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids! Prizes include 2 books- Sage Parenting and Imaginations- along with 2 DVDS- Soothing Slumber Infant Massage and YogaKids Silly to Calm. Something for the whole family!

Happy Family Collage

Here's the link to enter along with all the details:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a750c62/

The backstory:

I was excited to meet fellow San Diego author, Rachel Rainbolt, at a local author event earlier this year. We connected instantly when  we realized we were both helping parents and kids have a happier, healthier, relaxed life! We traded books and here's what I thought:

Sage Parenting: Where Nature Meets Nurture is a thorough and lovingly written guide to parenting. It covers everything from pregnancy to picking schools, and includes common parenting topics like baby gear recommendations, bedtime routines, and potty training. What makes this book unique is that Rachel Rainbolt encourages parents to tap into their own inner wisdom, and parent with love from the heart. She emphasizes that parents have the innate wisdom to know what their child needs. Rainbolt explains that kids need to feel like their "love cup" is full, and gives parents ways to connect with their kids in a naturally loving way to help them "fill it up". As a children's yoga instructor, I found her recommendations for communicating with kids and dealing with misbehavior helpful for my classroom management. I will be recommending this book to both new parents and those that are already parenting but need some new inspiration.

And here's what she thought of mine:

 The idea of a child with a calm inner core is appealing to every parent. However, disciplining your child’s chaotic behavior is not going to get you there. The path is through Imaginations: Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids. We can teach our children to find that calm, safe harbor within them in a way that accepts and celebrates their imaginations. This book can help you tap into the best of childhood to sail into a peaceful and centered adulthood.

Rachel teaches parenting courses and baby massage courses in San Diego, and she is launching some e-courses as well in case you don't live in the area!

Are you an author or creator of something wonderful that has the theme of children's wellness? Let me know! I'd love to connect.

Namaste,

Carolyn

Carolyn Clarke

www.imaginationsforkids.com

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