Presidio Memorial Day Weekend Yoga Classes for Kids


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Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It also marks the beginning of summer and the official season to wear white bottoms according to my grandmother.

Combining yoga with Memorial Day can be a thoughtful and educational way to teach children about the significance of the holiday while also promoting relaxation and mindfulness. Here's a simple yoga sequence tailored for kids that incorporates themes of remembrance and gratitude:

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana):

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides.
  • Encourage kids to imagine themselves as strong and grounded like mountains, representing the strength of those who serve.

2. Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana):

  • Step one foot back into a lunge, bending the front knee at a 90-degree angle, arms extended out to the sides.
  • Explain to kids that this pose symbolizes bravery and courage, qualities exhibited by military personnel.

3. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana):

  • Shift weight onto one leg, placing the sole of the other foot on the inner thigh or calf (avoiding the knee), hands together at heart center or extended overhead.
  • Discuss the idea of growth and resilience, akin to the strength of the families who support those serving in the military.

4. Child's Pose (Balasana):

  • Kneel on the mat, sitting back on heels, arms extended in front or relaxed by the sides.
  • Encourage kids to reflect quietly in this pose, honoring and remembering those who have sacrificed for their country.

5. Gratitude Meditation:

  • Have kids lie down on their backs in Corpse Pose (Savasana), closing their eyes and relaxing their bodies.
  • Guide them through a brief meditation, prompting them to think of things they are grateful for, including the freedoms they enjoy due to the sacrifices of others.

Throughout the practice, you can share age-appropriate stories or facts about Memorial Day, explaining its significance and the importance of honoring those who have served and sacrificed for their country. Encourage kids to express gratitude in their own way, whether through drawings, writing, or simply through their practice on the mat.

P.S. We will host classes during the holiday weekend so drop-in. See you soon!

 

7 Tips for Graduating and Stepping Up and Out


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Wow, I’ve hit a major milestone! I’ve got two graduates again. It happened in 2020 with each of my kids completing high school and middle school. Now, it’s college and high school. I cannot believe I have a college graduate and my other is leaving the nest for college on the East Coast. My major mom-job is done, right?!

Whether it is or not, celebrating the accomplishment of graduation is essential—it's a milestone worth commemorating! It’s also a major transition from what is known to what is unknown. It’s typical to feel anxious about stepping into the next phase of life, but remember, it's also an exciting opportunity for growth and new experiences.

Here are a few tips to celebrate the graduate and manage the stress of stepping up, I’ve learned through practicing yoga:

1. Celebrate Achievements: Take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and dedication that led to graduation. Whether it's a small gathering with family or a virtual celebration with friends, mark the occasion in a way that feels meaningful to you.

2. Reflect on Successes: Reflect on your journey so far and the successes you've achieved along the way. Recognize the skills and strengths you've developed during your time as a student, and use them as a source of confidence as you move forward.

3. Set Realistic Goals: Setting realistic goals for the future can help alleviate anxiety about what comes next. Break down your long-term goals into smaller, manageable steps, and focus on taking one step at a time.

4. Stay Connected: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family, mentors, and peers who can offer encouragement and advice as you navigate this transition period. Don't hesitate to reach out for support when you need it.

5. Embrace Uncertainty: It's natural to feel uncertain about the future, but try to view it as an opportunity for growth and exploration. Stay open to new possibilities and be willing to adapt to whatever comes your way.

6. Practice Self-Care: Make self-care a priority as you transition into the next phase of your life. Take time to relax, recharge, and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Like yoga!

7. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you're struggling with overwhelming anxiety or uncertainty, don't hesitate to seek support from a mental health professional. They can provide strategies to help manage anxiety and navigate this transition period more effectively.

Remember, it's okay to feel worried about stepping up to the next grade or out into the world—it's a sign that you're challenging yourself and pushing beyond your comfort zone. Get curious, take things one step at a time, celebrate your achievements, and have confidence in your abilities to succeed in whatever comes next. Congratulations!

 

6 Poses for Mother's Day Yoga with the Kids


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Whether you work outside the home or inside the home, being a mom is priceless. May is for mothers (and mental health). How will you spend Mother’s Day?

  • Some moms like breakfast in bed.
  • Some moms like brunch.
  • Some moms like a weekend away.
  • Some moms like a spa day.
  • Some moms like handmade cards and gifts.
  • Some moms like fancy jewelry.
  • Some moms like yoga with the kids.

Mother’s Day yoga with kids is a fantastic way to breathe, move and celebrate together! Here's a simple and fun yoga sequence tailored for kids to enjoy with their moms:

1. Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana):

  • Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, knees bent out to the sides.
  • Hold your feet with your hands and gently flap your knees up and down like butterfly wings. What color is your butterfly?

2. Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar):

  • Start standing tall, reach your arms up high to the sky (Mountain Pose).
  • Bend forward and touch your toes (Forward Fold).
  • Step one foot back into a lunge, then the other foot, coming into a plank pose.
  • Lower down onto your belly, then lift your chest up for Cobra Pose.
  • Push back into Downward-Facing Dog.
  • Step or jump your feet forward between your hands, returning to Forward Fold.
  • Reach your arms up high again, then lower them back to your sides (Mountain Pose).

3. Partner Yoga Poses:

  • Sit facing each other with your legs extended. Hold hands and gently lean back, using your partner's support to balance in Boat Pose (Navasana).
  • Alternatively, try Partner Tree Pose: Stand side by side and each place the outside foot against the inside thigh of the other, forming a "double tree.”

4. Heart-Melting Hugs:

  • Stand facing each other and give each other a big hug, squeezing tightly.
  • Feel the love between you and your mom as you hold the hug for a few breaths.

5. Flower Breath:

  • Make a flower with your hands open touching your pinky fingers and thumbs.
  • What kind of flower is it? What color? Smell the flower and blow the petals by wiggling your fingers.

6. Savasana (Cloud Pose):

  • Lie down on your back, close your eyes, and let your body relax completely.
  • Take a few deep breaths together, feeling calm and connected. Keep the energy light and joyful, encouraging laughter and playfulness throughout the practice.

It's never about perfect poses but about enjoying each other's company and celebrating the special bond between moms and kids. Happy Mother's Day!

P.S. We’ll show you all these poses and more. Celebrate mom with us on Sunday, May 12 at 10:15am at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

 

5 Tips for Managing The 100 Days of May


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It’s the final sprint of the academic year. The "100 Days of May" is a term that aptly captures the flurry of activities that occur as schools approach the end of the year. From final projects, exams, recitals, prom and graduation ceremonies to end-of-year parties, the calendar fills up quickly with events both celebratory and stressful. It's a time of transition, marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

The Temptation to Rush

It's natural to feel the urge to rush through each day, ticking items off the to-do list and eagerly anticipating the next event. However, in our haste to reach the finish line, we risk missing out on the richness of the present moment. Each day holds its own unique experiences, conversations, and opportunities for growth—if only we take the time to notice them.

The Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness offers a powerful antidote to the tendency to rush through life. By cultivating awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and surroundings, we can anchor ourselves in the present moment, fully engaging with whatever is happening here and now. Instead of being consumed by worries about the future or regrets about the past, we can appreciate the beauty and significance of now. Here’s how:

  1. Practice Gratitude: Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you're grateful for, whether it's a supportive friend, a beautiful sunset, or a small victory at school or work. Cultivating gratitude helps us to recognize and appreciate the abundance in our lives.
  2. Breathe: When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Focus on the sensation of the breath moving in and out of your body, allowing it to anchor you in the present moment.
  3. Savor Joy: Whether it's sharing a laugh with friends at prom or receiving an award at a graduation ceremony, allow yourself to fully savor moments of joy and accomplishment. Immerse yourself in the experience, letting go of distractions and worries.
  4. Stay Flexible: While it's important to have plans and goals, it's also essential to remain flexible and adaptable as unexpected events arise. Embrace the spontaneity of life, recognizing that sometimes the most memorable moments are the ones we didn't plan.
  5. Connect with Others: Take the time to truly connect with the people around you, whether it's classmates, teachers, or family members. Engage in meaningful conversations, listen attentively, and express appreciation for the relationships that enrich your life.

Embracing the Journey

As we navigate the final days of the school year, let's remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. By staying present and mindful, we can fully experience the joys, challenges, and bittersweet moments that make this time of year so special. So, let's embrace the 100 Days of May with open hearts and open minds, savoring each moment as it unfolds. After all, it's not just about reaching the end—it's about making the most of the journey along the way.

For me, these are yoga-off-the-mat moments. What we learn on the mat makes the leap to handling our everyday lives with ease and joy! We’ll show you how.

 

A better coping strategy for teens and alcohol


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April is Alcohol Awareness month. This is very close to my heart because too many families struggle with alcohol abuse and addiction. I have seen its damaging effects especially on children. Worse, many teenagers adopt the use of alcohol as coping mechanism.

First, some facts:

  • 178,000 people in the U.S. alone die of alcohol-related harms a year. It is a causal factor in >200 diseases including seven deadly cancers. 13.5% of total deaths between ages 20-39 are attributable to alcohol.
  • Anheuser-Busch spends ~$7B a year in advertising, heavily targeting youth. Advertising spend is linked to higher consumption rates.
  • U.S. warning labels for alcoholic beverages haven’t been updated for more than thirty years, predating the recognition of alcohol as a group 1 carcinogen.
  • Alcohol tax policies are similarly outdated at the state and federal level. Higher taxes support reduced consumption rates.
  • Like Big Tobacco did for decades, Big Alcohol actively obstructs public awareness, heavily investing in opposing effective alcohol policies at the expense of public health.

Yoga and alcohol are two very different coping mechanisms, each with its own set of effects and implications for mental and physical health. Here's a comparison:

Effects on the Body:

Yoga: Yoga focuses on physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. It promotes flexibility, strength, balance, and relaxation. It can help reduce physical tension and improve overall physical health.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. While it may initially provide feelings of relaxation and euphoria, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to impaired coordination, slurred speech, and long-term health problems such as liver damage, heart disease, and addiction.

Effects on Mental Health:

Yoga: Yoga has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits, including reducing stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. It promotes mindfulness and self-awareness, helping individuals to better cope with difficult emotions and situations.

Alcohol: While alcohol may temporarily alleviate feelings of stress or anxiety, it is not an effective long-term coping mechanism. In fact, excessive alcohol consumption can exacerbate mental health issues and lead to a cycle of dependence and negative coping strategies.

Long-Term Consequences:

Yoga: Practicing yoga regularly can have long-lasting positive effects on both physical and mental health. It can improve overall well-being and resilience to stress.

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can have serious long-term consequences for physical and mental health, including addiction, liver disease, cognitive impairment, and increased risk of accidents and injuries.

Community and Support:

Yoga: Yoga can be practiced individually or in a group setting. Many people find a sense of community and support through yoga classes and workshops.

Alcohol: While alcohol is often consumed socially, it can also contribute to social isolation and problems in relationships, especially when dependence or addiction becomes an issue.

Yoga offers numerous physical and mental health benefits and promotes overall well-being, while excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a range of negative health outcomes and is generally not a sustainable or healthy coping strategy.

What’s the USAPA?

The U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization translating alcohol policy research into public health practice. The organization is committed to ensuring that local and statewide organizations engaging in alcohol policy initiatives have access to the science, resources and technical assistance, including support for organizing efforts, required to engage in informed decisions and actions in translating alcohol policy research into public health practice.

Here is a 3 minute video that captures what they’re up to. With this awareness, we hope to see you in yoga class or become a teacher in your area.

 

Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!