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This idea I am writing about today isn’t new but it is something that has been clearer to me lately.  The idea of really teaching something, compared to conducting an activity.  Maty (the wise yoga lady I studied under in December) touched on this in her Dharma chats.  She pointed out that there are yoga teachers who really teach poses and look at their students and try to help them, and there are teachers that turn on music and call out poses.  I’ve been struggling with this because I understand the philosophy of staying out of the way sometimes especially with more experienced students, using less words and letting students discover sensations in their body and not being overbearing, but I also think a majority of people that come to their mats in a public yoga class need guidance and most of them want it.  As a teacher it’s easier to call out pose names and facilitate a nice flow and not tell someone in your class that they need to use a prop or modify.  It’s easier to turn on mood-altering music so people don’t have to sit in silence and it’s ‘safer’ to stay out of the way even if you see a crazy-looking chaturanga, because you don’t risk upsetting someone with a correction or an adjustment.

 

On the other hand I love taking classes that are flowy and fun and where I don’t feel inundated with instruction.  I don’t want to have to ‘think’ so much or feel bossed around and I want to be in my body and I want to feel good.  I understand that strict alignment principles are essential and they help you stay out of your head and in your body, but sometimes I want to organically move and breathe and have permission to undulate my spine like a tribal goddess, ya know?

  I suppose like anything in life there is a balance in a yoga class that has to take place for me as a student (and as a teacher), where I am invited to modify and follow my intuition but also have guidance and a helpful eye, or hand, from the teacher. 

I discovered yoga at the age of thirteen. I wish I would have found it sooner. As a child, I dreaded sports and gym class. I wasn’t fast or strong and it left me feeling excluded. Yoga is beneficial for all types of kids. There is something in it for everyone.

1. Non-Competitive: It’s all in the name of self-discovery. No stop watches and no score-keeping just good old-fashioned fun.

2. Partner Poses: Free reign to hold hands with your neighbor and crawl all over classmates, parents and siblings.

3. No Volume Restrictions: Kids can be as loud as they want. It is, however, amazing how quiet children become in Savasana after barking like a (downward-facing) dog for an hour.

4. No Wrong Answers: Yoga is kid-directed, for example, if a child sees a lion during a ‘yoga ocean adventure’ you better believe we do lion pose.

5. Puppets: Puppets are awesome.  The end.

6. Adults Love it: Kids like to be included in adult activities. Yoga is something they can share with their adult family members.

7. You Can Do it Anywhere: No equipment required. Yoga can happen at a park, in a living room, a classroom or a bedroom.

8. Yoga Can Last a Lifetime: These itsy bitsy yoga sessions can plant a seed that will grow into a lifelong yoga practice.

9. Permission to Bounce Off the Walls: Kids are natural-born hand-standers. They love it because they are egoless and fearless.

10. It’s Not Just Yoga: It’s dancing, counting, creating, collaborating, acting, playing, improvisation, story-telling, singing, chanting and…it’s totally fantastic!

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Want to teach Kids Yoga?  Do your training with me! Click here for details.

I’ve been keeping busy this winter teaching Prenatal Yoga all over the city.

Tuesday: Yoga Loft 5:30pm-6:25pm

Wednesday: CocoonCare 6:30pm-7:30pm

Saturday: CocoonCare 11am-12pm & Zen Yoga Garage 3:30pm-4:30pm

I’m also subbing the next two weeks for Veronica at CocoonCare while she is in Haiti.  Next month, I am putting together a karma (donation only) Yoga & Knitting class at CocoonCare.  This is open to pregnant mamas or new moms/dads that want to do a bit of yoga and then learn to knit a baby hat for their wee one.  All proceeds will benefit a baby fighting cancer.  Look for details at soon.   Peace and Blessings.

prenatal

Wishing everyone in blog world a Happy New Year.  I had a lovely time back in Kansas with the family.  I did yoga with my little brother, and for the first time ever, I did yoga my dad. 

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My mother and I made mini eye pillows for all the mini yogis at the kindergarten where I teach yoga.

kiddoeyepillow

And I attended five amazing yoga classes from my buddy and yogi-mentor, Jessa, at her studio, Orange Sky

jessabarn

It was really good to be home.

Looking forward to 2014 I have several resolutions.  I revisited my list from last year and a lot of my resolutions are a continuation of what I have been working on in 2013.  After all, like yoga, life is a practice. 

1. Cook more meals.

2.  Own less.

3. Make more time for meditation and a home practice.

4. Learn to play the harmonium/ play the harmonica more.

5. Lead another yoga retreat.  Belize 2014.

6. Save $$$$.

7.  Do more backbends.

8.  Be really sweet to myself.

bible

In the last three years I have dabbled in crystals. I became interested during my 200 hour Yoga TT in LA where I bought my first crystal at the Venice Beach Farmer’s Market. 

farmers

I purchased my first piece of crystal jewelry with a yogi friend, Jennifer, on our way home from my WI yoga retreat I led last September.  I loved my little Tibetan Quartz and knew it would be a reminder of the amazing weekend I spent with beautiful yogis leading my first retreat.  I also knew that I could probably wrap a crystal myself.

Flash forward a couple of months later and I am hosting the third ‘Goddess Moon Rage’ next week at my house.  Goddess Moon Rage is a group of lady friends that get together each full moon to celebrate each other and do an activity together.  The last two full moons we made dream catchers and played board games.  This full moon we are wrapping crystals at my house.  I knew if I invited a bunch of people over to ‘wrap crystals’ it would get my butt in gear to actually figure out how to do this.

Thankfully, it is super simple.  First step.  Buy crystals.

I recommend if you are new to crystals to purchase a pointy long Clear Quartz.  It’s the most powerful healer and energy amplifier on the planet. You can charge this crystal to do work that you want it to do. For instance, a house-warming Clear Quartz.  You could charge it to bless and protect your new home.

clear

Another good starter-crystal is an Amethyst.  This is one of the most spiritual stones and is great for meditation.  Both of these crystals you can wear, or place in your home.

Looking for love?  Pick up a Rose Quartz. Sometimes it works so well you need an Amethyst to balance out the powerful love vibes Rose Quartz send out.

Citrine is another stone that is easier to start with because it doesn’t require cleaning.  (It is good to clean most crystals after you buy them so that they don’t hold any potential negative energy from the store or the energy of all the people who picked the crystal up at the store.)  A easy way to clean a crystal is to leave it in the light of a full moon overnight.  Citrines are good for attracting wealth.  If you’re not wearing it, place it in the ‘wealth corner’ of your home, the furthest left hand corner from your front door.

For my pregnant friends out there in blog world: Crazy Lace is a pretty stone that is helpful to wear during pregnancy.

Once you get your crystal decide if you want to wear it or place it somewhere in your home.  If you want to wear it you will need a couple more supplies.

I purchased my supplies inexpensively at Jo-Ann Fabric. I bought a three-piece set of beading/jewelry pliers for under $10 (Blue Moon Beads Mini Tool Set) and copper wire (24 gauge) which I purchased for under $5.

Then I channeled the power of YouTube.  This was my favorite ‘How-To Wrap Crystals’ video:

Floyd modeling my first wrapped crystal (an Amethyst)

floydcrystal

Let me know if you have any questions!  I am new to this,  but I would love to hear from others that have advice or comments.  Om Shanti.

I’m all for DIY holiday presents. Or spending money on ‘experiences’ rather than material items.  Sometimes it is nice to buy an item for someone too…Here are 10 ideas for your personal list, or for that lovable yogi in your life.

 1. Mala Beads.  You can make your own.  Swing by Beadniks in Wicker Park and they will help you out.  Or visit the Mala Collective for some rad beads.

floydmala

2. Natural Fitness Foam Roller.  Hopefully it’s no secret that I LOVE Natural Fitness, they are a great company and I am really proud to be their ambassador.  I started using a tennis ball to roll out the fascia in my feet and I am getting a foam roller to do the same for the rest of my body.  It’s an amazing addition to an at-home-yoga session and in general a good self-care practice.

foamroller

3. Space Time Tank Gift Card.  I’m really looking forward to doing this in 2014.  For the meditative, introspective yoga practitioner, this would be a fun adventure. 

4. Bean Meditation Cushion.  I recommend my Bean Meditation Cushion.  It’s local, comfortable and portable.

bean

5. DIY Hat.  If you know me, you know I am a one trick pony when it comes to knitting.  I love knitting hats.  Especially as holiday presents.  Keep your yogi warm!  Can’t knit?  No problem.  Let my talented buddy, Julia, knit your beloved yogi a hat.  High Hope Knits.

julia

6. Meditation Altar.  My papa bought me this IKEA Plant Stand as a house-warming present. But I made it into a plant holder/mediation altar.  It holds things that make me happy, inspired and grateful.  Good for sitting down in front of before moving inward to meditate.

meditation

7. Crystals.  What better gift than a beautiful and powerful piece of the earth that can be charged with different intentions and given a full moon bath?  My favorite crystals in Chi-Town are from On the Rocks in Andersonville.

8. Dream Catcher. I recently attended a Full Moon Goddess gathering at a friend’s house and we made dream catchers.  Pretty simple once you get the hang of it.  Click here for instructions.

dream!

9. Michael Roger Cork Journal.  They are the perfect size, durable and unique.  I use them to hold my teaching plans.  Find them at The Dill Pickle.

10.  Rafiki Namaste Tank Top.  This is on my Christmas list.  Good for yogis of all ages.

rafiki