The ALF Educational Institute, a project of McLean’s Bronson Family Dentistry, is holding its first annual Interdisciplinary Health & Wellness Conference in Arlington March 24 and 25 to address many facets of dental health as they relate to whole body health. The subtitle of the event is “A focus on whole health – a new perspective on nutrition, breathing, dentistry, orthodontics and myofunctional therapy.” Read More
If you’re looking for a way to expose your children to yoga and healthy eating while ensuring they have a fun day, give them — and yourself! — a gift by signing them up for the second summer Kids Yoga Staycation Mini-Retreat offered by Cathy Burke, E-RYT at Alexandria’s Ease Yoga & Cafe this Thursday, August 11. Read More
The non-profit organization Real Food For Kids is hosting a Culinary Challenge and Wellness Expo on Saturday, March 12 at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees at this free event can learn about food writing, promotion and photography, family meal planning, school gardening and school food. The Expo is an outreach program designed to educate students and their families on making healthier lifestyle choices, and ensuring access to real whole foods for all school children. Read More
Our world is becoming increasingly digital. Technology is integrated into all aspects of our lives and has transformed how we engage in most of our activities – work, play, communication, entertainment, shopping, recording, and creating of all kinds. How is this daily, hourly use of digital technology affecting us and our children?
Leah Kalish of Move with Me Yoga Adventures shares her insights in this guest post.
The Grow Your Health gardening, food & wellness festival seemed so important when it first launched in 2013, I left a yoga retreat early to make it back in time! I learned a ton that year and the following and am excited to return for next Saturday, March 28, for a third year. The featured film this year is GMO OMG.
In addition to all the great hour-long classes that parents might enjoy at 11:00 and 1:30, families can enjoy a “Gardening with Kids” class given by national volunteer organization FoodCorps during both sessions.
Parents who care about Real Food couldn’t have asked for a better display of enthusiasm for cooking than that shown by the poised and skilled young chefs who participated in the finals of the Real Food for Kids “KIDS COOK” competition Saturday. The six contestants, children in grades 4-8, took turns claiming the kitchen at the Clarendon Williams-Sonoma to whip up their own creations in front of a huge crowd.
The winner of the competition was Haven Clare Townsend, a 6th grader at White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, Virginia, with Thai Shrimp Noodles with Broccoli including homemade oyster sauce using gluten-free Tamari and organic ramen noodles.
To hear Takoma Park mom and strategic consultant Grace Ogden talk about attending a kirtan with Jai Uttal, one gets the impression that not taking your child would be like shielding her from a rainbow.
A kirtan is a participatory music event that can simultaneously calm and energize the spirit. The experience of chanting, usually in Sanskrit, is aimed to be a healing one, helping participants connect to their heart and more generally to a shared vibration and bigger sense of spirit. A father himself, Jai has a joyful spirit, Grace says, that creates an inclusive and loving vibe for the musical chant-dance experience.
On Thursday, October 23, Grace’s event-planning firm, Grace Productions, is partnering with BuddhaFest to bring Jai Uttal and mantra performer Gaura Vani to the Spectrum Theatre at Artisphere in Rosslyn, Arlington. The event runs from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.
Grace says that a kirtan typically becomes more energetic toward the end, like most any concert, but that it’s completely normal for people to leave when they need to. She’s seen children come to kirtans in pajamas if they have a long drive home. Children under age five get in free. Tickets for children ages six to seventeen are $10, and adult tickets are $30, but Grace emphasizes that the event welcomes everyone and that no one will be turned away.
Grace has brought Jai to DC twice before, once for an evening performance suitable for all ages and in November 2013 for two events, including a Kids Kirtan geared to young children. Jai includes children’s voices in his Kirtan Kids CD, and DC-area parents wanted a child-focused event that would include the funny stories about Hanuman. Stories about the mischievous monkey help children connect with their understanding of themselves.
When Jai performs for a mixed-age crowd, he begins the show by inviting children to come to the front where they can dance, usually layering themselves naturally with little children closest to the stage and the taller ones in back.
For those who have never attended a kirtan, Grace says not to worry if you’re not familiar with Hindu traditions or Sanskrit words. The music, she says, “lights up the heart, connects us universal qualities that are present in all of life. It’s just like singing about the sun or the moon or a radiant flower.” The chants evoke feelings of “joy, beauty, safety, love, healing, forgiveness, and inspiration,” Grace says, adding that Jai has a “natural awareness of and connection to children’s energy.” Being so loving and respectful of children and approaching his work with such joy helps children feel at ease participating in the experience, which is not a quiet one. In fact, it’s loud and interactive, Grace emphasizes. Jai studied in India and was led on a spiritual path that includes concerts and retreats, but he also is a Grammy-nominated artist with a varied background in jazz and many forms of world music.
At the kids’ kirtan, Grace’s daughter, Julia, aged 11, hung back as one of the older children in the crowd. But at the all-ages evening event like the one happening Thursday, Julia “danced her sweet self into a state of bliss.” It was exciting for a child to see talented musicians so happy to play to her, just six or eight feet away in a very immediate experience unlike most concerts. Julia was “seen and touched in her heart and inspired” to be invited into participation, Grace says, adding of watching all children at a Jai kirtan: “I love that they are awakened into the light of music.”
Grace says that Jai’s performances inspire joy. “It’s hard to just get joy straight off” in the midst of our complicated and stressful lives, she says, so Thursday’s kirtan is just the ticket if you’re looking to be in a space of joy with your children.
To see a video of last year’s Kids Kirtan in Silver Spring, see the Willow Street Yoga Facebook page.
Photo credit: Christine Alicino
Disclosure: I was offered free admission for my family to attend this event.
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At the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27, we learned about many wonderful recording artists, authors and others providing support for yoga with children and providing training.
Check out this list of Resources for Children’s Yoga taken from the conference exhibitors, sponsors and speakers and organizations mentioned by speakers and exhibitors.
Some of the best summer options for kids are the ones planned by passionate people in the promising weeks of spring, long after special issues of camp round-ups have gone to press and summer fairs have introduced hopeful parents to what seem like the only options. Not so, as I learned when I put together a list of unique camps and yoga camps for the summer, a compendium I hope to grow next year.
It had been a while since I had seen owner Suzanne Leitner-Wise, the leader of a fabulous yoga retreat I went on when I was seventh months pregnant in 2010, and I hadn’t yet made it to her gorgeous new studio. Talk about light and airy! And its front room contains two beautiful couches and a lovely array of clothing, books, jewelry and art.
The camp was planned as a weeklong experience but also offered a drop-in daily option, which worked great for us since we had other afternoon commitments a few of the days this week. It’s important to me that my kids learn to see yoga as a fun and healthy way to feel centered and grounded. And sometimes, they need to see that from another person! (I hope to learn more and get inspired to integrate yoga into our home life more this fall at the first National Kids Yoga Conference on September 27).
My children attended 532’s Kids Corner yoga camp on Monday and had a great time. When I arrived early for pick-up, energetic and bubbly teacher Lisa Sonntag — a special education teacher in Fairfax County, a certified yoga teacher, and an experienced camp counselor — said she could not believe how quickly the time flew. “Miss Lisa” shared that the children did an early savasana after a first half of class full of active asanas, or poses,
They then moved on to snack and crafts, including braiding yarn and making and coloring a “You Can Do Yoga” booklet and an accompanying coloring book/journal to be used through the week.
I sat with the class as Lisa closed that first day with a reading (peppered by lively discussion) of the Dr. Seuss book, My Many-Colored Days, which associates different emotions with different colors.
During the class, while I enjoyed some kid-free time at the Starbucks across the street, I sent Lisa some questions for further reflection.
In addition to accepting drop-ins through this session’s final day, July 18, 532Yoga will repeat this kids camp with Lisa Sonntag the week of August 4-8. Interested parties can contact the studio to inquire about a sibling discount or register through the workshops page on its scheduling site.
Disclosure: I received a discount on drop-in tuition for my two children in exchange for writing this post and sharing information about the camp.