Happy Holiday Health

Holidays bring their own energy. It’s a blend of excitement and joy often with overwhelm and even dread. To Do Lists are long and much falls on moms. Moms who are still navigating an ongoing pandemic with new variants emerging.

The pandemic affects people's mental health. More than 40% of Americans admitted to feeling depressed. Physicians are calling the mental health crisis among kids a national emergency. Young girls and children of color are particularly at risk. 

While holidays bring a brighter spirit, here are some resources just in case it doesn’t feel that way for someone close to you:

  1. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free and confidential support for people in distress.
  2. The Child Mind Institute provides clinical care and supports community programs.
  3. Yoga brings helping hearts for people who are struggling together. 

Breathing, moving and resting for as few as 10 minutes is recommended to diminish the demands of the season. While the holidays may come and go, the pandemic lingers on, and its effects have impact for years to come. One thing you can do is show up with heart and help for parents and kids who are suffering. 

It's Yoga Kids Diaper Drive

Each year, in November, we call attention to the theme of gratitude. In my work with kids and supporting adults, I’ve heard the sweetest and funniest things to be grateful for because gratitude practice is part of every yoga class.

“I’m grateful for my parents, my toes and ice cream!”

"I’m grateful for my dog, my family and toys!”

“I’m grateful for my home, candy and my goldfish!”

“I’m grateful for my friends, my school and my iphone!”

There are many things to be grateful for and research shows a gratitude practice has been linked to a greater sense of satisfaction and happiness. It’s simple, write down or discuss 3 things you are grateful for each day. This can be done anytime, often at dinner or at bedtime. Kids are most grateful for people in their lives, like parents, teachers and friends. Sometimes, they are thankful for elaborate things like vacations, and other times, for necessities like food and diapers.

Diaper need is a pressing issue. Reading a recent article, I was struck by vital shortages due to the pandemic. Access to diapers has been huge problem and moms who can’t afford diapers find that hardship to be more stressful than food or housing insecurity. Thankfully, we can do something about it, and you can too.

Inspired by this need, we’ve created a Thanksgiving Diaper Drive to benefit Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco. Earth Baby REDYPER, Loop, Charity and the JAMBand and It’s Yoga Kids® have come together to help donate diapers for families in need.

Together, we can make a difference. You can give in person from November 14 through December 5 or virtually now. (Please designate to Redyper: Giving Thanks). A mom and her baby thank you. It is the season to be grateful. Hug that little one of yours and your whole family too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ferris Bueller Teen Mental Health

Mid-term reports are happening with school having been in session for a couple months now. Kids and families are adjusting to new schedules with health and public safety protocols which has been exhausting for many. Some kids and families are ready for a break and Thanksgiving feels far away!

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of a day like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” … Ferris Bueller

While Ferris seized the day, today’s teens are advocating for mental health days off school -legally. The article states: declining mental health of children and adolescents has led to new laws allowing kids to advocate for their own self-care. In the last two years, 8 states have passed bills permitting children to be absent from school for mental or behavioral health reasons, efforts that were often aided or spearheaded by students.

What if kids had access to yoga? Would life slow down? Would it help them keep up? Research says yes. Healthy habits, including mindfulness, movement and mediation are scientifically proven to reduce stress. Yoga is a way to have some fun - no winners or losers - and manage the mental load when academic, athletic and social life pressure becomes too much to handle. Yoga supports youth in every way.

There are other ways to support teens in school. One idea is: Don’t drill your teen about their feelings. Instead, talk about the emotional environment that surrounds them; allow them to off-load feelings without reacting yourself. Yet another reason for yoga to “practice the pause” before responding to any situation. Help your kids express and release bad situations and then focus on a fun activity - like YOGA?

Halloween Kids Yoga Classes

The whole week leading up to Halloween we will dress in costume and transform our yoga class into spooky fun together! Here’s what to expect:

1. Pick a costume you can move in. We’ve seen the sweetest and scariest costumes over the years. Some of our friends get very excited for Halloween and go all out! Be sure to bring accessories, but leave them to the side during class. Watch out for any pokey objects as part of your custom or anything that may impede your ability to move safely like long fabrics. More snuggly fitting costumes are better for yoga.

2. Get your creative juices flowing! Of course, we’ll make the cat, monkey, crescent moon and spooky trees, we’ll also play the game: Witches, Ghosts and Zombies, Oh My! There will be a haunted house pose and we'll concoct a witches brew. There are so many fun things to do!

3. RIP - After our yoga fun, we’ll rest in peace. It’s as if Halloween was made for yoga because I bet you’ll recognize our vampire pose as savasana. Instead of our clouds, we’ll pretend to be in our coffins! Don’t worry, we’ll come back to life right after our trick-or-treat mediation.

We can’t wait to see you outdoors for this year’s Halloween-themed classes the week of October 25-31. Register now!

Meditation for Kids and Parents

In a recent article why I need to hide from my kids, I appreciated the truth of how hard it is to have a family and solitude. It’s also telling how giving your partner the gift of time apart is invaluable. The skills offered by experts aligns with why yoga is so important for families.

1. Alone time is practicing self-care and good mental health. Quiet time and/or meditation for all ages is beneficial for the body and the mind. The goal is to sit for 1 minute of silence for your age. That means a 2 year old can sit for 2 minutes. Yes, it’s possible with practice! One major benefit of alone time (not to be confused with feeling lonely) is being more present when you’re with others. We need time away and we need time together. It’s best to ask for quiet time proactively vs. reactively when stress becomes overwhelming. Meditation keeps stress at bay.

2. Make observation time part of your family’s routine. Take time to stare at anything besides a screen. I love the example in the article about “tree time” where the kids who are 3 and 5 go outside everyday to meditate and stare at a tree. Try it with clouds and stars too! Observing in silence is the act of mindfulness. Being mindful has enormous benefits including creating joy in the mundane - a critical skill for all family members. This practice is a called Yantra Meditation - a form of gazing meditation that helps with concentration.

3. Downtime is okay and not everyone has to like it. People deserve privacy. It’s okay to ask for it. We get moody, especially young teens, and we’re not even sure why. This is a good time to ask: What do you feel like you need? To move, to read, to rest, to play, to bathe, to sleep. When you’re having a hard time, take a break, get still, and select what you need most in that moment. All feelings can be felt and worked through. Discomfort teaches us to take care of ourselves even if it makes someone else unhappy temporarily. Dealing with disappointment is a skill - one we can learn in yoga.

If practicing these skills seems challenging in your home, find a yoga class to bring what you learn on the mat to your life.

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