Category: Guest Post (Page 1 of 2)

4 Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Your Family

 4 Benefits of Laughter Yoga for Your Family

It will known that yoga is the sort of activity that can yield numerous health benefits. It is also important to keep in mind the fact that in most cases, yoga is going to provide you with a variety of options to go through as well since there are so many different types of the activity now available for you to enjoy. Laughter yoga is one of the most popular innovations in the world of yoga. Here are some benefits of laughter yoga for the whole family:

  • Improves Health

    This is perhaps the most obvious benefit you are going to get. Laughter yoga is an excellent way to boost your immune system and prevent yourself from falling ill. If you have children, taking them for laughter yoga can help them to get a much stronger immune system in the long term. This can allow them to enjoy a much healthier and more enjoyable life, something that definitely makes laughter yoga worthwhile. If your child tends to fall sick a lot as some children often do, laughter yoga can help them overcome their weak immune systems without medication.

  • Provides Bonding Time

The thing about laughter is that you tend to develop a deep connection with people that you share it with frequently. Hence, if you want your family to become a tight knit unit where everyone cares about each other, sign up for a laughter yoga class. Once you and your family laugh together for the duration of the lesson, all of you will feel a great deal more affection and attachment to each other once the lesson is over.

  • Helps Provide Healthy Leisure Options

One of the biggest concern with kids today is that a lot of their sources of entertainment are so sedentary. They are playing video games, on their phones and watching TV, but most parents are unsure of how to stop this behavior because it is often the only way that these children know how to have fun. Laughter Yoga provides a healthy alternative. It can allow your kids to have fun in an environment that would boost their health as well. You could say that you would be killing two birds with one stone with Laughter Yoga!

  • Makes Socialization Easy

When you attend a laughter yoga class, the people that you are taking your class with would all be sharing this wonderful, hilarious experience with you. This can allow you to boost your social life. Your kids would be able to form a bond with other children as well. School can be a tough environment for some kids to make friends in, but in a laughter yoga class, everyone is relaxed, open and there to have a good time. This can give your kids a low-pressure option to boost their social skills and make some true friends.

You can find more information at Laughter Online University.

Author Bio:

This guest post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at HealthyRecharge.com

 

7 Family Yoga Ideas To Help Parents And Children Practice Together

Guest Post written by Hieu Pham

Yoga doesn’t have to be an adult-only zone. Children have shown that they can benefit from a yoga practice too. It can help with their fitness, relax them and even enhance their focus in the classroom. The idea of family yoga is exciting to parents that want to teach poses to their children, but where do we start? How do we make yoga child-friendly and enjoy a family session?

7 Family Friendly Yoga Ideas

1. Communicate with your child and teach them some easy poses that you can do together.

If you want to start with family yoga sessions, you need to start slow. The concepts may be a little strange to kids at first, so take it one step at a time. If they lose track of their breathing or a routine, it doesn’t matter. Keep talking to them as they change position so they can express how it feel, what they like and dislike. Be prepared for the fact that many kids will get frustrated the first time. Talk to them about why they are struggling and encourage them to try again. Their flexibility and enthusiasm could take them into poses they didn’t know were possible. Yet, start simple with some cross-legged positions, downward dog, and cobra.

Be prepared for the fact that many kids will get frustrated the first time. Talk to them about why they are struggling and encourage them to try again. Their flexibility and enthusiasm could take them into poses they didn’t know were possible. Yet, start simple with some cross-legged positions, downward dog, and cobra. The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards provide great pose visuals for adults and kids.

2. Don’t be afraid to break the rules a little if it means having fun.

The appeal of these family yoga ideas will depend upon your attitude to the practice. Are you someone that takes it very seriously, from the precision in the poses to the breathing? Or are you more casual about it all?

Breathing and safety in the poses are important, but kids need a little leeway here. Let them adapt to a comfortable position. Don’t get frustrated at them for them not breathing properly or doing the poses correctly. Instead, model the breathwork and poses.   The important thing is that you are engaged, communicating and enjoying the experience together. Go Go Yoga for Kids – A Complete Guide To Yoga With Kids is a great resource for making yoga fun yet educational for kids.

3.  Make some noise

Most of us are drawn to yoga because of the meditative side of the exercise. Not only are we aiding our bodies and building strength, tone and flexibility, we are aiding our mental health. This is where the deep breathing and quiet environments are so helpful for our state of mind.

Naturally, kids don’t want to be quiet all the time while having fun with yoga, and they shouldn’t have to be. These noises can be an expression of their feelings, either joy or frustration. Allow them to let it all out and join them, make it a joint expression. If they want to bark like a dog every time they go into a downward dog then that’s fine. Besides, if laughing yoga can become in the hit in some communities, some giggling and animals noises are fine.

4. Find the balance between technique and enjoyment in order to find fulfillment.

Family yoga can be tricky for parents to get into because it requires a different mindset. It is important to try and find a middle ground between a fun, silly activity and the deeper purpose of the practice. Talking, laughing and other expressions are great, but try and teach them the basics of the purpose of the poses and breathing. Explain to them that they will need to take a certain amount of deep breaths through the nose for each pose. Before long you will get into a rhythm with the routine and breathing and they start to relax a little.

5. Confident yoga practitioners may want to try some partner poses.

There are some parents that take family yoga ideas to another level with some partner poses. When your child has the confidence in their abilities, and the basics of poses and breathing, these joint poses increase the difficulty level. It is fun to work side by side, but it can, even more, fun to try and balance in poses together.  

The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards includes several partner poses that work together for adult and children. Obviously, you should only try this out in a safe environment and work on these poses gradually. But, there is a lot of fun in trying and even more satisfaction when successful. These poses are great for those working on their bond as they require a close physical and spiritual connection.

6. Those that lack the confidence to teach can join a local class.

There is something wonderful about this one-on-one time with your child. It can strengthen a bond and help you to communicate ideas on wellness and happiness. Still, there are those of us that will struggle to find the confidence to guide children through these poses, or the perseverance to encourage them when the poses get a little difficult. This is where is helps to join a local class. A trained teacher can work with you both on a family-friendly level. They can help you to learn new poses and ideas that can then be tried out at home. Also, this is a chance to meet other parents and children in the same situation.

7. Look out for classes with group activities where the whole family can get involved.

Find a class through your community, parks and recreation, or local gym that focuses on that parent-child relationship or work on child-friendly instruction. There are those that take the activities further and bring yoga poses in group games. This is a social event where everyone can join in and you are not restricted to 2 person activities. Therefore, if you want to bring a second child, a partner or perhaps a grandparent, everyone can have fun. Again, these games and techniques can be brought back to the family home for playtime on family gatherings.

Family yoga comes in different forms, from those simple routines to the partner poses and classes for the whole family. Anyone can bring their child into the world of yoga with the right attitude and techniques. Start slow and find a way to teach them the basics that are fun and inclusive. Then you can look into new games, classes, and ideas as you progress.

And do you know that a yoga set is a great way to get into yoga, either for yourself or your kids. However, most are lacking in quality and not worth buying, so here are some that are reviewed and recommend in this ultimate guide to choosing a Starter Kit for Beginners.

How Yoga Taught Me One Valuable Lesson I Will Never Forget

I had the fun opportunity to guest post over at Having Time.

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” – Goethe

How Yoga Taught Me One Valuable Lesson I Will Never Forget

I vividly remember my first yoga class. I was in my early thirties and the midst of teaching kindergarten, earning my master’s degree, parenting three young children, and training hard for triathlons and marathons in the early morning mornings so I could fit it in. There wasn’t any “off season” or down time. I just kept doing what I knew…

Read the full story here.

Toddler and Preschool Kids Yoga Lesson Plan, Rhymes, Music and More

Inspire your young yogi bears, with these simple and fun ways to get young children moving, breathing and singing while having fun with yoga!

Guest Post by Erin Leach owner of Mama Bear Yoga

Warm-Up

I begin every class by singing the song “Wake-Up Toes.” If you’re not familiar with the tune, you can listen to it here. We sing this song from a seated position and wiggle each body part as it is named in the song. It is always a hit with kids in this age group!

Movement

I love using familiar songs and nursery rhymes to teach yoga to toddlers and preschoolers. Not only are they fun and engaging, but they add a language development component to the class. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Humpty Dumpty”

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall (Squat down and wrap your arms around your legs to make you body look like an egg)
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall (Roll backwards onto your back with legs in the air)
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men (“March” your legs in the air by alternating bending and straightening your knees)
Couldn’t put Humpty together again (Flop your arms and legs down to the ground–SPLAT!)

“Five Little Speckled Frogs”

Loosely roll up your yoga mat to make your “log.” Stand on the mat and then squat down in frog pose. Each time a frog jumps into the pool, do a frog jump off of your mat. Listen to the song here.

“Hickory Dickory Dock”

(Have your child lay down with their legs up the wall before beginning the rhyme)
Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock (Creep your fingers up your child’s legs, like the mouse running up the clock)
The clock struck one, the mouse ran down, hickory dickory dock! (Move your child’s right leg slightly to the right to mimic the hands of the clock, then creep your fingers back down their legs)

Savasana

Toddlers and preschoolers can be a bit wiggly, and getting them to stay in one spot for savasana can be a challenge. I like to have parents give their little ones a foot rub during savasana. It’s a great way for them to connect, and it makes the kiddos want to lay still for a few minutes. Starting at the ball of your child’s foot (just under their big toe), use your thumb and rub in a circular motion, making your way across the foot underneath their toes. Continue in this pattern working your way down the foot in rows. One you have covered the entire bottom of the foot, use your index finger and thumb to give a little squeeze and tug on each toe. Finish by cupping the whole foot in both hands and giving a gentle but firm squeeze. You can watch a video of me demonstrating a foot rub here.

Most of all, remember to use this practice to just slow down, forget about all other distractions, and enjoy some quality time with the special little yogi in your life!a

Get this printable lesson plan here:  Go Go Yoga Sample Class

__________________________

Erin Leach is a wife, mom, yogi, sometimes-crafter, and a Certified ChildLight Yoga Instructor (CCLYI). She is also currently enrolled in a teacher training program to earn her RYT-200 certification.  Before becoming a full-time at-home mom, she worked for over ten years as an elementary school teacher and counselor.  She also worked in private practice as a child and family therapist. Practicing yoga with young children and their families brings her great happiness, and she looks forward to the opportunity of sharing the gift of children’s yoga with you and your precious little cubs.

 

 

 

Kids Yoga Jungle Adventure Lesson Plan

Are you ready for a wildly fun time with kids and yoga?!

Check out Go Go Yoga for Kids Yoga Jungle Adventure Lesson Plan over at Mindful Teachers.

For more kids yoga lesson plans and games get our Kids Yoga Guide.

Stay on top of all of the kids yoga fun and join our community

Inspire Your Young Yogi Bears with Erin Leach

If there is one person you could definitely entrust with teaching your young little kiddos about kindness, fun, and yoga; it would definitely be Erin Leach of Mama Bear Yoga.

Erin is the founder of Mama Bear Yoga which provides a safe space for all children to be themselves and for their caregivers to connect with them in that moment. By incorporating basic tenets of yoga, such as breathing, mindfulness, and affirmation, Mama Bear Yoga helps lay the groundwork for happy, healthy, and balanced children who will grow into happy, healthy, and balanced adults.

I had the pleasure of meeting Erin last Fall at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington D.C.  I was new to the area and when I found out that this midwestern gal would need to take the  city subway to get around, I had a more than a slight raise of of my heartrate.

Then along came Erin.  Admittedly, I pretty much chased her down in our hotel lobby to ask if she was also going to the Kids Yoga Conference. I do pride myself on a pretty good judge of character and she seemed like someone I could definitely trust. The fact that she was also carrying a yoga mat didn’t hurt matters as fellow yoga enthusiasts tend to be pretty friendly.

Erin navigated me through the underground mysteries of the Subway system, had incredible patience and taught me well. If she is this good with adults, imagine how she is with toddlers and preschoolers.

Many things impressed me about Erin, but as you read this interview, you will also see what a true gift she is to children and I am so excited for you to get to know her.

 ______________________

GGYfK:  How did you first get interested in being a kids yoga instructor? It seems like such a natural fit for you.

Erin: I have been practicing yoga myself since I was in college, and it has been so beneficial for me, both physically and emotionally. In my first career as an elementary school teacher and counselor, I used yoga informally all the time with my students, and I saw firsthand how beneficial it was for them. When I attended my first official kids’ yoga training, I wasn’t planning on becoming an instructor. My plan was to get renewal credits toward my counseling license and maybe learn some fun yoga-related activities to do with my own children at home, but after the first evening, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Teaching kids yoga just made sense and felt right to me. I took more trainings and became certified to teach and the rest is history!

GGYfK: We are so glad that you decided that! How did the name Mama Bear yoga originate?

Erin:  One of my favorite yoga poses that I learned in my ChildLight Yoga training is “Baby Bear.” It looks like Happy Baby, but you rock side to side and sing the words “baby bear” as you are doing it. It is so sweet to see mamas and their little ones practicing Baby Bear pose together. Once when I  was telling the some friends this story, we all  knew at once it had to be Mama Bear Yoga!

 GGYfK:Why did you decide to focus on the younger kids?

Erin: I have always had a passion for teaching young children. I was a first grade teacher for many years; however, I think a big part of why I chose to focus on this age group as a yoga teacher is because this was the age of my own children when I first got started. I could really relate to toddlers and preschoolers because I had two of my own at home, and I was going through many of the same experiences as the moms who were bringing their children to my classes. Kids at this young age say the funniest things and always liven up any situation.

GGYfK:Tell us about one of these memorable or funny experiences while teaching kids yoga!

Erin: Oh my goodness–I have a running list of funny things kids have said at yoga class. I walk away from every class I teach with at least one memorable quote! One of my favorite toddler-isms that seems to be almost universal happens when I teach them the word “namaste.” Even in toddler class, we close our practice by singing “namaste,” and every time, at least one or two of the children sing “Mama-stay.” I think it is so sweet, and it amazes me that all toddlers seem to do it!

GGYfK: That is so sweet! I love that story. What is one thing that all parents/caregivers should do with or know about kids at this age?

Erin: Toddlers and preschoolers are pretty unpredictable. You never really know how they are going to react (or when they are going to have a meltdown), especially in new situations. Aparigraha is a yoga term that means “non-attachment,” and I think that this practice is so important when you are a parent. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t form an attachment with your toddler–obviously a strong and secure parent-child bond should be established early in life (and you can strengthen this bond by practicing yoga together!). What I mean is that you cannot attach yourself to their behavior. When they are having a meltdown in the grocery store or they are in yoga class refusing to participate or they are displaying any sort of challenging behavior, you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you cannot control their behavior. You CAN, however, control how you respond to it. Many times, this little pause is all it takes to help you resolve the situation smoothly.

 ______________________

As you can tell, Erin, is very knowledgeable about this young age and cares deeply about inspiring young kids and really making a difference in their lives. Stay with us as Erin shares with us some of her tried and true lesson ideas for using yoga with these young ages of kids. You will not want to miss it!

 

Mindful Teachers Recommend Go Go Yoga for Kids

Go Go Yoga for Kids

Recommended Book for Mindful Teachers

by Catharine Hannay

If you’re interested in yoga and mindful movement for children and teens, check out Go Go Yoga For Kids by Sara J. Weis.

Read more here.

Meet the Creator of Backyard Yoga and a Fun Yoga Game Giveaway

What is one job that almost any kid would love to have as their full time grown up job? I am pretty positive that a toy designer would top the list. I am  very excited to introduce you to someone who is doing just that. Meet Erica Golub of Backyard Yoga.

Read on to win of Erica’s latest kids yoga products: Roll-a-Pose Wintertime Dice Game

I had the pleasure of meeting Erica at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington D.C. last Fall. I was intrigued about what she was doing and creating to help maximize the power of play in children to incorporate movement, meditation and mindfulness.

Read on to find out more about Erica’s creative process and Backyard Yoga.

GGYfK: What was your favorite toy as a kid?

Backyard Kids Yoga: I’m not sure I had just one.  I was a big fan of combining all my toys. Legos, Voltron, He-man, Rainbow Brite, Care Bears and My Little Pony all mashed together in one crazy narrative.  When I look back, most of my time was spent outdoors. Some of my fondest memories as a kid are playing outside with my brother and neighbors making up games.  

GGYfK:  We love the name Backyard Kids Yoga as it seems so friendly and accessible to all. How did the name originate?

Backyard Kids Yoga: It literally originated from my backyard.  I was searching for local kids yoga classes that would fit in our summer schedule, and allow both my 3 and 6 year old to attend together.  One day I got tired of searching and decided to create it. I set up Backyard Yoga Playdates and invited friends.  The private Facebook group has grown now to over 20 families and I still hold one every month during the summer.  The have become my ambassadors and you can find them highlighted here.

GGYfK:  Being a toy maker and designer sounds so amazing. What was the first thing you ever designed and sold?

Backyard Kids Yoga: My first product to hit the market was the Peaceful Planet Waterball that I designed while interning at Fisher-Price in 1998/99. A fun fact is that it had a cameo in the movie Under The Tuscan Sun, I think seeing my toy on the big screen may have been cooler than seeing my first toy on the store shelves.

GGYfK: Where do you get your inspiration?

Backyard Kids Yoga: Play. This is why I am such an advocate for play.  Being curious and learning about new things will always fuel us and help us to grow.  When you are learning new skills or just playing around, things will connect in the most unexpected ways. Getting my 200hr yoga certification started as a way for me to reconnect with myself again after my first child was born.  I had no idea at the time the path those 6 months, 6 years ago,  would put me on.

GGYfK:. What is the biggest challenge in designing unique products?

Backyard Kids Yoga: It depends on the space I’m designing in.  If I’m designing a new stacking toy, that becomes pretty difficult since so many have been done before.  With Backyard Yoga it’s a bit easier.  As you know there are not a lot of resources out there for kids yoga, which is why you wrote Go Go Yoga for Kids.  My toy design background coupled with my yoga experience provides endless ideas.  The bigger hurdles revolve around resources.

GGYfK:  Tell us about the next product you have in mind that you are excited to share with others?

Backyard Kids Yoga: Right now I’m pretty excited about a family of products coming this Spring.  They focus on breath and meditation. Breathing Buddy Eye Pillows are character themed eye pillows with satin tummy’s filled with flax seed.  They will be accompanied by a song I co-wrote and developed with super talented friends of mine.  The song is my take on belly balloon breath.  If you want to read more check out my article at MindBodyGreen.

The eye pillows and song will be followed by a picture book illustrating the words in the song.

These particular products are near and dear to my heart because they grew out of being a mama to an anxious little girl. The narrative in our belly balloon meditation was developed through some pretty tough bedtime talks.  Sometimes little kids feel like they need to burden the weight of the world…and I will do whatever I can to create tools for kids and parents to help reconcile those feelings.

Leave a comment below Backyard Yoga’s newest products!

Roll-a-Pose Wintertime

INCLUDES:

  • A laminated pose card showing 10 winter themed yoga poses
  • 2 10-sided dice in dice
  • Game play ideas and pose descriptions

Leave a comment below by February 10th with your favorite yoga pose for a chance to win this Wintertime Roll-a-Pose Game!

 

 

5 Kid-Friendly Yoga Poses That Will Open Hearts and Minds

by Sara J. Weis

Love is in the air, and now is the time to let your heart shine. Yes, flowers and candy are a lovely thought for adults this season, but it is also a good time to open your heart and show acceptance and compassion for others.

These heart-opening exercises are especially beneficial for kids and adults who spend the majority of their day slouched in desks at school and work or with their heads bent over screens and books. These exercises take only minutes and will help improve posture and release back and neck tension as well as create an openness in your body and mind.

Head over to Daily Cup of Yoga to read the read and try these amazing heart opening yoga poses.

Get these Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards to help practice yoga at home or school with kids. Find out more here or get our exclusive monthly newsletter for additional fun ways to introduce kids to yoga.

Practice These 4 Yoga Poses Every Day for Your Body and Mind

Yoga can be done with all ages and has numerous benefits for your body both inside and out. Trying these four progressive yoga poses and easy-to-remember mantras will give your body many physical and mental benefits.

These fun and family friendly progressive poses only take minutes each day. By consistently pairing these poses with saying the given mantra, you will begin to feel many physical and mental benefits take place.

Find out more in my original published article here.

Looking for more kids yoga lesson plans and games? Get your copy of Go Go Yoga for Kids here or get our monthly newsletter.

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