Yoga District https://www.yogadistrict.com Mindfulness, Yoga & Lifestyle Wellness Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:48:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 124397291 Donation Class: World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii https://www.yogadistrict.com/world-central-kitchen-donation-class/ Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:02:45 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10192 Salute the Sun! 108 Sun Salutations for the Summer Solstice, benefits World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii. Thursday, June 21st 14th street studio 7:15 to 9:15 pm Sign Up here […]

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World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii

World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii

Salute the Sun! 108 Sun Salutations for the Summer Solstice, benefits World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii.

  • Thursday, June 21st
  • 14th street studio
  • 7:15 to 9:15 pm
  • Sign Up here

Learn more about how World Central Kitchen, aids those in Hawaii affected by catastrophic volcanic activity. Also, how Kelsey’s donation class will honor the Summer Solstice.

Aiding Hawaii after the Volcanic Eruptions

The devastating natural disasters on Hawaii evacuated thousands from their homes. Any donation amount can help bring food and water to those affected. On June 21st, Yoga District is holding a donation class to benefit the World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii.

World Central Kitchen- Chawama Bakery in Lusaka

World Central Kitchen- Culinary Training at Chawama Bakery in Lusaka

World Central Kitchen Mission

World Central Kitchen is nonprofit comprised of a global network of Chefs that empower communities and strengthen economies by combating hunger and poverty.  Projects focus on:

  • Health:  provide clean cooking equipment & sanitation training   
  • Education:  supports school kitchens’ feeding programs & provide sustainable revenue sources
  • Jobs: culinary training to elevate the hospitality workforces’ quality of life (including increase in earnings) & strengthen the local economy
  • Social Enterprise:  Develop food ventures to create jobs (provide transferable vocational skills & increase income) to low-income communities

Chefs for Hawaii Project

World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii

World Central Kitchen- Chefs for Hawaii

After the disastrous Kilauea Volcano eruption, World Central Kitchen activated an emergency kitchen in Pahoa Hawaii. It serves hundreds of evacuees daily.

Every season, I choose to donate to a different non-profit.  Last season, I aided the relief efforts in Puerto Rico following  devasting hurricanes. My students decided to donate to World Central Kitchen. They are doing exemplary work by engaging communities at the ground level.

Hawaii has been struck by catastrophic volcanic activity.  This includes extreme air pollution from ash fallout. We would like to support the inhabitants of Hawaii.  We selected the Chefs for Hawaii project because it provides good food and clean water to Hawaii’s evacuees. All donations from this class will be based on the students’ discretion and ability to give!

Summer Solstice/Summer Mala

Every season, yoga practitioners around the world gather to practice 108 sun salutations.

My first solstice mala was the summer solstice of last year. The mala is a great practice in endurance and humility.  It also is way to build community.  To bear witness to the changes of the natural world. 108 holds significance in a number of faith practices. For some 108 represents the infinite and nothingness in one entity. Those who practice meditation use mala beads to pray or count their breaths. In our mala practice, we complete 108 sun salutations to welcome each new season.

For me, this practice is a time for meditation and manifestation.  We are acknowledging the sun at each point of it’s seasonal journey. In particular, the summer solstice is the longest day of the year.  This mala celebrates the light and warmth of a DC summer.

After a few salutes, the poses and breath begin to merge into hypnotic movement. I love this practice as a way to cultivate a sense of community.  We breathe with one another and send compassion to each other. The summer solstice is also my birthday! It’s a great way to celebrate another year in life.

Summer Solstice Donation Class

Kelsey

Kelsey

When you arrive, you’ll join a circle of mats around an altar. Gathered will be your fellow students and instructors.

I like to incorporate candles, sage, and tapestries but welcome anything students want to add! Particularly in this season, there are an abundance of flowers or plants available. What I love most about the mala is what students bring forward; either in physical objects, music, or poetry.

We begin with some light warm ups for the body (cat/cow stretches and so on). Before each set of 12 sun salutations, we begin in Tadasana to set an intention for the practice. This intention can remain for all 9 sets or change for each one. Between sets, we give each other space and time to rest.  When we can sit with their intentions, and to drink water. If a teacher wants, anyone is a teacher in our space, they can share some words or thoughts. At the end of practice, we settle the body with some counter stretches: like pigeon, triangle pose, and reclined poses. Then, we ease into an extended savasana! I will be around with essential oils and a brief adjustment. We end the mala with space for mediation… or a dance party! The students decide.

I tell students come do one salute or all 108!  Breath with us no matter how many salutes you complete! We need the support.

Come celebrate my 25th birthday with me. I cannot wait to start the summer with Yoga District!

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Yoga District Teacher Feature, Marissa https://www.yogadistrict.com/teacher-feature-marissa/ Fri, 08 Jun 2018 20:33:11 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10178 Meet Marissa one of our lovely teachers! She shares encouraging advice for those days when you are not feeling motivated to practice or you are too hard on yourself. She […]

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Marissa

Marissa- Yoga District Teacher

Meet Marissa one of our lovely teachers! She shares encouraging advice for those days when you are not feeling motivated to practice or you are too hard on yourself. She reminds to be caring to both body and mind.

Be kind to yourself, you are human, and every peak and valley is present to teach you something about yourself (in yoga and in life).

Feel feel to attend one of her classes and read on to learn more about Marissa.

Marissa’s Class Schedule:

  • Mondays 7:45 PM, Rocket Flow Yoga 3 @ 14th Street
  • Tuesdays 8:00 PM, Rocket Inspired Flow Yoga 2-3 @ 14th Street
  • Saturdays 10:00 AM, Ashtanga: Modified Primary Series (All Levels) @ Bloomingdale
  • Sunday 10:00 AM, Flow Yoga 1-2 + Restorative @ Columbia Heights
  • Sunday 11:30 AM,  Rocket Flow Yoga 2  @ Columbia Heights

Teaching & Practicing Rocket Yoga

My own personal passion lies in teaching Rocket yoga. Rocket is a fun and accessible sequence no matter where you are with your practice.

It is a fast-paced vinyasa flow based on the more rigid and traditional Ashtanga sequences.

This sequence is an inspiring practice which truly does hit on strengthening and stretching nearly all parts of the body—back bending, forward folding, inversions, heart opening, arm balances and more.

While Rocket is a set sequence, as a teacher, I am able to add “play” into it. I highlight or concentrate on what each class of students needs or voiced desires. I particularly enjoy Rocket’s origin story. If I have not yet shared it with you, please ask the next time I see you!

Introduction to Yoga

I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 10. Thankfully through high school it did not cause much pain due to my involvement in swimming, track and dance. However in college, the lack of those activities caused back pain from the scoliosis. Yoga was recommended as means to help alleviate it.

Hanumanasana (full split)

Hanumanasana (full split)

A little intimidated but excited, I started attending a bikram-inspired vinyasa studio. The energy of the room and community of yogis attracted me, yet I kept coming back for how I felt from the practice. I was strong, empowered, challenged, calm, seen and loved.

Yoga Teacher Training Experience

My yoga practice went through its ups and downs through the following years. In 2015, I decided to complete my 200-hour teacher training. I knew it was time to commit to my practice and open myself up to share yoga with others. I was in love with yoga, but I found out quickly there was so much more to learn. Trust me – I am still learning every time I step onto my mat!

Shortly after graduating from Yoga District’s 200-hour training, I was exposed to the Rocket sequence. I immediately enrolled in my first Rocket teacher training with David Kyle at Progressive Ashtanga Yoga Puerto Rico.

Since then, I have completed 100 hours of designated Rocket Teacher Training and a 300-hour training in Progressive Ashtanga Yoga (in Rocket and Ashtanga yoga). Rocket yoga opened up my eyes to Ashtanga yoga, which now is my most consistent personal practice.   

3 Lessons Learned from Yoga

  1.  To Experiment     

Yoga and it’s lessons learned through the practice are highly specific to the individual. As a teacher, I can attempt to share my personal experience with my students. However, I do not want them to take my word for it. Honestly, my desire is for them to doubt me.  

And then, I want them to go back to their mat, to their meditation pillow, (to wherever they need to be) and experiment for themselves.

We must look at yoga as a science. With a scientist’s perspective: test a meditation, a posture, a consistent practice, a breathing practice (whatever it may be) and then take note of what happens.

Observe what occurs within the body, the breath and the mind. Draw conclusions for yourself; perhaps they are the same conclusions you have heard from others. Yet maybe they are different, and that is also perfect.

  1. To Breathe

I would love to rewind and be a fly on the wall in my first yoga class. I am sure I was thinking about everything but the breath:

  • “these poses are crazy,”
  • “omg this girl is standing on her hands,”
  • “ok, they want me to put my foot here, arms here, belly in, relax shoulders,”
  • “you want me to do WHAT?!”

The steady, rhythmic ujjayi breath gives the mind something to focus on. It allows any other thoughts from outside the studio to melt away. For me to come closer to dropping into a meditative state.

My practice on the mat has been helped immensely by focusing on my deep inhales and exhales . Countless times focusing on my breath has helped me get through sticky situations both on and off the mat

  1. To Listen

As a former athlete, my thoughts on the mat can tend to be along these lines:

  • “push harder,”
  • “stretch deeper,”
  • “come on, you can do better,”
  • “look, she can do it; why can’t you?”

 I found it difficult to let myself off the hook to skip a pose. Even if my body was just too tired or in pain. There were times I was able to listen (awesome) but actively chose to ignore it and avoided honoring my body (not so awesome).

A shoulder injury kept me off my mat for weeks. I then realized the value of sacred communication from the body. To not only to listen to it, but to listen mindfully for an understanding to guide your practice. So listen to what your body is telling you and honor whatever it said. After all, this body is the only one we have—for life!

Advice on How to Stay Motivated

Intentionally build your community. Find a yoga friend(s) or asking someone to be your mentor. Then begin to cultivate your community and filled it with built-in buddies to hold you accountable for your practice.

It can be as simple as sending a picture of my toes on the mat each morning to my mentor. Maybe I make plans to attend a class with my favorite yogi friend. Or I tell my teacher I will be there (knowing full well they will check in if I do not show up). Over time, you will figure out what works best for you to keep you motivated with your personal practice!

Ashtanga Pose

Ashtanga Pose

Be Kind to Yourself

It has been over 11 years since I first stepped on the mat. I am the first to admit my practice has not been consistent that entire time. Sometimes a missed day would turn into weeks, or weeks would turn into months. I would be angry and disappointed with myself. How could I call myself a yogi?

Over the years, I have been able to step back and look at the larger picture of my practice. I observed and acknowledged the cycle of it. Sometimes I have peaks and sometimes I have valleys.

If there is a week I cannot get out of bed for Mysore practice, that is okay. I observe, acknowledge, and accept I am in a valley. In time my motivation will come back to that peak with my desire to practice just as strong as ever.

Another tactic is to start small—there is no need to go from 1 to 100 in an instant (i.e. practice full Primary series every single day for a month). Perhaps start with 2 times a week and build up to more consistency from there.

Or allow yourself days in which all you do is a short meditation or 5 Sun As and 5 Sun B’s. Be kind to yourself because you are human. Remember every peak and valley is present to teach you something about yourself (in yoga and in life).

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Accessible Yoga & Community in the Philippines https://www.yogadistrict.com/accessible-yoga-community-in-the-philippines/ Fri, 25 May 2018 21:30:43 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10151 “Our vision is for yoga to transcend barriers in the Philippines. We want the practice to be easily accessible for everyone and anyone,” – Richie Bernardo The opening of Community Fitness […]

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Community Fitness Studio Teachers

Community Fitness Studio Teachers

“Our vision is for yoga to transcend barriers in the Philippines. We want the practice to be easily accessible for everyone and anyone,” – Richie Bernardo

The opening of Community Fitness Studio highlights the power of yoga in bringing people together, creating a real sense of community, and of acceptance.

Richie Bernardo and Jonathan Donnelly, two graduates from Yoga District’s teacher training program, opened up a non-profit studio in the Philippines in December 2017. They modeled their studio, Community Fitness, after Yoga District.

The opening of their studio brought yoga to the inner city of Manila. A place where most people had only heard of the term yoga but never practiced.

Richie Bernardo shares about Community Fitness Studio and its connection to its community.

Community Fitness Studio’s Mission

Community Fitness- Sense of Community

Sense of Community

Community Fitness Studio is a non-profit yoga studio that also offers other activities like Zumba, belly dancing, and martial arts.

We are an inclusive space for people from all walks of life. Our focus is to help students explore their physical potential. We want them to find enjoyment during their time in our studio. That is why our rates are a lot less than other studios that offer the same activities. It’s because we want to be accessible to more people, including those who are working on a very limited budget.

Our goal is for someone to step out of a class a better and happier person than when he/she arrived. We want an atmosphere of individual freedom of movement. A place where people can let loose, have a great time, and not be afraid of judgment.

We are here to provide our community with a venue to explore their own person. We accept themselves for who they are as well as their potentials and limitations at the moment.

We are eager for every opportunity to support our community members with their individual goals. We are there with them to celebrate every success.

Inspiration to Create Community Fitness Studio

Community Fitness Yoga Class

Community Fitness Yoga Class

The practice of yoga in the Philippines is not as common as here in the United States, Thailand, Bali, and—of course—India. The fitness craze is slowly becoming more popular in the Philippines but yoga is of interest to just a tiny portion of the population.

One reason for that is it’s not readily accessible for those who want to drop in for a class after work or during lunch break.

I visit the Philippines regularly. But, after several holidays, I realized that I missed the practice at Yoga District. I missed the kind of flow and vibe the studio has and how my body is so well adapted to the music the teachers play.

Towards the end of one of my holidays, I ended up practicing on my own in my hotel room. And it just dawned on me—why not bring Yoga District’s kind of yoga to the Philippines? That was a major light bulb moment.

Kapasigan, Pasig City

Kapasigan, Pasig City

Opening Community Fitness Studio

Luckily, there was a huge space available in the building where I worked. It has a high industrial-style ceiling and huge windows that bathed the room in sunshine the whole day! The building is in the heart of Kapasigan District in Pasig City, my hometown.

Kapasigan is considered the area’s financial district and is bustling with people from sunrise to midnight. It’s at the crossroads of commerce. Local residents and transient workers coexisted here even before the newer commercial and business districts were developed a short distance away.

It’s in these newer districts where property rates are sky-high and many of the yoga studios are located. Since the rent is high, this makes the yoga classes expensive as well. The high price for a class is a major turn off to many people.

I didn’t find any wisdom in this. I wanted to make yoga more accessible to more people.

Community Fitness Serves the Community

Students practicing Yoga at Community Fitness

Students practicing Yoga at Community Fitness

Community Fitness is a non-profit entity modeled after Yoga District. We also embrace the same philosophy: make yoga accessible to everyone regardless of their ability to pay.

We serve everyone in the community who come to show up on the mat. Our teachers help guide them toward their goals.

The price per class is basically around $2 (P99) and we’ve not turned any students away because of their inability to pay.

Most Rewarding Experience with Community Fitness

Community Fitness Student doing Crow

Community Fitness Student doing Crow

Every aspect of this journey has been especially wonderful.

Currently, we have about 800 plus members on our Facebook page since we opened in December 2017. We haven’t really done too much by way of advertisements.  We rely mostly on word of mouth for our community to grow.

But, admittedly, the most surprising experience so far is seeing the students’ eagerness for a good yoga practice. It feels really awesome!

Imagine, some have only heard of yoga on the web or on TV but now they are practicing and loving it! One day one student did a tripod headstand (safely). It was amazing!

Biggest Challenging with Community Fitness

Peach, Community Fitness Yoga Teacher

Peach, Community Fitness Yoga Teacher

Finding teachers. We had no teachers when we opened last December. We had a yoga studio but no teachers. That was unnerving when I think about it now.

What happened was that Jonathan and I divided the work. He designed a short yoga workshop curriculum and I began recruiting possible teachers around November of 2017. I knew they were out there. I just needed to find them.

I posted an ad online calling out to interested yogis several times before resumes start coming in. The first to apply was Ferdz, then Belle, Jillie, Joey, Grace, Johnna, Joan, Tina, Byron, and Dice. Peach also joined us at Community Fitness. She’s also a graduate of Yoga District RYT200.

This is a concrete illustration of how yoga brings people together. Jon and I were delighted.

Johnna, Community Fitness Yoga Teacher

Johnna, Community Fitness Yoga Teacher

We offered scholarships to several workshop participants and the opportunity to teach with pay. For some of the new teachers, they’ve been practicing on their own for several years and needed a few minor tweaks but they were ready to fly. They were amazing.

It was meant to be. We were meant to be. After the teachers’ 40-hour training course they took over the classes and the students are loving them.

Advice to Others Who Wish to Do Something Similar

Celebrating after workshop completion

Celebrating after Workshop Completion

Starting a studio is equally fun and difficult at the same time. It’s always a work in progress, but the outcome is infinitely rewarding.

In the process, I gained a family of teachers and a bigger, extended family in the community through the students.

But, if you really want to start a studio a solid business plan is necessary.  It is just like when starting up any other business. Ultimately, staying focused and believing in yourself will get things done. Someday. I’d like to see more studios like ours serving the community.

Future Vision

Our vision is for yoga to transcend barriers in the Philippines. We want the practice to be easily accessible for everyone and anyone. Whether it be in the studio, in private, or at home practice, everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of yoga.

Community Fitness Studio Teachers

Community Fitness Studio Teachers

Community Fitness shapes the future of yoga in the Philippines

We can do this by staying true to our values and philosophy. By reaching out and bring the practice of yoga to the inner cities or underserved communities.   The places where a great number of people have practically no access to health clubs and other fitness studios because they are too expensive. There are no other yoga studios in the area. Community Fitness studio is the first of its kind. The closest one is at least 5 miles away; this distance can be a half hour to an hour’s commute considering Pasig traffic.

We are currently in the process of getting Community Fitness Studio certified by Yoga Alliance so we can begin training new teachers. Upon completing the RYT200 from Community Fitness we can issue the certificate of completion.

Community Fitness Studio is located at 9 A. Mabini St., Kapasigan Pasig City Philippines Tel., 470-4496

Community Fitness Studio’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ communityfitnessstudio/  

 

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Yoga Practice: Dharma Yoga https://www.yogadistrict.com/dharma-yoga-practice/ Thu, 17 May 2018 16:14:57 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10113 There is No Need to Fear Dharma Yoga It use to intimidate me. I thought Dharma Yoga was only for true yoga warriors. For yogis who could already bend themselves […]

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There is No Need to Fear Dharma Yoga

Sri Dharma Mittra

Sri Dharma Mittra

It use to intimidate me. I thought Dharma Yoga was only for true yoga warriors. For yogis who could already bend themselves into pretzels, immediately rise up into a headstand then hold arm balance poses for minutes on end.   

After attending my first Dharma Flow class, I fell almost instantly in love with this liberating and fun yoga practice. My previous intimidation was replaced by a new sense of freedom and trust for graceful exploration.

Read on as Emily, a Yoga District teacher, highlights the principles and practices of Dharma Yoga.

If you’re wondering about Dharma Yoga then don’t be afraid to try it. Feel free to attend one of our Dharma inspired classes (listed in post) and join us for the upcoming Dharma Day!

Dharma Day with, international teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra

  • May 20th, 2018 10am- 5pm
  • The Omni Shoreham Hotel
  • You can attend all day or select specific classes.
  • For more information or to sign up: Here

Origin & Principles of Dharma Yoga

Dharma yoga is based on the teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra. It derives from various practices of yoga with a focus on the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Sri Dharma Mittra is a humble yet humorous teacher.  He is a true yoga master. He has been teaching yoga in New York City and internationally for over 50 years.

You may recognize Sri Dharma Mittra from the Master Yoga Chart of 908 poses.  It can be found in many yoga studios. His framed photograph hangs in Yoga District studios.  

 The principles of Dharma yoga is rooted in the classical system of hatha-raja yoga. It emphasizes a clear mind, vibrant health, and a kind heart. Dharma Yoga should move the practitioner closer to the goal of self-realization.

Sri Dharma Mittra often reminds his students, yoga without the ethical guidelines of Yamas (restraints) and Niyamas (observances) is like spaghetti without the sauce. Compassion towards all beings is at the heart of Dharma Yoga.

Master Yoga Chart of 908 poses

Master Yoga Chart of 908 poses

Dharma YogaDharma Yoga Class

Dharma Yoga classes are well balanced, beginning with a vinyasa then a hatha style of practice.

Starting with a warm up sequence called Shiva Namaskara (vinyasa in style).

Which is then followed by a series of “main” poses held for longer periods of time (more hatha in style).

In Dharma yoga the breath is not cued, but rather students are encouraged to allow the breath to be natural.

Come explore Dharma Yoga Class at Yoga District. Don’t worry, we keep it approachable and will help you to modify the sequence and poses to fit your body and level.

  • Mondays 6:30 AM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1.5-3 @ Columbia Heights
  • Mondays 12:30 PM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1-2  @ H Street
  • Mondays 5:00 PM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1-2  @ I Street
  • Tuesday 6:30 PM, Dharma Flow 1-2 + Restorative  @ Glover Park
  • Wednesday 6:30 AM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1.5-3 @ Columbia Heights
  • Wednesday 5:00 PM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1-2  @ I Street
  • Thursday 12:15 PM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1 @ 14th St.
  • Friday 6:30 AM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1.5-3 @ Columbia Heights
  • Friday 12:00 PM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1.5-3 @ Columbia Heights
  • Saturday 2:00 PM, Dharma 2 + Restorative @ H Street
  • Saturday 6:30 PM, Dharma Gentle @ 14th St.
  • Sundays 8:30 AM, Dharma Flow Yoga (All Levels) @ H Street
  • Sundays 10:00 AM, Dharma Inspired Flow Yoga 1-2 @ Glover Park

Dharma Yoga Readings, References & Resources:

Dharma Day

Dharma Day

Dharma Day

If you are interested in exploring Dharma Yoga then come to Dharma Day with teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra! You have the option to sign up for individual classes or to attend all day.

  • May 20th, 2018 10am- 5pm
  • The Omni Shoreham Hotel
  • Class schedule:
  • 9:30-10:00 Community Mantra & Chanting: Kirtan  (Donations class)
  • 10:00-12:00 Master Class
  • 12:00-1:00 Yoga Nidra
  • 3:00-5:00 All-Levels

For more information or to sign up: Here

Master Class

The workshop will include: Asana, Guided Meditation, Pranayama, Chanting, Lecture and Guided Relaxation.  Sri Dharma Mittra will provide profound sacred teachings on the ethical rules, nature of being, yogic diet, ancient varied breathing practices and sound techniques.

Yoga Nidra

This guided restorative session helps you break free from the stress of the noisy and restless world that maintains its presence in our bodies and minds at all times.

All- Levels

This workshop includes Asana, Guided Meditation, Pranayama, Chanting, Lecture on Purification, Guided Relaxation, and a “Devotional Dharma Asana Satsang Jam”


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Pose of the Month: Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) https://www.yogadistrict.com/monthly-pose-warrior-i/ Thu, 03 May 2018 22:58:49 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10061 This month’s pose is Warrior I. You likely experience it several times during a Flow (Vinyasa) yoga class. Find out about Warrior I:      benefits      cues   […]

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Warrior I

This month’s pose is Warrior I.

You likely experience it several times during a Flow (Vinyasa) yoga class.

Find out about Warrior I:

  •      benefits
  •      cues
  •      modifications
  •      variations
  •      contraindications

Warrior I (Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana I)

Pronunciation: veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh

Vira = Hero, Brave
Bhadra = Virtuous
Asana = Posture
Virabhadrasana = Virtuous Hero Posture

Warrior I

Warrior I- Yoga Journal

A Pose of Strength + Steadiness

Warrior I is a powerful grounded pose that requires a lot of concentration. As a foundational pose, many other poses build off of it during a yoga sequence. Warrior I involves strength, stability, and balance.

Disclaimer: If you have any medical concerns then talk with your doctor before practicing yoga. Practice within your own limits.

Benefits of Warrior I:

    • Opens up the chest
    • Enhances stability
    • Strengthens the abdominal muscles, thighs, ankles, and back
    • Helps with flexibility in the hips and shoulders
    • This pose can be very therapeutic for people that experience sciatica

Warrior I CuesCues:

  1. Begin in downward dog.

  2. Raise your left foot into three-legged dog.

  3. Bring your left foot between your hands.

  4. Ensure the back foot is at a 45 to 60 degree angle.

  5. Ground the heel of the back foot into the mat.

  6. Draw the front hip back and the back hip forward so that your hips are squared towards the front of the room.   

  7. Keep the front knee directly over the ankle.

  8. Make sure to not overarch your low back.

  9. Keep the gaze forward and chin parallel to the floor.

10. Press the shoulders away from one another to open the chest.

Modified Warrior I

Modified Warrior I- Yoga Journal

Modifications:

  • Press the palms of the hands into the wall.
    • This will help align your torso properly. Shorten your stance and place your hands on your hips.
  • Place the arm of the front leg to your hip or back and raise the other arm over your head. Separate the arms if the shoulders rise up towards the ears.
    • This will help your shoulders rest in a neutral position.
  • If you can’t keep your back heel grounded, you can place a blanket under your heel.
Warrior I Variation Cactus Arms

Warrior I Variation Cactus Arms-  Yoga Journal

Variations

   If you have any issues with raising your arms or neck strain:

  •     – you can press your hands into the sides of your ribs
  •     – you can also use cactus arms instead of raising your arms straight up

Contraindications:

  • Begin this pose with modifications if you have:
    • knee issues
    • hip issues
    • shoulder pain
    • low back pain
    • high blood pressure
    • heart disease
    • history of stroke
  • If you have neck problems then do not gaze up towards your hands


SOURCES:

Kaminoff, Leslie, and Amy Matthews. Yoga Anatomy, 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics, 2012.

Le Page, Joseph, and Lilian Le Page. Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox, 2nd Edition. Integrative Yoga Therapy, 2005.

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Yoga Type: Ashtanga https://www.yogadistrict.com/ashtanga-yoga-types/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 19:15:51 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10063 Welcome to our Yoga Type series!  Yoga is steeped in history and tradition. It began over 5,000 years ago.  Several different types of yoga have emerged and each offer their own unique […]

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Ashtanga YogaWelcome to our Yoga Type series!

 Yoga is steeped in history and tradition. It began over 5,000 years ago.  Several different types of yoga have emerged and each offer their own unique practice.  Our newest series will explore various yoga practices.

Jess, a Yoga District teacher, explores the ancient tradition of Ashtanga Yoga and how it does not need to be an intimidating practice.

Feel free to attend one of our Ashtanga inspired classes (listed in post) and Jess’s upcoming workshop:

Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga Workshop @ H Street

  • Saturday May 5th, 3:30-5:30 pm

Sign up here for the the workshop.

If you’re wondering about Ashtanga yoga then don’t be afraid to try it out! It builds strength, flexibility, coordination and symmetry in the body through set sequences.  

Ashtanga Yoga History & Overview

Ashtanga can be a very intimidating practice because of its strong ties to tradition and rigid sequencing. Yet it is actually the root of all modern vinyasa flow practices.  In the 1950’s, Ashtanga yoga began to spread to the West via K. Pattabhi Jois, a direct student of Krishnamacharya. Eventually westerners adapted the practice to better suit their needs and the needs of their students. It evolved into Power Yoga and other more familiar types of yoga.

Ashtanga is generally practiced Mysore style. This style originated in Mysore, India. In Mysore practice, students are not led together by a teacher but instead practice at their own pace. The teacher gives them poses of a set sequence one by one that they must memorize.  Students may not progress past the pose they have been given or make modifications to either the sequence or each pose.

Ashtanga Primary Series

Ashtanga Primary Series

The most commonly practiced sequence is the Primary Series:

  • It starts with the Sun Salutations and standing poses like warriors and triangles (the same standing poses that we know and love)!
  • The sequence then moves towards a series of seated postures that become progressively more pretzel-like. There’s a vinyasa (jump back to chaturanga, upward facing dog, downward facing dog, jump right back through to the seat) between each seated posture.
  • All Ashtanga practices end with the finishing series. It starts with 5 rounds of bridge or wheel pose and then moves into cooling inversions followed by meditative postures to prepare the body for rest.

Principles of Ashtanga

Whether you’re a Mysore practitioner or simply a yogi that dabbles in led primary series then the principles of the practice are the same:

  • pranayama (breath focused)
  • bahnda (core engagement)
  • drishti (gaze)

You may have heard these terms used in a vinyasa flow class since they are so integral to the vinyasa method.

Ashtanga Yoga Classes

Yoga ClassAshtanga yoga is held very sacred to some who only practiced it Mysore style. Yet, others wish Ashtanga to be accessible to a wider group of practitioners.

Teachers who hold a more progressive view may lead primary or modified primary series classes. These classes invite students to try out the full series even if they have to modify or skip some poses (or some of the 40+ vinyasas typically practiced in a primary series).

Ashtanga doesn’t have to be intimidating! Yoga District offers Ashtanga inspired classes along with three weekly led primary series. Don’t worry, we keep it approachable and will help you to modify the sequence and poses to fit your body and level.

  • Wednesdays 7:45, Ashtanga Flow (All Levels) @ Columbia Heights
  • Thursdays 6:45 PM, Ashtanga Inspired Flow 1.5-2 @ I Street
  • Saturdays 10:00 AM, Ashtanga: Modified Primary Series (All Levels) @ Bloomingdale
  • Saturdays 3:30 PM, Ashtanga Flow (All Levels) @ 14th St.
  • Sundays 8:15 AM, Ashtanga: Full Primary Series (Level 1.5-3) @ Glover Park
  • Sundays 10:00 AM, Ashtanga Flow Half Primary Series (All Levels) @ H Street

Find more information about Ashtanga yoga here and in my upcoming workshop.

Ashtanga PoseIntroduction to Ashtanga Yoga Workshop

Saturday May 5th, 3:30 – 5:30 pm

Sign up here

Ashtanga Yoga is now one of my favorite practices. I love the mobility, symmetry, and awareness it cultivated in my body.  

In the workshop: you’ll learn the origins of Ashtanga, be instructed in Pranayama (breathwork work), run through a 90-minute asana practice (break down the poses and transitions) of modified primary sequence series. Come ready to sweat, deepen your practice and connection to the roots of flow yoga.

Join me and you might just fall in love with the Ashtanga too!

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Yoga District Community – Meet Kat, our Director of Services! https://www.yogadistrict.com/yoga-district-community-meet-kat-our-director-of-services/ Wed, 25 Apr 2018 20:31:02 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10073      Meet Kat, our Director of Services as she shares her yoga journey and  her experience being part of the Yoga District community!   “May your choice reflect your […]

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Meet Kat, our Director of Services as she shares her yoga journey and  her experience being part of the Yoga District community!

 

May your choice reflect your hopes, not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela

 

 

How long have you served the Yoga District Community? 

I’ve been serving yoga district for nearly a year now, I started as an intern in June 2017 and have since then become more involved in the community.

How did you come to your administrative role at Yoga District?

Discovering Yoga 

The first class I took was in my senior year of college and I fell in love. It brought me calm and stability in a time I was in need. I remember feeling a lot of uncertainty at that time and like I didn’t have control. Yoga really helped me make sense of what was happening around me and gave me clarity to make decisions confidently. Above all yoga gave me time to myself, something I hadn’t been taking before.  

Discovering Yoga District

When I found Yoga District, I was at a point in my career where I was very unhappy. I had recently moved to DC for a job that ended up being a bad fit for me and I was struggling to find my place in this big, bustling city. I lived down the street from one of the studios and I quickly found a place where I felt at home. I applied for a remote internship and was extremely dedicated and truly happy to be a part of the community in which I felt valued myself and all others. I remember so vividly being in a class and the instructor was telling the story of the lotus flower. I was overwhelmed with emotion during this particular class as the instructor gently weaved its story into class. I was surprised to learn that the lotus flow grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom. I felt connected to this. It became clear to me that I was in a muddy situation yet I could find a way to bloom. It was around this time that there was need for someone to take on administrative work with YD. It was perfect timing for me to start something new and here I am today, grateful for these opportunities!

How has working the the administrative details at Yoga District nurtured, challenged, and transformed you?

This community is full of love and light, it’s hard not to embrace that. YD is a truly special place to work and practice and I have felt valued and proud to be working here. This role has truly tested my time management and organizational skills but I’ve felt transformed by my ability to adapt. Also, I feel inspired by all of the folks I get to interact with on a daily basis. It’s so amazing the different backgrounds and interests and stories everyone has. Its truly amazing to me and I am grateful every day that I get to serve such a diverse community of loving beings. 

What would you say to someone who has never done yoga before to invite them to the practice?

There’s a quote that reads “a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms” and I would share that with them. I would tell someone who has never practiced before not to think about what others are doing, just come to the mat and learn something. It’s the best way to start and your practice will grow from there. 

Beyond the physical benefits, what are the top three things yoga has taught you?

Yoga has taught me to have greater compassion, confidence, and gratitude. 

Outside of yoga

I love taking walks through different neighborhoods and exploring. I live near a big beautiful park and I love to sit in the park reading or watching the dogs play. Anything that can get me outdoors and around DC I’m excited about. It’s silly but sometimes I forget that I am living in the nation’s capitol. A beautiful view of the capitol building of the Washington monument will stop me in my tracks and remind me just how fortunate I am. I try to dedicate time each week to doing something that reminds me of this. 

I love to cook! I could spend all day in the kitchen planning and creating. One of my favorite parts of my week is when I can spend time making a delicious meal to share with loved ones. I’ve been really in to curries lately, I’m glad my roommate (who’s also my sister) doesn’t mind! Cooking is relaxing to me, I feel at peace when I am in the kitchen. It’s my time to get lost in an audiobook spend time with my thoughts. It’s also a way for me to express myself and also to share with others, cooking for others really brings me joy. 

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The District Sleeps Tonight https://www.yogadistrict.com/sleep-hygiene-district-sleeps-tonight/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 18:01:37 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=10028 Eyes open, arms stretched out as you gently slide out of bed ready to face the day after a night of peaceful slumber.  A well rested you, is an optimal […]

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Sleep Hygiene

Eyes open, arms stretched out as you gently slide out of bed ready to face the day after a night of peaceful slumber.  A well rested you, is an optimal you because a good night sleep is a form of self-care.  

“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”– Mahatma Gandhi

Jennifer, a Yoga District teacher, shares how she went from a restless sleeper to someone who wakes up well rested without an alarm clock. Read on to find out how Sleep Hygiene changed her life and how it could benefit you too.

Feel free to attend her upcoming workshop!

  • Learn to Get Your Zzz’s: Relaxation, Sleep and Yoga @ Bloomingdale
  • Sunday May 6th 2:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Click here to sign up for the the workshop.

How DC Sleeps

The Washington Post notes DC residents lost more sleep than anyone in the country on the night of the 2016 presidential election.  Forbes, list DC as #11 city in the nation for poor sleep with a 35.2% sleep deprivation rate.

Some factors that lead to lack of sleep are out of our control: construction and traffic noise, air quality, light pollution, along with other common city sights and sounds. Those factors and lack of sleep are common for people living in a busy city like D.C. But there are many ways that we can take control of our rest, even in the most stressful of times.

Meditation Before Bed Helps with Relaxation

Mind + Body Connection

As a yoga teacher, I strive to help people take care of their minds, bodies and spirits. I believe that getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of self care.  If we are tired, how can we practice mindfulness, safely move our bodies or bring out the best of our spirits? Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” I agree and think that we get even more out of life when we slow it down.

Self-care practices such as yoga, meditation, building healthy relationships, cooking good homemade food and prioritizing work–personal balance have greatly improved my life. Although, quality rest was one thing that I wasn’t getting enough. I woke up repeatedly in the night and was unable to get back to sleep.

My Ayurveda doshas are always tied between Vata and Kapha: Vata is anxious and Kapha is lethargic. It felt like these two sides of me were fighting whenever I tried to catch some zzz’s. Last winter, I asked my doctor how to get a better night sleep and she told me about “sleep hygiene.” It changed my life.

Effects of Sleep Hygiene

Retro Alarm Clock

No Alarm Clock Needed

Think of sleep hygiene as an important self-care routine, like flossing your teeth. Sure, you could just go to bed without implementing sleep hygiene. But that would be like brushing your teeth without flossing: good, but not as effective.

By practicing my doctor’s tips, within two weeks, I was sleeping better. Now, after seven or eight hours of sleep, I generally wake up before my alarm clock even rings. I am also as alert in the morning as I am in the evening, which is an incredible feeling since I am a night person. I can wake up at 7am without my alarm when the old me would have stayed nestled in bed for most of the morning.

Detrimental Effects of Poor Sleep

Research backs my anecdotal experience. Lack of rest has huge personal costs. Data presented by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School suggests that people who sleep for five or less hours per night raise their mortality risk by 15%. Not to mention the costs of not being fully present in your life. Psychology Today outlines how lack of sleep affects your relationships with issues like having a shorter temper and escalating conflict.

Flowers brighten mood

Living plants in the bedroom boost mood, reduce stress and promote restful sleep

Benefits of Sleep Hygiene

While the costs of not getting your zzz’s are great, the benefits of a good night’s sleep are enormous. Resources such as the US Department of Health and Human Services list a few—and recommend relaxation and deep breathing to get there:

  • Improve relationships
  • Boost your memory by better processing information in sleep
  • Enhance athletic performance with less fatigue and more stamina
  • Elevate mental health
  • Spark creativity
  • Less stress

Find out more information about benefits here, here and here

 

"Sleep station" next to bed

“Sleep station” next to bed

Sleep Hygiene: Self-Care Routine

So what can you do to get better rest?

Yoga, with countless benefits including reducing stress and regulating emotions is one way to manage your sleep. Try a relaxing class like meditative flow, restorative, yin or meditation in the evening to release tension and prepare the body for slumber. Yoga District offers those classes at evening times exactly for this purpose.

My doctor’s sleep hygiene advice also works wonders. The basic elements are changing lifestyle habits and adjusting your environment to get better rest. Listening to soothing sounds before bed, is just one example, like these healing mantras created by a classmate of mine from my yoga teacher training program

Our culture seems to glorify less sleep like it’s a sign of doing more. But since I have slowed down my life, I have increased productivity in my waking hours. Even better than “doing more” is I am “being more” because I am so fully present.

Healthy Sleeping habits can lead to good sleep. If interested in learning more about Sleep Hygiene then attend my  Workshop and check out Yoga District’s first Sleep Hygiene series post.

Sleepy Kitten in BowlSLEEP HYGIENE WORKSHOP: Learn to Get Your Zzz’s: Relaxation, Sleep and Yoga

Sunday May 6th, 2:30 – 4:30 pm

Sign up here

Resting is now one of my favorite self-care activities. I am excited to share what I’ve learned with you at my workshop.  I’ll give detailed tips about sleep hygiene: how to create better lifestyle habits, change your surroundings, use (restorative) yoga and meditation to get a good night’s rest.  

See you there!

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Breath Baby, Breath https://www.yogadistrict.com/breath-baby-breath/ Wed, 28 Mar 2018 18:44:52 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9982 Prenatal & postnatal yoga has a natural sense of community. In the second post of our Children & Yoga series, Taylor a Doula and Yoga District teacher, shares insights about the […]

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Prenatal YogaPrenatal & postnatal yoga has a natural sense of community.

In the second post of our Children & Yoga series, Taylor a Doula and Yoga District teacher, shares insights about the benefits of teaching and practicing prenatal & postnatal yoga. 

Feel free to attend her class and upcoming workshop!

 

Saturdays 2:45 PM, Prenatal + Postnatal Yoga Class @ Bloomingdale

Yoga and Childbirth for Pregnant Yogis and Partners Workshop @ Bloomingdale

  • Saturday March 31st, 4 – 6 pm

Click here to sign up for the the workshop.

Pregnancy JourneyA main goal of yoga is to tune in to and learn more about our body. Through a regular asana practice we start to become more aware of our body’s needs and limits. This awareness in our yoga practice can extend to everything we do throughout the rest of our day.

Apply the same goal to Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga. Try to tune in and learn more about our body: prepare for pregnancy, the childbirth process, the postpartum period, and early parenthood.

Prenatal + Postnatal Yoga Class

Yoga Practice Designed for the Prenatal Body:Prenatal Class YD 2009

My class builds strength to stabilize parts of your body. During pregnancy your body may become hypermobile in parts due to some of your hormones.

We also practice shapes that are conducive to labor.  Pose you might want to do while giving birth are great to practice throughout your pregnancy. This will enable you to get used to it as your body is changing.

Pranayama (breathing techniques) bring a certain kind of balancing and calming energy, which is essential for labor and once the baby arrives. Calming breath (equal inhales and exhales) and Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) are used frequently in class.

To learn more about how to practice either breathing technique check out Yoga District’s Mindful Tips blog post here


Yoga Practice Designed for the Postnatal Body:

My class emphasizes letting the body heal from labor and pregnancy. Providing a nurturing time to get to know your body now that it needs to care for and possibly nourish a child (if breast/chestfeeding).  Also gentle strengthening, stretching, and breathwork that is found in prenatal yoga.

Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga Community

YD 2009 Prenatal Class

There is a natural sense of community with prenatal and postnatal yoga. You are sharing your practice time and space with other people who are in the same very powerful stage of life. You are preparing to welcome a new life into your family.

Sense of community is one of the reasons I love teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga. The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. As a yoga teacher and a Doula, I know it also takes a village (yoga community) to raise up a parent. It can feel incredibly isolating, welcoming that new life, without support of other people we know and care for around us.

Teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga classes, more than anything else have made me much closer with the Yoga District community. Seeing people go through their pregnancy from beginning to end then meeting the baby afterwards is so special. I continually feel honored that people trust me to facilitate their practice at such an important part of life.

Yoga & Childbirth for Pregnant Yogis & Partners Workshop

YD 2009 Prenatal Yoga ClassIn my upcoming workshop, I am going to teach how to use yoga techniques like asana and pranayama in childbirth specifically.

Also offered are comfort techniques for partners to do together in labor to help it go as smoothly as possible. Doula clients’ and yoga students’ partners  mention they don’t know what to expect and also have some fear surrounding pregnancy as well as birth.

This workshop is EXACTLY for: anyone who has questions about pregnancy and birth, as well as how to use yoga practice to facilitate connection to yourself, your partner, and your baby during that time.

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Children are Natural Yogis https://www.yogadistrict.com/children-natural-yogis/ Wed, 21 Mar 2018 19:23:54 +0000 http://www.yogadistrict.com/?p=9964 Welcome to our our Children & Yoga series! Children are natural yogis. In the first post of the series, Rachel, a Yoga District teacher and certified ChildLight Yoga Baby & […]

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Downward Dog Pose baby

Source: Pinterest

Welcome to our our Children & Yoga series!

Children are natural yogis.

In the first post of the series, Rachel, a Yoga District teacher and certified ChildLight Yoga Baby & Toddler teacher, shares insights about the benefits of teaching yoga to babies and toddlers. Feel free to attend one of her classes!

Rachel’s Class Schedule:

  • Fridays 11:15 PM, Baby & Me Yoga @ Bloomingdale
  • Sunday 3:30 PM,  Toddler & Me Yoga @ Columbia Heights

If you’ve spent any time around babies and toddlers you’ve probably noticed something pretty cool—they spontaneously do yoga poses all the time! Child’s pose, downward dog, and happy baby (duh), but also bound angle, bridge, cobra, hero’s pose, and so many others.

It’s like they arrive on earth as natural yogis. This is one of the reasons I love doing yoga with babies, toddlers, and caregivers.

Adult Yoga versus Child Yoga

Despite completing a 200-hour adult yoga teacher training, I was nervous when I decided to pursue teaching children! But then my teacher told me the secret—that there is no official “child yoga” tradition (we’re not talking ashtanga for kids, here).

As a children’s yoga teacher, I delve deep into all my creative resources (and my experiences with my own child) to make classes fun, accessible, and developmentally supportive for all ages in the room.

There are amazing experts on the topic, great resources, trainings, early childhood teachers, plus certification programs for teaching yoga to babies, children and families. A modern “child yoga” tradition has emerged.  It offers best practices and strategies for helping caregivers support children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual development.

I fell in love with TAKING baby yoga classes with my own little one, starting around six weeks. It is the reason I got interested in teaching yoga to children.  She just turned two, and we still do yoga together EVERY DAY. In fact, two of her early words were “yoga mat” and “tree pose”!

 Experiencing a Baby & Me Yoga Class

It’s not postpartum or mom-only! Every week we have any combination of moms, dads, grandparents, and nannies. We start sitting in a circle with the little ones aged 6 weeks to pre-crawling.

The atmosphere is RELAXED, it is okay to arrive a few minutes late (we all know who is the boss of your schedule now) and attend to your and your babies’ needs during class. This class is about caring for the baby and YOU.

Over the course of about 45 minutes, we blend movements for baby and simple stretches for grownups. Everyone gets a chance to interact (babies and adults), learn some new songs (a yoga version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), and a lot of new ideas for ways to play, move, and bond with the baby. There’s even time for relaxation at the end, and yes, the babies often zonk out during savasana.

Experiencing a Toddler & Me Yoga Class

Toddler & Me Yoga is a whole different ball game, as you can imagine! People say trying to manage a room full of toddlers is like herding cats… but this is where crawlers to early walkers can show off their natural yoga skills.

After just one or two classes, they adapt and learn the songs and routines (toddlers thrive on repetition). When we ring the chime, the room is absolutely silent as we listen for when the sound stops.

They jump right in to the movement, eager to imitate dogs, snakes, fish, dinosaurs, and butterflies. They find moments of calm when we take deep breaths to “smell the flowers,” and climb all over the grownups as they try to keep up.

How do we get through savasana with this group? Parents take a rest and I take out the magic toddler wand … bubbles!

Power of Yoga in Early Childhood

Yoga has power in the early childhood setting.  As a public health researcher, I study the influences of early childhood educators on the well-being of children.  I’ve learned how deeply meaningful their work is and how much joy it brings to kids. It also can be incredibly physically and emotionally stressful.

Bringing yoga into an infant, toddler, or preschool classroom not only benefits the kids, but the adults who care for them. The adults can learn simple self-care techniques and gentle movements to find a little more peace and calm in life.

Suggested Resources:

Itsy Bitsy Yoga for babies

Itsy Bitsy Yoga for toddlers and preschoolers

ChildLight Yoga

Little Flower Yoga

Radiant Child Yoga

 

 

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