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Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

Feb
18
2011
Yoga With Your Kids
Author: Guest Blogger

This post is authored by Sheena Patel – founder of wellness boutique Savsani.  Sheena has taught classes in positive psychology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, yogic principals at Harvard Business School and stress management at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Savsani offers comprehensive wellness programs for individual and corporate clients.

Become a yoga role model for your next generation!  This article will give you some tips on how to help your kids get into the yoga spirit.

People are interesting creatures.  Next time you are around another parent, observe how they talk to their child.  Is the child paying attention to the parent?  You may notice the child looking away in the opposite direction, or playing with her hair, but odds are that she is not paying attention. You may find yourself in the same position with your little ones when you are trying to lecture them on something that they just might not be listening to.  So what do you do?

Children of course don’t like to listen and and as they get older, it only gets worse.  The best way to encourage good habits is for parents to set an example.  Children are not likely to forget something they see in action.  As Indians we are truly blessed with the wealth of knowledge on how to live a fulfilling and successful life through techniques from the Vedas.  So why not implement those techniques and become profound role models for our little ones?

You can start by practicing the asanas that SavSani had recommended in last month’s article Resolution Yoga :: One Asana a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.  Just pull out your mat first thing in the morning and start practicing.  Make it a routine for yourself and encourage your little one to join in – he or she will surely be intrigued.

As you make yoga part of your routine, your little one will recognize the importance of this daily ritual.  You probably won’t even need to say anything – they will soon be trying to copy and practice by your side.  But beware!  Soon enough they might be practicing a better cobra or bridge than you as their bodies haven’t yet been infused with stress and tension.

Giving kids the gift of yoga is one of the best gifts that you can give them.  Not only will it stay with them for the rest of their lives, but it will also be something that they can remember you by.  Being on the mat side by side is truly a beautiful connection you can have with them in that special quite place where your energy is purely positive.

So this February continue to practice the asanas that were given to you in January, but this time make sure that you have a little friend or two by your side to keep you company and perhaps even practice with you.  Happy yoga-ing!

Disclaimer: As with any physical activity, please consult with your primary care physician before practicing.

© 2011 SavSani
www.savsani.com
sheena@savsani.com

Image via Google Images

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Jan
20
2011

 

This post is authored by Sheena Patel – founder of wellness boutique Savsani.  Sheena has taught classes in positive psychology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, yogic principals at Harvard Business School and stress management at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Savsani offers comprehensive wellness programs for individual and corporate clients.

What’s your resolution this year?

Often times, people start off the New Year hoping for drastic change, yet feel stressed in trying to accomplish their goals.  However, by picking simple, good habits you’ll have the courage to move forward and succeed.

On average it takes about three weeks to fully incorporate good habits into your existing routine – so 21 days is the magic number.  If you do not practice yoga already, starting with one simple asana (body posture) every day can bring a happier and healthier you!  Below are recommended asanas for each workday to get you started.  Believing in yourself while moving through each posture, breathing deeply and allowing to connect with yourself for a few minutes each morning is sure to give you a boost every day.

MondayJanu Sirsasana (known as the “head to knee forward bend”)

To practice this pose, start in a relaxed seated position with legs extended.  Pull your right foot on the inner left thigh. Reach forward with both of your hands – bringing your head towards your knee.  Hold for about 30 seconds then move to the opposite side, repeating this posture twice on each side.

This posture helps to clam you, stretches the back sides (back of the back, back of the Legs), massages the kidneys and livers, improves digestion and lowers high blood pressure.

TuesdayTrikonasana (known as the “triangle pose”)

To practice this pose, stand straight, with your feet wider than the width of your shoulder blades.  Stretch to the left, raising your right hand and drawing your left hand towards your knee –  further towards your ankle.  Hold for about 30 seconds then move to the opposite side, repeating this posture three times on each side.

This posture helps you stretch the thighs, knees and ankles, improves digestion and has a calming effect.

WednesdayBhujangasana (known as the “cobra” pose)

To practice this pose, lie on your front side and relax your entire body.  Place your left palm underneath your shoulder-blades, and raise your head up.  Then, pushing against the floor with your other palm, slowly raise your torso higher off the ground, pushing as high as you feel comfortable with.  Hold for about 10 seconds, repeating this posture three times.  NOTE: the image is an advanced variation.

This posture helps to strengthen the spine, chest and lungs, improves digestion and helps relive anxiety.

ThursdayTadasana (known as the “mountain” pose)

To practice this pose, place your feet slightly apart so that your toes are parallel.  Rock back and forth until you feel that your weight is balanced evenly on the feet.  Let the rest of your body relax and your eyes soften to a glare in front of you.  Hold for 60 seconds in a steady position.  NOTE: this image is a variation with an added prayer position.

This posture helps to improve posture, reduce flat feet and strengthens the abdomen and buttocks.

FridayArdha Matsyendrasana (known as the “half spinal twist”)

To practice this pose, extend your legs in front of you.  Bend the right leg and place your right foot on the left side of your left knee.  Draw your left elbow on the right side of your right knee and twist towards the right placing your right palm on the floor behind you.  Hold is for about 20 seconds then move to the other side, repeating this posture twice on each side.  NOTE: this image is an advanced variation.

This posture helps to strengthen the shoulders, hips and back, gives a stretch to the full spine and helps to relieve backache and fatigue.

Disclaimer:  As with any physical activity, please consult with your primary care physician before practicing.

© 2011 SavSani
www.savsani.com
sheena@savsani.com

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Jan
10
2010
The Surya Namaskar
Author: Gnaana

 

The Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, has been practiced for thousands of years in India. It’s a unique prayer-in-motion with alternating forward and backward bending postures that flex and stretch the spinal column and the abdomen. It’s an invigorating (and healthy) way to start your morning!

It’s also great fun for kids to do: they get to “say hello to the sun” with a compact set of 12 simple yoga positions (called asanas). We’ve put together a simple “lesson-plan” about the Surya Namaskar that you can use with your kids at home – or with your local playgroup or school if you’re inspired to do so.

1. Downloand and print our handy Surya Namaskar graphic here . There are many variations of the Surya Namaskar, but we’ve featured the classic Ashtanga Vinyasa style. We’ve also listed the mantra that is recited for each step (a salutation to the 12 names of the sun), as well as an explanation of each mantra.
2. Before you begin any of the yoga, take a few minutes to talk about the importance of the sun (to plants, animals and humans) and it’s many qualities (light, heat, how it gives us strength and energy and makes things really shiny, etc.).
3. If you are Hindu and celebrate Sankranthi/Pongal/Lohri and your kids are older, you can talk to them about the Winter Solstice and why Hindus celebrate this holiday on January 14 every year (viz. to mark the start of the sun’s northward journey).
4. Tell your kids that they’re going to learn a special way to say hello to the sun, and that you’ll be doing 12 poses – each pose greeting a different quality of the sun that you named in Step #2.
5. Show your kids the graphic you printed out and go through each of the steps together. Go slowly the first time. You can recite the mantra for each step if you want (i.e. “Om Mitraaya Namaha” for Step 1), or you can simply give them the explanation (i.e. “Here we’re saying ‘hello’ to our friend the sun, who is a friend to all in the universe.”), or both – whatever you are comfortable with.
6. Note that the Surya Namaskar should be performed at least twice – switching the leg that you put forward in Steps 4 & 9 the second time around.

That’s it! Have fun and try to do it on a regular basis.

Almost every ancient civilization has worshipped the sun – for obvious reasons, of course. In our modern times, we are indoors most of the time and buy most of our food from stores, so the importance of the sun can be marginalized. The Surya Namaskar is an excellent way to connect with nature and the lifeline of our universe!

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Nov
12
2009

I don’t know about you, but the hour between the end of the work day and dinnertime – 5-ish to 6-ish – seems really long lately, especially with the recent change from Daylight Savings Time.  We used to head off to a playground so the kids could release their energy.  But since that’s not an option now, we’ve turned to the ancient Indian mind-body exercise of yoga.

I started using Itsy Bitsy Yoga with my daughter soon after she was born – being a winter baby, I think it helped tremendously to stimulate and also soothe her.  Now we combine that book with Little Yoga – a cute and whimsical book for toddlers that illustrates animal yoga poses – so her older brother can join the fun.

If any of our neighbors happen to be peaking into our window, they may be wondering why we’re all gnarled up on our floor…but not to worry – they’re not tears of distress – we’re just laughing hysterically!

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