Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year, Youthful Yogis!
As we head into 2014 I thought it might be fun to review some of what we've covered this past year in the Youthful Yogis Blog. And just to make sure everyone stays awake during this First-Annual- Youthful-Yogis-Year-End-Review, I've decided to present this information in the form of a Pop Quiz...are you ready? Let's get started!

        First Annual Youthful Yogis Year End Review/ Pop Quiz Edition:
Answer the following questions. When you are done, check your responses with the answers at the bottom of the page...no peeking! Unless, of course, you stayed up past midnight and your brain is really, seriously not in working order.

"My legs are working but my brain is out of order! " 
1) Yoga is...
A) a creamy, calcium rich food you can enjoy any time of day
B) a character from Star Wars
C) a way of moving our bodies and using our breath so we feel healthy and strong everyday
D) a sense of feeling connected to, not separate from,  the world we live in
E) A and B
F) C and D

2) Yoga began...
A) about a year ago
B) hundreds of years ago in the part of the world that is now the country of India
C) in Canada
D) on a beach in southern California

"Dude, I'd rather be doing yoga!"

3) Yoga poses...
A) are always difficult
B) are always easy
C) are called asanas, and there are lots to choose from
D) none of the above

"Everything I know about yoga I learned from the Youthful Yogis Blog!"

4) Yoga is....
A) for kids
B) for grandparents
C) for babies
D) for everyone

5) Yoga breathing is called Pranayama; it can...
A)  warm us up
B)  cool us down
C) help us to relax
D) make us more energetic
E) all of the above

"Can't talk now...I'm practicing Pranayama!"

6) Yoga is good for...
A) strength and flexibility
B) balance and concentration
C) bugging your little sister
D) freaking out your dad
E) A and B only

"I am not freaking out...I am not freaking out...!"

7) Yoga is...
A) twistable
B) stretchable
C) awesome
D) relaxing
E) fun!
F) all of the above...duh!

Ok Youthful Yogis, how did you do? Let's take a look at the answers and find out!

          Answers to the Youthful Yogis Year End Review Pop Quiz: 
1) Yoga is not the same as yogurt, Youthful Yogis. Please do not forget that! And it is also not the same as Yoda; he's the crazy little Star Wars character who first appeared in 1980!

Yoga is...a way of moving our bodies and using our breath so we feel comfortable and connected. The correct answer is F! 

2) People have been doing yoga in Canada and-of course!-on beaches in southern California for many years. But yoga actually began hundreds of years ago in the part of the world that is now the country of India. The correct answer is B


3) Yoga poses are sometimes difficult. Yoga poses are sometimes gentle, and that can make them seem easy. But yoga poses are always called asanas, and there are lots to choose from! The correct answer is C

"I'm lovin' this!"

4) If anyone ever says you are too young, or too old, to be doing yoga, then please direct them immediately to the Youthful Yogis Blog! You heard it here, Youthful Yogis, so now it's official: a person is never too young or too old to do yoga! Yoga is for everyone and the correct answer is D

kinda old
kinda young

kinda too cute for her own good
5) Yoga breathing is called Pranayama and, believe it or not, it can have the effect of warming us up, cooling us down, helping us to relax...or making us more energetic! The correct answer is E

Energetic much?

6) I hope that yoga does not freak out your little sister. And I also hope it does not freak out your dad...but if he starts looking like Homer Simpson up there, just teach him a few of your favorite poses and I bet he'll start to relax!

"Sooo relaxed!"

By the way, yoga is good for strength, flexibility, balance and concentration: the correct answer is E

7) I'm sorry to repeat what you already know, Youthful Yogis...but here it is: yoga is twistable, stretchable, awesome, amazing, FUN!

Oh, and the correct answer is F

How'd you do on the pop quiz, Youthful Yogis?  I hope it jogged your memory a little. And remember, if you want to review everything you know and share it with friends, check out the Youthful Yogis YouTube Channel. Here's a link to the story I posted on YouTube called "Yoga Is...." It's sort of where I got all the ideas for today's pop quiz!  Just click on the words underneath the picture below...remember to check with a parent to make sure it's OK to visit YouTube.

Yoga Is...

That's all the time we have for now, Youthful Yogis. I have lots to do as we head into 2014 and I'm sure you do too. Remember to enjoy time with friends and family, appreciate peaceful moments and laugh and smile a lot. Oh, and do some yoga poses while you're at it!

Have a very Happy New Year!!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hi There, Youthful Yogis!
I would like to start by saying Happy Turkey Day to all those celebrating Thanksgiving next week!

"Gobble, gobble...and may I remind you about a little thing called Tofurkey!"

Next, I hope everyone enjoyed the YouTube links in my last entry...was your Magic Carpet Ride relaxing? Mine was!!

"So chill!"

Finally, have you ever wondered how the poses known as Warrior One, Warrior Two and Warrior Three got their names?

"Someone named some yoga poses after me, but I'm really not sure why."

Warrior Poses, known in Sanskrit as Virabhadrasana, are really fun. And the story behind the name is awesome too; it's the tale of an angry god, a lock of hair, a scary dude and a king who ends up with the head of a mouse. You heard it here first, Youthful Yogis...I really think Hollywood should turn this epic adventure into a movie!

Let's travel back in time to ancient India where the myth of Virabhadra takes place.  First, we'll check in with an influential fellow whose name is Shiva:

Lord Shiva is one of the major deities, or gods, in Hindu mythology. He loves the icy mountains of the Himalayas, wears a spiffy leopard skin around his chest and a crescent moon in his hair.  Shiva is known as both the "transformer" and the "destroyer", responsible for bringing things to an end so that new things can find their start.

"My name is Lord Shiva and, yes, this is my real hair!"

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, for reasons that are complicated and a little creepy, was not able to marry the woman he loved. This made him so angry that he pulled out some of his thick, dark hair (ouch, I know!) and ground it into the earth. What came out of Shiva's locks of hair was another god who was scary and huge and had many arms; he went by the name Virabhadra:

"My name is Virabhdra and no, I do not go by Vera for short!"

You can read about this ferocious fellow in books and online. Here is what our old friend Wikipedia has to say about him: "...his (Virabhadra's) tall body reached the high heavens, he was dark as the clouds, three burning eyes, and fiery hair; he wore a garland of skulls and carried terrible weapons." 

Needless to say, things got a little crazy with Virabhdra on the scene. In fact, he broke a lot of things, trampled on some people, and even cut off the head of the king who was responsible for messing up Shiva's marriage plans. The whole situation was nuts!

A seriously nutty situation!

Luckily for all involved, another important god named Brahma came along and advised the gods to make peace. Everyone was forgiven and Lord Shiva even showed some serious compassion by giving the poor king another head....only problem?  It wasn't  the head he started with! In fact, it was the head of a mouse, which could be kind of a drag, depending on how you look at things. But the king was pretty happy and, all in all, things ended on a very positive note:

"I'm just saying...the head of a  mouse is better than no head at all, right?!"

So that's the story of Virabhadra, Youthful Yogis. In case you were wondering, the Sanskrit word "asana" means body position or pose. So "Virabhadrasana" means the "pose of Virabhadra."

Let's take a look at the three poses named after the guy with a gad zillion arms!

Virabhadrasana One

Virabhadrasana Two

Virabhadrasana Three

As you can see, these poses are similar, yet different. In Warrior One the hips face forward, in Warrior Two they open wide. Warrior Three is done by standing on one leg...but the arms are still straight and the legs are strong.

We are not trying to be ferocious warriors when practicing Virabhadrasana One, Two and Three. Instead, we are looking to find a sense of strength and inner calm. Working with these poses creates mental clarity. We feel confident and clear and ready to take on whatever life has has to offer.

"I may look weird, but I sure feel good inside!"

Don't expect to turn into a fiery eyed giant with weird hair when you practice Virabhadrasana, Youthful Yogis...

But do be ready to tap into a strength you might not have known you had....

"I seriously did not know I was this strong!"

It's been lots of fun sharing the myth of Virabhadra with you today, Youthful Yogis. I hope you will give the warrior poses a try! Think of Virabhadra with his many arms as you lift and stretch your limbs in each pose. Feel the earth beneath you and focus your gaze off into the distance, keeping your eyes relaxed and your face soft. You'll feel great, I know.

Have fun and I'll see you again soon!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hi Youthful Yogis!
If you have a few extra minutes this weekend and are wondering what to do, here's an idea....why not check out Youthful Yogis on YouTube?!

It's easy...first check with an adult to make sure it is OK to go onto YouTube. Then simply click on the words under each of the pictures below and it will take you to the Youthful Yogis YouTube Channel!

"Youthful Yogis rock!"

There are a few different things you can do on the Youthful Yogis channel: go on a "magic carpet ride,"  learn some cool mudras, or find out how Hindu deities can enrich a home yoga practice. There's more stuff too, and it's all lots of fun! 

Are you ready? Here we go....

Magic Carpet Ride


Hindu deities for a home yoga practice

And I almost forgot to mention...if you are still a little unclear as to what exactly yoga is, then you can read a short book I wrote titled--what else?--Yoga Is...  Just click on the link below to find it on YouTube:
"Yoga Is..."

Have a great weekend, Youthful Yogis. See you again soon!


Monday, September 30, 2013


Hello Youthful Yogis!
I hope you have your thinking caps on because today we are going to use our brains. You guessed  right...it's time for another awesome, amazing, out-of-this-world round of....

                                     Yoga Jeopardy!!!

Yoga Jeopardy, as you may remember, is a question and answer game that tests your knowledge of all things yoga-related. Today's theme is...parts of the body! You may be wondering why in the world I picked the body part theme....

"Yes, I am wondering that. And I'm also wondering why no one talks to me at the mall...!"

Youthful Yogis know that if you go to a yoga class, chances are you'll be hearing the teacher talk about body parts: hamstrings, forearms, shins and "quads"...it's all most yoga instructors can do to keep from jumping for joy over the word "core"!

"Core, y'all!"

Let's make sure we don't let those chatty yoga instructors confuse us! Play today's Yoga Jeopardy alone or with a friend, and by the end you will feel confident to step into most any yoga class...even if the instructor is jumping for joy!
"Call me crazy, but I think I know exactly what that yoga teacher is talking about!"

There's a chance you'll already know some of what I'm introducing today. But don't worry...we'll do another Yoga Jeopardy: body parts edition soon and things will definitely get more challenging!

Ready to start?  Just read the questions below and pick the answer you think is right. The answers, along with some crazy pictures, are at the end. Have fun!!!

                                             Yoga Jeopardy: Body Parts Edition I

1) Hamstrings are:  A) the part of your leg just above your ankle   B) something great Auntie Bess serves at Easter dinner   C) three large muscles that run along the back of your upper leg  D) special guitar strings that make everything sound amazing!

2) Sternum is:  A) When your mom is really crabby cuz you didn't clean up your room  B) the funny round bone in your knee that the doctor likes to tap   C) another name for the belly button  D) the bony spot in the center of your chest where the rib bones of the upper body connect.

3) Shins are: A) the part of your arm between the elbow and the wrist B) an American indie rock band from Albuquerque, New Mexico C) the front part of the leg, below the knee and above the ankle       D) none of the above  E) B and C only

4) Forearms are: A) special golf clubs that you use when you really want to win  B) the part of your arm between the elbow and the wrist C) the part of your arm between your elbow and your shoulder  D) none of the above

5) Thighs are:  A) something you will never, ever, in a hundred years hear mentioned in a yoga class B) the deeps breaths you take when you are kind of tired and sometimes a little sad C) the tough tendons that help create the arches of your feet  D) your legs from the knees up

6) the Core is: A) what's left over after you eat an apple...duh!  B) your belly, back and hips
C) the indentation where your skull and spine meet  D) a science fiction story

"Sci Fi rocks!!"

7) Quads are: A) short for quadriceps B) a new brand of sneaker, way cooler than Vans  C) the muscles in the back part of your lower leg D) the muscles in the front of your upper leg
E) A and D only  F ) B and D only

OK, I admit, that last question was tough. But guess what? It's time to check your answers!  Here they are, let's see how you did! 
                                     Yoga Jeopardy answers:

1)  C:  There may be some kind of guitar strings out there that make every kind of music sound great, but I am pretty sure they are not called hamstrings! The word hamstrings actually refers to a group of large muscles that run along the back of your upper leg.

Hamstring muscles

The hamstrings work really hard, helping us to walk and run around everyday. For a lot of people, they can get pretty tight! Here are two stretches to help keep the hamstrings happy:

"My hamstrings could not be happier!"

Be sure to bend your knees a little the first time you do a forward fold

2)  D:  When your mom gets crabby, it's called being crabby. When your yoga teacher mentions the bony part of your upper chest where the upper rib bones connect, it's called the sternum. Here's what it looks like; it's the very top part of the red line on Mr. Bone's chest:
"I make look stern, but at least I have a sternum!"
3) E...yes, I said E!! I know, it was kind of a trick question...but not really because the Shins really are a rock group from New Mexico! Here's a picture of them:

These people look very cool!

The answer to question # 3 is E because not only are the Shins a cool rock band, they are also the front part of your leg between the knee and ankle:

4) B: The part of your arm between the elbow and the wrist is called the forearm.


It's pretty likely that if you go to a yoga class, you'll hear the teacher mention the forearms. Here are two poses that involve the forearms:
Forearm plank pose: Dude, don't forget to breathe!

Scorpion pose: please get a yoga teacher to help you with this one.

5) D:  The part of your legs from the knees up are called the thighs, and you definitely will hear them mentioned in a yoga class. Here are two pictures of thigh muscles:
Yikes! I told you I had some crazy pictures.

Yikes times one hundred!

6) B: We all know that what's left after you chomp on an apple is it's core...but since we are talking about body parts, the correct answer to this question is actually B: your belly, back and hips.

Core muscles: Yikes times infinity!

Some people think of the core as just the belly, but as you can see from the picture above it's a larger area. Here is another view:

Core muscles are super important. They help to support the spine and they also give us the strength and stability we need for tricky yoga poses...and for other daily activities, too:

"I'm feeling pretty good right now thanks to my strong core!"

Most yoga practices involve exercises to strengthen the core. Here are three examples:

Boat pose

Forearm plank


Bridge pose variation

7) E: Quadriceps are the muscles in the front part of your upper leg. They are also sometimes called "quads."  Here is what they look like:
Meaty to the max!

There are different ways to stretch the quads if they are feeling tight:

serious quad stretch

Many yoga poses are great for strengthening the quads too. Chair pose is one example:

Chair pose

Just to be clear, almost anyone can practice chair pose....

"Don't judge me!"

Wow, Youthful Yogis, we have covered a lot of ground today. I hope this round of Yoga Jeopardy has helped you to better understand some of the body parts that are key to any yoga practice. Have fun sharing this round of Jeopardy with your friends. And the next time you're in a class with a yoga teacher who just can't stop talking about the core, you can smile and say "Belly, back and hips, y'all!"
"Belly, back and hips, y'all!!!!!"

Have a great day, Youthful Yogis. See you again soon!