Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis!
I am on vacation right now and, guess what? I thought I would have lots of time on my hands but it turns out there's a ton of stuff to counting frogs in the pond, watching baby goats prance in the grass, and checking a nearby garden everyday to see if the carrots are big enough to eat. Seriously, I'm really busy!

Which brings me to the Question of the do busy people find time to practice yoga?

I'll answer the Question of the Day in a minute. But first, here are a few things you might like to know:

1) a person does not need to spend two hours on a yoga mat in order to "do" yoga.

2) a person does not need to go to a fancy pants location in order to "do" yoga.

3) sometimes we "do" yoga, and it doesn't even look like we're doing anything!

Let me explain...the word Yoga comes  from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to join, bring together or unite. Most people think of yoga as a bunch of movements people do to stretch and strengthen their bodies. The asanas, or poses, we've looked at like Tree Pose, Frog Pose, Half Moon and Cobra definitely help to keep our bodies strong and flexible, but that's just the beginning. Youthful Yogis also focus on the breath, which helps to quiet the mind. And a comfortable body and a peaceful mind are better than.... ten hot fudge sundaes (sort of!)
Is there anything better than this?!

But seriously, quieting the mind allows us to feel connected to the world around us. And this sense of connection, or union, is Yoga.  

Getting back to the Question of the can practice yoga anytime, anywhere and you don't need a zillion hours or a fancy place in order to do it. The next time you watch a sunset light up the night sky, lose yourself in the sound of frogs on a pond, or enjoy the peaceful company of someone you love, know that you are practicing Yoga! It doesn't mean you stop doing poses, or that you toss your yoga matt onto that pile of stuff that your mom  just-has-to-get-rid-of-because-otherwise-she-will go-nuts-with-all-the-clutter. It just means that you learn to recognize those moments when you feel peaceful, content and connected to all that surrounds you. Wherever you are, whether at home, in a yoga class or on a family vacation, take the time to breath deeply, appreciate your body and enjoy the company of the people you are with. All of that feels good...all of that is Yoga!

And now, Youthful Yogis, I have a lot to do. I need to check in with the goats, get some earplugs for tonight so the frogs don't keep me awake, and ask the rest of my family if hot fudge sundaes are on the menu for dinner...we need a little something extra since those crazy home-grown carrots aren't ready to pick yet!

Have a wonderful day. See you again soon!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis,                                                
Wow, I got so relaxed on my Magic Carpet Ride that I almost forgot I have a blog to write! If you haven't listened to "Magic Carpet Ride" yet, head on over to the Youthful Yogis Listening Activities section of this blog, just underneath the Photo Gallery. You can click on the words Magic Carpet Ride to download the track onto your computer. While you're there, try out the Guided Relaxation. You might end up feeling as peaceful as this guy...

Youthful Yogis should mellow out on a carpet or a couch...not on a tree branch!

Now that we're all rested and relaxed, it's time to check out a new yoga pose. I want to share one of my all-time favorite poses with you today called Ardha Chandrasana. In Sanskrit, ardha means half and chandra, literally "shining", is usually translated as moon. In English the pose is called "Half Moon."

Half Moon is a great pose because it stretches and strengthens the body and challenges our balance...all at once! Here is one view of the pose:

Half Moon Pose

And here is another view:

Half Moon with a block

You'll definitely want to warm-up a little before trying Ardha Chandrasana, it's a pretty tricky pose. You can use a wall for support or, like Mr. Faceless Green Guy up there, bring one hand to a yoga block to help keep your body balanced.

To come out of Half Moon, gently lower your foot that is lifted back to the ground. Come up to a standing position and take a few deep breaths; rest for a little bit before you try the second side.

This guy has pointy ears and is missing some clothes...but he does look relaxed!

Here is one reason I love Half Moon Pose: when I'm doing it, I feel like I'm on's like flying to a faraway place, and then being really happy to get back home!

I hope you'll have fun trying Half Moon Pose at home, Youthful Yogis. Once you get used to the pose you can even try some variations, like Mr. Bend-o-Rama here...

"Call me Mr. Flexible!"

As always, be safe and get someone to help you, if you like.

I'd love to hang out longer, Youthful Yogis, but I need to go outside for a second....I hear a rustling noise in the trees and I'm just hoping no one got it into their heads to do Magic Carpet Ride on one of the branches!

Have a great day, see you again soon.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Hey Youthful Yogis,
Have you had a chance to stroll over to the Youthful Yogis Listening Activities page yet? If so, you've probably enjoyed "Magic Carpet Ride", a guided relaxation exercise that will take you anywhere you want to go!

I am happy to announce a new addition to the Listening Activities page, it's called "Guided Relaxation" and I guess the name kind of says it all. "Guided Relaxation" is a great way to unwind after a stressful day of playing in the pool or sitting through a gadzillion previews at Madagascar 3. Simply download Guided Relaxation onto your computer and you'll have it to listen to whenever you like. Don't tell anyone you heard it from me, but moms and dads can use a little help relaxing sometimes, too. Why not share our Listening Activities page with them...who knows, maybe they'll get so relaxed that they'll actually say yes to getting that cute puppy you saw at the pet store yesterday...?!

I do not know who these guys are, but they look  kinda techy
And now a word from the Youthful Yogis Technology Team: please do not get confused when going to the Listening Activities page. When you click on the words "Magic Carpet Ride" or "Guided Relaxation" it will take you to a page with a button that says "Download". This, naturally, will allow you to download the recordings onto your computer. If you are one of those people who thinks the word download has something to do with laying gravel out on a driveway, you might like to ask a friend for help. Really, it's not that hard, and the whole mega technology of it is actually pretty fun...just ask those goofy guys wearing the headsets, they know all about it!

That's all for now, Youthful Yogis. I hope you'll have fun visiting the Youthful Yogis Listening Activities page. Don't forget to share the Guided Relaxation with your mom and dad, I'm sure it will put them in a good mood. But, honestly?... I can't guarantee the puppy thing.

Have a peaceful day, see you again soon!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Hi there Youthful Yogis!      
Are you ready for an adventure?  Today we're going on a magic carpet ride! Now please wipe that look off your face that says "I'd-love-to -stay-and-hear-more-but-you're-nuts-and-I've-got-a-video-game-to-get-back-to"... I'll explain everything!

Youthful Yogis know that "Magic Carpet" is not the latest new ride at Disney Land that you need to wait five hours in line to see. Actually, it's a relaxation exercise, and I think you'll like it a lot!

We all get tired now and then and sometimes feeling sleepy comes at the most annoying times: one hour before swim practice, or twenty minutes before a family dinner with Great Aunt Lu Lu and a cousin twice-removed named Fred. What's a Youthful Yogi to do? If you take a long nap, chances are you'll sleep right through swim practice and your coach will be totally upset...or, you'll be super groggy at dinner and Lu Lu and Fred will never come over to your house ever again.

But there is something else you can do when you feel the need to refuel: simply lie down, close your eyes, and rest very deeply for a short period of time. No kidding! Taking a break in this way is like re-charging a battery, and it's amazing how great it feels.

Youthful Yogis know that you don't need the sound of someone's voice or fancy, schmancy music playing in order to rest and relax....but sometimes having something to listen to is kind of nice! And that's why the Youthful Yogis Technology Team (OK, that would be me) has been hard at work putting together a recording that you can enjoy anytime you like. Simply click on the words Magic Carpet Ride next to the funny flying dude below; then click the Download button and you'll get a recording that you can listen to on your computer.  I've also put the Magic Carpet Ride in a new section of the blog called "Youthful Yogis Listening Activities"'s just to your left, underneath the Youthful Yogis Photo Gallery.

I hope you'll have fun on your very first Magic Carpet Ride, Youthful Yogis. Try it whenever you want a little break: ahead of a sports practice, after a day at school or even before bed. It doesn't take long, so you can fit it in anytime. Let me know what you think and, while you're at it, give my best to Aunty Lu and Cousin Fred... I definitely hope you enjoy a great dinner!

See you next time!


Magic Carpet Ride

Sunday, June 10, 2012

                                                                      Welcome to
                                                          Yoga Jeopardy!         
                                                                (summertime edition)

Youthful Yogis know that summer is a great time to relax and take life easy. But no matter how much we kick-back, sleep-in or catch-up on movie classics like "Toy Story One" and "Air Bud: World Pup" (Ok, seriously, I've never seen that one!)  there is one thing we never want to do and that let our our brains get mushy!



Did you know that mental activity strengthens the brain just like physical activity makes your body strong and healthy?  And it just so happens that Yoga Jeopardy is a great mental activity! You already know how it's played; just read the questions below, fire up your brain, and see if you can come up with the correct answers. There are a couple of super tricky questions this time, so get a friend to help if you like!                        

Let's get started...        

1) Plank pose is:  A) a resting pose  B) a strengthening pose C) a weird face that you make when your mom asks you to empty the dishwasher

2) Youthful Yogis.... A) pay attention to their breath when practicing yoga   B)  could care less about their breath  C) use a smooth deep breath to relax and stay focused               D) none of the above  E) A and C

3) True or False: Yoga Journal is...An ancient manuscript that you will probably only lay eyes on if you travel to India

4) Lord Vishnu is a Hindu deity who gets along well with:  A) frogs  B) salamanders c) snakes

5) Name the Hindu god who is said to be reborn every time a fire gets lit (hint: he's kind of hot-headed)

The word "Saucha" means:  A) non-violence B) cleanliness C) scrambled eggs with hot sauce 


1)  B      Plank pose is a strengthening pose, of course!

Is this guy relaxed? I don't think so...but at least he's breathing!
2)  E     Youthful Yogis know that the breath is an important part of every yoga practice. They pay attention to their breath and know that a smooth, deep breath will help them to relax and stay focused.

3) False!   Yoga Journal is not an ancient manuscript, unless you consider 1975 to be ancient history (the magazine was first published in the 1970's!) Yoga Journal can be found in libraries, in stores and online. Check it out!

4)  C    I haven't read any Hindu myths that describe Lord Vishnu's ability to get along well with salamanders and frogs, but it's possible that he does! We do know that Vishnu must be comfortable with snakes....he is usually seen sitting or standing on the thousand-headed serpent named Shesha! 

5) The Hindu god Agni is said to be reborn every time someone lights a fire. He is a messenger to other gods, has more than one head, and is said to be forever young, since fires are re-lit everyday.

"Does anyone know the name of a good hairdresser...?!"

EXTRA CREDIT:   B   Saucha is the Sanskrit word for cleanliness and it is an important aspect of yoga. Saucha means keeping our bodies, our homes and our classrooms tidy; it also relates to what we eat, how we think, and the things we say.

The word for non-violence is Ahimsa, and I'll discuss that another time.

As for those scrambled eggs with hot sauce...I'm not sure what they're called, but they sound pretty tasty right about now!

I hope you've had fun with Yoga Jeopardy today, Youthful Yogis. How is your brain feeling?  As you've probably guessed, all of the questions in today's Summertime Edition of Yoga Jeopardy come from recent blog entries. If you're looking for a way to stay cool while exercising your mind this summer, try making up some Yoga Jeopardy questions of your own. You can email them to me at and I'll try to include them in the next edition of Yoga Jeopardy!

Have a great day and I'll see you again soon,



Friday, June 8, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis!
Have you had a chance to try the Sitali breath we talked about the other day?  I hope it's helping you to stay cool, especially if you're feeling as flamin' hot as this guy....
"hot, hot, hot!"
Which reminds me, I've found a new way to chill out and it doesn't involve water ballet, first class flights to Mt. Everest or funny positions that you make with your tongue (although "taco tongue" was pretty great, don't you think?!) 
You heard it here first, Youthful Yogis: my latest way of beating the heat is.....

exploring Hindu deities, of course!

We talked about Hindu mythology a few weeks ago and here's a quick re-cap: Hinduism is one of the world's oldest religions. Hindu mythology tells the story of gods and goddesses, also known as deities, who: fall in love, destroy things, fix things, travel all around the world, dance, make music and... sometimes hang out with snakes, yikes!  

There are so many wonderful images from Hindu mythology to explore, and it's really lots of fun. This is an activity you can do in the cool comfort of a library or at home on your computer over the summer, if it's OK with your mom and dad. Take a look at some of the amazing deities I've found recently...they're almost making me forget that it's 101 degrees outside!

I'll start with Mr. I'm-hot-and-I-have-two-Heads from the top of the page. This deity is named Agni, which  I realize sounds a little like some new style of Italian pasta that they might be serving at summer camp this year. But the word agni actually means "fire" and in Hindu mythology the god Agni is said to be born wherever a fire is lit; Agni symbolizes "the vital spark of life" and a part of him is in all living things.  If that's not cool, I don't know what is...!

"I was hot but now I am cool!"

I also want to talk about the god Vishnu, who is a pretty major deal in Hindu mythology...Vishnu is the "keeper of life" who sustains the cosmos. He has a beautiful wife, named Lakshmi, and he is often pictured with a seashell and a Lotus flower.

...but let's not forget the snake!  Vishnu seems to have a pretty good relationship with all things slithery. In fact, he is often seen floating on a snake named Shesha. In other pictures, the many-headed Shesha is shading Vishnu's head!

One last's said that whenever one of Shesha's 1,000 mouths yawns, there is an earthquake somewhere in the world...yikes, again!


 Well, that's all the time we have today, Youthful Yogis. I hope you've enjoyed looking at Hindu deities, even though we did end on kind of a slithery note.

Have fun exploring mythology on your own, and tell me what you find! Meanwhile, thinking about those snakes hovering overhead has given me the shivers. I guess I'll head outside for some fresh air...101 degrees is sounding pretty good to me right now!

See you again soon,


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hi Youthful Yogis!
You'll be glad to hear my skin color is getting back to normal after that mini frog-fest we had the other day. In fact, if you could see my face, you would notice that I've switched from a froggy shade of green to a brilliant rosy red. You might be looking rosy too, if you live where I's over 100 degrees here, no kidding!!

A lot of people wonder what Youthful Yogis do when the thermometer hits triple digits? Heading for the hills is one popular activity!

"I know those mountains are around here...somewhere!"

And splashing in a cool body of water is also a big hit!

"We are feeling so cool!"

But Youthful Yogis have another great way to stay cool, and it's something you might never, ever think of...our breath!

We all breath everyday (of course!) and it's not something most people notice much.

But Youthful Yogis know that the breath is very important; in yoga there is even a special name for the way we regulate's called Pranayama.

Youthful Yogis use breathing techniques, or pranayama, a lot. Our breath can warm us up or cool us down; it can help us to relax, or make us feel more energetic.

There is really a lot to say about the breath, but since most of you just want to know how in the world to deal with this ridiculous summer heat, we'll fast-forward to a pranayama technique that Youthful Yogis use when they are feeling overheated: it's called sitali breath...let's check it out!

"taco tongue"
The first thing you need to know for sitali breath you have a taco tongue? Taco tongue, in case you are wondering, is not the latest snack fad being offered by your friendly neighborhood fast food restaurant. Actually, it is a way of curling the edges of your tongue up so that you create a sort of tunnel, or "taco", as my Youthful Yogis friends call it, in your mouth. Not everyone's tongue will curl at the edges in this way, and that's fine.

 If taco tongue doesn't work for you, close your mouth gently, keep your lips slightly apart, and allow your tongue to rest behind your front teeth.
For sitali breath, we choose one of the two positions for our tongue described above, then we inhale through the mouth while lifting the chin up slightly. The breath is drawn in through the mouth and over the tongue which, because it is a tongue, is usually good and wet. Our breath is cooled as it flows into our bodies, just like evaporative coolers keep some homes comfortable in the desert by drawing outside air in over water.

please don't be insulted that I am comparing your mouth to this

We finish the sitali breath by closing our mouths and slowly exhaling out of the nose. The chin lowers down to where it was when we started. Many Youthful Yogis like to take about five rounds of sitali breath to cool down and relax; one inhalation followed by an exhalation equals a "round".

That's probably everything you ever wanted to know about keeping your cool when things heat up outside, Youthful Yogis. I hope you'll try sitali breathing and teach it to your friends, also. Let me know what you think!

I'd love to hang out, but I need to go look for a swimming pool now; those "cool" ladies up there reminded me of something I really need to work backstroke!

Have a great day and I'll see you again soon,  


"Stay cool!"