Explore the dynamic side of hip opening. Expect a strength and flexibility focused flow, centered around active, yang postures to open the hips and surrounding muscle groups. For those with especially tight hips, sometimes passive yin postures are not enough to create lasting change in our bodies. Expect a sore bum and tons of new space from head to toe tomorrow!
Sunday November 6th, 2016 – 1pm-3pm @Cottage Grove
Kula Yoga & Wellness offers a wide variety of workshops for all yogis. The Yoga Sutras define meditation as a highly refined state of effortless unbroken concentration, which first requires proficiency in concentration, control of the senses as well as deep relaxation. According to the ancient text the ability to both witness the self and its thoughts as well as realize that we are something greater than them serve as meditation’s power. During this Immersion Amy will take time to outline not only the technical components that outline a successful meditation practice, but will also take you through a series of practices so that you can begin to experience the witness mind in a deeper state of relaxation. Home practice handouts and meditation will accompany the workshop. (All levels welcome).
October 23rd 1pm-3:30pm at Cottage Grove. Sign up to reserve your spot!
It’s hard to be a kid today.
Children deal with many distractions, temptations, overstimulation and peer pressure. Schools are challenged to do more with less and be creative in how they reach even the most isolated child.
Yoga is a low-cost, helpful tool that can have a positive impact on children.
Here are some of the many benefits of teaching yoga to kids:
Yoga helps kids to:
- Develop body awareness
- Learn how to use their bodies in a healthy way
- Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
- Build concentration
- Increase their confidence and positive self-image
- Feel part of a healthy, non-competitive group
- Have an alternative to tuning out through constant attachment to electronic devices
In a school setting, yoga can also benefit teachers by:
- Giving them an alternate way to handle challenges in the classroom
- Giving them a healthy activity to integrate with lesson plans
- Give them a way to blend exercise into their classes
Here’s what your kids can expect to learn in yoga class:
1. Awareness of the breath
Breathing exercises can energize kids or encourage relaxation, depending on what you teach. Different games and techniques help kids connect to how their bodies feel as a result of deep breathing. Focus increases, as does their breathing and lung capacity. Stress is naturally reduced and healthy hormones are released.
2. Strengthening and energizing
Kids think that yoga is great for stretching, but doesn’t build strength. It’s important for a teacher to include conversations, as well as exercises around how helpful yoga is for building strength. Talking about the different muscles used in poses and incorporating games and sequences will help build strength as well as body awareness and coordination. Bodies that are strong digest food better, maintain a healthy weight and can support the stress of carrying heavy loads, like a backpack. Bodies will also breathe better, work more efficiently and protect the more fragile joints.
Balancing poses teach children that with increased focus, you can increase attention naturally, even in kids who struggle with different attention challenges. Poses and games focused on balancing skills, develop an intrinsic strength, evoke a meditative feeling, and promote stillness and quieting of the mind. This can help kids deal with the stress of living in a chaotic world where constant stimulation is a regular part of life.
4. Stretching and lengthening
It’s great for kids to be strong, but a body that’s only based on strength has no way to yield under pressure. Strong muscles without accompanying flexibility can’t move quickly, pulling on bones and joints. Yoga poses stretch muscles and through integrating breathing and movement, muscles become warm and become more flexible. They can yield when they need to, and support tender joints in a more functional way.
5. Awareness and focus
Yoga helps create awareness in the body through deep breathing and movement. It gives kids a way to express themselves, build a strong connection between what they hear and what they do. Children that have healthy body awareness are more confident and strong, have better posture, breathe better and have a sense of quiet strength.
6. Flowing, connecting and integrating
When we string poses together, we give kids a taste of what it means to move with ease. It also helps them build the awareness that all our movements are a series of coordinated efforts between muscles, bones, joints and nerves. Older kids are more able to isolate different muscle groups and get more sophisticated about movements; things like keeping the arms lifted in Warrior 1, while at the same time, dropping the shoulders to relax them. All these things together increase a child’s sense feeling integrated.
7. Meditation and relaxation
Yoga is meditative by nature. So whether a child is holding a balancing posture, sitting in meditation or moving through a series of poses, there’s going to be a calming, soothing quality. Giving younger kids something to do as they rest on their mats will help with their attention, such as suggesting they think of a favorite color or toy. Older kids will find it easier to rest longer with less structure.
There are lots of tools you can use to teach yoga to children. The young ones like games, doing poses from yoga books for children and singing songs with big, expressive movements. Older children love to create their own poses, be challenged by balancing and learn about the muscles and other aspects of anatomy.
Excerpted from Stretched: Build Your Yoga Business, Grow Your Teaching Techniques, Bare Bones Yoga.
Yoga (meaning union or yoke) is the practice of accessing and integrating all aspects of our true nature — body, mind, and spirit — in the pursuit of inner harmony, says Alexandra De Collibus, a yoga teacher and founder of Sweet Pea Yoga, a yoga studio for infants, toddler, and kids located throughout Massachusetts. As yoga becomes more popular in schools through physical education classes and after-school programs, that popularity comes with controversy. Although many adults like the benefits of yoga, some parents feel that the practice might have a religious association and, like prayer, shouldn’t be allowed in a public space. They argue that yoga is an offshoot of Hinduism and that it disseminates religious and meditation principles with its use of “om” and “namaste” chanting. Some also believe that the asanas, or postures, such as the sun salutation, are a form of Hindu religious worship. To dispel this notion and avoid any religious or cultural messages, most yoga teachers focus on the benefits of the exercises and use generic terms, instead of the Sanskrit names, for the poses, renaming them cat, bridge, table, tree, downward-facing dog, volcano, and so forth. Yoga’s rising popularity can be attributed to its basic stretching advantages and improved body awareness, with the added component of a mind-body connection.
Despite the controversy, yoga is beneficial to kids in many ways. Because children encounter emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts, a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable for them, De Collibus says. She also believes that yoga is something children can practice anywhere and that the breathing, the concentration, the poses, and the way kids learn to act or react to situations, will lead to constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness. Plus, yoga is portable, and no mat, special clothing, or special pillow is absolutely necessary.
Shana Meyerson, the founder of mini yogis (miniyogis.com), a yoga studio Southern California that offers classes for kids, believes that yoga builds self-esteem and self-respect. “A child’s yoga practice is a rare opportunity to experience play and focus without worrying about being wrong,” she says. Meyerson believes that yoga is an option for children who shy away from physical activity or group activities for fear of failure or being picked last, and it helps athletic children excel in other physical activities and sports. Christina Enneking, the founder of Heart Happy Yoga, a studio in Los Gatos, California, believes yoga introduces cornerstone values “such as non-harming, truthfulness, moderation, cleanliness, gratitude, and self-discipline.” There are five key areas where kids benefit from the practice of yoga, and each of them improves their overall well-being.
It Enhances Physical Flexibility Yoga promotes physical strength because kids learn to use all of their muscles in new ways. Whether a pose is done standing, sitting, or lying down, each one can challenge various muscle groups while helping a child become aware of his body and how it efficiently functions.
It Refines Balance and Coordination Balance is a key element of yoga. Balancing poses were created to promote mental and physical poise, as mental clarity and stability emerge from the effort of trying the poses. Even if a child has difficulty standing on one foot, she learns mental and physical balance if she can stay calm when she falls and when she gets up to try again. As children learn to improve their physical balance, they will be filled with a sense of accomplishment. Coordination is also closely tied to balance and promotes overall dexterity. Some yoga teachers and occupational therapists use finger yoga and other specialized techniques to help children with gross and fine motor coordination.
It Develops Focus and Concentration The act of practicing poses encourages children to clear their mind and focus on the effort. As a result of this single focus to achieve a particular pose or stay balanced, yoga helps children to focus and concentrate in school and get better grades, several studies note.
It Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence Yoga helps to instill confidence and to bring learning to children on an experiential level, Enneking says. “It helps to provide building blocks for the future. It is our responsibility to develop our children’s sense of wonder and to give them a strong sense of self so they know where they belong in this world and can contribute to making their community a better place.” Yoga teaches them to persevere, be patient, and work toward their goals. A yoga teacher can only offer guidance; it is the child who has to work to succeed. Therefore, when a child masters a pose, it gives him confidence and self-esteem. Enneking often describes kids’ yoga as “prehabilitation,” a proactive action to ward off instability or sickness; yoga also provides tools for practicing compassion, mindfulness, generosity, focus, strength, and flexibility.
It Strengthens the Mind-Body Connection Yoga helps kids achieve a sound mind in a sound body by exercising the physical body and calming the mental spirit. “As parents we want our children to act and behave with mindfulness and with compassion, to be brave, to know love and happiness, and to find inner peace,” De Collibus says. “Since the modern world moves very, very fast for children, it’s not long before they feel all kinds of pressure (personal, parental, social) to keep up with everyone around them. Yoga functions as a release valve that alleviates pressure and as a foundation to nurture and develop a resilient and resourceful body, mind, and spirit,” she says.
Yoga is beneficial to children of all ages, but it has been found to be particularly so for kids with special needs. Studies have shown that yoga benefits children with autism and ADHD. NPR has reported that researchers surveyed teachers at a Bronx public school that had a daily yoga program and found that the program reduced kids’ aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity, compared with a control group of kids with autism who did not practice yoga. Kristie Patten Koenig, Ph.D., an associate professor of occupational therapy at New York University who led the study, says that yoga was effective because it seemed to play to the strengths of kids with autism while also reducing stress. Autism Key, an autism support website, says that yoga helps address kids’ heightened anxiety, poor motor coordination, and weak self-regulation, something that otherwise is very difficult to do.
Parents may notice how yoga benefits their kids, but the best judges are the kids themselves. Children who have practiced yoga tell teachers and parents that they are able to concentrate better during the day, focus better on their activities, and pay attention to their tasks — all the finest endorsements.
I love the feeling of garden dirt beneath my feet. Sometimes I wear clogs, sometimes I go barefoot. Either way, my feet end up looking like I spent several years living in a cave. Here is a great skin scrub to get out the dirt and leave your feet and hands soft and refreshed.
- 4 oz jar
- 1 Part Coconut oil (slightly melted)
- 2 Parts Brown Sugar
- Essential oils (10-15 drops)
Mix melted coconut oil and sugar in the jar until it resembles a past-like consistency. Add to the mix your favorite essential oils. Here are some suggestions:
- Northern Lights Black Spruce (good for dry skin)
- Any citrus
After a long winter/spring of having the house shut up, everything begins to smell not-so-fresh and musty, especially our carpeting and mattresses. Here is a great recipe to get your carpet and mattress smelling fresh again.
- 1 small box of baking soda, or buy the Arm and Hammer shaker bottle
- 10-15 drops of essential oil (orange, lemon, lavender, purification, cedarwood, etc)
Put baking soda in a bowl, sprinkle the essential oil over the top and mix with a fork. You can purchase mason jar lids that have a shaker top, or even a screen insert. Or, refill Arm and Hammer shaker bottle. Sprinkle mixture over carpet, let sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum. This can also be sprinkled on the surface of your mattress. Let sit one hour, then vacuum off with attachment.
Soon it will be summer vacation and our lovely children will be home. Just in case things are not so lovely here is home mood-balancing diffuser recipe to keep the peace.
Attitude Away Diffuser Recipe
- 2 Drops Lime
- 2 Drops Cedarwood
- 2 Drops Cardamom
Kula Yoga & Wellness is in full swing of offering our newest class “Run Yoga” and people are very excited! Running and yoga are two of Lindsay’s most favorite ways to get exercise so why not add them together and do both! Running is a moving meditation that is only made stronger by yoga! Join Lindsay to start your day off on the right foot. Class will begin with a quick warm up followed by a 25-30 minute run. Class will conclude with a yoga session geared to get those running muscles strong and feeling good. All running levels encouraged! New runners will be guided with a beginner run level. Experienced runners will have a course mapped out that can be modified to your run time. See you on the pavement and on the mat! Rain days will be held inside with a mix of cardio yoga and yoga for runners.
There are many benefits of yoga, including:
- Stress relief: The practice of yoga is well-demonstrated to reduce the physical effects of stress on the body. The body responds to stress through a fight-or-flight response, which is a combination of the sympathetic nervous system and hormonal pathways activating, releasing cortisol – the stress hormone – from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is often used to measure the stress response. Yoga practice has been demonstrated to reduce the levels of cortisol. Most yoga classes end with savasana, a relaxation pose, which further reduces the experience of stress.
- Pain relief: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have shown that practicing yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions.
- Better breathing: Yoga includes breathing practices known as pranayama, which can be effective for reducing our stress response, improving lung function and encouraging relaxation. Many pranayamas emphasize slowing down and deepening the breath, which activates the body’s parasympathetic system, or relaxation response. By changing our pattern of breathing, we can significantly affect our body’s experience of and response to stress. This may be one of the most profound lessons we can learn from our yoga practice.
- Flexibility: Yoga can improve flexibility and mobility and increase range of motion. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity.
- Increased strength: Yoga asanas use every muscle in the body, increasing strength literally from head to toe. A regular yoga practice can also relieve muscular tension throughout the whole body.
- Weight management: While most of the evidence for the effects of yoga on weight loss is anecdotal or experiential, yoga teachers, students and practitioners across the country find that yoga helps to support weight loss. Many teachers specialize in yoga programs to promote weight management and find that even gentle yoga practices help support weight loss. People do not have to practice the most vigorous forms of yoga to lose weight. Yoga encourages development of a positive self-image, as more attention is paid to nutrition and the body as a whole. A study from the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that regular yoga practice was associated with less age-related weight gain. The lifestyle study of 15,500 adults in their 50’s covered 10 years of participants’ weight history, physical activity, medical history and diet.
- Improved circulation: Yoga helps to improve circulation by efficiently moving oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.
- Cardiovascular conditioning: Even a gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
- Presence: Yoga connects us with the present moment. The more we practice, the more aware we become of our surroundings and the world around us. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.
- Inner peace: The meditative effects of a consistent yoga practice help many cultivate inner peace and calm.
Source: Yoga Alliance
“Your work in the world is meant to be about expressing the power and spirit that’s within you.” – Baron Baptiste
I get asked all the time, “how did you end up here?”
Some apologize after asking, like it’s a secret and they are being nosy to ask – like I’m going to have to give away some big complicated map to the universe. I always share and how much detail I get to share is only dependent on how much time we both have. No secrets here; this is just my story of my path to yoga studio ownership. “End” is not what I call where I am. To end is to finish or stop and that’s not what I’m up to. I am moving toward things that inspire me and away from those that don’t. It’s often a very twisty path with detours, obstacles, wrong turns and wipe outs. Those of you who know me pretty well know that travel is about as high on my list of desirables as a root canal, so I will leave this travel metaphor before I get queasy!
I came to where I am right now because I was lost (there I go with the travel again). I had left my career as a high school band director, something that I had worked toward since middle school and succeeded at for several years, to be home with our newborn son. My identity had disappeared and when I stared at this “stay-at-home-mom” in the mirror, it was like looking at a stranger. I questioned everything – my value, my worth, my successes and failures. Fast forward to 10 months later, with the help of my OB/GYN I finally was able to see that I was suffering from postpartum depression. I started to emerge from the fog with the help of therapy and medication. Then, along came baby number two – a daughter who seemed from day one to look straight into my soul. This time, I was “prepared” for all of it; I had been through it before, my body would be “better” at pregnancy and I would see it all coming because I was “experienced”. Ha. Well, I bet most of you can imagine how that all worked out! I had a more intense pregnancy, more complications, more emotions, more, more, more. With an easier delivery minus a premature start (thank goodness) and a second, though anticipated, round of postpartum depression, off I went into the world as a stay-at-home-mom of two.
But here’s the thing: I was still lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I felt guilty for not bringing home money to support our family, I felt judged for leaving my hard earned career, and I felt like a failure as a mom and wife. I was stuck.
So how did yoga show up? Friends, other moms I’d met, doctors and therapists all said “do something for you -try a yoga class.” I was desperate, so I finally listened. Yoga wasn’t a complete stranger to me; I had taken a phy ed course in yoga to fulfill a degree requirement in college. I signed up for a boot camp that included yoga and bought a cheap-o yoga mat. Stretchy pants? Check! I quickly realized that the only thing that got me to boot camp was the yoga at the end, so next I ventured into the yoga studio world. I jumped from place to place and teacher to teacher until I finally landed in a Baptiste power flow class (taught by Ruthie – oh the universe is so sneaky!). After that class, I knew there was something more to this yoga stuff, but I wasn’t sure yet why this was different. Thank goodness for Google; it led me to Baron Baptiste and his opportunities for training. I took all the Ruthie classes I could; it was something like 9 per week for a while (can you say yoga-teacher stalker?!). I joined a “40 Days to Personal Revolution” group, a Baptiste program of daily yoga, meditation, and inquiry work led by Ruthie and eventually declared in her living room that I would open a yoga studio. That declaration was in May 2012. I got on a plane, left my babies, TRAVELED, and trained three different times that summer. Kula Yoga & Wellness opened its doors in Cottage Grove on November 12, 2012. Just shy of 2 years later, Kula’s second location on Monroe Street in Madison opened on October 18th, 2014. While I won’t bore you with all the details and ups and downs of owning and operating a small business (maybe another post, or ask me if you really want to know!), I will say that without the amazing and supportive people that have been a part of this wild ride so far, there’s no way I would have been able to succeed. It really does take a village!
“Were you scared?” You bet I was. But making the decision to actually do it was the worst part. I bit off a chunk of the to-do list every day and kept moving forward. Very quickly, my perspective changed and the idea of NOT opening Kula was far scarier than anything else I could imagine ahead of me. Is everyday filled with rainbows, glitter and unicorns? Far from it, but most days, I see them. I see the sparkle in a new yogi’s eyes, the colorful and patterned yoga pants as I teach, and possibly best of all – the real, authentic emotions that connect us humans to one another. Surround yourself with people that lift you up, not knock you down. Slow your pace, find your balance, be flexible and breathe as we experience what the universe has in store for each of us. Do something for you – try a yoga class!
– Becky Petersen-owner of Kula Yoga & Wellness