From the Road – Akron via Chicago and Philadelphia

Coming home from a fabulous weekend sharing the tools of #yoga and #mindfulness along with playfulness, creativity and love with 20 now newly-minted #kidsyoga teachers. Looking down on some of the amazing things humans have built in our short history lit by a gorgeous autumn sunset. Contemplating how many of the people below me are frightened, angry, and unable or unwilling to see another point of view and hoping what I and so many others are doing is helping in some way. #grateful

We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” -Ray Bradbury #awe#wonder #latergram #nofilter

Exploring Ancient Greece (again)

I attended the Baltimore Waldorf School in the late 80s and fifth grade was all about Ancient Greece. We studied the mythology, the history, the geography. I have memories of building models of famous Athens landmarks, we put on a class play complete with Greek Chorus (though I’m fuzzy on the plot), and a relief map of the country made from wood and plaster hung on my bedroom walls through high school. Overall, it made an impression.

I’m not sure Maya and I are doing as thorough a job on our own, and I don’t intend to make a full year out of our little unit, but we are exploring the topic a variety of ways.



Prometheus having his liver pecked out by Zeus' eagle.

Prometheus having his liver pecked out by Zeus’ eagle.

Making little tableaus of the stories was Maya’s idea. That’s what she did as she listened to the recording of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.

And since she also had coloring pages with a couple of sentences about each mythic figure, she began filming the tableaus with her reading the text.

Medusa and her victims

Medusa and her victims

Filmmaker at work

Filmmaker at work







And we’ve managed to keep alive the idea that she doesn’t do anything on mommy homeschool days (I guess because it doesn’t involve long division).

Sources so far have been:

Adventures in Ancient Greece by by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin
DK Eyewitness Ancient Greece by Anne Pearson
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordian
National Geographic: The Greeks (exhibit in DC closed 10/10)


If you had asked me a 10 years ago . . .

6a00d8341c638753ef019b00b70ac4970b-500wi. . .  what books would be on my office shelves, I probably would have guessed very wrong.

I’ve always considered myself to be a generalist, of sorts. For example, I resisted specializing in environmental policy, already quite specialized, and chose communications instead of a particular policy focus.

Well, that was another lifetime, but recently, I’ve described my yoga teaching as covering the entire prenatal-to-death spectrum. I teach toddlers, preschoolers, school-age kids, adults, prenatal, postnatal . . . but I’m finally thinking I need to specialize, at least a little bit.

My father has always said, “If you want to know what someone wants to do, just watch what they do.”

You have to choose . . .

Great Wall (5) - Caution Danger
noun: fear; plural noun: fears
 an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
3. a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone.

"Heart" Leaves

noun: faith
complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
. . . again, and again.

Musing on this tonight and anytime I have to make a decision. My philosophy on fear is something I teach in prenatal yoga: you have to go into it, the uncomfortable feeling, but that doesn’t mean it goes away, just that you can do what you need to do anyway.

Photos: Warning sign on the Great Wall near Beijing, China. “Heart” leaves in Great Falls National Park, MD.

NaBloPoMo and Posts About Yoga

NaBloPoMo November 2013I used to blog.

Then I had a kid

and then, even worse, I made one of my hobbies into my day job.

I watched many NaBloPoMos, Blogher’s challenge to post every day in November, pass without signing up. This year, in an effort to force myself to create fresh written content for Breathing Space Family Yoga, I signed up. In a fit of madness, I signed this blog up too.

So far, the posting her has been minimalist, but I’ve got some ideas . . . In the mean time, enjoy what I’ve been posting on yoga:

Yoga 101: Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose

Parsvakonasana It’s a standing pose introduced in most beginners yoga class, yet its
classic form and variations continue to challenge me years after first
encountering it. Uttita Parsvakonasa (extended side angle pose) is one
of my favorite asana (postures) and I teach it in nearly all classes
from beginner, to early morning open, to prenatal. . . . more



Kids Yoga Camp FAQ: What do you do all day?

IMG_1286“What do you do all day?” is one of the most common questions about or kids yoga day off camps. No, we don’t do yoga for 7.5 hours.

We do lots of yoga and yoga games, but that’s not all. We’ll do
arts and crafts every day. If the weather is nice, we walk to a
nearby playground for lunch and outdoor time. We have quiet time
every day for both nappers and non-nappers. . . . more



yoga infographic

How Yoga Transforms Your Body; How Yoga Transforms Lives

After Class:

  • Improved Brain Function.
  • Lower Stress Levels.
  • Alter Gene Expression.
  • Increased Flexibility.

After A Few Months:

  • Lower Blood Pressure.
  • Improved Lung Capacity
  • Improved Sexual Function.
  • Reduced Chronic Neck Pain.
  • Anxiety Relief. . . . more

From the Birthday and the Party

6th birthday 2576th birthday 2576th birthday 257
Actual birthday was very quiet because she had been running a fever and we kept her home from school. Party? Total opposite. Kind of a mad house with a dozen kids making masks, playing with toys, roasting marshmallows, and eating cake in a tent in the living room – but  everyone lived to tell about it and Maya declared it the best party ever.

6th birthday party 273

After: With the birthday wall decor.

Halloween Retrospective

Halloween 2007 272

Very serious skeleton poses just before 2013 trick-or-treating (yes, those are hot pink Hello Kitty socks). Previous costumes include Ruby Glooom (one of this year’s criteria was “recognizable), Cinderella, Bat (yes, the costume looks like a fairy princess ballerina, but don’t let that fool you), lion, bear, and newborn.

[soliloquy id="1577"]

Introducing: Breathing Space Family Yoga

New Name for the Same Great Classes

image from studiojmm.typepad.comOver the past year or so, the family yoga programing I’ve been building on Capitol HIll has grown beyond just me. (As far as I know, Amalie, Cindy, Kate and Rebecca don’t answer to the name Jen.)

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.

The website still has a few things undone, but we are excited about the new identity and want you to mark your calendars for our Open House at Hill Center on Sunday, September 8 from noon-3:30 pm. We hope you join us for kid-friendly activities and sample classes for both kids and adults.
You can find also find Breathing Space on Facebook and Twitter.

Now We Are 5

M2 came down the stairs this morning and declared: “Mom, you have to measure me to see if I’m really 5.”


Photo by Siobhan Hanna Photography / All rights reserved

Nearly-five has already been amazing us this fall with improved attitude and independence.

Still an avid drawer and artist with a significant attention span for those activities, her artwork is detailed and story-oriented. And, oh my goodness, board games. A couple of months ago, M2 developed an interest in and attention span for board games that can often outlast her parents.

Now in PreK (in a mixed-age Montessori classroom), M2 is desperate to learn to read. She recently discovered the graphic novel and has been rapidly consuming the DC Public Library supply of them (we have to be a bit careful, because 5 is not the target demographic for many of these).

This time last year, M2 wore her Cinderella dress so much that she wore the sparkly lace layer right off it. Now, princesses have taken a back seat to spies, superheroes, and other adventurers.

Now we are 5

Surprising how many of my favorite photos from the last 12 months were captured on my phone or my little pocket camera, but captured they were – from last birthday cake to this one. (Captions with locations and comments on the photos can be found on Flickr.)

Choice Quotes From A Day with Miss M

To her playmate on the way to the swimming pool Thursday afternoon:

"Want to pretend that you are 40? Cause that's really super old!"

And on the way back home because I obviously had not understood the question the first time: 

"No, no. How did "dad's name" and "mom's name" make "child's name" be born. How did they do it?"

Luckily, my "That's a conversation for another time" response sufficed, because I'd really rather not educate someone else's 5 year old on that topic. Maya and her playmate subsequently decided that the playmate should go home and ask her parents, too.

After dinner while discussing why she can't wear her Crocs to school any more (The tread is gone and she slips in the halls) but she doesn't want to get rid of the old ones or remove her Hello Kitty decorations:

"Can't you and Dad just please decide that I can have a little sister. Everything would be so much better."

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