What do you get when you add 230 seasoned kindergarten yogis, a big school library and some fun-loving teachers? Fantastic yoga fun!!
It was such a blast teaching Sing Song Yoga to several groups of kiddos at McFall Elementary in Thornapple Kellogg Schools yesterday morning! Happy faces, big hugs, warm hearts, high fives, singing yogis… Pure bliss!
Teachers and students at McFall have been using either the Sing Song Yoga App or DVD in their classrooms for the past 4 years. I certainly experienced their yoga wisdom in their poses, in their singing and in the way they appeared to have absorbed the essence of the program; empowerment — I am strong, smart and worthy and I matter!
Thanks heaps for inviting me McFall! I’m so grateful for the time with your kiddos!! The heart goes pitter pat!
Family Yoga is such a lovely concept! Yoga is often defined to mean ‘union’ or ‘connection.’ It’s so brilliant that the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center created an evening of bringing families together through Sing Song Yoga at school – allowing for connections on several levels!
As often happens within new unfamiliar experiences, our evening together began with some of the children feeling a bit nervous and unsure. But as soon as we started rolling, they warmed up and soon fully engaged in our Family Yoga Night.
“The mission of the GRCDC is to continuously expand the potential of children, the experiences of educators and the involvement of parents within the diverse community of Grand Rapids, MI.” Thus, using yoga as one of their tools for moving toward their mission makes perfect sense.
Thank you GRCDC for inviting Sing Song Yoga into your welcoming space to explore and play with yoga with your lovely families. I so enjoyed our time together!
Always great to read about yoga for kids in schools and even more fun, personally, when it’s Sing Song Yoga!
Thornapple Kellogg Schools recently published an article from which the below text was taken and can be read in its entirety as Kindergarten Students Find Calm in Yoga at TKschools.org. Thank you TK schools for using our program regularly and for sharing it with your readers! We so appreciate it!
Some highlights from TK Schools’ article follow:
McFall Elementary kindergarten teachers have found yoga helps their students transition between lessons, take “brain breaks” and even find calm during a hectic day.
“I love it. It makes me feel good,” said Aubree after about 15 minutes of yoga right in her classroom.
Kindergarten classmate Dylan Wallach gladly showed off his strength and balance in a balancing frog pose and Cameron Mancuso said his favorite yoga pose is “the one where we get to roar like a lion.”
Carissa Caskey said she likes the fish sit the best. “I just love how it makes me feel better when we’re done,” she said of the yoga stretches. “I feel happy.”
At least once or twice a week, McFall kindergarten teacher Jasmine Koster has her students practicing yoga in the classroom with a program called “Sing Song Yoga” developed especially for children. Students follow yoga pose instructions given in a sing-song version using music and rhythm.
“We use it in between lessons as a transitional tool. It reinforces concentration and gives students a brain break,” said Koster. “The afternoons can sometimes get long and we just need to have a little break and a little calm.”
Koster said she’s thrilled to be able to combine her two passions – teaching kindergarten and doing yoga. She’s been teaching at McFall four years and been practicing yoga for about six years. She started incorporating Sing Song Yoga in her classroom immediately. She said most of the other kindergarten teachers at McFall also use the program developed by Deb Weiss-Gelmi.
Koster said she sees many benefits to using yoga in the classroom.
“Sing Song Yoga is a great way to transition from one lesson to the next as a way for the students to refocus their attention and concentration,” Koster said. “It has been a wonderful tool to help create a sense of calm within our classroom.”
She said it also helps students realize the importance of caring for their bodies. “I see their flexibility, coordination and strength improving. And that’s really fun to watch progress.”
She said she also loves seeing how proud the students are of themselves when they master a new pose for the first time. “They are so excited and so proud. It just helps build their self-confidence, ” she said.
“We’re not meant to sit still all day. So getting up and doing something physical is important. Yoga involves concentration, but it’s also very calming and a good way to get kids out of their seats for awhile,” she said.
Since using the program in her classroom, Koster said parents have started using it at home as well. “I always get really positive feedback from the families,” said Koster. “Some of them use Sing Song Yoga at home now as a calming exercise before bed or sometimes when they (students) just have a stressful situation at home.”
Weiss-Gelmi came up with Sing Song Yoga as a way of using music, movement and fun together to naturally help students physically and emotionally. [The] Sing Song Yoga [app] offers the ability to create individualized yoga sequences or choose from one of the 39 preprogrammed sequences already in place. There are preprogrammed sequences designed specifically for brain breaks or test preps.
Koster said the beauty of the program is that anyone can do it and students may continue to find yoga a useful tool in their lives long after kindergarten.
Though we’ve been thrilled about McFall Elementary adopting Sing Song Yoga for kids school-wide 4 years ago, I had not yet met or even connected with any of the teachers. So to meet Jasmine Koster, a kindergarten teacher at McFall, and find that she and her students were truly finding such rich purpose in using our kids’ yoga program in the classroom, was not only affirming for my business, but heart-warming personally as well.
Below is the interview on Fox 17, during which Jasmine talks about using our kids yoga program in her classroom and throughout her school. She discusses the benefits she sees with her students as well as the overall effects on her classroom environment. The dialog from the video is also transcribed below.
So the interview went roughly like this…
Leigh Ann Towne, Host of Fox 17 Morning Mix: How did you come up with Sing Song Yoga for kids?
Deb Weiss-Gelmi, Sing Song Yoga founder: When my daughter was preschool age I was looking for a local [kids’] yoga class or a DVD and found neither at that time. So as a school teacher who used music in the classroom and as a yoga instructor this idea came to me.
Leigh Ann: So explain to people what Sing Song Yoga is.
Deb: Sing Song Yoga is a kids’ musical yoga program in which song lyrics instruct children how to get into the poses. Educational researchers find that music, movement and fun together naturally increase the positive chemicals in the brain that help with memory, with the ability to pay attention and with new learning. In other words, children respond really well to music which makes learning yoga or anything easier, more effective and more fun.
Leigh Ann: How can viewers find out more about [Sing Song Yoga for kids]?
Deb: We have local classes, a DVD, a book about yoga in the classroom and an App. The app is completely customizable. You can choose poses and create your own yoga sequence. Or you can choose from one of 39 preprogrammed sequences each with an end in mind. If you have a child at home who has a difficult time going to sleep – we have a bedtime sequence. If you have a child who does sports there’s an athlete’s sequence. If you’re a teacher you could choose one of the brain break sequences or test prep sequence. These are just some of the examples but we have 39 different possibilities and as I mentioned you can also create name and save your own yoga program. And we have a unique feature inspired by a parent of a child with physical limitations. She kept having to pause our DVD for extra time to transition between the poses. So with our app you could have a transition as quick as 1 second for the young energetic users or as long as 30 seconds for those who need a bit more time.
Leigh Ann (to Jasmine): Now you are a teacher right now. Where do you teach?
Jasmine Koster: I’m a kindergarten teacher at McFall Elementary in Thornapple
Kellogg School District.
Leigh Ann: How did you discover Sing Song Yoga for kids and how do you incorporate it into your classroom?
Jasmine: I started Sing Song Yoga about 4 years ago. It’s been a great way for me to combine my two passions which are also yoga and teaching young children. I love to use yoga in our classroom to create a sense of calm. I feel that any amount of time we put into a yoga session is definitely gained back in our classroom work. My students are always refocused, their concentration improves, we have a sense of calmness in our classroom. And so it’s not only been a way to sharpen ourselves physically but also mentally as well.
Leigh Ann: How many times a week do you incorporate it?
Jasmine: I try to use it once or twice a week and incorporate it into our lesson plans. And the majority of our school teachers in our building also try that as well. So it’s been something we’ve all enjoyed incorporating and making fit into our very busy schedule.
Leigh Ann: What’s the reaction been like for the kids?
Jasmine: My kids love to do Sing Song Yoga. They request it. They are actively engage while participating and the greatest thing I love about it is that they encourage each other while we’re doing it. So they’s also establishing a wonderful emotional connection with each other as well.
Leigh Ann: How might teachers get their hands on Sing Song Yoga?
Deb: The app is very user-friendly so a teacher could download the free version of the app and give it a shot today! It’s airplay enabled and can easily be projected onto big screens in the classroom. We have a book: Using Sing Song Yoga in the Classroom, which includes a DVD and 19 lessons. We also offer a professional development to assist teachers and schools in getting the most out of the app, how to squeeze yoga into the busy school day (which is always a challenge) as well as information on the benefits of yoga for kids.
Leigh Ann (to Jasmine): Now this isn’t taking the place of recess is it? You’re still allowing them to wind up and then wind them back down, right?
Jasmine: No. I actually like to use it as a transition from one lesson to the next to reestablish their self-awareness. So it’s been a great tool in our classroom.
Leigh Ann: For more information head to singsongyoga.com, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, @singsongyoga. And there are 5 free Sing Song Yoga classes at the Grand Rapids Public Library on July 19 and 20?
Deb: Correct. As part of their summer reading series. You can also find us at the Yoga Studio in Grand Rapids, gryoga.com and through Zeeland Recreation.
Thank you sincerely to Executive Producer, Fox 17 Morning Mix, Andrea Shaner and host of Morning Mix, Leigh Ann Towne for featuring Sing Song Yoga for kids on your show! And thank you to Jasmine Koster for joining me in sharing our mutual passion, respect and appreciation of yoga for kids! I truly appreciate such a rewarding experience!
I had the honor of writing this guest post for Gold Coast Doulas and wanted to share it here for any pregnant moms who would like to incorporate yoga into their prenatal care…
Pregnancy is an exciting and sometimes intimidating time of a woman’s life. There is endless information available for newly pregnant woman and it can be overwhelming trying to decide what is best for you.
As a mom of three kids, a yoga instructor and one who did everything in my power to enjoy healthy pregnancies and natural births, I will share a simple yoga sequence ideal for the healthy pregnant mom.
Below are some of the poses I did nearly every day of my pregnancy with twins. Even though I had already been doing yoga for 10 years, I took it more seriously during these 9 months than I ever had before. I knew that yoga would improve my chances of having a smooth healthy pregnancy and delivery. And with my daily practice I felt better able to adjust to my drastically changing body as well as remain calm and positive in each moment, and about my upcoming delivery. I carried my twins full term and had a natural delivery.
This sequence will run about 30 minutes. If you have any questions please connect with me via our contact page or on facebook.
Sit with soles of feet together with your knees out to the side just in front of the bolster (or folded blankets) with a blanket for a pillow.
For a deeper sense of relaxation, either belt your legs as in the photo or rest your toes against a wall.
With the support of your arms and elbows, begin to lean back while lifting your ribs up and place them down on the bolster. Support your head with the extra blanket.
Prop your knees with blankets as in picture if they’re off the floor.
Shoulders are turned under slightly with palms of your hands facing the ceiling.
Begin to let go of tension throughout your body and relax in this lovely supported pose for about five minutes or until you would like to come out.
To come out use your hands to support bringing your knees together. Remove belts. Role to your side while allowing your head to gently settle on the floor. Lie on your side for a few moments. Use both arms to push yourself up to seated.
…To continue reading, see the original “9-Pose Pregnancy Yoga Sequence” post at Gold Coast Doulas, where you’ll find a star cast of doulas who can guide and support you in enjoying your dream pregnancy and delivery.