Posts Tagged ‘raising kids’

Can I Package My Heart? Kids Yoga Teacher Training

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.

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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 andsing song yoga parent child class
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 empowerIMG_2852 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 2016-06-11 13.29.01core. 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, 2016-06-10 17.45.15-2Michigan 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 2016-06-10 20.34.10Teacher 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 2016-06-12 12.23.52words — 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 2016-06-12 12.46.32Yoga 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.

Related Posts:

Yoga for Kids in School on Fox 17kids yoga in the news Sing Song Yoga® founder and school teacher discuss some tools for using yoga in school as well as some benefits of it.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 11.38.49 PM

Getting Kids Ready to Write: Yoga in Schools A teacher question answered: “I was wondering the best combinations [of poses] to use [with my students] for getting ready to write.”

2015-04-21 09.48.028 Kids Yoga Myths Some common misunderstandings about kids’ yoga. Explore other view points for a broader perspective.

hamstring picsTop 5 Kids’ Yoga Tips for Greater Flexibility A kids’ yoga question answered: “We want to know how we can stretch better! Any tips?”

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 1.21.43 PMYoga in Schools: Kids and Teachers Talk Kids’ Yoga A quick peek into what kids and teachers are saying about using the Sing Song Yoga app in the classroom.

kids yogaCrossing the Midline and Kids’ Yoga yoga for kids is one of the many activites that can provide cross-lateral experiences for children. If done regularly might assist in building the brain for…

dead bugTop 6 Yoga Poses for Toddlers  “A few months ago a parent asked how she could best do yoga with her one-year-old daughter…”

balancing sequence Sing Song Yoga AppKids’ 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 Balance in Kids’ Yoga: Kid Twitter Question Answered A kid question answered: “Do you have any tips to help us balance better?”

Twitter Leads to Most Rewarding Visit Imaginable  Sing Song Yoga founder does yoga with students she connected with on Twitter.

Kids Yoga App Series – #3. Restore Purchases –FAQs: How to easily restore in-app purchases in seconds with this simple illustration.

Kids Yoga App Series #4 Guidelines Video Our Sing Song Yoga Kids share their wisdom about doing yoga in this Guidelines Video.

Kids Yoga App Series #5 Time Management for Home & Classroom Super efficient time-management kids yoga app tools to get the most out of every second spent with our kids.

For more info:Yoga in a School Setting

Sing Song Yoga® Kids’ Yoga App

Sing Song Yoga® kids’ yoga DVD

Sing Song Yoga® school program

Sing Song Yoga® website

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2016.
Posted in Sing Song Yoga Teacher Training.
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Top 6 Kids Yoga Poses for Bedtime: a calming sequence

Ahhhh!  Summer is here.  After long lovely days at the beach, at the ballpark, on the playground and running around the neighborhood, kids tend to remain wired when heading to bed.  Unless of course a calming activity is deliberately infused into the routine leading up to bedtime.

One such activity can be a short series of kids yoga poses.  Here are top 6 yoga poses for helping your child begin to calm their bodies and minds — in as little as 8 minutes. These poses also happen to be the included poses in the free Sing Song Yoga App.  So enjoy – and let us know what you think!

Sailboat T
















Sailboat begins the series during which your child will twist around the straight spine, which has a neutral effect on the nervous system.


Half Butterfly T
















Next comes Half Butterfly.  Forward folds have a calming effect on the nervous system and the one bent leg opening up the hip adds to the calming effect.


Fish T Still Image
















Fish pose is a lovely night time yoga pose to add to our sequence.  We tend to hold stress in our hips, so allowing our legs to relax out to the sides enhances the relaxation effect.  Open up the chest and allow your head to relax back and look behind you (slightly different than the picture). This multifaceted pose works beautifully to continue the calming effect.


Bridge T

Bridge pose is an inversion well known for its calming effect on the nervous system.  This kids’ yoga pose can also be used anytime you have an extra minute during your day to give your child an extra sense of calm. Great, of course, for moms and dads too!


Dead Bug T















Deadbug pose adds a final dose of a calming response before the big finale! Your child can even add the hum of the bug to enhance the relaxation. Hearing the humming sound within one’s own head can also double the calm for some children.


Savasana 1 T











Savasana is the final yoga pose in this series and the granddaddy of the relaxation poses.  Encourage your child to lie flat on his or her back, close the eyes and imagine themselves floating on a cloud allowing their bodies to completely relax.  For preparing for bedtime, it can also be helpful for your child to do savasana right in their bed and then allow themselves to drift softly into dreamland!  Ahh! Now mom and dad can slip off for their own quiet time.



If you would like to learn the songs and more in-depth directions to these Sing Song Yoga kids yoga poses, check out the award-winning Sing Song Yoga App in the iTunes Store. The above poses are the free ones at launch. Or see our website to order the DVD.

To see a fun White Board Animation about our program click here!

Sing Song Yoga Kids Yoga App video animation







This entry was posted on Saturday, June 21st, 2014.
Posted in Benefits of Yoga, Kid's Yoga Sequences, Parenting, Sing Song Yoga.
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Sing Song Yoga 2014 Charity of the Year: Life Services Parent Center

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 8.41.35 PM Sing Song Yoga® is thrilled to partner with “Life Services Parent Center, home of Deanna’s Playhouse” for our 2014 Charity of the Year. They have a long history of serving local families in the Holland Michigan area beginning way back in 1983. Life Services Parent Center including an indoor fully accessible play center, Deanna’s Playhouse, provides a gathering place where young parents can learn all about how to help their children be the best they can be. The Center provides respite for parents and hours of fun for their young children. The Center has developed in large part due to Deanna DePree’s work at the Federal and State level. Deanna’s belief that “parents want to do the best for their kids, but need information to know what to do” intrigued the U.S. Department of Education.  They granted the Life Services agency a 5 year grant to implement the belief. The grant ended in 2011, with many successes to report.

• A large 26,000 square foot Parent and Play Center exists in Holland.

• 13,500 visitors came to the Center in 2011; 16,000 visitors came in 2012.

• Prepared the greater Holland community to collaborate on Early Childhood and school readiness

Parents have the opportunity to learn the basics of child rearing very early in their baby’s life.

• Just the simple activity of reading to their baby makes a big difference in their child learning to read.

• A parent’s hug may seem like a small thing, but it is huge to a baby’s sense of worth and emotional feeling of being valued and loved.

• Loud arguments make a baby feel scared and insecure, but parents often think that their little one is too young to be affected.  The fact is that this is very emotionally upsetting to the baby.  The baby’s brain begins to concentrate on survival rather than on learning.

Deanna’s Playhouse (DPH) – The Playhouse and its staff assist parents in teaching creativity through interactive Play. Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 10.20.49 AM

The Playhouse’s E-Club Newsletter informs  over 2,000 families about resources & opportunities for play:

• In 2011, over 13,500 visitors participated, including 22% free.

• In 2012, 16,000 visitors, including 24% free.

• In 2013, Playhouse visitors and memberships have continued to increase as families increasingly recognize the value of this socio-emotional and developmentally appropriate experience for their young children!

• DPH annually hosts ~70 birthday parties, ~30 field trips and ~60 special events for families (themed events, company parties and family reunions).

Parenting Resources and Consultation – Parents have access to free parenting support resources in our libraries.  PAT-trained educators are available for individualized consultation.  Referrals are made to community services, as appropriate. Classes for Parents – PNC grant, “Grow Up Great”, provides financial literacy for 135 families with young children by offering Workshops at the playhouse.  Children make banks and parents take home important information. Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 10.04.03 PM Parents as Teachers (PAT) – working cooperatively with the Ottawa County Health Department serves over 600 families annually  – predominately in the Holland area.  As the State Office for Parents As Teachers, LSPC coordinates parent educator trainings and certification across Michigan.  Local agencies with PAT-certified parent educators include Ottawa County Public Health, InterCare, Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Child Development Services and Deanna’s Playhouse.  

“Books” Program – Each year provides a before-school, literacy program for  students at all four Holland elementary schools.  Parents could safely drop-off their children before school began each day.  In 2012-13 served over 980 students.

Pre-School Fair – held every January to provide parents an opportunity to visit with staff from area preschools. Many family members attend in preparation for selecting a preschool for their child.

Leaders for the 21st Century   Since 1999, LSPC has designed and coordinated a 3-day leadership training for over 800 Holland area seventh graders at Hope College.  The student leaders return to school and, coached by their counselors, continue to work to make their middle schools  a welcome place for all students!”  Thank you in advance LSPC for allowing us to be a part of your 2014! For more information please see


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This entry was posted on Friday, February 7th, 2014.
Posted in Charity of the Year.
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can a Tablet Actually Get Kids Moving?

Tablets are typically a source of screen time for kids.  During screen time the child is still, the eyes hold a fixed gaze, and the image on the screen is moving.  So as a teacher and a mom, I’m thrilled to encourage your kids to use the Sing Song Yoga® kids yoga app to transform their screen time into some “music and movement” time.

This whiteboard animation and jingle are a fun way to say the same thing…

When kids move, play and sing they use their brains well.
Building their brains is naturally fun.
Paving the brain roads and making connections
A well-developed brain makes learning easy and fun!

But too often now kids sit with one of these.
Which at times can be a bit of a concern.
So let’s use tablets to get kids moving
So we can see the benefits of moving return

Experts find that yoga helps kids
With focus, awareness, coordination and more.
A kids’ yoga studio on your TV
Find the Sing Song Yoga® App in the App Store.

So have fun encouraging your kids to use their tablets to keep moving!  And thanks in advance for sharing this post!

The Sing Song Yoga® App is available in the Apple App Store and is explained in detail in this former blog post.

For more information about our program check out



Sing Song Yoga Kids Yoga App video animation

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 23rd, 2013.
Posted in Benefits of Yoga, Parenting, Sing Song Yoga, Yoga Research.
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New Parent & Child Kids Yoga Class

Spinning Spider

Spinning Spider


Young children and loving adults make for a perfect kids’ yoga combination!  We had our inaugural Parent and Child Sing Song Yoga class today.  It was such a blast!  The parents were fabulously good sports!

Turtle Partners

Turtle Partners


Our traditional live Sing Song Yoga kids’ yoga class invites kids whose ages range from about 5 to 11.  And over the past year or so we have continued to have parents inquire about their toddlers and preschoolers being able to join.

Under Dog

So we have finally answered the call. For this kids’ yoga class we have changed things up a bit designing it to be specifically for the youngest yogi! We shortened the class to 30 minutes, have added some movement and parents, and now happily accommodate children ages 2-6.

Snug as a Bug

Snug as a Bug


We enjoyed some traditional poses today but also added in heaps of movement!  Thanks so much to our young yogis and parents alike who made for a really fun first class!




For more information on this and other Sing Song Yoga classes see our website. To do more Kids’ Yoga at home or in school, check out our new Sing Song Yoga Kid’s Yoga App in the Apple App Store as well as for general information about our program.


This entry was posted on Monday, October 21st, 2013.
Posted in Parenting, Sing Song Yoga, Toddlers.
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