Bringing Children’s Yoga into the Community

Meet Diana Brubaker, and hear her amazing success story as a new children’s yoga teacher…thank you Diana!

images-9As a Radiant Child Yoga (RCY) Instructor, my journey began with one student and has grown to over four hundred students, with new opportunities on the horizon.  All this has happened in less than one year after completing my training.

In February 2014, I had the honor of taking Radiant Child Yoga with Shakta Khalsa. I was so excited and inspired that I left racing out of the gate. I immediately began teaching private RCY classes to my son and the children of local friends. Then my son’s half-day preschool invited me into the classroom to teach. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous and it showed; however, I learned a lot about 1) the logistics of running a class for sixteen, 3-5 year olds and 2) my own self-regulation when teaching children.

Armed with this new knowledge, I rented space in a local yoga studio and ran a series of six-week sessions for ages 3-5 and ages 5-9. The children instantly absorbed the joyful songs and games from the RCY Level 1-3 training and were excited to share what they learned with their parents. I used this as an opportunity to invite the parents to the final session and have the children teach some of their favorite RCY activities (Meditation with a Feather, Fly Like a Butterfly, yoga songs like “Peace Like a River”, Be a Drum, and deep relaxation). The children and their parents were thrilled.YIMsp:DVD.cover

I am now working with four schools across three counties in West Virginia and Maryland to develop yoga programs. Each school has unique concerns and levels of resistance and acceptance. Utilizing my RCY training, I have created a “5 in 5 program” (exercise to calm in minutes) in three elementary schools. During a one-week period, I taught 437 elementary school students as part of their regular gym rotation. I am running an after-school Yoga Club for grades K-5 and working with individual teachers to offer weekly yoga in the classroom.

I am so grateful for this journey, my teachers, and the opportunity to create a more nurturing and empowering environment for students, teachers, principals, the community, and myself.

With Love and Gratitude,

Diana

 Note from Shakta:  See Diana’s lesson plan, Walk the Dog, in the Feb Radiant Child Yoga Newsletter, and get on our email list to receive a free downloadable lesson plan each month!

 

Posted in autism, brain yoga, Children's Yoga, kids yoga, Radiant Child Yoga, relaxation, school yoga, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Finding “Better Air”

This is from an email that my husband, Kartar, sent to his yoga students.  He is a very special Kundalini Yoga teacher, and we are fortunate to have him as a lead teacher in Radiant Child Family Yoga Certification.  You can find him at his site.

images-1

The other day I was on a bumpy flight.  After a while the captain came on the PA to say “we’re trying to find some better air”.

It occurred to me—aren’t we all trying to find some “better air”—better circumstances, nicer companions, more of what we want and less of what we don’t want?

And how often do we turn attention to the outside—to circumstances, the energetic of “getting things”, or believing we’ll be happier when others have changed?

The “rules of happiness”, if you want to say it that way, are really not like that.  And neither is it like that in yoga.

In yoga, it is the choice to move away from the belief in, the attachment to, thoughts that pulls one out of alignment from the stillpoint, the zero point, where all the universe and synchronicity is waiting.

So working on the inside to make that transition from being in thought to being in stillness, emptiness, is the way in.  It is the portal.

plane

 

 

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Daily Reminder from Law of Attraction Work

From Happily Ever Now course.  Enjoy!

Today no matter where I’m going,IMG_0757

no matter what I’m doing,

it is my dominant intent

images-3to look for what I’m wanting to see.

I’m going to distract myself from things that trouble me.

I’m going to pamper myself into alignment.

I’m going to soothe myself into alignment.

fire in my heart

fire in my heart

I’m going to love myself into alignment.

I’m going to treat myself so good

symbol for Ahimsa

symbol for Ahimsa

it’s going to be impossible for me not to be

in the vortex

and THEN

I will uplift the world!  

 

Quote from http://www.Abraham-Hicks.com, created by Shakta Khalsa http://www.childrensyoga.com

Posted in Kundalini Yoga, notes from Shakta, meditation, awareness, yoga, yoga therapy, mindfulness, conscious relationships, guided imagery, world peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Carb Cauliflower Pizza

photoHave been paying attention to carbs in an experiment to see how well it will help my low back issues.  Seems to be helping, though I was not as in control of my own diet with the holidays.  Back to normal now, yay!

Cauliflower has been key in making low-carb taste good.  There are recipes for Cauliflower Rice, Pizza, and “mashed potatoes”.   Some of them contain dairy and eggs so if that doesn’t work for you, please substitute.

Link to Cauliflower Pizza (and other cauliflower-mock dishes):

My adaptations on this recipe:

cauliflower pizza dough

cauliflower pizza dough

Substituted egg replacer for eggs

added pesto sauce to give a bit more flavor, and no additional garlic

One of the key parts of the recipe is to dry the pulverized cauliflower thoroughly with paper towels.  Think “flour”–it has to be dry.

Topping:

I sautéed whatever veggies seemed appropriate that were in my fridge.  (this is the kind of cook I am anyway…).

Saute onions, grated zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes (in a jar with olive oil)

Form “dough” into patties (the larger they are, the harder they are to cut and pick up), bake for 10-15 min as per the recipe.

Add sautéed mix plus cut black olives and bake again, 15-20 min or until it seems firm and brown around edges.

tips: Use some flour on your hands to form patties.  If you want to keep it gluten free, use almond flower or besan flour.

If I had used real eggs it might have held together better.  As it was, the consistency was more like potato pancakes, so smaller and thinner “pizza” works better.

That’s it!  Enjoy!

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Vibrational Blogging

communicationabe

I haven’t been blogging lately.  Have been taking a behind-the-scene look at how waves of energy connect us all through subtle thought/feeling patterns. I think that is why I really like this quote.  It speaks so clearly to what I’ve been realizing.  Ironically, here I am blogging in the “inferior” way, but perhaps it is fitting since I am blogging about vibrational communication….

It’s been a joyful few months for me because I have had the good fortune to be able to use my work-oriented left brain less and use my intuitive-flow right brain more.  I have allotted some months with the intention to work on new books, do art, putz around the house, and just BE.

Now, you may not be experiencing the kind of life I am describing above. I am aware and empathetic to whatever life situation you may have. And at the same time… You have a choice in how you view my description of a joyful past few months.  For example, you can feel envious or sad that you have not been able to do the same because you “have to work” or you have family obligations.  This attitude, while seeming so valid and “normal” in many human’s eyes,  leaves no room for experiencing joy in the moment, even if it is in your imagination.

“Well,” you might say, “What good is experiencing joy in my imagination?”

If you can find an open door within yourself to feel something good, you can find your way back there again more and more easily.  The idea is that your imagination can be the hand on the door knob, turning it, and cracking open the door of possibilities. 

Most people I meet think it is the big moments in life that make the difference.  But I have found something else—Life is in the Moment.  So the Moment is the most important thing we are doing.  And then the question becomes “What am I doing in the moment?”  followed by “And how can it feel even better?”

Your vibration, the signal you are emitting, so to speak, comes from your thoughts and feelings. Think of how a lighthouse beams a signal.  The signal can be saying “I don’t like this.”  Or the signal can beam “Thanks for showing me what is possible.”   Which feels better to you?

Back to the quote above, what is a state of non-resistance?  I think of it as non-resistance to the natural flow of goodness that I am, that WE are.  As soon as I remember non-resistance to the flow, I feel myself in the flow. Then I am aware of how everything is vibrational communication.  Sometimes I remember, sometimes I forget.  When I remember the flow, I am purely being.  When I forget the flow, then remember later, I am learning.  So it’s ALL good in my opinion.  And friends, whether you are sitting and meditating, driving your car, facing a challenge, drifting off to sleep…this is one of the best mantras you can do at any given moment:

It’s all Good.

What happens when you feel the reality of this mantra?  You get to SEE how it is “all good.”

Happy Vibrational Moments friends!

Posted in Abraham-Hicks, appreciation, awareness, brain yoga, conscious relationships, meditation, mindfulness, notes from Shakta, yoga, yoga therapy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Private Yoga Class with a Child with Autism

If you didn’t see this Children’s Yoga Lesson Plan in the Radiant Child Yoga November newsletter, you can sign up here  to get a free monthly lesson plan, as well as other great info.  The lesson plan came from Kim Lauch, one of the wonderful Radiant Child Yoga teachers who is in our 95 hour teacher training program.

ADHD Kids

Radiant Child® Yoga Lesson Plan

Note from Shakta:  This lesson plan is written as a narrative in order to give you the real experience of how Kim worked with Ethan. To have success with all children, and most especially with a non-verbal child with Autism, a flowing approach is called for.  For this reason, we felt the lesson plan would be most authentically shared in a narrative.   it is our intention that you will gain a sense of how important it is to tune in to yourself, the child, and the flow of the class.  Many of the tools/ideas are from RCY 1-3 training, and RCY for Children with Autism training.

Private Yoga Class with boy with Autism

by Kim Lauch, Radiant Child Yoga Instructor,  Can be reached at www.omdome.net.

Background:

Ethan is 11 years old, non-verbal and academically of the 2nd grade level. We had our class in the basement of his grandmotherʼs home. It had toys wall to wall including a mini trampoline.  His mother was present and sat quietly in observation.

Materials:

2 mats

Tissue Paper

Speaker to play music

Paper with squares of different colors colored on it

Paper with different symbols on it (paintbrush, rabbit, snake, balloon, seal, and butterfly)

Large exercise ball

Small weighted ball

Blanket

Detailed Summary:

Beginning:  I kept my energy calm and present. I played the song, On this day/Long Time Sun*, while I unpacked and laid out the mats. Ethan was extremely excited and banged his hands on his mat. He came over to me and rolled on my mat, which had a soft cover on it that he liked to feel.

At the end of the song I chanted, OM, 3 times. He was on his mat curled in the fetal position. At one point it sounded like he made a quiet OM sound once I finished.

images-4Seal:  Once the chanting was over he sat up and went to his toys. I said today we are going on a trip to the zoo. I incorporated Rapid Prompting Method** by showing him a seal and a snake for him to choose which animal he would like to see first. He was older and had worked with this method so I thought it would be useful. He laughed and patted the seal. Then I laid myself face-down on the ground and began seal pose, asking him to join me. He followed me and laid down on my back on top of me. I stayed present and calm and stayed in Seal.

images-2Rabbit:  Next he curled in the fetal position next to me on my left side and held my hand.  I thought this position would be perfect to practice Rabbit. I said now we are going to be rabbits. He held my left hand with both of his hands.  From child pose we practiced Rabbit pose with the crown of our heads on the floor.    Then we would pop our heads up out of the rabbit hole, breathe, then lower down with the crown of our head on the floor. He didn’t take his eyes off of me. He had the biggest smile. He loved it! We practiced over and over, again. Maybe for 5 minutes. Once we finished he gave me a big hug.

Flying Butterfly:  Next I showed him the flying butterfly image. I flew around the room, moving my arms up and down while giving verbal cues to breathe in and out, then I settled on the ground.  Ethan followed with similar movements and rested beside mcocoone on the ground.  He laid on his stomach and I attempted to roll him in the mat. His mom spoke and said he had never been rolled up before. I rolled him halfway with the mat.  Then he moved his arms overhead, so I switched gears.  While he was still half-wrapped, I rolled the large exercise ball on him. He enjoyed it for half a minute, but then gave signs he was finished. I said, “Now you are coming out of your cocoon.”  And he stood up on his own.  Then I unwrapped him.

Cobra:  Ethan went to another toy in the room. I said we are visiting the snakes now. I practiced Cobra. He had no interest.

imagesPaintBrush***:  I walked over to his folder and I pulled out the sheet with all of the colors on it.  He followed. I said each of the colors while pointing to them. Then I asked him to show me which color was his favorite. He rubbed green first, then blue. I tore off the two colors then asked him to show me which one he would like to put on his paintbrush. He rubbed his hand on blue. I rubbed my hand and then his hand on the blue color and said we are putting blue paint on our brush.

Next, I said we are going to pretend to paint our arms blue. I held his right “paintbrush” hand and crossed his body to paint his left arm. Then switched arms. He really liked it. He acted very ticklish. After painting his arms I said “Letʼs flap our arms like a butterfly to get the paint off. I sang Fly Like A Butterfly****.  He watched me for a few seconds, then wandered off to play with one of the toys on the room.

Relaxation:  Next, Ethan went to the couch in the middle of the room, and placed a cushion over his curled up body. At this point we had been in session for about 45 minutes. I thought maybe he would like the lights darkened. Luckily, there was a dimmer switch.  I played Namo Namo (Sat Nam) then Wahe Guru by Amy Sky  through my little cordless speaker. He was very calm when he came out of his curled-up, seated position from under the cushion of the couch  He sat up straight and peacefully observed the room around him without making a sound. eyes

Holding a Space:  I sat on the floor and he made no eye contact. I closed my eyes and deeply breathed sending him loving, comforting energy. Every now and then he would stare at my speaker realizing where the sound was coming. He stayed on the couch focusing and observing everything in the room for 10 minutes.

I moved and sat beside the couch on the floor. I did not make eye contact or ask anything from him. I could tell he was exploring his energy and I wanted him to know I respected his space – his experience. I kept my own energy in the present moment with my breath. I stayed open so he would feel I was there for him if he needed me.

images-7Breathing with music:  Eventually, he left the couch. He walked calmly and controlled to the speaker. I gave it to him. He laid down and stretched his arms overhead while he held it. Wahe Guru was on repeat because I could tell he loved the relaxation songs. I guided his arms back and forth from overhead to his tummy while he held the speaker. I gently said we breathe in (arms overhead) we breathe out (arms on his tummy). He was smiling and calm. We repeated 5 times.

Class Ending:  Next, he released the speaker and walked to another toy. I walked to Ethan and stood on his right side, held his hand, and said we are going to the mat now. He let me guide him.

Holding my left hand with the two of his, we practiced Rabbit more at his request.  I knew this was what he wanted because he curled into the Rabbit position and pulled me down gently with him.

I felt it was nearing the hour so I sat from Rabbit and took a few deep breaths with my eyes closed. I chanted OM and he sat next to me and giggled. Then he laid on his stomach, cheek on the floor, and hands relaxed by his face. This was the first time he was this relaxed. It was as if his nervous system had just 100% let go – relaxed. His legs were still touching me. I chanted OM several more times while rubbing his back (his mother had told me he enjoys this). I feel he would have stayed here for longer with me chanting and rubbing his back and arms.

It was time to end the class. I said thank you to Ethan and told him class was over. He sat up and returned to his couch. His mom sat next to him. I played the On This Day/ Long Time Sun song ****  while I packed up my things. As I was rolling my mat he came over and stood on it with a smile.  I gave him a big hug and said I loved him and I would see him soon.

Parent’s response:  Ethan’s mother sat on the floor in the same spot the entire lesson until she sat with him on the couch at the end.  She was very relaxed and open to the experience.  She offered to help get him to focus at the beginning of class, however, I recommended we stay present, observe, and see how it goes.  She shared her amazement of how quickly he felt peaceful with me. She thinks yoga would be a great thing for Ethan, and had never thought it would work with him. She would like me to practice with him again in a few weeks.

Conclusion:  This was such a special class. Honestly, I felt anxious a few days before we were scheduled to get together. I tuned in with Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo the day before, and as I sat in my car before I walked in to see Ethan. The mother was relaxed, which helped the environment. I felt so much joy and love working with Ethan because he focused, relaxed, and most of all felt safe and happy. 
images-3

References:

* From Deeply Relax and Meditate CD/MP3, Shakta Khalsa, www.childrensyoga.com

**  Kim based a few techniques from RPM   http://www.halo-soma.org/learning_faqs.php

In her words, “I kind of created a tool blending the tearing technique of RPM with animal drawings of yoga poses. I used colors that were also torn, and used with the paintbrush game/meditation learned in RCY ADHD/Autism course.”

*** Paintbrush is a sensory technique from RCY Yoga for Children with ADHD/Autism training, www.childrensyoga.com

****Fly Like A Butterfly song, from Happy CD/MP3, www.childrensyoga.com

***** From Deeply Relax and Meditate CD/MP3, http://www.childrensyoga.com

 

 

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Everything

everything1everything2-1everything3-1

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Thanksgiving: Taking a Stand for All Earth’s Creatures

Ahimsa

Ahimsa

So we love yoga, and yoga is about wholeness, health, spirit, and with all that comes the opportunity to put your beliefs where your mouth is.  We say we love all creatures of Mother Earth.  Then it comes time to socialize around a meal, and this is where many turn a blind eye to Ahimsa—one of the principles of Yoga.

From Wikipedia:

Ahimsa is one of the cardinal virtues of several of the world’s spiritual paths.  Ahimsa is a multidimensional concept, inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself.

symbol for Ahimsa

symbol for Ahimsa

I am maneuvering  around delicate ground here, I know.  If this sounds preachy, I apologize.  There may be no way around it, but let me  try this— What I really want is to let you know that it is relatively easy to commit to a diet that does not include our fellow sentient beings.  And once you do, you just learn how to let the snide comments or the misinformed concerned friends and family lectures roll off your back.  With a little research and testing you can easily learn to make amazingly great food and get all the nutrition you need, completely from the plant world.  Believe me, I’ve been doing it for six decades.  It is not hard.  It is just a matter of letting go of one habitual way of eating/cooking and learning a new one, and showing Ahimsa to yourself in the learning curve.

images-1Let’s Talk Turkey—I am sure you know what I am about to say, unless you don’t let yourself go there.  And if that is the case, feel free to skip this paragraph.  At this time of the year, turkeys live their complete lives in cages.  They are fattened up with hormones, as well as antibiotics because they are sick from living an unnatural life in cages.  And this is what we as a nation are eating.  How healthy can that be? Animals also secret uric acid and fear hormones when they are slaughtered.  Where do we think this goes?  Even if they are free-range, they are grown for one purpose only—to be slaughtered.  In my mind, there is a correlation somewhere here about the way women over the world are treated, and the way we treat our animals.  I am going to be frank with you–as a woman, it makes me sick to think about it.

images-2If I have any readers left at this point, I am congratulating you for bravely walking through the valley that many will not go…where meat is not meat but animals who have their own lives, loves, families, heartbeats.

You may like to read this talk on Ahimsa by one of the great spiritual masters of all time, Swami Sachidanada, of Integral Yoga.  It makes a lot of sense and is written with Ahimsa for all.

And if you are so inspired, some great vegetarian recipes.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!!

Posted in appreciation, awareness, cleansing diet, Kundalini Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, notes from Shakta, thanksgiving prayer, vegan, vegetarian, whole foods, world peace, yoga, yoga therapy, yogic remedies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Poop-Scooping Mindfulness

images-1Everything is about mindfulness these days.  What we used to call “being conscious” or “awareness” has a brand-new name.  I love that people are catching on to this idea, so whatever name does the job, I’m all for it.

My morning sadhana (yoga/meditation practice) has evolved as of late, to include mindfulness in ordinary life.  I think of it as my meditation practice–such things as making tea, making the bed.  My practice has often included mindful dog walking, and now today—poop scooping.

A little background is in order here.  My family used to live in a townhouse with a yard you could walk through in two steps.  Walking to a bike path was the only way the dogs could do their business.   Now we have a glorious fenced in half-acre or so where–among other activities, such as hammock relaxing and fire pit gathering–the two dogs can relieve themselves at times when the humans are busy.

So on this glorious, blue-skied fall morning, I got the impulse to spend some quality time in my yard with doggy bags in hand, searching among the colorful leaves for camouflaged “presents” from the dogs.  I delighted to think that I would surprise my husband, who has many times brought up the hazards of leaf-blowing and gardening among the land mines of doggy do.

It was actually fun, and of course, mindful.  After the first one or two scoops, I got the mental picture of what I was looking for among the similarly colored and shaped earth and leaves.  After the first couple, it became much easier that finding Waldo.

DSCN1901

I am convinced that mindfulness is not so much about watching the pieces of mindfulness— watching your breath, being present to your body, mind, the air, the colors… But all of the pieces can somehow add up to a wholeness.  And the wholeness is greater than the parts.  The proof of mindfulness is a feeling of peace, happiness, contentedness, satisfaction in  “just this’.

Another way of saying it is that poop-scooping is just a focus to flow the energy of now.  

I can delight in the moment that my eyes recognize the shape I am searching for among the leaves, in the actual scooping, while tying the bags and seeing them pile up, in washing my hands, sipping my tea, listening to the birds, writing this note.  My morning practice is extending longer and longer.  I wonder…could it someday cover my whole day?

Of course, there are times during the day where something happens and we react.  When we are taken by surprise, and the proverbial dog poop is on the bottom of the shoe.  Well, the cool thing is that mindfulness doesn’t discriminate.  There is the possibility of mindfulness at all times—if not in the exact moment when we react, then it can be the moment after.

It seems that once awareness or mindfulness is there, the situation becomes more ok.  And we feel more ok about ourselves too.images

And if we cannot find our way to mindfulness in a particular situation?  That happens.  Self-acceptance can still be there.  Allowing ourselves to learn and grow at our own pace goes a long way toward mindfulness.

Cup of tea, anyone?

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Middle Age…and Beyond

intro to poem

What’s Left

I used to wait for the flowers,

my pleasure reposed on them.

Now I like plants before they get to the blossom.

Leafy ones–foxgloves, comfrey, delphiniums–

fleshy tiers of strong leaves pushing upstock

into air grown daily lighter and more sheened

with bright dust like the eyeshadow

that tall young woman in the bookshop wears,

its shimmer and crumble on her white lids.

washThe washing sways on the line, the sparrows pull

at the heaps of drying weeds that I’ve left around.

Perhaps this is middle age. Untidy, unfinished,

knowing there’ll never be time now to finish,

liking the plants–their strong lives–

not caring about flowers, sitting in weeds

to write things down, look at things,

watching the sway of shirts on the line,

                                           the cloth filtering light.

I know more or less

how to live through my life now.

But I want to know how to live what’s left

with my eyes open and my hands open;

rain branchI want to stand at the door in the rain

listening, sniffing, gaping.

Fearful and joyous,

like an idiot before God.

“What’s Left” by Kerry Hardie, from Cry for the Hot Belly. © Gallery Books, 2001.

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