Sunday, June 12, 2022

Social Emotional Learning and Breath Breaks

 


                                                          Breath of Joy

Wouldn't it be great if we could build a community of educators committed to using wellness and social emotional learning as vehicles for healing and social change? So, what is social emotional learning anyway?

Social emotional learning is defined as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. 

It is a process through which we acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. These skills are vital for school, work, and a life of success.  

Sounds good, but how do we go about building this community? Before we get out our tools, lets start with a breath break!

What is a breath break? Simply said, a breath break connects you to your breath. You can enhance your physical, mental and social emotional well-being with mindful breathing techniques. You'll notice that you become less stressed when you practice conscious breathing and you'll want to share this with others. 

Breath is life! When we build awareness of our breath, we gain the capacity to respond thoughtfully rather than react to our situation. Breath awareness deepens our connection with the ever-flowing movement of our breath; increasing presence, enhancing mindful awareness, calming the body, and focusing the mind. 

Breathing techniques make use of the natural calming and soothing impact of the breath on the mind and body. They activate the parasympathetic nervous system allowing us to rest and digest. Mind/body practices help us in time of stress! They also help to build healthy habits that ultimately, in time, decrease our reactivity to stress. 

Now that we've acquired a bit of knowledge, let's apply it and practice Breath of Joy!

Breath of Joy

Stand tall in Mountain pose; head lifted high to the sky. Inhale in three parts, lifting the arms out in front, out to the side, then overhead. Exhale with an audible "HAAA" and fold forward. Bend the knees and gently swing the arms down and behind you. Slowly return to standing. 

Repeat 3 - 5 times. Pause and notice how you feel. 

Breath of Joy is just one of many breathing exercises you can practice with your students and other educators that will bring a smile to everyone's face!

Our newest title, A Yoga Storytelling Adventure: Peace and Quiet, offers breathing exercises that develop self-awareness and self-control. These interpersonal skills are needed to build a community committed to using wellness and social emotional learning as vehicles for healing and social change. Yoga has always been about healing and social emotional change! 

Peace and Quiet takes us on a whimsical journey to Eastern Europe, where a mind-mannered girl thinks she lives in a noisy and chaotic house until her wise neighbor turns her world upside down and she sees things in a different way. 

In this timeless tale kids learn that they may not be able to control the world around them; however, they can control their inner world. Although intended for ages 4 to 8, kids of all ages will discover a simple way to stay calm, focused and alert with three easy breathing exercises to use as a means of self-empowerment. 

Included is a Polish word guide to help develop an appreciation of a different language, and best of all, a full description of yoga poses makes the story come alive as you go on A Yoga Storytelling Adventure!



In honor of International Yoga Day the ebook will be FREE June 20, 21, and 22.


We would love for you to read and review!! getbook.at/peaceandquiet


May all beings be happy and healthy!!

Kathe

 

As always FREE resources for your home or school classroom

@ www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Peace and Quiet and Recent Indie Reviews

Coming Soon!!

Our newest title, A Yoga Storytelling Adventure; Peace and Quiet!


This Yoga Storytelling Adventure takes us on a whimsical journey to Eastern Europe, where a mind-mannered girl thinks she lives in a noisy and chaotic house until her wise neighbor turns her world upside down and she sees things in a different way. 

In this timeless tale kids learn that they may not be able to control their outer world; however, they can control their inner world. Although intended for ages 4 to 8, kids of all ages will discover a simple way to stay calm, focused and alert with three easy breathing exercises to use as a means of self-empowerment. 

Included is a Polish word guide to help develop an appreciation of a different language, and best of all, a full description of yoga poses makes the story come alive as you go on A Yoga Storytelling Adventure

The book launch has kept me super busy the last couple of months, I learn new things every time. Self-publishing is no easy feat. You are responsible to wear many hats, and change them often! lol. I am so very grateful to all the help I get from other indie authors. #authorshelpingauthors 

And without further ado…enjoy this month’s Recent Indie Reviews, along with a few yoga poses too! Yep, cuz that's what I do!!

My Magical Feelings by Becky Cummings

Charming colorful illustrations will keep littles engaged as they learn about different emotions. Honoring them for what they are, letting them come and letting them go, these are things we all need to know. The heart meeting him at the door, so sweet!

Yoga; Easy Pose Rainbow Stretch; place the right hand on the left knee lift, reach and open the arm behind you, (the eyes follow the hand) allowing the emotion to come and return the hand to the knee allowing the emotion to go. 6 times for the colors of the rainbow, then switch arms and repeat.


Aria Finds her Voice by Sarah Palmer


A charming story of self-discovery! Absolutely love the affirmation gifts from the birds and the silent moment at the pond for reflection; things we all need in order to be brave, spread our wings and follow our dreams. Fabulous illustrations reminiscent of collage pop off the page. Well done, Sarah!

Yoga; Warrior II for Aria and Eagle pose for the birds she meets



Rosie the Farm Truck by Victoria Scudder


Rosie is precious with her big eyes and long lashes! She is also playful, helpful and kind. She wants to play with the farm animals but is called off for a mission. Through teamwork and trust in herself she accomplishes her goal. The hand-painted watercolor illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the story.

Yoga; Staff pose with arms out for Rosie and Warrior I with hands alongside the ears and fingers spread wide for the reindeer

 

Come here, Airplane by Eric Shatsky


Sweet little story with lovely, imaginative illustrations. It’s wonderous to dream of and be excited for future possibilities, but we must remember to be aware of the beauty of the present moment. A simple lesson for kids and adults alike!

Yoga; Warrior III for the airplane and High Lunge with arms lifted for the little girl

 


Wish Upon A Star by Emily Daine


Oh, to let our imagination take us on an adventure! A shooting star and a whimsical wish become magical in this fun fairy tale. Every little girl’s dream come true. Loved the fairy door!!

Yoga; Star pose for the shooting star and Goddess pose for the fairy





The light in me, sees the light in you. Namaste. 

Kathe 

FREE kids yoga story resources for your home or school classroom @ www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com

 


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Springtime and Recent Indie Reviews

 


Spring is here! According to Ayurveda, the latter half of winter and spring are considered Kapha season. Ayurveda is a sister science of yoga, a natural system of medicine that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. The term Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words ayur, which means life, and veda means knowledge.

Therefore, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life and is based on the idea that disease is due to an imbalance in a person’s environment. Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle adjustments and natural treatments to regain balance in the body and mind.  

The qualities of the atmosphere define the Kapha season, not the calendar year. The qualities of Kapha season include dampness and moisture of melting snow, ice or rain, cold and cool temperatures, stagnation, and heaviness in the air. The factors of damp, cold, stillness and heaviness increase the same qualities in our minds and bodies causing colds, allergies, and a decrease in energy as well as depression. 

Spring has always been a time for cleansing and renewal, and we can bring balance to the body and mind by beginning a spring cleanse! This is important for kids and well as adults. In order to balance Kapha we can bring more light, warm, and invigorating energies into our daily routines.

Try to wake up just before sunrise, it’s a wonder-filled time. If your kids go to traditional school. Spend a few minutes with them watching the dawning of the day and listening to the birds. Just a couple of yoga postures with the kiddos will get stagnant energy circulating and will wake up the mind and the body, bringing vibrancy to everyone’s day.  Try chair pose – it warms the body and is invigorating, triangle pose – it aids digestion and opens the lungs, and tree pose – a balancing pose brings lightness to body and mind.

And last but certainly not least we mustn’t forget food, gotta eat right! We still want warm foods, just not so heavy. Lighten things us by adding leafy spring greens to vegetable soups, eat fresh berries and warm your dishes up with spices like cinnamon and chili. Yum!

Wishing you happiness and health as you spring forward!


And without further ado…enjoy this month’s Recent Indie Reviews, along with a few yoga poses too! Yep, cuz that's what I do!!



Animals over the Bridge by Janine Maxwell

A simple story to help prepare littles for sleep. Children imagine animals from the African plain walking on their backs as they experience a soothing massage before bedtime. An innovative body/mind concept!



Yoga; This story is full of opportunities to stretch before settling into bed for the night. Try; Cobra pose for the slithering snakes and Locust pose for crocodile

 

Tree Full of Wonder by Anna Smithers

Anna educates children on the important relationship between trees and people, as she entertains them with whimsical rhyme and enchanting illustrations. “Spot the Trees” is an engaging finish to this wonder filled story and “How to protect trees” offers us conversations starters. A Tree Full of Wonder encourages kids to enjoy and experience the wonder of trees!


Yoga; Tree pose of course, in its many variations!! Try hands at the heart, arms overhead palms touching, and arms open wide


Young Change Makers; Inspiring Others by Stacy C. Bauer

This inspiring collection of young change makers is incredible, an absolutely lovely book! It has so much to offer, each child’s story is highlighted with adorable illustrations and personal photographs, fun facts about the kids themselves, their advice to you and ways you can become a change maker. This is part of a series and you won’t be disappointed if you get each and every one. Well done, Stacy!!


Yoga; Warrior Poses because these children are strong and courageous! Try Warrior I, Warrior II and Warrior III


WeeBees and the Bee Attitudes by Marcia Elizabeth Papa

Adorably cute wee bees with a simply sweet message for littles! Young listeners will learn what it means to bee kind, bee helpful, and bee friendly as it shows examples of each bee attitude. Give littles a head start on social emotional learning with this one! Perfect for 2–5-year-olds.



Yoga; Bee Pose - Sit in easy pose, open the arms out to the side, put your hands on your shoulders, elbows point out to the side. Twist side to side 4x. Pause. Come back to center and circle the elbows 4x. Pause. Lift the elbows up and down 4x. Pause. Release the hands and shake the pollen off as you buzz like a bee!


Thomas the Tiger’s Terrible Twos by Sarah Tucker

The cover is unquestionably precious, it drew me right in.  Knowingly, I went for a spin. The story reminds us, we all have tough days. They come to us in unpredictable ways. So how do we handle, unruly emotion? Some say with love and unconditional devotion. Perhaps you are wondering, but what should I do? Just remember, you once were a terrible two.


Yoga; Tiger pose for Thomas


Me and my Kazoo at the Zoo by Jonathan Marshall

In this story a young boy fancies what the animals will do when he plays his kazoo. It will spark kid’s imaginations as they learn about different musical instruments, plus it teaches them how to play a kazoo too! Kids love music and dancing and along with funny, bright colorful illustrations it’s sure to keep them involved. Educational and entertaining, it makes you want to take a Kazoo to the Zoo just to see what the animals will do! 


Yoga; lots of options here with all the animals you find in the zoo. Try Orangutan pose - wide legged forward fold as you sway side to side, and Lion pose 

Until next time!

FREE kids yoga story resources for you home or school classroom @

www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com




Thursday, March 17, 2022

Active Listening = Good Communication

 

A benefit of combining Story and Yoga

 

Have you ever told a child to do something and they said OKAY, but then find that it hasn’t been done?

It’s not unusual for kids to sometimes tune you out, however if you are constantly having to repeat things there may be something else going on. Is the child not actively listening? Do they not comprehend what you are saying?

We often confuse listening with hearing. Listening is more than just hearing what is being said. Listening is the ability to understand the meaning of words and then relate to them in some way. When children hear a story, good listening skills and comprehension enables them to understand it, remember it, and even retell it in their own words. That’s what A Yoga Storytelling Adventure books to are all about!

Good listeners grow up to be good communicators. Communication is the foundation for creating healthy and positive relationships. When we communicate effectively, we are able to tell others how we feel in a positive and productive manner. Effective communication is built on respect, respect for oneself as well as for the other person. Indeed being respectful while communicating can lead to being more caring and compassionate toward others as well as ourselves. Through active listening and good communication, we have the ability to create positive relationships.

Combining story and yoga engages kids in active listening and communication. A Yoga Storytelling Adventure kids yoga stories makes reading an interactive activity; both listener and reader participate through eye contact and facial expressions, being interested and paying attention, and acting out the story with yoga poses. This helps children remember the beginning, the middle and the end of the story and this increased engagement promotes deep learning. They can now relate as they are now a part of the story, and are able to recall it. Comprehension complete!!

Another fun interactive activity is to encourage kids to retell the story in their own words using a story circle, which is a simple method of passing a story around. In a classroom setting this gives each child a chance to practice storytelling, but even a parent and one child can do this.

Active listening and good communication are keys to social and emotional learning, and combining story and yoga build listening and communication skills!  

Check out our BOOKS as well as the FREE stuff for our Kids Yoga Stories 
Creative Curriculum suggestions, Concepts to Consider and Conversation Starters can be found www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com

 

Please share this post with anyone you think might benefit from it!

 

Namaste,

Kathe

Friday, February 4, 2022

Recent Indie Reviews

 

Whew!!! I made it through the holidays, my birthday, a Forever Friends ebook promo (I am grateful to each one of you who participated and left a review), and a move to Arkansas from Louisiana!!!

I think it’s time for a breath break, ahhhh…breathing in and breathing out.  

A breath break connects you to your breath. You can enhance your physical, mental and emotional well-being with mindful breathing techniques. You’ll notice that you become less stressed when you practice conscious breathing. Our newest story, Peace and Quiet, is in the works. In this timeless tale kids learn that they may not be able to control the world around them, but they can control their inner world. With three easy breathing exercises to use as a means of self-empowerment, kids will discover a way to stay calm, focused and alert.

But that’s a story for another day, today I want to review a few amazing books by other indie authors.  #authorshelpingauthors

Included are a couple of yoga poses for each review; cuz that’s what I do! Connecting mind and body through story and yoga kids connect to the world around them and the imagination within. Learning mind-body awareness they become calm, confident, and compassionate.

With the magic of story and the wisdom of yoga, let the adventure begin!


Pretty Loved By Mr Jay

Pretty sweet story presenting a parent’s heartfelt love for a child. Littles will love it with its pretty rhymes and simply heartwarming, imaginative illustrations. Pretty great job Mr. Jay!

Yoga; This is a heart opening story; therefore, heart opening poses are a pretty great fit.  Try Seated Camel variation and Peaceful Warrior



 “I love you” isn’t easy to say! By Angela Cross


How cute! Told from the point of view of a baby, kids learn there is more than one way to say “I love you” in this story that shows instead of tells. Bright colors will keep littlest listeners engaged!

Yoga; Child’s pose of course and Seated twist; begin and end with Anjali mudra, hands at the heart

 

  

It’s great to be me By Melissa Ahonen

Empowering affirmations are incredible. Kids need to believe in themselves, and self-talk is great way to build positive character traits. With characters that are absolutely adorable, the happy illustrations will make you smile!

Yoga; Repeat the affirmations as you hold the pose. I am strong; Warrior II and I am excellent; Chair pose with cactus arms

 

 Schneider the Spider By Czarina Tran-Bernett


Self-acceptance and kindness! Simply delightful story showing how words and actions affect not only others but also ourselves. Kids learn the importance of self-acceptance as well as the part kindness plays in accepting others. Full of feelings and emotions the simply adorable illustrations pop off the page. Well done!

Yoga; Low squat with arms in cactus, for Schneider the spider and Butterfly pose for Berlini

 


Do Not Wish for a Birthday Unicorn! By Sarina Siebenaler

Silly and funny just what little kids like! A fairy-tale birthday party complete with unicorn magic gives us more than laughs. It shows us how empathy, kindness and teamwork come together, and when we care for others, we bring joy to ourselves. Colorful, hilarious illustrations add sparkle to the enchantment. 

Yoga; Warrior I for Starlight the unicorn and Shoulder stand for a birthday cake candle

 

Cardboard Rosie By Cazzy Zahursky

A sweet story about a father-daughter relationship that will warm your heart. Emma wants a forever doll for her birthday but it’s not in the budget, so on daddy’s day off they make a cardboard doll together. A wonderful reminder about what is truly important. Read it!

Yoga; lowering the head below the heart provides physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Try Pyramid pose and Standing forward fold




May all children everywhere be happy and healthy!
Kathe

Free resources for kids’ yoga teachers as well as your home or school classroom @ ayogastorytellingadventure.com

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Social Emotional Learning with the Yamas and Niyamas

 

Yoga philosophy can be intimidating to teach kids but the Yamas and Niyamas are simple precepts that can be used to explain some of the important ideas behind the practice of yoga.

The Yamas and Niyamas are two of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Patanjali was a sage who lived about 1600 years ago in India and his sutras are a foundational text of yoga. This text outlines what yoga is and how a practitioner can reach a state of tranquility.

The Yamas are things we should NOT do; they help us to live peacefully with others. The Niyamas are things we should do; they help us to live peacefully with ourselves. They are universal practices.

These principals can be integrated into social emotional learning (SEL) lessons in the home or school classroom. SEL is defined as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.  

Imagine the advantages we can give kids by teaching them ways to identify feelings, self-regulate and make good choices. As parents and teachers, we instinctively do this, we spend time teaching manners and encouraging kids to treat others they way they wish to be treated. We want children to learn to be self-aware; aware of their feelings and how their words and actions affect others. We want them to get along well with others and make good choices. We want them to be calm, confident and compassionate.

The Yamas and Niyamas can help build social-emotional skills in kids. Let’s take a look and break them down.

The Yamas /Things not to do

1.Ahimsa / Don’t be mean

  • Be kind, respectful and loving in thought, word and deed.
  • Be tolerant and accept other points of views

2.Satya / Don’t lie

  • Tell the truth.
  • Be yourself. 

3. Asteya / Don’t steal

  • Be generous.
  • Don't take what isn't yours.

4. Brahmacharya / Don’t waste your energy

  • Be moderate.
  • Practice self-control.

5. Aparigraha / Don’t be greedy

  • Be grateful.
  • Be flexible. 

 The Niyamas / Things to do

 6. Saucha / Be Clean

  • Take care of yourself– body and mind.
  • Take care of your community and the Earth.

7. Santosha / Be Content

  • See the positive in everything.
  • Have an internal sense of peacefulness.

8. Tapas / Be Hard Working

  • Be disciplined and build good habits.
  • Always do your best.

9. Svadhyaya / Be Reflective

  • Spend time with yourself.
  • Take time for quiet.

10. Ishvara-Pranidhana / Be Devoted

  • Connect to nature.
  • Trust the power inside yourself.

Our book series A Yoga Storytelling Adventure helps kids be more socially-emotionally intelligent. Each of our stories is based upon one of the Yamas or Niyamas. You'll find FREEBIES at our website for using story and yoga in your classroom!!


May all beings be calm, confident, and compassionate,
Kathe

www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Gingerbread Man; Story and Yoga



The Gingerbread Man is a fun story to share with kids during the holiday season. Its many messages offer opportunities for various concepts to consider and this timeless tale speaks to kids of today. 

After you bake up some sweet gingerbread cookies and sip a mug of warm cocoa, you just might find it's the perfect time to read a story a then get a yummy stretch in with a few yoga poses!

There are quite a few poses you can practice with all the characters and action in the story; Warrior I and Warrior II, triangle pose, downward facing dog, seated forward fold and others. Let's begin by becoming the Gingerbread Man with Mountain pose, the foundational pose from which all other standing poses arise. 

Mountain pose centers us bringing us into the present moment. We become aware of the body and breath. The true purpose of yoga is to bring us into present moment awareness, with a calm, clear mind so that we can deal with challenging situations in a responsible way. 

Gingerbread Man Pose

Stand tall in Mountain pose, which is an active pose. It may not look like much, but keeping your body aligned is work. Becoming aware of the body helps improve posture, balance, and calm focus. It increases awareness and develops stability. 

Stand with feet slightly apart, arms by your sides, press your feet into the ground and gently pull in the belly. Your shoulders, head, neck and spine are in a straight line reaching high towards the sky. The gaze is soft. Breathe, slow and deep, in and out. Notice how your feel. Perhaps warm and sweet like a Gingerbread Man!

You can practice Mountain Pose many times throughout your normal day. Once you get the hang of the correct alignment, you may find yourself standing and sitting straighter with a calm, clear mind! 

Stay centered my friends, and may you have a peace filled holiday, 
Kathe

FREE resources for using story and yoga in your home or school classrooms. 

Stretching bodies and minds through timeless tales told with a yogic twist. www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com