Playful Practice

Your resource for all things children's yoga!

October: Welcome Fall and Halloween

 

 

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We had a fantastic October! Our theme all month was fall.

We opened the month with a changing seasons class, exploring vinyasa and “changing” poses as the seasons change. We talked about letting go, like the trees let go of old leaves. We were bears gathering fish and berries to prepare for hibernation, migrating birds and whales, round pumpkins and of course trees.

The next week was our apple orchard class. We sang a fun little song, standing in tree pose, that even our older girls got a kick out of. Big thanks to The George Center for Music Therapy, Inc.: http://youtu.be/U2ztJjUcqSA. We played Tall Tree Small Tree, Read Apple Farmer Annie and made Apple Pie using foam roller massage.

Pumpkin Day was a great class as well as we explored poses using the flexibility of our spine to make round shapes. We used the ball and bosu ball to stretch and support, created a pumpkin patch group pose and did lots of rocking and rolling.

With 5 classes in October we got to celebrate with two Halloween themed classes. The first ones creating spooky trees, skeletons, flying bats, witches on a broom, half moon, howling werewolves and more. The last class of the month was our Halloween costume party. We set up an obstacle course and created a story together that led us through the course. Each student had a pose to incorporate in our story moving through the obstacles. We had a cat chasing a bat through a tunnel and a spider hiding in a pumpkin. We wrapped up by making a fall leaf crown. It was a great little intro to the crown chakra and the gratitude theme that will take over for the month of November.

Every week these kids are learning, playing and exploring. Their poses get stronger, their breathing more focused and their excitement continues to grow!

 

Namaste,

Amber

 

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September Theme: Back To School





This past month our classes have all had a Back To School theme. We started the month by creating a Back To School Toolbox full of breathing techniques to use in different situations at school. I actually wrote about the Back To School Toolbox over at another blog I contribute to. It’s a California Lifestyle blog with a wonderful group of women we call Daisy Tribe. So swing by and check it out for details!

Each week we opened class by discussing the “tools” and any time throughout the past week that the kids used the tools at school. It’s been a wonderful discussion topic, especially for me as a teacher, to see how the kids are taking their yoga skills off the mat!

Our asana practice has focused on the alphabet. We gone from A-Z and taken turns coming up with a pose beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Some are traditional yoga poses, some are made up with sheer creativity and some are traditional poses cleverly renamed! I had Eagle pose with a deeper bend in the knee turned into Quail pose and Wild Thing renamed Zunicorn! I love the creativity and imagination that comes out in these games!

We also completed my favorite yoga art project of the year! We created poses for the first letter of each child’s name. I edited them in Flickr to turn them black and white, then used a filter to draw the letter over the pose in color. The focus is on the creativity and expression of the pose, with a subtle nod to the letter. The kids absolutely loved seeing themselves in the poses and it gave the parents a sweet momento of our classes as well. We cut them out, used Mod Podge to stick them to inexpensive foam boards for “framing” and attached ribbon with a hole punch to hang them. The finished product is beautiful and such a wonderful way to wrap up our theme for the month.

 

Some of our letters (we even had a little brother join in to make his!) 
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And the finished product!
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I’ve really enjoyed this month!  I can’t wait to see how these wonderful kids inspire me next month!

 

Namaste

 

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Girl Power Yoga Summer Session

This Wednesday, July 2nd we begin our summer session. Each week girls ages 7-12 will learn one of the yamas/niyamas (basic yogic principals and fun sanskrit words), play a yoga game and create a yoga art or craft project. And of course wrap it all up with a guided visualization to help them slow down and take it all in!
Week one we will learn Ahimsa, or non-violence, and what it means to practice it off the mat. Our game will be yoga bingo and our art project will be a ME poster. The girls will cut out words and images that describe how they feel about themselves. Its a beautiful activity to promote creativity as well as self expression!
Some of our other activities will be games like yoga jenga and yogi says, projects like creating mandalas and making lavender eye pillows and learning other yoga concepts such as Santosha – contentment. “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” — Mother Teresa

Bring your daughters in to join us and build their “toolbox” with yoga before the next school year begins!!!

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Kids Yoga: More Than Just A Pose

A couple of weeks ago we spent the day at LEGOLAND in celebration of my 9-year-old daughter’s birthday. We love it there because it’s not too large and overwhelming and it seems to have a little something for everyone to enjoy. It was a beautifully warm, southern California summer day so we spent the first half of the day at the water park splashing amidst the sea of happy kiddos. My youngest is just over a year old and was loving the sandy play area with the giant foam Legos just outside of the water slides. There aren’t a ton of the Legos spread around to play with but there were only 2 or 3 families in the area and plenty to go around until….

A family with kids I’d guess between 6 and 10 years old decided to build a house. Not a little house, but a house the kids could fit inside. They started building it up using the blocks near them but soon ventured out for more, wiping out the pile belonging to another boy while he took a break for a snack and then creeping in and snagging one at a time, closer and closer to my kids. My 9-year-old had a small pile she was teaching the baby to build with and looked up nervously as she realized they were being swindled.

My husband graciously let them know they had already collected all the free Legos, that we were using these, and they scurried back to their fortress. These parents had not only forgotten to teach their kids about sharing, but had encouraged them to go and take whatever they could, including stealing Legos from a baby.

I tried not to judge them. Its sort of the way of our society right? Acquire more, more, more? It was just so disheartening to see this next generation of youth being taught to live that way.

I asked my older daughter what she thought about the situation and she said “Asteya”. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see her make that connection! Asteya is one of the Yamas in yoga: A guiding set of principles to apply to how we live, how we practice self-restraint. Asteya means not stealing, not feeling a lack of abundance that causes us to take more than we need. There are many ways to interpret and apply this principle but with kids we keep it simple! We talk about not stealing time from class by speaking out of turn or being disruptive. We talk about not stealing materials from other kids at school. Simply and practically we talk about Asteya and what it means to us off the yoga mats. And my daughter found a perfect situation to understand it outside of our studio.

There is a quote that I love, untitled

And here is where yoga practice comes in and teaches so much more than poses and breathing, even in to our tiniest yogis!

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Family Yoga in the Park

I’m always a little nervous heading into a family yoga class. In my regular classes we break the groups up by age so I can make sure all activities are age appropriate. In a family class there is a huge mix in ages and it can be a little more difficult to plan ahead. I go into all classes with a general idea and room to stray based on the mood of the class that day, but family yoga means I need to be more prepared and even more flexible!

I hosted a family yoga session on Friday, nervous about the turnout and the lesson plan…. and had a BLAST. (Literally as we practiced Rocket Breath!) We had a wonderful group who all had a great time. We were blasting off like rockets, roaring like lions, flying like super heroes and snuggled up with our kids ranging in age from 1-12 (as even my own youngest and oldest joined in) for Savasana. Play is good for all of us, not just our kids. Laughter, sunshine and fresh air are medicine for our souls. The bond between parent and child, trying something new, supporting eachother (as parents are better at some poses while kids get to see that they are better at others!) and playing together create and foster the greatest bond.

We’ll be hosting another free family yoga in the park session at Shadowridge Park in Vista on the 30th. Join us if you can!

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Namaste… and PLAY!

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Follow us on Facebook

Hey yogi families, have you “Liked” us on Facebook? Our Take 5 videos are posted there each week along with craft ideas, kid friendly recipes and fun things to do in South Orange County & North San Diego. Don’t miss out on the fun and join us there! http://www.Facebook.com/ThePlayfulPractice

NamasteIMG_5585

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Finding the time to slooooow down

Just when I thought we were in for a nice relaxing summer free of rigid schedules and carpools… My son made the All-Star team for baseball. We are thrilled for him and excited to play, but I find down time to be so important. We had a team meeting over the weekend that one player missed because he was at water polo. We ran into a former teammate last night at dinner who made the 10 year old All-Star team but missed a practice because of Rugby.

A big part of the challenge of filling a kids yoga class for me has been that kids here are already so “booked” with activities. Sports, music, whatever it may be they have multiple classes/practices/commitments going at the same time. Add more than 1 child to the mix and you have a mom that has a color coded schedule on her at all times to know which way to turn next.

I won’t get in to commitments and over-extending our kids in this post. We live (here) in Southern California where our kids can play all the sports they love year round and I get it. The activities of the weekend just got me thinking about how important it is to get them to slow down, enjoy the moment and appreciate the opportunities they have. It’s hard, even for me! I attempt a home yoga practice but with 3 kids, 2 businesses, 2 dogs, 1 husband and a house to run its rare that I get enough time to really immerse myself in practice. I HAVE to go to a yoga class. There are always 5 reasons nagging me not  to go as I try to walk out the door and I’m usually still debating even leaving as I start my engine or begin the walk to the studio. Once in class I cherish the time in quiet, focused practiced. I am grateful that I stepped onto the mat and I leave feeling physically and mentally refreshed and ready to tackle the chaos of life with a more present perspective.

Don’t our kids deserve, and NEED, that quiet time too? Are they really present and enjoying each sport they play when they are hustling from one to the next? Are they appreciating the time and effort it takes for them to be able to attend everything they’d like to? Yoga helps kids slow down enough to practice gratitude. To notice the little things about the games they love. The pop of a baseball as it hits the catchers mitt. The smell of fresh-cut grass on the field. The cold of the water when they first dive in. The little things that should be planted like seeds in their memories to be cherished as they grow in fondness as time and age go by. Just like they practice on the field they need to practice being present in the moment. They need to practice the focus it requires to be successful in athletics. They need to practice how to stay calm and centered when things don’t go their way. They need to practice gratitude for the opportunity to play.

And what about the physical toll on those developing bodies? What are we doing to prevent injury and assure they can keep playing their sport in the years to follow? Strengthening supporting muscles, stretching frequently used muscles and allowing the nervous system to process that work is hugely important for a healthy athlete. More and more we see professional athletics organizations adding yoga to their training regime for good reason. They know they need to counteract the stress put on their bodies.

So if we are going to load up our kids schedules with sports and scouts and arts and everything else they have an interest in let’s add one more class in there to help them stay grounded, stay healthy and keep it all in perspective. Get them to yoga. Commit to at least 6 weeks and watch the benefits of yoga practice manifest before your eyes. And while they are at it, try a class for yourself too! Or check out a family class and spend some quality time together. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did!

Namaste!

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Strengthen the Father-Daughter Bond with Yoga!

Hey, dad, want to get closer to your daughter?

Find something to do together.

A new study by Baylor University researchers puts participation in shared activities at the top of the list of pivotal moments in the father-daughter relationship. The Baylor researchers refer to this father-daughter bond as “closeness in the doing,” as opposed to the mother-daughter bond, “closeness in the dialogue,” which is based on sharing and talking.

An excerpt from a wonderful article you can read in full here http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-23/features/sc-fam-0423-dad-daughter-bond-20130423_1_father-daughter-bond-relationship-dads

Why not start with a Father-Daughter yoga class at The Playful Practice this Saturday?! Don’t worry if you don’t know your down dog from up dog or your eagle from your crow. We PLAY yoga in a way that is perfect for beginner and fun for all. More importantly it is a unique and amazing way to bond with your daughter. Try it out Saturday June 15th at 11am.  $25 for the pair, kids ages 3-12. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Call 760-889-3829 or email jaybrimomi@yahoo.com. We hope to see you both there!

Father Daughter Yoga

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Purple Day with The Playful Practice

Our turn out for beach yoga was small, but powerful. My daughter and some close friends were able to practice on the sand with the sun setting over the water on a beautiful San Clemente day. The outpouring of support we received online was tremendous! I think we’ll definitely do this event again, starting to get the word out sooner and to more people. For now I am happy with the people we were able to bring awareness to and the support I was able to show my own daughter. Thanks for all who joined us, wore purple, re-posted our flyers, posted pictures of themselves in their purple and however else you helped get the word out yesterday.

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Namaste!

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The Playful Practice comes to Babies in Bloom!

To serve our North County (and my home town!) friends, The Playful Practice will be offering classes at Babies in Bloom beginning February 13th.

Join us for Parent/Tot Yoga – Walkers to age 3 with adult for fun with songs, games and lots of silly yoga poses in a class to get their bodies moving and spark their creativity. Wednesdays 10:00-10:45am

Preschool Playgroup will add more poses to our play and get this group of 3-6 year olds using imagination, working on cooperation and  learning how/when to slow down. We meet Wednesdays at 11:30.

These little ones have such a wonderful opportunity to develop healthy habits early on that will benefit them a lifetime, and we do it all through PLAY! I hope you will join us! Call 760-889-3829 or email jaybrimomi@yahoo.com to reserve you spot – space is limited!

To celebrate our new location – your first week is FREE!

10 Class punchcards can be purchased for $120

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