Monthly Archives: February 2010

Yoga “Seeing the Whole Picture” Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our 3 part series, “Yoga Seeing the Whole Picture.”  Part 2 details the Niyama’s, personal ethics.  You may recall that Yoga is made up of “8 limbs or branches”,  in Part 1 we discussed the Yama’s, the first limb, and here we will detail the Niyama’s, the second limb.  Remember to have fun with your little one while incorporating yoga into your families lifestyle, taking small steps that will lead to big changes.  Explore, laugh and enjoy your time together!

NIYAMA- Personal Ethics
Patanjali’s second limb of yoga Niyama, details one’s self discipline and personal actions and observances within society. There are 5 Niyama’s as follows:
1. Saucha (Cleanliness) Little Lotus yogis are encouraged to take part in maintaining clean body health. This may include teeth brushing and proper bathroom hygiene. They are also encouraged to support a clean environment within their personal space (picking up toys, cleanliness at meal times) and that of their external environment. Our external environment can include our water system, parks and outdoor spaces, noise pollution, etc.

Encourage your child to develop healthy hygiene skills and make it a fun family affair to do something that will help in cleaning the environment. Have an outdoor picnic at the park, followed by picking up any garbage that may have been left in the park over the season. Saucha applies to our inner and outer environment, including the body and mind. Mantras are also able to clear the mind of clutter and overwhelming thoughts, and an example your little yogi may be familiar with is Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.

2. Santosha (Contentment) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to be content and thankful for the people and things within their life. Children tend to be more welcoming in being present within the moment and content with their surroundings than adults. There should be no internal struggle to maintain a certain standard or partake in an activity just because another friend or family member is. Encourage your child to become content with the toys and activities within their life. By accumulating more material objects one will not become more content in the big picture of life. Practice with your family being content in the moment and enjoy the present. Join your little yogi for some posture practice and take time to just be! Don’t worry about the to-do list, that dinner needs to be started, bills to be paid. Children can sometimes teach the adults how to be content and present.

3. Tapas (burning fire, enthusiasm) Tapas, the burning enthusiasm and discipline, brings forth the ability to reach our goals and keep up internal motivation. Little Lotus Yogi’s are encouraged to be enthusiastic about the tasks and activities that they enjoy throughout their days. They are also encouraged to maintain focus throughout their activities, creating self-discipline towards listening, learning, sharing & caring. Practice your own tapas to make sure you are a positive role model for your little Yogi. Create enthusiasm and a burning desire towards activities in your life.

4. Svadhyaya (Self Study) Svadhyaya incorporates the study of the true self, without the ego present, studying traditional yoga texts, history, philosophies, etc. Through self study one is able to gain further knowledge into their true selves, absent of judgments and attachments. Little Lotus Yogi’s are encouraged to be inquisitive towards the yogic tradition and other areas that may interest them. Encourage your child to dive deeper into areas of interest and increase their knowledge of the topic. This will assist in leading towards greater knowledge of our interactions with others and towards one’s true self.

5. Isvara Pranidhana (Surrender to God) Isvara Pranidhana is translated as giving up or surrendering to God. Patanjali states in his yoga sutra’s that devotion to the Lord is one of the paths to enlightenment. Since yoga is not a religion, this may include any religion you practice, or the divine with each of us. Isvara Pranidhana is also acting the best way you can, remaining true to yourself and giving up attachments to the outcome of our actions. Isvara Pranidhana may also occur at those moments where time seems to stop because you are so present without attachments and judgments. Little Lotus Yogi’s are encouraged to be the best they can be and are given a safe environment to allow their true self to shine. Encourage your child to be the best they can be and do what feels right for them. Take time each day to live in the moment with your child!

Namaste

~A

Oh The Places You Will Go!

One of my favourite books to share with my Little Lotus Yoga classes, no matter the age group, is “Oh The Places You Will Go” by Dr. Seuss.  I will  often share this book with my family classes so the adults may have a listen as well.  The book shares a powerful message of how you get to choose which direction you take in life and are able to make choices that bring you to an end goal.  However, being realistic, the book details how you may choose the wrong path sometimes and at times you may feel alone on your journey.  But this is all part of the journey of life.  The book details how your dreams are possible to reach, but be aware that their will be bumps in the road along the way. It’s a natural process, the process of life!  This is a must have book for all book shelves, no matter your age.   Enjoy reading 🙂

Please share with us what your favourite books are to read with your child that have positive messages. This may be including positive body image, self esteem building, feelings & emtions……this list goes on!

Relax this Family Day with Balloon Breathing

Here’s our latest post with Best Tools for Schools (www.toolsforschools.ca), take time out this Family Day to relax and rejuvenate with some Balloon Breathing. Brining calmness to your mind, body and spirit!

http://www.toolsforschools.ca/blog/?p=504

Enjoy!

“May The Long Time Sun”

Each of our Little Lotus children’s yoga classes always incorporates some of the wonderful music by the amazing Snatam Kaur (http://www.snatamkaur.com).  I was introduced to Snatam’s music a few years ago when I attended a concert in Ottawa hosted by the Rama Lotus Yoga Centre.  Her voice and music touched my soul and my heart poured open.  To hear our 2&3 year old class participants sing along to “May the Long Time Sun” at the end of each class with the lights turned down and relaxing on their mat is absolutely beautiful.

You may have heard your little yogi singing snippets of the song at home.  Here is a YouTube version for your viewing, watch as your Little Yogi’s face lights up with recognition and take time for a snuggle together!  I highly, highly recommend that you buy some of Snatam’s music as it will enrich your families life with peace, harmony and love.  Her music is available on her website, most yoga studio’s (Rama Lotus in Ottawa on Bank/Gladstone) and iTunes.

Namaste,

Amanda

Kid Friendly Names for Asana’s

Want to know what the yoga posture is when your little yogi talks about a flying airplane, or a mommy dog? Below is a list of some of the movements we play with throughout our preschool classes. I have listed the english name that adult yoga enthusiasts are familiar with along with the name your child is familiar with. You will find pictures of all these postures throughout the internet and the yoga posture pictures at yogajournal.com are fantastic! Have fun doing yoga with your little one!

Childs pose = sleeping bunny

Warrior 3 = airplane flying high

Locust = airplane flying low

Downward Dog = Mommy / Daddy Dog

 Upward Dog = Puppy Dog

Bow = Rocking Boat (sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Tree (what kind of tree are you, colour of leaves, etc)

Warrior 2 (I am brave, I am strong, My own spirit I can hold)

Cobra (and hiss like a snake)

Bound Angle = butterfly

Table (ask what type of food do you like to eat at your table, great way to reinforce food groups, healthy food choices, various colours of food, etc)

Seated Wide Spread = Pizza (pretend to make your own pizza, what would you like on it, etc)

Seated Forward Fold = Sandwich (smooth out your bread, what would you like on sandwich, then place other piece of bread which is your upper body on top of the bread that is your legs!)

Rock / Hero Pose = Lion (lets hear you ROAR!)

 Legs Up the Wall = birthday candle (sing Happy Birthday, then with lots of wind blow out your candle!)

Mountain (stand tall and proud like a mountain, remember mountains are strong and sturdy and do not blow and move in the wind!)

Now its your turn! Share some of your favourite yoga postures and the friendly names you and your child(ren) have adopted for them!

Namaste,

Amanda

Yoga- “Seeing the Whole Picture” Part #1

A lot of the time when people hear “yoga” they think of the physical practice of moving the body through various postures, or sitting still in meditation.  However, yoga is a lot more than moving the body and stilling the mind. Yoga is comprised of 8 limbs, named Ashtanga yoga (not to be confused with Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga yoga that is a style and practice of yoga ).  In his yoga sutra’s Pantanjali described the 8 limbs of yoga as a way of incorporating and following a yogic lifestyle.   The limbs are practical guidelines to creating balance within the mind, body and spirit and when followed will enable an individual to reach samadhi / enlightment.  The 8 limbs of yoga are as follows: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, prathayara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.  In this 3- part series I will detail the 8 limbs of yoga and how you can merge them into your Little Lotus yogi’s life, and your families.

YAMA = Personal Restraints
Patanjali’s first limb of yoga, Yama, details one’s ethical and moral standards and with how an individual conducts themselves within society. There are 5 Yama’s as follows:
1. Ahimsa (Non-Violence) Little Lotus yogis are encouraged to practice sharing and caring with their peers. Compassion is also encouraged through communication- verbal and non-verbal. Encourage your child to use positive communication instead of hitting, yelling, name calling, etc. Take time to be compassionate and encourage your heart to shine through to others! Ahimsa encompasses non-violence to the self, others, animals and our environment. This may be incorporated into one’s diet by encouraging a vegetarian diet. Ahimsa may also apply to the physical practice of yoga as one respects their body and mind while on the mat. Yoga is not a competition or pushing yourself to do something that you may think you should be able to do or want to do!

2. Satya (Truthfulness) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to stay truthful to themselves and others. This may include speaking the truth, and ensuring actions are truthful to meet their goals as an individual and within their family unit. Encourage your child to be truthful, to do what feels best for them and to always speak the truth. Sat= truth ya= continuation Therefore satya is the continuation of truth. It is important that we teach our leaders of tomorrow that to lie causes yourself pain as well as others. Not telling and /or living the truth uses a lot of energy and can become draining for our mind, body and spirit.
3. Asteya (Non-Stealing) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to be creative and develop their own ideas, while not stealing ideas from others and crediting peers for their own ideas. Non-stealing of material things is also emphasized, as well as stealing time from their selves and doing something that is positive towards their development as an individual. Encourage your child to spend their time participating in activities and events that allow their mind, body and spirit to soar. By spending time on activities they may not enjoy (i.e.: music lessons) we are stealing from their creativity time and personal development

4. Bramacharya (Moderation) Little Lotus yogis are encouraged to adopt a sense of moderation within their lifestyle. This may be in the form of moderation of unhealthy food choices, riding in a motor vehicle when walking or cycling is available or any other activities or behaviors that they may display. With moderation a sense of internal balance and contentment may begin to develop within the self and the struggle of peer pressure and keeping up with others will begin to decrease over time. The next time your child would like a third cookie or another ice cream treat encourage them to make a healthy choice such as an apple or banana. Is your child having difficulty grasping that they do not need another new bathing suit, or lululemon sweater? Create an environment that welcomes and nurtures your child as they develop a sense of moderation and begin to understand the differences between moderation and over-indulgence within their life. When bramacharya is practiced it can lead the person in practice closer to God / Universal Awareness.

5. Aparigraha (Non- Attachment) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to embrace and be thankful for what they have in their lives, but to also understand that these objects and materials do not make who we are as an individual. It is also important that one practices non-attachment to their on and off mat practice. What you may be able to do one day on the mat we may not the next. Practice being aware of each moment and the beauty of your surroundings. Focus on what is happening within the body instead of creating attachments to material objects, finances and things.

Stay tuned for Part #2 & #3!