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    Kids Yoga

    The benefits of yoga in general are well known.   These same benefits are available to kids to learn and develop as they grow.   These same characteristics, benefits and skills can grow with them as they age.   Unlike learning yoga as an adult,  the challenges for kids often involve retaining their interest.   Using a Milkshake balance board adds an extra challenge to performing the poses that have a way of keeping the youth engaged with Yoga and their practice.  Kids remain focused due to the extra mental effort needed to keep their balance.

    Here are some common examples of kids yoga poses performed on Milkshake balance boards:

    Here is another set: 

    What you should find is that if you have your child follow along an adult while they do a yoga routine,  with them on their milkshake board,  they will be equally challenged and will remain engaged.  

    Partner Poses: Balance and Stability

    Partner poses are great for bonding, making new friends, reconnecting, or just having some fun.  Here are 5 poses to get the giggles going with a friend.  Try each one, taking turns and making sure that both partners get the chance to lead.  Then, make up your own poses!


    Buddha Jumps over the wall:  This made up pose requires focus and determination.  It will help build confidence and creativity.


    Rooftops:  Don't forget to look into each other's eyes when getting into this pose. See who can gaze the longest before blinking or looking away. Start with hands pressed together, standing only one foot apart.  Then, step away from each other and slowly push hands up into the air.  Smile, laugh, and have fun.


     Warrior Friends:  Face each other.  Have each partner put one foot forward.  Then, place the other foot back, bending the knee of the leg that's forward.  Hold hands and stretch.  Try with the opposite leg and experiment with different stretches.  Stay strong and work together. 


    Double Dog Variation:  The first partner should get into "downward dog" position, making a triangle with their body.  The second partner will then rest their legs onto the first partner's bottom.  In this double dog variation, both partners can look at each other. See if you can howl or bark like a dog five times. Just make sure not to kick your partner!



    Forest of Trees:  We love doing this pose on the balance board because it really requires a lot of balance, stability, and communication.  Try balancing on each leg and take turns describing what kind of tree you would like to be. Or talk about how trees are important to us here on Earth. 




    Remember to always breathe and work together when doing partner poses.  Listen to each other's ideas and come up with variations to each pose. Namaste.

    The Yamas and Niyamas: Niyamas

    The yamasa and niyamas are the do's and don'ts of life.  Just as sports, schools, and households have rules, yoga has some rules to live by as well. They aren't necessarily bound restrictions, but more like a guide to help you be the best person that you possibly can be in this world.  They offer structure and awareness, and can be practiced every day.  They compliment a healthy lifestyle very nicely.  There are some great books that parents can read to their children that teach good life lessons.  When I was growing up, we read Aesop's Fables.  Right now, I'm reading a book called Buddha at Bedtime.  Both books use animals to teach about right from wrong.  Kids love animals and the stories can illicit great discussions about life.

    The Niyamas (yoga do's)

    1. Purity (saucha): For the most part, this means staying away from any of the yamas (yoga don'ts).  We want our bodies, lives, and minds to feel clear of negativity or anything harmful as much as possible.  Purity can also reflect on how we live and take care of things, such as cleanliness, neatness, and healthy eating.  For example, staying away from processed foods or meats which have come from animals who have been treated inhumanely.

    2. Contentment (santosha): So when was the last time you were really happy with everything that you have and wanting nothing more?  This is being content...happy with what you have and happy with yourself.  It's tough in today's society, but it can be done.  Just be thankful for what you have.  Be happy with who you are.  It could be worse.  Remember, you are very very lucky.  

    3. Self-Discipline (tapas): Self discipline is another toughie in today's fast-paced world.  It's so easy to get carried away or to lose focus.  So, to start with, try changing your attitude towards things.  Focus on the positive and get things done because you know they will make you a better person.  This should be a fun challenge or way of life rather than a chore.  

    4. Self-Study (svadhyaya): Through self-study, we mean that you should be examining your spiritual self.  Look at your actions and reactions.  Notice your feelings, words, and experiences and see how they reflect who you really are.  Study your beliefs and see if you are following what you preach.  Perhaps  you may want to study sacred texts such as the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita.  Who are you to yourself and others?  

    5 Devotion (ishvar-pranidhana): In a nutshell, this niyama focuses on nourishing your spirituality.  It's important to have a balance between emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.  All work together as a team.  


    Throughout our lives, we often talk about the Golden Rule.  I find that the yamas and niyamas in yoga are pretty much straightforward and feel very similar to the Golden Rule that we are taught in school and in life.  Enjoy.



    Get your balance on

    Balance is more important than we think.  We always assume that the importance of balance is only on the elderly, or something to worry about when we get older.  Well, yes, it is.  But, it's even more important to work on balance when we're younger, and then continue to "improve" on our balance as we get older.  Balance is like diet.  It' a way of life, and the more we are in tune with it, and the healthier our balance system, the healthier we are overall. 

    Here are a few exercises that you can do to improve you balance.  Please be careful, as these exercises can be risky!

    1)  When you are walking on the sidewalk, try walking with one foot up on the sidewalk and the other foot down on the grass or sand (so that you are straddling the sidewalk's edge and one foot is on one type of surface and the other foot is walking on a different surface).  Then, switch feet.

    2)  Try going up and down the stairs without  holding on to the handrails. Then, go up the stairs, skipping steps as you go up.

    3) Stand on some pillows, a Bosu ball, or balance board.  Swing your left leg back and forth.  Then, do the same for the other leg.  Then, try to  lift your right leg with your left am and visa versa.  For an extra challenge, try this with your eyes closed. 

    4)  Try to hold the monkey pose while you are on an unstable surface, such as a balance board or on a mattress.  For an extra challenge, try the monkey pose with your eyes closed.  Also, grab your opposite leg and pull it up behind you like a monkey's tail. 

    5) Instead of always walking or running on the pavement, try switching to walking/running on other surfaces such as sand, soil, pebbles, and grass.  Your muscles will have to work more and your balance and coordination will improve.

    If you want to start incorporating balance exercises into your daily routine, here are a few other exercises that you can do. 

    1) Try getting up from your chair without using your arms or hands to assist you.  Do this 10 times.  You can also try to alternate your stance-having your feet close together and then far apart. 

    2) Stand on one leg and do leg lifts in all directions (front, back, left, and right).  Then, repeat with your other leg.  This exercise works four groups of hip muscles. 

    3) Place cones or other objects in a straight line and weave in and out of them as you move forwards.  Try doing this going backwards.  If you were a soccer player or still are, you will know this drill. 


    Remember, if you don't use it, you lose it. 

    What's a balance board?

    A balance board is a board that is a lever and either rocks from one side to the other (think North and South), East and West, or in a circular motion.  It's used for recreational purposes, training, therapy, help in balance and coordination, core strength, brain development, or a wide variety of other purposes. 

    In sports, balance boards can help with core strength, focus, and stability.  Skiers, snowboarders, dancers, ice-skaters, martial arts performers, skateboarders, and baseball players are just a few of the people who use balance boards to help them.  Balance boards are great with yoga, too.

    Besides sports-related activities, balance boards can help children, too.  Balance boards are used in sensory integration, gross and fine motor development, brain development, core strength, balance, balance, and expand neural network connections. 

    Balance boards have been around for decades and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Now depending on the balance board type, a person (or other animal) would stand on the balance board.  However, there are types that can be used for sitting and lying down as well. There are also aquatic balance boards.  Some balance boards are extremely dangerous and should not be attempted by your great grandma, whereas others can be used by toddlers and the elderly. 

    When choosing a balance board, test them out and find one that fits your needs.  If you can't test one out, I recommend a balance board on rockers, as it can be used almost anywhere and practically anyone can use it.  In other words, you can share it with your family and friends.

    If you choose a balance board with rockers, try it out on different surfaces for a variation of instability.  For example, if you use it on the sand, the board will not rock as much, which will be easier for you and your friends.  If you want a little more challenge, use the board on a hard surface such as hardwood floors or cement.  This creates much more instability. 


     Here's a little guy testing out a rocker board.  The board was on a hard cement surface, thus making the balance board very unstable.  It was a teensy bit challenging for puppy.