Sunday, May 19, 2024

May is Mental Health Month

 



Here’s a short sequence to practice with your kiddos! Begin in Mountain pose and move clockwise, end nice and calm in Rest pose. 

Just like adults, children’s ability to relax has a significant impact on their mental health. The state of balance doesn’t always come naturally, that is why we ‘practice’ yoga. A regular yoga practice allows children to redirect their energy, calming both the body and the mind. Yoga increases a child’s well-being and enhances self-worth and may be helpful for those who are destructive and aggressive as well.

Anyone can do yoga, there is no need to worry about getting it wrong. The difference between yoga and other sports is that we move slowly into and out of poses while focusing on the breath. Gentle stretches relax us. Improved posture, balance, strength, and flexibility are a few of the physical benefits.

Compassion and empathy are developed. Memory and overall mood are enhanced and controlled studies have shown that yoga helps students’ anxiety as well as behavior. 

We want our children to reach their full potential. As parents and educators, we have the power to help them succeed. Yoga has proven to be a great way to support our kids - physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

A Yoga Storytelling Adventure engages children through social-emotional learning, mindful movement, and imaginative play. They develop habits and skills that last a lifetime and support future happiness and success!

All our eBooks will be FREE May 24 and 25 for Mental Health Month. Grab one and let us know what you think! 

The Impossible Dream 

Forever Friends 

Peace and Quiet 

Kauhuhu 

The Magic Peach Tree 


XOXO,

Kathe and Mel















 







Sunday, April 21, 2024

Have you had an astronomical adventure lately?

May open hearts lead us from darkness to light!


We did, and now we are embracing new beginnings brought on by the equinox and the eclipse! 

As we participate in the cosmic dance, we notice celestial events that offer profound opportunities for growth and transformation. The spring equinox brings us renewal and growth, and the balance between light and dark reminds us to find harmony in our lives. The solar eclipse offers us a moment of transition filled with potent energy where we are invited to set intentions for new beginnings. 

Mel came up to Arkansas for a spectacular solar eclipse viewing party. We were in the path of totality and experienced 3 minutes and 53 seconds of darkness mid-day. What an awe-inspiring phenomenon!

Eclipses are powerful portals of transformation. The alignment of the sun, moon, and earth creates a spectacle, casting shadows that remind us of the interplay between light and darkness, the seen and the unseen. At the heart of this display lies intention, the conscious act of directing our energies. It is a time to envision the life we wish to create and to infuse our intentions with the power of our hearts' desires. 

Amidst the vast expanse of possibility, may clear seeing be our guiding light. For it is in seeing clearly that we find the courage to step into our power, embrace our authenticity, and make connections that resonate with the essence of our being. 

In the yoga tradition intentions are known as a Sankalpa. A Sankalpa is a heartfelt desire that aligns with our true nature. Let us remember we are radiant light beings! May we set our Sankalpa for new beginnings with reverence and gratitude, knowing that with open hearts we can create a world of peace, love, and joy. 

As adults, we set intentions to help motivate, inspire, and guide us. The same is true for children. In a world that is often noisy and chaotic, intentions are a comforting way to guide children back to their center and what is important in life. 

Simple intentions for children inspiring peace, love, and joy:

  • I will do things that help me feel peaceful
  • I will show people I love that I love them
  • I will smile and be kind to my schoolmates
XOXO 
Kathe and Mel

p.s. Though our personal intentions change over time and with the seasons of our lives, our intention as children's authors remains constant - to inspire young readers to stretch their bodies and minds through social-emotional learning, mindful movement, and imaginative play!

In honor of Arbor Day, The Magic Peach Tree ebook will be FREE Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27. If you haven't read it yet grab it quick and when you have a moment, please leave a review at Amazon or Goodreads. Thank you!!





Sunday, March 17, 2024

Can yoga for kids reduce anger and aggression?

 


We say yes!

We know anger and aggression are sparked by certain things. We know it happens in schools, on playgrounds, and on street corners. But is there something we can do to help kids learn how to peacefully resolve situations? 

Anger and aggression are reactions, which often manifest when emotions are uncontrolled. Years of research has found that yoga calms the body and the mind, but can it also help kids manage their emotions? Again, we say yes! It begins with becoming aware of our emotions and responding to them instead of reacting. A regular practice of asana, breathwork, and meditation can restore balance and harmony to the whole system.

An asana practice strengthens and tones the body, releasing restless energy as well as feel good hormones. Conscious controlled breathing while practicing helps us turn inward, we focus on the breath and our thoughts and emotions settle down. Guided meditations are great for kids too, a simple 5-minute imaginative journey can encourage self-control. [Guided meditations coming soon :)]

These studies have found that kids that practice yoga are more focused, they think more clearly and make good choices. They have fewer behavioral problems, are more focused and engaged in school, and their personal lives are enriched as well.  Yoga may not be the only way to reduce anger and aggression in kids, but it is one way.

Let’s do this!!

Practice this sequence with your child when both of you are calm. Once you are both comfortable with the postures it will be easier to move into the practice when anger and aggression show up. If your child wants to talk calmly about their emotions after the session allow them to, if they don’t that’s okay too.

1.Wide-legged forward fold pose

Stand tall, feet parallel, arms alongside the body. Step your feet out wide. Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and fold forward bringing the hands to the shins or perhaps the floor. Allow the head to hang. Stay in the pose for 3 breaths. Inhale, bend your knees and slowly return to standing. Pause.

2.  Downward-Facing Dog pose

Begin on all fours. Hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Spread your fingers wide. Inhale to prepare and exhale as you straighten your legs, lifting the hips high. Let the heels be heavy. Stay in the pose for 3 breaths.

3.  Plank pose

From Downward-Facing Dog shift forward. Arms are straight and shoulders are over the hands. Legs are straight and the toes are curled. You body is in a straight line from your head to your heels. Stay in the pose for 3 breaths.

4.  Child’s pose

From Plank pose lower the knees to the ground and shift the hips to sit back on your heels. Arms are stretched out in front and your forehead comes to the ground. Stay in the pose for 3 breaths.

5.  Rest pose

Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched out. Close your eyes. Rest, relax, and breathe.

and then...

Hop, skip, and jump over to check out our series, tailor-made for springtime reading adventures! Explore the magic of story and the wisdom of yoga as each book takes you on a delightful journey blending social emotional learning, mindful movement, and imaginative play. Our kids yoga stories promise to ignite a love of reading while nurturing physical, as well as emotional and mental well-being. Embrace the spirit of spring with our vibrant tales that spark creativity. Click on the book links on the side panel or visit our website and let's spring into reading and yoga together!

visit us at www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com

 XOXO

Kathe and Mel

 


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Tap, tap, tap

 



So many things to celebrate this month. Groundhog Day, the play of light - shadow or no shadow … baby, it’s been cold outside!! Mardi Gras, laissez les bons temps rouler - let the good times roll and Valentine’s Day, we all need a little sweetness in our life!

We thought we'd send a little love your way with another simple yet powerful technique you can add to your emotional wellness toolkit - it is called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as 'Tapping', has been shown to be effective for reducing stress, worry, and anxiety in adults and recent studies have shown it can benefit children too.

Emotional wellness is defined as the ability to successfully handle life’s stresses and adapt to change and difficult times. Research has shown that mindful movement and conscious breathing are highly effective to calm the body and shift emotions and that is one of the reasons we practice yoga! EFT is essentially a body-mind practice too.

EFT involves tapping on specific meridian points on the body while repeating a mindfulness statement. It is a self-healing technique (with no negative side effects) which combines ancient Chinese wisdom with modern day neuroscience. 

Did you know that emotions like stress, worry, and anxiety can get ‘stuck’ in the body? Meridians are pathways where energy flows throughout our body, and emotions are energy in motion. When they get ‘stuck’ they cause problems. Neuroscience tells us there is a direct link to these meridian points and the stress center of the brain, and tapping on these points sends a message that calms it down.  

Another interesting component of EFT is the use of mindfulness statement. Statements are like stories we tell ourselves. The brain is like a computer, it stores data that is input. I like to think tapping erases the old story, so we can rewrite a new one.

You don’t need to understand how or why it works. It’s really pretty simple and takes almost no time. Curious? 

Of course, you should try it on yourself before introducing it to your child. Here are some tips to get started.

  • Familiarize yourself with the tapping points
  • Have a light-hearted manner and make it fun
  • Go slow, work on one issue at a time
  • Remember, all emotions are valid and acceptable
  • Gentle taps, about 7 times on each point

First, begin by identifying an emotion. Encourage your child to express how they are feeling. Keep it simple to start; scared, sad, angry, worried. Then create a mindfulness statement that starts with a feeling.

Example; worry, scared

 "Even though I'm feeling anxious, I know I can handle whatever happens."

"Even though I'm feeling scared, I know that I am safe."

Next, tap through the points. If you notice a yawn, it’s working. Yawns are one way the body-mind releases emotions. If you don't notice anything right away, no worries. Trust the process. End with a slow deep breath in and out, then hug your child!

There are lots of resources available to learn more about EFT. We believe nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children, perhaps you will find tapping an effective tool for your child along with the practice of yoga. By teaching children to focus on self-care, we can help them self-regulate and build resilience.  


Drum roll…this month’s giveaway, “The Magic Peach Tree” ebook. This title came out last fall, reviews are slowly trickling in and they are fantastic! Here are a couple of short but sweet ones.  

"This book was wonderful: beautifully written, simple storytelling that’s easy for all readers to grasp, and absolutely stunning images. It teaches lessons of mindfulness and kindness, as well as descriptions of various yoga poses to match with elements of the story. Very creative!"

"What a beautiful tale of kindness and generosity. The story begins with an old man who appears to be a homeless beggar. When he is mocked by a local shop keeper, the villagers come to his rescue and as thanks, he performs a miraculous deed. Tied in with yoga poses, this story will be delightful to read and pose with your little ones!"

"The story is wise and really fascinating. Little kids are riveted by it. My niece loves to stare at the pictures. All the yoga poses are super cool too. It's a great 2-in-1 kind of book. Great buy!"

We’d love for you to read and review too if you feel so inclined. It will be FREE Wednesday and Thursday, February 21 and 22.

 Grab it here; mybook.to/themagicpeachtree

 


 May all children be calm, confident, and compassionate.

XOXO

Kathe and Mel

Sunday, December 17, 2023

A Winter Wonderland Sequence

 




Happy Holidays! Take your kids on A Yoga Storytelling Adventure with this winter wonderland sequence and celebrate the solstice, and yuletide!

We encourage you to take time this winter break to practice yoga with your child. Beginning or renewing a practice will help them to develop healthy habits for overall well-being; physical, mental, and emotional health.

The constant demand of schoolwork, relationships, and responsibilities can overwhelm and exhaust kids. Yoga can help relieve stress and help kids find their inner calm.

In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become a part of kids’ lives. Stress is the body’s natural response to demands or threats. When we encounter a stressful situation our sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear and releases hormones that tell the body to fight, freeze, or flee.

Stress can lead to headaches, digestive issues, a weak immune system and can even cause anxiety as well as sleep disturbances in children. Yoga is a powerful tool for managing stress, it restores balance to the nervous system relieving physical symptoms and the underlying mental and emotional causes.

Over time, kids learn how to respond rather than react when faced with challenges. Yoga gives kids an opportunity for self-reflection and self-regulation while fostering self-care.

Even a simple practice offers significant benefits. Slow mindful movements and awareness of the breath release tension in both body and mind. Add in a bit of imaginative play and kids will find stress melt away!

Enjoy this short Winter Wonderland story and yoga sequence. Hold each pose for a couple of breaths. Move slowly into and out of the poses and remember to do asymmetrical poses on both sides!

1.  Winter Wonderland Circles – Seated Hip Circles

I sit at the window, it’s my favorite time of the year. I watch and I wait, soon a winter wonderland will appear!

Sit tall in Easy pose with legs crossed. Place hands on knees. Circle the upper body in one direction for a few breaths and then reverse the circle.

Benefit - promotes mobility and flexibility to the spine and hips.

2.  Falling Snowflakes – Standing Side Stretch

Big, fat flakes are falling. From the sky they come down. They land on the earth and cover the ground.

From Mountain pose slowly inhale and lift one arm up then exhale as you reach over for a gentle side stretch. Pause and feel the stretch. Switch arms and repeat the stretch on the opposite side. Inhale as you lift your arm, exhale as you bend. Mindfully move from side to side a few times. Notice the strength of our arms and legs. Wiggle your fingers!

Benefit – stretches the shoulders and arms, increases spinal mobility and improves breathing capacity

3.  Snowy Tree – Tree Pose

Snow settles on the big, old fir tree. The branches are drooping, how heavy they must be.

From Mountain pose come onto the toes of one foot. Turn the knee out to the side and rest the toes on the ground or place the sole of the foot on the lower leg. Bring your hands together at your heart and slowly reach your arms overhead. Balance and breathe. Release the pose and repeat with the opposite foot.

Benefit – improves balance, and develops a strong core

4.  Sledding – bow pose

Now everything is covered in glistening white. I think I’ll go sledding. Yes, I just might.

Lie on your belly and bend your knees, then reach back and grasp your ankles. Inhale and lift the head, chest, and knees. Exhale in the pose and take another breath in and out. Release the pose.

Benefit - tones the back and strengthens abdominal muscles

5.  Downhill skier – chair pose

Mom likes to ski downhill. I haven’t tried it yet. Perhaps, this year I will.

Stand tall in Mountain pose, inhale and lift the arms up in front of the body, then exhale and bend the knees as you are sitting back in a chair. Hold the pose for a breath or two. Release.

Benefits – strengthens legs, upper back, lower back, and shoulders

6.  Snowboarder – Warrior II

Dad loves to snowboard. It looks like so much fun. When he comes to what he calls the finish line he always hollers, “Scored!”

From Mountain pose step back with the right foot. Turn the foot out and the torso to the side. Inhale and lift the arms to shoulder height, exhale and bend the left knee as you look out over the left fingertips. Release and step back into Mountain pose before repeating Warrior II on the opposite side.

Benefits – strengthens the legs and opens the chest.

7.  Ice Skater – Warrior III

The neighborhood kids gather at the ice-skating rink. I’m not sure I would like it, what if the ice breaks? I’d sink.

From Mountain pose reach forward and lift one leg behind you. Arms can be stretched out in front of you or opened out into a big T. Gently release and repeat on the opposite side.

Benefits – creates body stability, strengthens feet and ankles, improves balance


8.  Snow angels – Savasana

When all is said and done, I think snow angels are the best. Come and join me, please be my guest!

Lie on your back. Sweep the arms and legs out to the side creating a snow angel. Then bring the arms and legs into stillness and rest for a breath or two.

Benefits – Savasana resets the nervous system 


Take a look at some of the adventures we've had in the last couple of months. As always we are grateful for your support!


You can check out the youtube READ ALOUD from 
Peace Love Learn here  



Om shanti, shanti, shanti
May we have peace in our hearts, peace in our homes, and peace in the world

xoxo
Kathe and Mel

 














































































Thursday, October 5, 2023

Fall Fun!

 


Why combine story and yoga?

Because there is no better way to learn than through imaginative play!

Our Kids Yoga Stories enhance children’s natural curiosity about the world, encourage their innate creativity, and engage them in mindful movement. Improving the health and well-being of children is our mission and why we started writing books in the first place!

Here is a simple story and yoga sequence using a multi-sensory approach for some FALL fun! 

Yoga is an ideal exercise for parents and children to practice together. It gets energy moving when the body is slow and slows energy down when the body is hyperactive.

No special equipment is needed. Comfy clothes, bare feet, a non-slip surface and space to move is all that’s required. Yoga mats are nice but not necessary. Practice this fall sequence outside on the earth.

Practicing with your child helps them develop healthy habits for overall well-being; physical, mental, and emotional health. Don’t worry about kids getting the pose perfect. The most important thing is to get them to become aware of their body, to move slowly and be mindful of the breath.

Hold each pose for a breath or two as you breathe in and out slowly.

Use your senses and your imagination and FALL into A Yoga Storytelling Adventure!

1.   Stand tall – Mountain pose

I stand tall, look around and notice.

Stand strong with your arms at your sides, your shoulders stacked on top of your hips, your head reaching high to the sky, and breathe deep.

Benefit – improves posture, stability, and body awareness

2.  Tree – Tree pose

The days are getting cooler. A new season is beginning, and the leaves on the trees are changing colors.

From Mountain pose come onto the toes of one foot. Turn the knee out to the side and rest the toes on the ground or place the sole of the foot on the lower leg. Bring your heads together at your heart and slowly reach your arms overhead. Balance and breathe. Release the pose and repeat with the opposite foot.

Benefit – improves balance, and develops a strong core

3.  The Wind – Standing Side Stretch

A gentle wind blows, and the colorful leaves begin to rustle.

From Mountain pose slowly inhale and lift one arm up then exhale as you reach over for a gentle side stretch. Pause and feel the stretch. Switch arms and repeat the stretch on the opposite side. Inhale as you lift your arm, exhale as you bend. Mindfully move from side to side a few times. Notice the strength of our arms and legs. Wiggle your fingers!

Benefit – stretches the shoulders and arms, increases spinal mobility and improves breathing capacity

4. Leaves falling – Dancer Pose

A red leaf falls to the ground, and then an orange one. They look like they are dancing in the breeze!

From Mountain pose, lean forward and reach your arms out in front as you lift one leg out behind you. Perhaps you bend your knee and reach back, and grab hold of the foot with your hand. Come back to mountain and repeat on the opposite side.

Benefit - strengthens the feet, ankles, legs, core, back, arms and shoulders, as it improves balance and concentration

 

5. Gather Leaves – Forward Fold

 

I rake the leaves and gather them into a big pile.

 

From Mountain pose, hinge at the hips and allow your arms and head to hang down towards the ground. It’s ok to bend your knees. Hold the pose for a breath or two and then round up slowly.

 

Benefits – stretches the legs, develops core stability and strength, improves digestion


6. Fall into the Leaves – Triangle pose

 

The leaves look soft and fluffy like a cloud, and I fall into them.

 

From Mountain pose step one foot back and turn it out to the side. Raise the arms to shoulder height and reach out with the front hand, now tip over like a teapot. The front hand reaches to the shin and the back hand reaches to the sky. Release the pose, come back into Mountain pose and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Benefits - strengthens the legs and back, stretches the thighs and shoulders, energizes the body, improves balance

 

 7.   Toss leaves – Lunge Pose

 

Kneeling down I toss them in the air!

 

From Mountain pose set one foot back and bring the knee down to the ground. Lift the arms up overhead and breathe. Release the pose and repeat on the opposite side.

 

Benefits – stretches the hip flexors, improves balance and stability, strengthens the core


8.   Rest – Easy pose

 

That was so much fun! Now it is time to rest, I am grateful for the seasons!

 

Sit with your legs crossed, seat on the ground and head held high to the sky. Hands rest on your knees. Breathe.

 

Benefits – improves postural awareness, calming and soothing


Fall Blessings, 

Kathe


To learn more about our Kids Yoga Stories click here > https://www.ayogastorytellingadventure.com




Tuesday, August 22, 2023

“For it is in giving that we receive.” - St Francis of Assisi

 

This is the quote that opens our newest book. It's one of our favorites!

Practicing yoga reveals limitless possibilities. We become aware of our innate power as humans and realize the yogic lifestyle does not end with breathing exercises, posture practice, and meditation. 

As we move along on this yoga storytelling adventure called LIFE many questions arise. We often wonder, what can I do with this creative energy and how can I make an impact in the world?

One answer is Seva, as it is known in the yoga world. Seva is the Sanskrit word for selfless service. It is the practice of serving others without expecting payment, acknowledgement, or any type of reward in return. 

In our search for joy and happiness it doesn't always occur to us that giving and serving others is a way to find it. While the point of Seva is to give without expectation, we do receive many benefits. Some of which are;

·        Emotional well-being

·        Stress reduction

·        Improved morale

·        Greater joy and happiness

·        Inner peace


Mel and I recently had the opportunity to practice Seva. We shared story and yoga with about 40 kids at Camp Brave Hearts. This summer camp hosted by Hospice of Acadiana is for children who have lost a loved one. We shared the story "The Most Beautiful Heart" and practiced heart opening postures. May our humble offering help them to connect to their emotions so that they may process their grief. 


Whenever you feel the inner call to do something nice and you do it without needing a thank you in return, that is Seva. Even something as simple as checking on a neighbor, picking up trash, listening to a troubled friend, or smiling at a stranger.  

Whatever calls to you, rest assured that your selfless service will create a new level of joy, meaning, and fulfillment in your life.

Sharing story and yoga calls to us, that’s the main reason we started writing children’s books in the first place. Here is a sneak peek at our upcoming newest title, The Magic Peach Tree, humility, generosity, and abundance abound in this timeless tale. 



We'd love for you to be a part of our launch team. A launch team member gets an advanced reader copy PDF, and prepares a review. On launch day we ask that you download the eBook for FREE and leave the review on our book page on Amazon soon thereafter. That way it shows as a verified purchase and reviews are how indie authors get seen. 😀 

click here > The Magic Peach Tree launch team

We close with another of our favorite quotes, this one by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”   

Mahalo, we serve.

Xoxo Kathe and Mel