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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.  

    Life Cycles in Yoga

    Yesterday, while teaching a yoga class out in the boonies, the kids gave me a brilliant idea of how to teach animal or plant life cycles through yoga.  It was a lot of fun and we had some great discussions while doing the poses, such as "what is the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis?" Anyway, rather than just doing butterfly pose, we decided to make up a pose for each part of the life cycle of a butterfly.  We did the same thing for frog pose.  Here's what we came up with for the two, and of course, if you have any other ideas, please add them.

    Butterfly Life Cyle:  We started out in mouse pose (egg) and then hatched into a caterpillar, which we decided should be like a snake pose.  The caterpillar ate leaves and wiggled around.  Then, it turned into a pupa or chrysalis.  This pose could be lightning bolt pose or a headstand.  Finally, the pupa opened up and a butterfly appeared...butterfly pose.

    Frog Life Cycle:  Again, we started with mouse pose (egg).  When the egg hatched, the little tadpoles swam in the water.  Superman/Supergirl pose could be used for the tadpoles or a variation of snake pose.  The legs of the froglet start to grow and before you know it, there are a bunch of froggies jumping around.  The kids loved this so much!

    Some other ideas could be to have a tree grow from a seed or an island grow from an active volcano at the bottom of the sea.  Yoga is a great way to explain science and history in a fun fashion! Enjoy.

    Hawai'ian adventure yoga

    Are you ready for a trip to Hawai'i?  If so, here are seven poses to get you feeling the Aloha spirit.  Hawai'i is home to some indigenous animal and plant species that will knock your socks off.   Start your day with a bit of Hawaiian music found on Youtube or Pandora, and get your groove on with these Hawai'ian yoga poses.

    Small Asian Mongoose Pose (Mouse Pose):'Iole manakuke (e-oh-lay ma-na-coo-kay are not native to Hawaii, but are everywhere.  They were brought in to help eat the rats.  Well, rats are active during the night, while mongooses are active during the day.  So, guess what?  Now there's still a rat problem and a mongoose problem.  This is why it's important to do some research before making a decision



    Moray Eel Pose (Snake Pose): there are many types of Puhi (eel) that live in the Hawaiian tropical reefs.  The Moray eel is the largest species and breathes by rhythmically opening and closing it's mouth to pass water over it's gills.  eels hide in caves and crevices and are not aggressive, unless provoked.  They eat fish, crustaceans, and sometimes octopi.  The Viper eel is the largest Moray eel in Hawaii and can reach up to 5 feet long.



    Monk Seal (Downward and Upward Dog): ʻIlio-holo-i-ka-uaua, or "dog that runs in rough water" is what the Hawaiians call the Monk Seal.  This seal is only one of two remaining species of Monk seal.  Most seals live in cold water, but the Monk seal lives in warm waters, such as the water found in Hawai'i.  There are only about 1,100 Monk seals left, so they are critically endangered.  It has a grey coat, white belly and slender physique.



    Dragonfly Pose: The Pinao are beautiful creatures who have been around since the dinosaurs.  They are usually found near water where they hunt mosquitoes, flies, and other small insects.




    Mountain Pose: The Hawai'ian islands are made from lava, which means from volcanic rock.  There are still a few volcanoes on the islands, one of which has been active since the early 80's.  That one is called Kilauea and if you visit it right now, you can see hot lava glowing. 





    Tree Pose:  The Koa tree usually grows to about 80 feet tall.  It can grow up to 30 feet in 5 years, and it's beautiful wood is often used for making furniture, bowls, ukuleles, guitars, and small surfboards.  The trees in Hawai'i are amazing and provide a lot of homes, shelter, food, and shade for the people and animals that live there.




    Pigeon Pose:  Though pigeons are not native to Hawai'i, there are numerous tropical birds and doves all over the islands.  Finches, love birds, and


    Congo Adventure Poses

    Looking for a way to help kids get focused, get some giggles out, learn a bit, and have fun?  Here are seven fun poses to do either with a few or a bunch of silly kids. These seven animals live in the Republic of Congo and come with some interesting facts. Have your child or children do the yoga animal poses while telling them the fun facts.  Before you tell them about the animals, get into your boat (boat pose) and take a ride down the Congo River, the DEEPEST river in the world!

    Boat Pose: While traveling down the River Congo, you are sure to meet a bunch of cool animals.  Row your boat forwards or backwards, fast or slow. 




    Dwarf Crocodile Pose: The Dwarf Crocodile is the smallest crocodile in the world. The females lay about 10 eggs at a time and when the babies hatch, she takes care of the babies until they are ready to go off on their own.  Dwarf crocodiles are mainly nocturnal and bury themselves in a burrow during the day.  Sometimes these burrows have entrances under the water.




    Goliath Tiger Fish or Elephant Fish (Fish Pose): The Goliath Tiger Fish has huge teeth that look like tiger's teeth.  It can weigh up to 150 pounds.  The Elephant fish has a long snout like an elephant and uses it's snout to sift and find food under the murky water. 




    Snake Pose: There are over 180 different species of snakes in the Congo. 

    Both small snakes and large snakes are found.  Try both poses, lifting the chest a bit higher in the air for a larger snake.



    Checkered Elephant Shrew Pose (mouse pose):  The checkered elephant shrew looks like a little mouse with a long snout, just like an elephant.  The checkered elephant shrew mates for life and is considered an insectivore.  It eats mainly beetles, centipedes, termites and ants.  Occasionally it will eat eggs, small amphibians, and birds.




    Wild Dog:  Unfortunately, Wild Dogs are extinct in the Republic of Congo.  Since they attack sheep and other livestock, they are often killed by people.  Though they are extinct, they are protected.  This means that if one is found, it must not be killed.  We are also working on protecting the habitats of other endangered species. 

    From Dog pose, walk feet towards hands and hang there for awhile, stretching the back and legs.  Let arms and head dangle, or even shake them out a bit.

    Reiterate to children that they should not rush through this pose. Remind them that they use their legs daily and need a good leg stretch.  Then, slowly roll up, stacking one vertebrae at a time until they reach gorilla pose. 


    Mountain Gorilla: Found in the Virunga range of extinct volcanoes, these gorillas live in groups consisting of one adult male, 3 adult females, and 4-5 offspring.  There is an overlap in troop territories, and so the adult males must defend themselves.  They defend their families more than they do their territories.  The gorilla mountain males usually have a patch of silver on their backs and have earned the name "Silverback."  They live in the montane forests and also bamboo forests. They are mainly vegetarian, eating bamboo, other leaves and fruits. 

    Pound your chest like a gorilla does to communicate with your friends.  Gorillas show emotions just like we do, including being angry or sad.

     There are a wide variety of species that live in the Congo, including the Okapi, elephant, and hippo.  These are just a few to get the sillies out.  The children could end the series with mountain pose if they wished to do so.





    5 Desert Poses

    Here are 5 poses which will remind you of the desert.  Whether you are reading a book about deserts, are lost in a desert right now, or plan on camping out in a desert real soon, these poses will get you pumped up and feeling good about the occasion.  Do them preferably in order and remember, you can always add more or repeat the cycle a few times.

    Rabbit Pose:  This pose helps alleviate stress in the shoulders and neck. It stretches the back and spine.  This pose is great for headaches, sinus problems, and even insomnia. 

    How to:  Sit on your shins, bend forward and rest the top of your head on the mat in front of your knees. Grasp your fingers together behind your back, roll the shoulders down the back, away from the ears, then lift your arms over your head. Breathe deeply, then reverse the clasp of your hands and stay here for 5 more breaths.

    Snake Pose:  This pose is a good counter stretch to Rabbit pose.  It stretches and strengthens the back, arms, and shoulders.  It opens up our chest and heart.

    How to:  Lie down on your belly with your feet together and legs straight, like a strong snake tail.  Place hands next to your shoulders, palms down.  Press down, lifting your chest off the ground.  Breathe deeply for the count of five and then lower the chest back down to the floor.

    Fox Pose (really Downward Dog Pose):  This pose is great for strengthening the arms, wrists and shoulders. It stretches your back and legs.  You can run in place, which is great cardio-vascular exercise.  This inverted pose is also good for energizing the body and calming the brain.

    How to: Start by posing on your hands and knees (like a baby ready to crawl).  Your hands should be shoulder width apart.  Lift your seat up into the air as if your body is making a triangle, where the floor is one side, your legs are another side, and your arms and back are a third side.  Your booty is an angle, as well as your toes curled under and your hands pressed down to the ground.  Take 5 deep breaths. 

    Prehistoric Desert Sloth: This pose is a great stretch for the back and legs.  It alleviates stress which accumulates in the shoulders and neck. 

    How to:  From Fox/Dog pose, walk your feet towards your hands.  Then, lift your hands from the floor and let them hang, as well as your head and neck.  Your legs should be straight and your whole upper body should be dangling from your hips.  Stay in this pose for a few deep breaths to get the best stretch for your body.  This is not a stretch you should do quickly.  When done, slowly lift your upper body-stacking one vertebrate at a time until you are standing straight and tall.

    Hawk or Eagle Pose: This pose is great for balance and stability.  It helps one feel confident and happy, and can exert enough energy where you will feel heat rising from your body.

    How to: From a standing position, cross one ankle over the other  Extend your arms out in front of you and cross them over your wrists.  Turn your thumbs down to the floor, so your palms are facing each other and interlace your fingers.  Bring your clasped hands toward your body, resting them on your sternum.  Breath deeply.  For an added challenge, try crossing your front leg over and wrapping it around the calf of your other leg. You should be balancing on one leg.  Also, bend forward and try to touch your legs with your arms.  Feel the heat.


    Children have the best imaginations and you can, too with this desert adventure.  It's a great little break from sitting and reading or driving long distances, such as a road trip.  Tell a story about being in the desert and about coming across these animals.  Do the poses while you talk about the adventure, adding in details whenever needed.  For example, "Did you know that rattlesnakes don't lay eggs like other snakes?  Or that the biggest sloth on Earth was the prehistoric sloth which lived in the Southwest deserts of the United States millions of years ago. It was the size of a bear!  Have fun while stretching and feeling fit.