Where is the ideal space for yoga? There are some very practical pointers to create a physical space for the physical practice of yoga by our friends at Porch. Another place altogether is to create space for yoga in your mind and in your everyday life.

Yoga is more that what we do on a mat. It’s how we think and breathe and relate to ourselves and others. These guiding principles of yoga off the mat are called the Yoga Sutras - Yamas and Niyamas. The ancient text is translated and interpreted a few ways and it’s sometimes difficult because it’s framed in the negative.

I’ve been struck by the word hate lately. Always really, but especially lately. Yes, we must #StopAsianHate Actually, we need to stop ALL hate. I wish there were another way to say that more more positively. Some say, Love Thy Neighbor. Yoga teaches us to be mindful of the words we use and what words we give power to. The brain pays attention carefully. What we hear over an over again is what gets wired.

For example, when you say, “Don’t run!” kids only hear RUN! If you want them to walk, you need to say, “Walk, please!” The same is true for “don’t forget” vs. “remember”. Does the word, remember, feel better than the word, forget? It does for me. It may be a small thing, but it matters. One of The Four Agreements is to be impeccable with your word. Choose carefully!

In yoga, the first guiding principle is called Ahimsa. It translates as non-violence or Do. No. Harm. In our work with kids, I’ve translated it further to the affirmative: Be Kind. I’d like to see that trending #BeKindtoAsians or even better #AlwaysBeKind. It hurts my heart to see violence against any one or group. We are all human and worthy. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. That’s it! There is no place for a superior race.

Learn to treat ourselves and others with the kindness and respect we all deserve. We can open our hearts on and off the mat and create a Positive Force in our world. Yes, please!

Yoga for Families during the Pandemic

The pandemic has created the most difficult conditions for kids and families. I’ve done a ton research and taught yoga to kids at every age for over 15 years. Luckily, I’ve found that Yoga provides solutions to some very difficult problems.

Synthesizing information from the top experts in the field of kids’ wellness from SATs to sex education, I stay up-to-date on new data, and the numbers are difficult. One government survey in December 2020 found that over 42% of people felt symptoms of anxiety or depression – an increase from 11% the previous year. It didn’t specify kids, but if parents are feeling it, so are kids! No one is immune. Study after study has found that working moms are suffering from disproportionate levels of burnout and stress.

Researchers are great at collecting data and outlining their findings, and the exceptional ones offer solutions to the all-too-often startling findings that leave parents wondering, “Is my kid, okay? and “Am I a good enough parent?” In nearly every situation, I’ve discovered that Yoga would mitigate or even prevent many of the conditions presented - typically resulting from chronic stress of parenting and growing up in today’s competitive climate.

How can kids and parents be the best version of themselves? How do they become aware and practice new skills? Could it be both functional and fun? Can everyone benefit? YES! Yoga is a universal platform for kids and families to learn to breathe, move and rest together. These practices are linked to the evidence-based research of mindfulness, exercise and meditation - all elements of Yoga along with some special mindset methods and a bit of magic!

Now is the time to begin or to begin again. More than ever, kids need physical, mental and emotional agility! We’ve made it easier than ever with our IYK® Yoga Club - unlimited classes for the whole family both outdoors and online. Start now. With help, your family can feel more happy and free.

Yoga and Social Media

When Kate was 3 years old she became afraid of monsters in her room. A popular problem for this age, we reassured her. We did regular checks at bedtime investigating potential monster hiding places. Her space was always clear, but her mind was in fear! Looking for ways to keep the monsters away, we adorned her wrists with monster repellent bracelets. It worked! She wore them all the time and it re-framed her mindset. She was safe!

Recently, I found myself fearing monsters - Social Media monsters! I’ve spent the last decade plus trying to get kids and parents off their devices, now Covid has made that impossible. Prior to the pandemic, we had three major problems posting about It’s Yoga Kids.

  1. Yoga is not the place for your phone. It’s a time to unplug and BE with your child. This was so challenging because what happens in every class is Beyond Cute and so worthy of capturing and celebrating publicly.
  2. Privacy. We can’t be posting all the Yoga cuteness without parent permission so we needed to rely on parents tagging @itsyogakids in posts that were relevant to us.
  3. My resistance! This was the biggest obstacle. I don’t know how to self-promote. I’ve never had to. As an elite performer with large audiences and as a top sales professional, my output was always recognized. I couldn’t escape it! Now, I have to toot our own horn? Uncomfortable!

We’ve never spent a dollar on advertising. Our community always shared their experience with great reviews organically and that’s the way I liked it. But that’s not enough. In order to fulfill our mission of access to Yoga for Every Child we need a bigger megaphone and social media provides that. So instead of monster repellent bracelets, I’m hugging this technology monster and reframing the fear of putting myself out there as a way to elevate our important work.

More than ever, kids need physical, mental and emotional Agility. Facing fears including anxiety which can range from mild nerves to debilitating is critical as we enter a whole new world post Covid. Yoga can help! We find our edge, stop and breathe into it and transform it. We learn this skill on the mat and then we apply it to everyday life. It takes practice!

What are your monsters? Tell us all about it!

Yoga and the Heart

A growing body of research shows the heart bows to the brain in intelligence. We do Yoga unite our body, mind and heart. We make the connection first in ourselves and then in the world around us. This is a persistent thread in our work with families, kids, teens. At the end of yoga we bow to our hearts in Namsaste, our way of saying goodbye and thank you.

When I think of operating from the the heart, I think of the work that people do in the world. Their contribution that comes from their passion. We received a wonderful series of books as gifts this holiday season from Gramma: Stephen Curry, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Greta Thunberg. These are individuals who do what they do for their hearts and for the hearts of others and the Earth. Thank you. We bow to them.

What can we do for the world? Live form our hearts. Honor the hearts of others. Respect and care for the Earth. Climate change is real and preventable. Here’s what you can do to help the planet and make a difference for our children. A few surprises here like fix your house and of course, make Valentine’s cards!

Find your edge in Yoga

Nearly everyone I know was mentally, physically and emotionally ready to end 2020. We welcomed 2021 with hopes and excitement releasing that which no longer serves us. There was an energetic shift, and then we woke up to the same reality with Covid cases on the rise and stay at home orders in place. On day 6, things went sideways with the storming of the Capitol by an angry mob. Distraught and in disbelief, I wanted a 7-day money back guarantee on 2021.

That day was enough for many to stop following the path of an autocrat. That day took far too long to arrive for those who saw it coming the day Donald Trump was nominated, or as some now believe, hi-jacked the Republican party. It’s up to each individual to find their own tipping point - when they fall or choose another side. It’s often frustrating to watch and wait. Yet everyone is entitled to their own opinions, stories, choices and consequences. When is enough enough?

What’s this have to do with Yoga? There is a tipping point on the mat too. Every pose is designed to help find your edge, to feel it; it’s usually challenging. People often push, pull, grip or hold on with clenched teeth. That creates strain. To find flow, we must breathe, allow and be patient. Sometimes we find the edge, tip and fall. When that happens, we get back up. That’s what happened that Wednesday when the insurrection was cleared, we found our edge and democracy continued.

In order to grow, finding your personal edge is what matters whether you’re on the mat or moving through life. How do we stop and breathe through resistance? How can we build strength, flexibility and balance in our bodies, minds and hearts? That’s why we do Yoga. It’s an art and a science that helps each of us define ourselves and build skills to manage our edges and our tipping points.

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Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!