The mission of Breathing Space Family Yoga is to help all family members to experience the benefits of yoga.
Breathing Space Family Yoga is a mobile program that offers classes for all ages from newborn to adult in Washington, DC. Yoga classes include age appropriate postures and movement, breathing exercises, meditation or mindfulness activities, and — in kids and family classes — games, songs and even art.
What your answer and mine probably have in common is that heros tend to be people who have consciously decided to contribute their energies to positive change in the world. That is also my definition of Karma yoga.
Yogis toss the work Karma around quite a bit. The popular notion of karma as “what goes around, comes around” isn’t quite it. Different religions and philosophical systems have different interpretations of the same basic concept of the energetic impact of your life’s actions, but in yoga, karma as selfless service is one of the possible paths to enlightment:
The word karma is derived from the Sanskrit kri, meaning ‘to do’. In its most basic sense karma simply means action, and yoga translates to union. Thus karma yoga literally translates to the path of union through action.
Not all of us are prepared to dedicate our entire lives to a cause, but we can all consiously decide how we want to participate in the world.
Need a little more inspiration? In honor of Mahatma Ghandi’s 143 birthday, MC Yogi posted a video tribute:
The Power of We
That’s the theme of this year’s Blog Action Day, an annual event designed to “unite the world’s bloggers by posting about the same issue on the same day, in order to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all.”
“The Power of We is a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around he world.”
Ideas for Taking Action: Democracy Requires Participation
You might have heard that this is an election year in the United States. The next 4 years of executive branch governence, the entire U.S. House of Representatives, and 1/3 of the U.S. Senate offices are up for election. Not only that, countless state and local races for state and city government, school board, and more will affect our lives in sometimes very immediate ways.
In DC, for example, nearly half of the city schools lost their librarians to budget cuts this school year. Last spring, DCPS cut staff funding for librarians at all small elementary schools, those with fewer than 300 students. Some schools were able to fund their librarian out of their general budget, others used PTA fundraising money to support their libraries, but that still left 57 schools without librarians. All summer, parents volunteers have been working hard to get funding restored and to make this an election season issue. Mayor Grey, who directly oversees the school system, is not on the ballot but the city council and “State” Board of Education members for Wards 2, 4, 7 & 8 and At Large members are. What do you know about your candidates?
Perhaps learning about your election candidates seems like a small thing, but as a concious decision, it is karma yoga.
Want to do more? Consider going door to door for candidates to get out the vote. Distressed that DC doesn’t have a vote in Congress and our presidential election outcome is not really in question? Virginia is considered a swing state in the presidential contest and Maryland often has hotly contested congressional races . . .
Hatha Yoga and Karma Yoga
How about free yoga for doing good? Lululemon is sponsoring election day yoga classes around the DC metro area, including my 6:30 am class at Capitol Hill Yoga. So get up early, get your yoga on, and hit the polls before the crowds.
Read More Power of We Posts
Moms Clean Air Force Embraces the Power of We – Moms Clean Air Force invites you to join them.
The Power of We: A Blogger’s Musings – Strocel.com talks about how taking a stand is stepping out of her comfort zone.
Blog Action Day: “The Power of We – The White House blogs about their very cool “We the People” tool which allows anyone to petition the president directly.
I’ve taught extra-curricular and enrichment yoga classes in a variety of settings:
public and private schools, for children just turning 2 to 12 years, and as part of the school day and within after-school care. In nearly
all cases, the teachers I’ve worked with are huge advocates of yoga for their
students. Not only do these teachers know their kids enjoy their weekly yoga
break, they see the benefits first hand.
Yoga & Mindfulness Integrated Throughout the School Day
Yoga 4 Classrooms® is not studio yoga in a school setting. There’s no pushing aside desks and chairs; no unrolling yoga mats; no removing shoes; and no 30 or 40 minute yoga class. Yoga 4 Classrooms is yoga integrated throughout the school day.
Right at their desks, students can bring their body, mind, and breath together using adapted-for-the-classroom yoga postures and developmentally-appropriate mindfulness and meditation exercises. A 30-second breathing exercise can center an entire room. A 2-minute motor break can invigorate and focus a class for a quiz. A 5- or 10-minute activity can relax, distress, enliven, build confidence, create community, and more, depending on the needs of the group and the exercises chosen.
About Yoga 4 Classrooms
Yoga 4 Classrooms is an evidence-based, low-cost, simple, effective and sustainable tool designed for classrooms, which facilitates students’ physical, mental, emotional and social personal growth. Y4C is anchored in well-validated evidence-based classroom pedagogies, developmental science, cross-sectional research in cognitive affective neuroscience, tenets of positive psychology and secular contemplative practices.
Yoga 4 Classrooms Professional Development Workshop
The one-day Yoga 4 Classrooms Professional Development Workshop is open to all classroom teachers, administrators, school counselors, phys ed teachers, health educators, therapists and others seeking to bring simple yoga and mindfulness techniques into the classroom or similar setting for a more peaceful, productive class day.
We cover a classroom-appropriate mix of yoga-based motor breaks, brain boosting movements, breath exercises, visualizations, mindfulness activities, creative movement and community-building games. We’ll explore wellness and character-building discussion points such as the power of positive thinking, nutrition and being a peacemaker, which address the whole child and also many school initiatives such as bullying prevention, health and wellness and social and emotional education.
Teachers who implement Yoga 4 Classrooms usually report that taking as little as 30 seconds to 5 minutes to practice these simple tools throughout the day helps their class community learn to self-regulate, leading to a more positive, peaceful, productive school day…not to mention happier, more resilient students.
Each workshop participant receives a fully-illustrated, full-color Y4C teacher’s manual, ensuring the program is both easy to use and sustainable for long-term use. No yoga attire or mat will be needed because we will simulate the classroom setting.
Yoga 4 Classrooms professional development workshops are offered around the United States and online. Find out more at www.Yoga4Classrooms.com
I am so excited to begin sharing the Yoga 4 Classrooms program in the Washington, DC area this fall.
The Yoga 4 Classrooms mission is to transform educational environments through yoga-based wellness training and support, empowering students and educators to create positive, peaceful, productive classrooms that support exceptional learning and a lifetime of health and wellness.
Y4C is low-cost, simple, effective and sustainable program designed for use in the K-8 classrooms. It's curriculum includes a mix of yoga postures, brain boosting movements, breath exercises, visualizations, mindfulness activities, creative movement and community-building games, which facilitate students’ physical, mental, emotional and social personal growth and address anti-bullying, health and wellness, and character education.
In 2007, while volunteer teaching in a local elementary school, Lisa Flynn, E-RYT, RCYT and founder of ChildLight Yoga, was inspired and challenged by the classroom teachers she encountered to create a yoga and mindfulness-based program focused on the whole child that would also be appropriate for the classroom setting. Since its implementation in 2010, Yoga 4 Classrooms is quickly expanding nationwide and beyond.
Get Started with the Yoga 4 Classrooms Professional Development Workshop
On October 27, I will lead a one-day Yoga 4 Classrooms professional development workshop at Christ Church on Capitol Hill for classroom teachers, administrators, school counselors, physical education teachers, therapists and others seeking to bring simple yoga and mindfulness techniques into the classroom.
When: Saturday, October 27 from 2 – 8 pm (includes a dinner break)
Where: Christ Church on Capitol Hill, 620 E Street SE, Washington DC
The 230pg, fully-illustrated Yoga 4 Classrooms® Manual is utilized in this workshop ensuring the program is both easy to use and sustainable for long-term use. Absolutely no yoga experience is required. In fact, educators are encouraged to wear their regular, comfortable clothing and flat soled shoes to the workshop as we'll be simulating a classroom experience.
For more information
or to register, visit www.yoga4classrooms.com.
As I was getting off the phone the other evening, Maya asks:
M – "Mom, were you talking to SunTrust?"
J – "No, why do you think I'd be talking to SunTrust? Who's SunTrust?" (No one in the family has a SunTrust account.)
M – "They are the people you call when you need someone to help you solve your problems."
That, of course, immediately made sense. We've been hearing the same Pandora Internet Radio ad for weeks. Maya is quite effectively primed for the inevitable encounter 14 or so years from now with the SunTrust account rep selling credit cards in exchange for T-shirts in the student union.
Though she sees comparatively few advertisements, we've talked a little bit about them. There are ads every half dozen Pandora songs (wondering if paying for ad-free Pandora is worth it now), at then end of a few of the selections on Netflix, among the previews of some videos, and inserted into new toys. She knows ads are a company trying to sell her things, but her response is often "But I want to buy it!"
M – "Mom! Mom! I can talk while I'm screaming."
J – "Oh, really."
M – In a high pitched squeal: "I LOVE YOU MOM!" Normal voice: "That was talking through screaming."
School let out last week and we spent our first full day off at Clark's Elioak Farm near Ellicott City, MD. We got off to a slow start, arriving at the farm around 1 pm. They didn't quite have to kick us out at their 5pm closing time, but not by much.
1. Posing with Papa Bear, 2. Sliding out of the Shoe, 3. How she reacted to just about all of it., 4. Greeting the crooked man at his crooked house, 5. Tugboat Pirates, 6. Patting the White Gosling, 7. In front of the rainbow bridge, 8. Second attempt at riding Captain Jack, 9. Everybody Yell Pumpkin!
I found the place thanks to a CertifiKid promotion. If you grew up near Baltimore and were the right age before 1988, this stuff might look familiar. Remembering the Enchanted Forest theme park from childhood visits with Mom Mom & Pop Pop, it was a no-brainer to take Maya to Clark Farm's Enchanted Forest where they are reconstructing the old features. Even without the coupon, the $5 entry price is reasonable. $2 to ride the pony, cow train, or hayride.
Maya had a blast. She RAN from feature to feature announcing every character she recognized. Her resolve that she wanted to ride the pony wavered once face-to-face with a real one, but she persevered and went back again to finally ride. Our final act of the day was to feed the sheep and goats (technically, my final act), and Maya declared that the best part.
If you haven't been keeping up with me over at Jen Mueller Yoga, you might have missed the following:
. . . Over many years, yoga has affected my entire life, but in the beginning, that's not why I practiced. When I first started regularly attending an Ashtanga-inspired class at my gym on Tuesday nights, it was to keep me on the road so I could finish a marathon in the fall of 2001.
Back when I started running (which I did when signing up for said marathon) and over the first few years, I was diagnosed with a laundry list of runners' injuries. My ailments included shin splints, plantar faciiitis, patella femoral syndrome, chondromalacia . . .
Check out my Yoga for Runners workshop at Capitol Hill Yoga next Saturday (discounted registration ends 3/24.)
. . . As I let my 3rd-5th grade after-school yoga class into the room this past Wednesday, one of my students had near-panic written on her face. Before she even walked through the door, she asked if she could do her homework instead of participating. "I'll never get it all done tonight," she pleaded. I cocked my head to one side and looked at her. "Yeah, you're right. I need the yoga," she said and headed for a mat. . .
. . . Preliminary research on child-specific benefits include reduced problem behavior, test anxiety, and anger and increased feelings of well-being, self-regulation, and focus. . . .
My original intention for tea was as a birthday treat. But the end of October was so full of birthday and Halloween that fancy tea didn't make the cut. Barely a blink later, we found ourselves in January with the Groupon expiration looming and having read a few reviews of the Mayflower that tea wasn't really child friendly after all. I almost passed the Groupon on via the neighborhood listserv, but another mom convinced me to just get dressed up and go.
Verdict: No, it's not really child-friendly, at least not for 4-year-olds. The staff was professional, but not warm. I'm guessing that I'm not the only person who purchased a Groupon explicitly to take a little girl to tea because the hostess asked to see it before taking us to our table. Our waiter kept most of his disapproval hidden as he warned me to (I forget his exact wording) to keep a close eye on Maya – implying that she would pour her tea too fast, let it overflow, and burn herself or (worse?) make a mess. Maya was, of course, oblivious to this and I knew she wasn't going to even try to pour the tea herself so we busied ourselves with enjoying our tea.
But I'm sure the staff are getting a lot of little girls in what is normally an adult restaruant now as the Groupon comes due, so we'll cut them some slack. In fact, 3 little girls came in all dressed in their finest during the 40 minutes we were there. The manager, on the other hand, seemed very happy to see when she checked to see if our tea was "just delightful," but she probably doesn't wipe up many spills.
Maya did great, really. She remembered to use her napkin instead of her sleeve (mostly) and to keep her elbows off the table. She tried several of the sandwiches and enjoyed quite a few of the desserts. I doubt you are supposed use your spoon to eat the whipped cream and lemon custard provided for scones, but that seemed a small concession.
Well, it does take a major solar array on a stadium to get me to blog about football, but that's what the Redskins recently installed here in the DC metro area. So I wrote not one, but two articles about it:
… starting this fall, Washington Redskins' FedEx Field will draw 20% of game day power from their newly installed parking lot solar array. On off days, solar will provide 100% of the stadium's power.
Love him or hate him, you know Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder makes shrewd business decisions. That's among the reasons the new solar panels at FedEx Field are turning heads. Snyder entered a contract this summer with…
read more on Examiner.com
Now back to our regularly scheduled programing . . .
Original Post, August 27, 2011:
Have I told you about my new job?
A couple weeks ago, I gave notice at The Nature Conservancy. While I've enjoyed the last two years writing newsletter articles about their global conservation programs, I'm finding myself more and more drawn to teaching yoga, specifically to kids. So starting this fall, that's what I'm going to do.
Some of my classes have already started. Recently, ten three-year-olds and I went on a trip. We packed our bags, took an airplane ride, went swimming on the beach, and went dancing in New York City, all without leaving their colorfully decorated classroom in Northwest DC.
Partial class plan for Planes, Trains and other Mobiles:
pack our bags
- wash our clothes: twistee
- dry our clothes: nahbi
- hang them on the clothes line: half moon
- iron the fancy stuff: moon toe
- fold the shirts and pants: toes to nose
- put everything in the suitcase: forward bend
pack the car: in-out breathing
drive to the airport: red light-green light x2 or x3
check our bags at the airport: ring around the yogi
airplane ride: play The Airplane Song: jump, spin, gallop, dance (Laurie Berkner)
visit the beach
- make a sand castle: wide angle forward bend & variations
- read book: sing These Are My Glasses (Berkner)
- take a bicycle ride
train ride home
Sure yoga teaches patience and mindfulness and is a physical exercise that's good for kids, but it's also wildly fun.
for 4 week old to nearly crawling babies
for crawling babies to 2 year old toddlers meets
for 21 month toddlers to 4 year old preschoolers meets
for 21 month toddlers to 4 year old preschoolers with younger siblings welcome meets
for mom with 6-week old to nearly crawling baby present meets
Details once we get up on the roof to check it out ourselves.
And if you are a DC resident, there are still grants! But hurry, the fiscal year is almost over. Check out the Capitol Hill Energy Coop for information and/or call our installer, Solar Solution, LLC, for an estimate.
Video montage of the Beatles song for general inspiration: here.