Tuesday, May 29, 2012

                                                       Welcome to the first-ever

                                        Youthful Yogis Show and Tell!

"Show and Tell", as I am sure you know, is a super fun activity that involves one person sharing interesting things with other people. A poor little upside down frog is not exactly what I call interesting, so let's see how we can make this work, Youthful Yogis style.

Here are five things I'd like to share with you today....

1) The objects to the left might remind you of the good old days in preschool when you got to play with blocks before lying down on a soft mat to nap. Actually though, the things you are looking at are called yoga props, and they help to keep us comfortable while we are practicing yoga. Youthful Yogis do poses on a sticky mat and use blocks and a strap for extra support. Most yoga studios have yoga props that students can use, or you can buy your own.

2) This, I admit, is completely boring but it is something that every Youthful Yogis should have...a water bottle, of course! Always remember to drink lots of water, especially after you practice yoga.

please do not turn into this guy!

3) Here is something you do not need in order to practice yoga...fancy, schmancy yoga clothes! It's important to feel comfortable when you are doing yoga, and a lot of people like to wear snug-fitting clothing. But you do not need to spend a lot of money on your outfit. In fact, if you ask your mom or dad for yoga pants like the ones shown here, they might go into shock. 

4) This is Yoga Journal, a really excellent yoga magazine.  You can get it from the library, buy it at a store, or go online to read articles and view video clips relating to yoga.

At this time, I do not believe Yoga Journal offers much specifically for kids...I really think they should take a look at this blog! But they do have lots of good stuff, so check it out.

5) Last, but not least, I want to show you...a happy face! This is how you will feel after you practice yoga...unless, of course, you've been wearing those pink or silver leggings I showed you. In that case, you may not be smiling because your blood will have stopped flowing to your brain and you'll feel like you're on planet Neptune.

That's all the time we have today, Youthful Yogis. Thank you so much for joining me for our first-ever Youthful Yogis Show and Tell! Have a great day, and please email me at youthfulyogis@gmail.com if there is something you would like to share at our next show and tell!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hey Youthful Yogis,
Guess what I've been up to today?...cleaning house: no kidding!

Most people think that cleaning is the most boring job ever....and, come to think of it, that's kind-of-sort-of true. But there are some good things to be said about spring cleaning, and here they are:

1) it's great exercise

2) it gets your house clean (obviously!)

3) if you are young and still live with your parents, it makes them happy

4) if you are old and live away from home, it still makes your parents happy...because everyone knows  that all parents love it when their kids are doing something useful

5) cleaning doesn't cost much: and, if you're lucky, someone might even pay you a little to wash windows and sweep out the garage


I said you might get paid a little...let's not get carried away!!

Those are all the good things I have to say about spring cleaning. Now let me tell you how this relates to yoga:

Youthful Yogis know the importance of cleanliness...in fact, there is even a word for it in Sanskrit and the word is Saucha (pronounced "sow-cha"). Saucha has to do with keeping our bodies clean, but it also relates to our homes and even to the classrooms and yoga studios we spend time in; if a place is messy or unorganized, do we really want to hang out there?!

Believe it or not, Saucha also relates to what we put in our bodies as well as to what's going on in our heads. Wow, that pretty much covers everything! But seriously, Youthful Yogis know that eating healthy food and thinking positive thoughts help them to feel bright and energetic...what's not to like about that?

I can't guarantee you'll be this energetic!

So the next time your teacher asks you to straighten up the classroom, or your mom tells you to just-get those-Leggos-off-the-living-room floor-thank-you-very-much, try not to feel like your brain has just been hit by an asteroid. Remember that Saucha, cleanliness, is a good thing. You'll feel happy and strong  if you make Saucha a regular part of your life.

And speaking of which, I need to get back to my spring cleaning. I thought I was done, 'til I found a pile of Leggos under the living room couch...how do you think they ended up there!?

See you again soon Youthful Yogis!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Hey Youthful Yogis,
Have you ever felt like this funny guy: shaky and kind-of-sort-of nervous about the next step you're going to take?

Lots of things in life can be scary...starting a new school, playing a new sport, getting up in front of a billion smiling parents who want to hear your version of Fleur de Lys on the piano....just thinking about that piano thing makes me want to go hide under the kitchen table!

You may be wondering why I am talking about something as scary as playing Fleur de Lys in front of grownups with big teeth. Well, let me explain....Everyone feels scared from time to time. Getting nervous is no big thing....learning to deal with scary stuff is what's really important.

Believe it or not, doing yoga  can help you to overcome fear. I'm not saying Youthful Yogis aren't scared on Halloween night when their friends jump out of a closet looking like Frankenstein...but by strengthening their bodies and trying new poses, Youthful Yogis gain a sense of confidence and well-being...two things that help out a lot when life feels a little over-whelming!

There are a lot of strengthening poses to choose from, but in honor of our wobbly friend up there with the polka dotted scarf on his head, I'll start with plank pose.

Mr. Wobbly is walking down a gangplank, and to your right is an image of  a plain old wooden plank. What both of these things have in common with plank pose is that they are long and strong and steady. Take a look....

Plank Pose
Plank pose strengthens your arms, your tummy and your back. The pose takes a lot of effort, and that's  one of the reasons we gain confidence by doing it. Make sure your wrists and shoulders feel OK in this pose; and, as always, get extra help if you need to.  

way to go, Kermit!

One last thing....once you have mastered plank pose, there are variations (remember that means different versions) of the pose you might like to try. Here are two pictures of "side plank", which is a Youthful Yogis favorite!


I guess if this guy can do side plank, anyone can!

Now that you've learned about plank pose, it's time for me to head off to practice the piano. Oops, I forgot, I don't even play piano!  Oh well, I'll find something else fun to do....maybe I can catch a nice version of Fleur de Lys on the radio?!!

See you next time, Youthful Yogis: be strong, be brave and have fun!!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You may remember that I had a run-in with a gazillion bats the other day. Seeing thousands of bats heading out at sunset to eat was fun and only just a little creepy. And it got me to wondering... are there are any yoga poses named after these funny flying mammals?

Thanks to my Youthful Yogi friend Ava, I now know that the answer is...yes! Here's a pose that Ava knows as "bat pose"; in Sanskrit it's called Halasana, which translates as plough pose. Halasana is actually a variation (that means a different version) of shoulder stand....let's take a look:

I guess we can tell why they call it plough pose!  Please be very careful if you try this pose...and never do it if you have a back or neck injury.

But back to bats...

....it's the same pose, just a different name. And you know what?....I do think it looks a little batty.

Have fun trying out this new pose, Youthful Yogis. As always, be safe and check in with your friendly neighborhood yoga instructor if you need extra help.

The sun is setting, so I guess I'll go see if my furry flying friends are heading out to dinner. Don't tell anyone, but I think they're making me batty!

See you again soon,


Monday, May 21, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis,

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Guess what happened to me? I bumped into a bunch of bats... no kidding! I was actually trying to catch a glimpse of that annular eclipse I told you about; I was parked near a bridge and just as the sun went down, thousands of bats came flying out from under the bridge... it was a pretty awesome sight!

I haven't figured out if there are any yoga poses named after bats, but there are  definitely bird-like poses in yoga...here are a couple of Youthful Yogis favorites:

Pigeon pose 
This pose is called Kapotasana in Sanskrit. It stretches the hips, ankles and thighs.

Eagle pose
You already know about Eagle Mudra; this pose, called Garudasana in Sanskrit, is great for the joints, shoulders and legs. But don't do it if you have a knee injury!

We'll look at some more yoga poses together soon, Youthful Yogis. For now, have fun with Pigeon Pose and Eagle Pose...and let me know if you bump into any bats!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis,         
If you've been talking to your friendly neighborhood astronomer buddies lately, you'll know that the western part of the United States is due for something called an annular eclipse on Sunday night. I'll be honest, when I heard that name, I thought some newspaper guy misspelled the word "annual"...but no, it's really "annular"...a word which I now know means rounded, curved, shaped like a ring.

An annular eclipse is a solar eclipse, meaning that the moon will come between the earth and the sun. The cool thing about an annular eclipse is that when the moon and sun are lined up with each other, the moon will look slightly smaller than the sun. In fact, for just a short amount of time, the sun will be seen as a bright ring around the moon. They call it a "ring of fire"....what a perfect name!

Please be sure you do not look directly at the sun during the annular eclipse, or ever actually. There are special glasses that you need to wear!

I can't wait for Sunday night, Youthful Yogis.

See you at the Ring of Fire!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis!
I am very excited to announce the arrival of some new artwork in the Youthful Yogis Art Gallery...here's a preview!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hey Youthful Yogis,                 
Has this ever happened to you: you've just gotten home from school,soccer practice or maybe a marathon session of Netflix with a friend....and there is nothing good in the house to eat?!

I hate it when that happens!

Or how about this...you are on a camping trip with your parents and the only food they've packed is leftover brussel sprouts and stinky cheese from some dinner party they had five nights ago....

I really hate it when that happens!

You might be wondering why I'm bringing up brussel sprouts and stinky cheese in a yoga blog...let me explain: giving our bodies nutritious food helps us stay happy and strong. It's hard to have enough energy for yoga, or anything else for that matter, if we don't chow down on healthy stuff.

But back to camping....my Youthful Yogi friend Maggie has written a great book called The Real Family Camping Cookbook. It's full of tasty ideas and amazing tips for  fixing food while you're out in the woods. And, come to think of it, you don't even need to go camping to whip up some of  the meals in her book...paper bag eggs, anyone!?

You can read more about  The Real Family Camping Cookbook at www.realfamilytime.com . Also, visit Maggie's blog at realfamilytime.blogspot.com You'll find yummy snack ideas and other fun stuff!

I'd like to stay and chat, Youthful Yogis, but all this talk of food has made me hungry. There's probably something good in my fridge to eat...I just hope the cheese won't be stinky!

Stay healthy and I'll see you soon,


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis!
What has the body of a human, the head and wings of an eagle and wears  a golden crown?...Garuda, of course!

You may be scratching your head and wondering if Garuda is the name of that new rock band your  cousin was talking about. Well, no, as far as I've heard there is no rock band called Garuda. Actually, Garuda is a mythical creature from Hindu mythology and there are many amazing paintings and sculptures of Garuda all around the world .

Just to refresh your memory, Hinduism is one of the world's major religions: it began long ago in the part of the world that is now India.  There are many exotic gods and goddesses in Hindu mythology and some of them show up in the practice of yoga, which is really pretty cool. Just one quick thing I need to mention...yoga is not a religion, and people of all religions practice yoga!

Here are a few of the gods, also known as "deities", that I love from Hindu mythology. You can go to the library or look online to see more, if you like. I'll show some yoga poses and mudras named after Hindu deities another time. For now...enjoy meeting Garuda, Ganesha, and Hanuman!

1) Garuda means "eagle" and this deity has the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a human. Garuda carries the Hindu god Vishnu on his back; he is said to be the king of birds and a destroyer of evil. Garuda is well loved for his strength and for his sense of knowing right from wrong.

2) Ganesha  has the head of an elephant and a big round belly! He is said to be the "remover of obstacles", meaning having him around might help you to succeed. Ganesha is very popular with shop owners in India...they often have pictures or sculptures of this colorful deity on display.

There are so many wonderful examples of Ganesha out there, I hardly know which ones to show you...here are three, but please search for more on your own!

3) Hanuman is known as the "monkey god" and he is very popular with people all over the world. Hanuman is strong and determined; he fights against evil and is even able to change his shape and size when he wants to!



It's been a blast looking at Hindu deities with you today, Youthful Yogis. Soon we'll  look at how Hanuman, Ganesha and Garuda find their way onto our yoga mats; but for now, have fun exploring these mythical images online or in a book. If you're feeling creative, you can draw your own version of Ganesha, Garuda and Hanuman...or even make up a deity of your own! Get help scanning your artwork, then email it to me at youthfulyogis@gmail.com  I'll hang it in the Art Gallery!

Have a great day, see you again soon!