Posts Tagged ‘parenting’
It’s midnight. Lying in bed. Lights are out. I can’t sleep. My brain is revving, can’t stop thinking — how could I start teaching yoga to kids? I’m a kindergarten teacher. I’m a yogi. I can teach yoga to kids. I want my 3-year-old to learn about yoga while she’s small… etc., etc., etc. Suddenly, I think – SONGS! I start humming a tune. I turn on the lamp, hoping not to wake my husband, sit up — more like jump up! Grab my note book and start writing… until dawn.
These became the first versions of the first songs that would eventually become a series of songs in which the lyrics instruct children how to get into the yoga poses, now known as award-winning, international Sing Song Yoga® for kids.
Fast forward 8 years. I’m sitting at my computer staring at a blank page pondering what would be the most important information to teach at a Sing Song Yoga teacher training? What do I have in my brain that I now use intuitively to teach this program? How do I package it for teacher trainees in a way that would allow others to provide a similar experience for kids throughout the world? What are the key components of Sing Song Yoga that can be replicated across the globe to provide families with the magical environment that makes this program a powerful experience for kids and families?
My teaching is a culmination of years of experience teaching young children and
providing a welcoming environment for families. I’ve studied child development, education, brain research, yoga, parenting styles, and family structures. I have a unique natural connection with children, being able to see through their eyes, to feel their little hearts, to intuitively know what allows them to open up and what makes them retract. How in the world can I pull all of this together to assist another teacher to most fully understand children through my eyes and through my heart. Can I really do that? Can I teach another person my perspective that makes Sing Song Yoga what it is?
The songs, the poses, and the activities are lovely, fun and unique in and of themselves and some can even be found in our DVD and app, but they are only a part of what makes the live Sing Song Yoga class what it is. It’s the learning environment created by the teacher within which those pieces perfectly fit.
For the most part, our society tends to teach children in a controlling structure. In a “well-behaved vs. naughty” paradigm, in which adults see it as their responsibility to control children (and their parents) to behave in THE way that is most fitting and most proper to succeed in our society. The overarching premise that you need to learn to “behave this way” and know “these things” and you will do well. Sameness. Conformity.
To the contrary, Sing Song Yoga seeks to provide experiences to empower children and families to reach for who they are and shine in their own unique ways. To explore and feel a freedom in our environment. One in which parents are freed from the underlying feeling of needing to demonstrate that they are good parents by the way their child “behaves,” or by the skill-level their child achieves. An environment in which children feel a sense of freedom and excitement of new challenge and calm, without feeling the pressure to measure up to some prescribed expectation of behavior and result.
How, in the world can I teach someone to understand my perceptions of a truly child-centered, explorative, open environment? To feel this at their core. To shift paradigms. To then take this shift and re-create it within their own learning environment, laced with the essence of Sing Song Yoga — Empowerment; “I am strong, smart, creative and worthy. I have a unique voice and I have the power to make the world a better place!”
For the last year and a half, I have dedicated 90% of my work time to pulling together, adapting and tweaking my information to best vividly draw a picture for teacher trainees to experience my world, my vision, my weekly environment I provide for children. For these trainees I attempt with all that I am to open my heart to give a glimpse of my deep understanding and passion for what helps empower children within our Sing Song Yoga environment for the brief amount of time we have them in our class. I’m not seeking to change the whole world. But it is my desire, within the context of my teacher training, to allow trainees who are well suited for this program, to fully absorb my heart which holds the space for this open learning environment.
I was asked if I have policies in place for parents during the live classes because of the infamous “helicopter parents.” I so appreciate this question because it led me to explain my feelings on parents’ freedom with an open door policy. From the very first Sing Song Yoga class, as an extension of who I am, I removed the physical foldable wall dividers to be sure that parents felt welcome in our class – either as an observer or as a participant. Making policies that would limit the experiences of all families, because of a few parents, would go against the open environment I seek to provide. Most every parent has their child’s best interest at heart. Truly. And some might actually stretch their thinking from the interactions they observe and/or experience in our class – maybe not all, but some. For most families, parents being present in a class enriches the experience, if only providing a platform for later parent/child discussions. In addition, if parents have the opportunity to observe a child-led environment, they might be more likely not only to listen to their child a little more closely that day, but also, just maybe, hold a newer standard for the environment within the other programs for which they sign their kids up.
The much anticipated weekend arrives. I’m sitting in the beautiful Yoga Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan gazing appreciatively at the yoga props each immaculately organized in its proper place, and the materials I have just hung up on the walls. The very first trainees will arrive in a few moments to begin the process of learning to be a Sing Song Yoga teacher.
They arrive. We explore, dig deep, share, create, explore, dig deep, share, create…
The final minutes of our very first Sing Song Yoga Teacher Training are upon us. It’s the end of the last of 3 days of intense study, laughter, creation and idea sharing. The creative, smart, empowering women who took the plunge with me were giving me the feedback that provided me with a big fat “yes!” to my questions. Yes, I can invite others into my world of children and families. Yes, others will begin to see my vision, my standard of truly child-centered learning environments. Not just the fancy buzz words — but the real thing — felt fully by the teacher, exuded through their hearts and into the hearts of the families who join their class. And finally, yes, other teacher trainees will find value in the full program – not just learning the songs and the poses, but the true essence of Sing Song Yoga.
My heart overflows with appreciation for these two women, each with their own unique powerful strengths, giving me the necessary feedback, for my ability to share my heart and vision, and for feeling a big “Yes” for moving forward with the highest of expectations for future teachers in this program across the nation and around the globe.
If you happen to share this vision of a child-centered, explorative, open learning environment, and have an interest in taking the Sing Song Yoga Teacher Training this November in Grand Rapids, Michigan, check out our Teacher Training page. It’s not an easy training. Work is involved — but meaningful work that will give you the tools to provide a rich, child-centered environment, in which yoga, songs and laughter naturally fit.
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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2016.
Posted in Sing Song Yoga Teacher Training.
Tagged: app, childrens yoga, ipad app, iphone app, ipod touch app, kids, kids yoga, kids yoga app, kids yoga teacher training, loving guidance, music, music and movement, parenting, raising kids, sing song yoga, yoga for children, yoga for kids
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!
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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2016.
Posted in Parenting, Sing Song Yoga, Yoga in Schools.
Tagged: childrens yoga, kids yoga, kids yoga app, parenting, sing song yoga, yoga, yoga in schools, yoga in the classroom
A dictionary meaning of the word myth is — “a widely held but false belief or idea.” Ultimately ideas are yoga myths or not, only in the eye of the beholder. But I’d like to challenge some common misunderstandings about kids yoga.
Here are eight ideas that I typically hear from parents that I would consider yoga myths in the world of kids yoga:
1. My kid is not flexible enough to do yoga.
I hear from parents, about their children, and from adult students that they’re not flexible enough for yoga. This one is the misunderstanding that I run into the most often. Yes, over time many experience increased flexibility from doing yoga, but it’s not a prerequisite.
Doing yoga poses has many benefits within the process, one of which is gaining increased flexibility. But as an example. let’s compare two yogis doing a forward bend (Uttanasana).
“Yogi A” uses blocks under her hands because she doesn’t touch the floor. And “Yogi B” folds forward more completely, turning her ribcage upside down with the crown of her head comfortably pointing toward the floor without strain.
Each of these yogis experience similar benefits from the pose. It’s not as much about how far the yogi bends, it’s more about the alignment in the pose and the relative range of movement. For example, focusing on just one aspect of the pose, each yogi is stretching their hamstrings. The relative movement achieved with their personal full extension of their muscles provides the benefit – not the ultimate length that’s achieved. It’s likely that the beautiful photos of yogis bending in seemingly impossible ways contribute to this misunderstanding, however, just know that yoga works for all flexibility levels. That’s one of the benefits that fits everyone.
Furthermore, the less flexible folks can actually be less prone to certain injuries because their bodies give them some natural limits that the more flexible yogis might need to discover on their own. There’s no need to be flexible to do yoga!
2. My child is too hyperactive to do yoga
One common benefit of yoga is that many experience a calming effect. Due to this fact, some feel that their children are too hyperactive to do yoga. However, a child might find that the opposite is true. The calming effect on the nervous
system that yoga can provide might be a good reason for some children to find yoga. Again it’s a relativity thing. Similar to the range of muscle movement (in number one) being the important factor providing benefit, it’s the relative range of the calming effect that provides the benefit. For example, a child who begins in a perceived hyperactive state and ends in a more typical active state might be achieving that same benefit as a typically active child ending a yoga session in a more perceived calm state. It’s the relative change that is the important factor, not the overall perception of where others want that child to be (or behave). The nervous system holds the imprint of the change even if those outside the child’s body can’t see it as clearly through behavior.
3. My child can’t focus enough to do yoga.
We have a bit of a relativity theme going here, but it applies to focus as well. Some children can sit and build puzzles for a seemingly endless span of time and some can barely sit long enough to open the box to begin. The idea of “I am where I am” applies here. There’s no good or bad, there’s only the perception of such. And though it is true that yoga can eventually result in an improved ability to focus, it too is not a prerequisite. Some young yogis do a Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) for 3 seconds and then need to get up and run around their mat before they are ready for another. This child still gains benefit from the 3 seconds in dog even if it might not look the same as the child who can remain in Dog for 30 seconds. Growth is measured by looking at a particular skill in the beginning and comparing it to the skill after a period of time. So if this young yogi moves from doing Downward Dog for 3 seconds at the beginning of a 10-week session up to 8 seconds at the end of this time, then growth in the pose and benefit for the child has been achieved.
If you come across a yoga teacher who expects your child to do things the same as all other students in your class, it might be helpful to find a new teacher. Yoga should remain outside the tradition of trying to get children to conform to the same robot-like conformity that is still expected in some settings. Yoga is personal. Its benefits are illustrated in personal ways. Avoid comparing your child to others and enjoy comparing your child today to your child a year ago. Growth has occurred – whether it fits the norm or not (inside or outside of yoga).
4. My child cannot do yoga because of physical limits.
Whether your child is a fully able-bodied child or a child with some limits, the benefits of yoga can be experienced by most. One of my beloved young yogis who is limited physically was limitless in her determination to experience the joys and benefits of yoga as she achieved each. We together found one or more aspects of each pose that would be perfect for her to work on in that particular session. For example, when working on the sitting forward bend (Paschimottanasana), one session we focused our attention on lengthening her calves, in the opposite direction of her high tone, extending through her inner heels and pulling her toes toward her shins. In another session we would focus on pressing her thighs into the floor. In yet another session we would work on lengthening from her hips up through her chest taking her shoulders away from her ears. This is similar to focus changes in fully able-bodied adults from session to session, but we broke it down in a child-friendly way for her to experience results.
5. My kid is an athlete and would not like yoga
Though yoga is growing in popularity in the States, there can sometimes still be a perception that athletes are not the “yoga type.” Again, the opposite can be true. Athletes in many different sports have enjoyed the multitude of benefits from yoga due to the simple fact that yoga can provide a positive soothing balance for the sometimes overused muscles and emotional energy that the stream-lined goal focus within each sport can invoke. In addition, the breadth of focus in yoga, meaning the broad range of positive effects on the body, might assist the athlete in preventing injury.
6. Some kids are just not the “yoga type.”
Again, there still exists this idea that a person is either the “yoga type” or not but it’s simply not true. Virtually everyone can benefit from some time to deliberately chill while focusing on ones’ body in space. Each child or adult experiences yoga in his or her own personal way. There’s no “type” of person more likely to find benefit. The only aspect necessary is the willingness to give it a shot. And the only necessity to continue is the desire to do so.
7. Yoga is not for boys or men.
This is slowly changing but still remains an underlying belief for many. Yoga classes typically have more women than men, but as men continue to discover the benefits of yoga and these next generations begin yoga as kids, this will eventually fade out. As with most biases, children learn these from adults. Boys, themselves, come into this world as natural yogis. But a myriad of societal influences can eventually persuade boys that there are some things that boys just do not do. This yoga myth will eventually fade and your family can be a part of this change. Boys can benefit greatly from yoga as mentioned in the characteristics outlined in the other myths in this post.
8. As a parent, I should know yoga before introducing my child to it.
As outlined in 6 Tips to Dive Right into Kids Yoga, there is simply no experience necessary to begin yoga – as an adult or as a child. Every single person is a beginner when starting something new. Your yoga instructor (a live person or through a book) will guide you through beginning yoga. So just dive right in!
Crossing the Midline and Kids’ Yoga Kids’ yoga is one of the many activites that can provide cross-lateral experiences for children. If done regularly might assist in building the brain for…
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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2015.
Posted in Benefits of Yoga, Education, Kids Yoga at Home, Parenting, Sing Song Yoga, Yoga in Schools.
Tagged: children, childrens yoga, ipad app, kids yoga, kids yoga benefits, myths of kids yoga, myths of yoga, parenting, schools, sing song yoga, yoga in schools, yoga in the classroom
It’s easy to put off beginning new things with your kids. The need for extra time, new paraphernalia, the “know-how”, and the needed space (without extra laundry filling it) can put parents into a temporary frozen state.
Kids yoga is no exception. It might seem as though everyone else is up on the latest yoga pose or the trendiest method, and you’re in no place to get your kids involved in that unknown territory — as though you’re too far removed to catch up.
However, this in not true in most any endeavor. So, here’s a little platform to help you feel comfortable to jump right into kids yoga.
1. There are no rights or wrongs in kids’ yoga
First of all, you can’t get it wrong. As parents we are often afraid that we’ll get things wrong so we hold back from trying. But the most growth occurs, for ourselves and for our kids, when we step outside our comfort zone. Whether you choose to begin with a kids yoga book, a CD, a DVD or an App, you’ll find those that you like and those that you don’t – but none of them will set you off perpetually in the wrong direction. Just jump in and allow your likes and dislikes to lead you to your family’s best fit.
2. Maybe a live kids yoga class is your best first move.
At times going into a class with a real teacher can be a great jumpstart to finding what works best for your family. If one class doesn’t do it for you, another class might be the key. There are heaps of great teachers out there and an increasing number of styles/methods so finding a good fit will be much easier today than it was just 5-7 years ago – when I was looking for something for my little one.
3. No yoga experience necessary.
As a yoga instructor people often sheepishly “confess” to me that they have never done yoga before, as though that’s a bad thing or that they’re somehow behind. Everyone is a beginner when they first begin something. No one comes into the world an expert on anything. We all begin at the beginning. It’s truly that simple. You do not need to know anything about yoga to start kids yoga!
4. No equipment needed to start.
You can begin without a yoga mat and don’t even really need any special clothes. Just give it a shot! Then, if your family is diggin’ it, you might find that a yoga mat and some soft clothing may help up the fun-factor!
No need for a special space to begin kids yoga. Just scoot the toys to the side and begin the yoga fun!
6. Just jump in and get your feet wet.
Whether you begin with a live teacher or a book, yoga poses begin with simply mirroring the teacher. Nothing need be perfect. Just jump in and be guided to your next experience by your likes and dislikes. There are heaps of quality kids’ yoga programs available. I have a biased regard for our program, Sing Song Yoga® which currently has a customizable app and a DVD. So check it out if you wish or locate another that seems a good fit! Either way, have a blast and be easy about it! Yoga is meant to help us lighten up a bit.
Kids Yoga App – Create Your Own Balancing Sequence Effortlessly create a balancing sequence with a few taps of this kids yoga iOS app.
Top 5 Tips to Help Kids Yoga Balance: Kid Twitter Question Answered A kid question answered: “Do you have any tips to help us balance better?”
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015.
Posted in Kids Yoga at Home, Parenting, Sing Song Yoga.
Tagged: children, childrens yoga, dvd, ipad app, kids yoga, kids yoga app, kids yoga dvd, kids yoga video, parenting, sing song yoga, yoga, yoga app, yoga for kids
We had such a great time celebrating with Sing Song Yoga for kids at a recent birthday party for a fun-loving young yogi! Ages ranging from 3 to 11 melded together beautifully. The fun was managed through some classic Sing Song Yoga poses as well as games.
Our masterful yogis flowed through our Sunflower Sequence and incorporated yoga poses into games such as musical mats, tunnel of dogs and yoga freeze tag.
The room was divided seamlessly as a yoga space and a place to congregate to eat and celebrate further within the birthday party.
Thank you to the thoughtful parent for the invitation to Sing Song Yoga to join in on the birthday party fun!kids’ yoga website or through our social media pages Facebook or Twitter.
This entry was posted on Sunday, November 30th, 2014.
Posted in Parenting, Sing Song Yoga.
Tagged: birthday party, birthday party ideas, children, childrens yoga, kids yoga, kids yoga app, parenting, sing song yoga, yoga for kids, yoga poses