Mom and baby yoga is for every parent (moms and dads)! Did you have a regular yoga practice before baby? Wonderful! In a parent and baby yoga class you get to revisit familiar asanas and have your little one participate! New to yoga? As family yoga classes are mostly beginner level you’ll get to experience healthy movement and mindfully discover your body and your little one’s abilities in a safe environment.
Have you had almost no sleep or maybe finally baby is putting a few more hours? Are we happy or cranky today? Some days are very challenging and some are blissful. No matter how you start your day an outing can refresh both you and your little one😊 Re-center and restart. In a family yoga class for 2, we practice breathing exercises some energizing and some calming, play children’s songs, explore individual and partner yoga and practice infant massage. Colorful props always make an appearance and yoga games are sprinkled here and there. Sometimes we laugh, then we cry and we always find moments to relax and surrender to the moment.
It’s the middle of winter here in cold Toronto and we haven’t seen the sun for a few weeks. It feels as if we’re trying to put ourselves back in gear but find it harder post celebrations, time away vacationing and considering the current the social-political environment.
Are your little ones more irritated? Quick to answer or flare up? Help less around the house? Or maybe your running late because they wanted to stay in bed longer this morning? I see this happening not only in my little one but WE are also more tired, stretched and reactive as parents. Take a moment and just sit. How do you really feel today? It’s easy to jump back into our busy routines this month and forget the added stresses as we blindly power forward. But if you share a house with loved ones you’ll surely get a few behavior hints here and there! By familiarizing ourselves with our internal landscape we can then step back and shine a little compassion on ourselves and better support our families. So how do we do this? Put yourself in time-out! (laugh) no! But really take a few minutes:
There is wonderful energy in the air as our families, friends, neighbours and work colleagues prepare their homes and spaces to share sheer, love, kindness and hope. I also feel the rush begin, that pressure to making a perfect Christmas happen for my family! As soon as the Halloween decorations come down (and often even before!) stores already have the Christmas displays decked out, holiday music playing and commercials running. Have you started your Christmas shopping? Maybe you’re already done? I know I’m just starting…
This holiday year I would like to remind all my friends and family to take extra good care of themselves to then be able to take care of others… We’ve had a very trying November and we have to save a little energy to enjoy all the beautiful things coming our way! Mindfully say yes to events that nourish you and no to the ones that you find more tiring. Remember to eat healthy and get enough sleep before the festivities! Take one thing out of your to do list! And when you feel things are going a little too fast take a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breath.
A wonderful breathing exercise to help with sadness and feeling love a again:
Hope you all had a fun and spooky Halloween! This special yearly event is a time to assemble and remember the passed on in a lot of cultures. Even in our modern communities people get together, mingle in their neighborhood streets and partake in fun costume events that bring friends and strangers together. Bonus the kids get tons of candy…
The down side - today we’re one week post Halloween and our family is still struggling to get back to healthy eating habits. Sugar is so tempting and can even be addicting! The more sugar we have the more our bodies crave the intake of sugary treats and the release of feel good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. Are we aware and paying attention when we reach for a treat mid-morning or mid-afternoon instead of a healthy snack? I know I had to plan a space to put some of the candy out of easy reach this week and throw some out too! I notice that when I eat to much candy my thoughts are more distracted and pulled in many directions at once. It’s harder to focus for longer periods of time and the body brain connection feels more fleeting. I also see in my young child increased erratic behavior, distraction, irritability and even troubled sleeping. A little research gives us more insight on the effects of sugar on our bodies.
Happy back to school!
I’m a happy children’s yoga teacher returning to class and seeing joyous familiar faces and new ones! Such light and excitement from my Friday group last week! It truly warmed my heart!
At home we’re also now in WEEK THREE (wow!) of returning back to school and we seem to be going back to bed a little earlier phiew :) Summer was a lot of fun and we traveled outside of Ontario to visit family and spent a lot of time discovering our beautiful city of Toronto. We ate out, went to be late and woke up late, we watched a lot of cartoons, we spent a lot of time going to the park, we got dirty and sun kissed, we ate too much sugar and filled our fridge with Canadian seasonal goodness and we enjoyed our warm summer!
School’s out for the summer (and so are my school yoga classes!) and I have more time to dive into creating a summer yoga program for children that’s more substantial. It will also be a very special activity for my son and I since we are spending the sunny season together.
I’ve been fortunate to meet and partner with like-minded women interested in offering a camp where children practice yoga, learn self-regulating tools, discover inner calm and inner strengths and get to practice mindfulness. This first summer camp will be offered in partnership with LoveSpeaks Wellness , Szilvi Kovesdi, The Basement Yoga & Fitness Studio, and Earl Bales Community Center.
During a few brainstorming coffee dates, our camp creating team came up with Superhero Kids Yoga Camp.
Why choose a theme for a camp? And why superheroes?
How is my child’s yoga class in school different from my adult yoga practice? What does children’s yoga programs in schools look like? And how do you get them to follow!?
I started as a yoga instructor for adults and honestly a year ago I couldn’t have answered that question! When my son was a little over two I started looking for family yoga classes in my area and couldn’t find any! So I decided to take the plunge and become a children’s yoga instructor! The certification I took with Young Yoga Masters and Childrens Yoga Books really showed how to present yoga asana and yoga philosophy to children of all ages and how to engage with favorite rhymes, games and activities and turn every moment into yoga! Now my 4 year old practices yoga in his school and guides classes with me!
This past April, I was preparing my son’s birthday and hired for a friend’s birthday celebration. Two parties for two energetic little boys who enjoy Paw Patrol and dinosaurRRs! What a busy and fun time it has been! For us having a yoga birthday party made too much sense and having it at Artscape Youngplace where Benjamin and I offer our classes felt like having a party in our community home. Benjamin was super excited and confident sharing his knowledge of Paw Patrol and yoga with all his friends. In both events we ate good food, played with yoga games and sensory activities, participated in a yoga class and ate sugary sugar cake!
What does a venue themed yoga birthday party look like?
I've always enjoyed creating art with my hands and a little seed was planted in grade 11 when I took my first sewing class in school... My mother helped a lot in creating this first skirt project (that i wore at my young boyfriend's prom!), but the happy feeling of creating a one of a kind garment in addition to how special it was wearing it was from then on something I would seek to recreate.
Fast forward 14 years and the opportunity to explore more of this craft came about! My little one was 1 ½, almost a toddler, plus mom was ready to rejoin adult society. Fashion class seemed like an interesting fit. I discovered fashion illustration, colors, pattern making, updated my sewing skills and even took photography classes! I had worked as a model for almost a decade, yet never got to experience the making of.
In a children’s yoga class we often open with a breathing exercise to centre, calm and bring attention to the present. Little ones often enjoy doing these exercises and can also do them anytime outside of yoga class! Breathing exercises or Pranayama is the practice of consciously regulating the breath. It is one of yoga’s most powerful and effective tools for managing stress, anxiety and fear. Teaching children breath awareness and breath control encourages relaxation and safely regulates their emotions.
Breathing deeply naturally brings fresh oxygen into our bodies. Depending on how the exercises are done we can calm or energize both body and mind. In normal breathing patterns we rarely use the full capacity of our lungs and when stress/anxiety pop up we even restrict incoming air. Moreover, practicing breathing allows us to fill our lungs with fresh air and turn off the nervous system’s fight or flight sympathetic responses and activate the parasympathetic calming body responses. Breathing techniques also allow us to get out of our railing heads and into our bodies, they are wonderful portable mood elevators. I also use these myself anytime I need to settle, focus, re-energize or let out a little steam! Try faucet breathing or double breathing in the car next time you’re sitting at a red light and running late!