An opportunity for self-reflection
For those of you who recognize Lent, and even if you don't, it's still an opportunity for reflection. This season comes as we begin to say goodbye to winter. The days are getting longer and we hear the birds singing louder. We start to have faith that spring is on its way. That fact, in itself, creates thoughts of renewal within us.
So as you spend some time reflecting, notice if there are changes to be made. Is there something to give up or something to add into your life?
Groundhog Day Fun
Will the groundhog see its shadow tomorrow? Lots of fun activities for little ones to celebrate this day. Some of my favorites are creating your own groundhog burrow with a blanket and emerging to see if there is a shadow or lining up toys of different sizes to see how each cast a different shadow.
What activities do your children enjoy?
What a wonderful surprise to receive an email from a grandma who ordered a signed copy of "I Can Be One Too!". She even included a YouTube link of her granddaughter enjoying the poses.
Day 1- skim through and mimic poses, 3yr cannot contain her enthusiasm! Sweet starter book for little ones, 10 poses, animal illustration pictured on left side- young girl on right side-each page. Poses are mountain, star, tree, horse, butterfly, bat, cow, cat, dog and snake. "Best of all I can be me" Encourages free spirit self interpretation, bonus for preschool kids helps them learn to sight read with repetitive wording. Two thumbs up- a keeper to learn and grow on for 3-6yr olds...namaste
Let's All Clap Our Hands Together
As we prepare for the year 2021, what a great time for "Let's All Clap Our Hands Together". This beloved children's song combines the movements of swinging, swaying, hopping, freezing and reaching up for the sky. A song loved so much, it's a regular in classes. Hope you enjoy!
Please feel free to share the Vimeo link with others.
The Sun Dance
If you have little ones, consider this free interactive Sun Salutation video to Linda Lara's "Sun Dance", which I just completed. The movements are a wonderful way to say hello to the sun and to thank it for providing us with light and warmth.
How appropriate in this week of the Winter Solstice and its promise of increasing light.
My thanks to Linda Lara for granting permission to use her song from Musical Yoga Adventures.
Here's the link: https://vimeo.com/494231773
I love when parents share experiences of what their children retain from yoga classes. I think of this story every Halloween.
One year a mom said she anticipated her daughter might be upset by a store filled with Halloween displays. However, while some could consider a witch opening and closing her arms as menacing, this little girl did the same movement as a yoga pose while saying, "Look Mommy, that witch is saying 'I love you', like we do at class".
Toddler and Me Yoga
Consider joining me on Thursday's, starting 10-29-20, 10:30-11am (EST) for Toddler and Me Yoga! It's never too early for parents, grandparents or caregivers to share yoga with your little one! No previous experience is neded.
This class is sponsored through the Yoga Center of Columbia. Please visit
https://www.columbiayoga.com/online-fall-3-schedule for information on registration.
Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote for fellow yoga instructors, but it can also serve to provide you with information on this class.
Teaching Yoga for Toddlers
As a teacher of Toddler and Me Yoga, a class designed for children aged 12 to 36 months, I’m often asked, ‘How can you possibly expect to teach yoga for that age range?’ The questions usually continue with, ‘Aren’t they full of energy?’ Yes! ‘Don’t they have short attention spans?’ Yes! ‘Isn’t it chaotic?’ Not usually.
Children of this age are naturally sponge-like, curious and want to play and learn. It’s an important developmental time socially, physically and emotionally. They are experiencing life through their eyes, ears and sense of touch. They are learning and expressing through language. Toddler yoga provides an introduction to yoga with the freedom for the children to explore in a supervised setting along with their parent or caregiver.
What is a typical class like? Since children of this age crave repetition, many basic songs and poses are repeated each week. Music with associated movements and books are wonderful ways to help teach. Children also learn by watching adults, so the parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate in the poses.
Any basic yoga pose can be made receptive to toddlers. For example, a basic Sun Salute becomes reaching the arms up to touch the sun and hanging down to tickle the toes. Lying with the legs up pairs well with the ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ song. Holding hands for ‘Row, row, row your boat’ is an opportunity for a modified wide straddle forward fold. ‘Ring Around the Rosie’ morphs into ‘Ring Around with Yogis’.
A toddler class has lots of hugs and kisses! Throughout class, parents and caregivers are encouraged to celebrate every attempt at a pose by their child. Teaching yoga to children should be a fun, silly and playful time.
Swami Saryananda Saraswati says, ‘The yoga experience for the child of this age should not come through lessons but through play.’ He adds, ‘While enjoying the play with the children, the yoga teacher does not want to simply entertain but to provide an environment for utilization of all yoga activities for unfolding and balancing the total personality of the child. As the child grows older and enters school, the presentation of yoga can take on a more structured form.’
(Corrections of a child’s yoga postures generally do not occur until the age of eight. [i])
[i] See Saraswati, S.S., Yoga Education for Children, Chapter 3 and 4.
Susan Kain, e-RYT, RCYT has taught yoga for going on twenty years. A former educator, she is also a certified ACE personal trainer (since 1995) and Pilates instructor.
During this time of uncertainty, children and adults can benefit from the knowledge of the many breathing techniques available to help bring calm.
I've written an article for YogaUOnline, which I hope you'll share with family and friends.
May you see the light in the darkness during challenging times.
May you feel the loving presence of those who hold you in their thoughts and prayers.
May your spirit find what it needs to sustain you on this journey.
May you discover your inner strength and face difficulties with dignity and grace.
May you be filled with comfort, love, strength and a lasting sense of peace.
March 16th, 2020
A mother of a preschool yoga student emailed me this morning looking for ideas to help keep her daughter's yoga practice active during this time of social distancing due to the pandemic. We shared different ideas and she came up with the project of having her children paint rocks with themes of encouragement to leave outside for others.
Seva, in Sanskrit, means selfless service. It is something we give without the need to receive back. How wonderful to see these children contributing to the uplifting of their community!
Susan Kain is a Registered Yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, and a Certified Personal Trainer with classes for all ages from toddlers to senior citizens.