Tag - children

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Self-Regulation in the Digital World – A Necessary Balance (+ giveaway)
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Grow Your Health festival to screen GMO OMG
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Real Food for Kids brings young chef competition to Williams-Sonoma
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Kirtan performer Jai Uttal brings family-friendly experience to Arlington
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Resources for Children’s Yoga
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Yoga Camp at 532 Yoga
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Visionary Mom Inspires Play-In for Climate Action
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Moms speak out: what Mother’s Day really means (+ giveaway)

Self-Regulation in the Digital World – A Necessary Balance (+ giveaway)

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.

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Grow Your Health festival to screen GMO OMG

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.

grow your health

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.

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Real Food for Kids brings young chef competition to Williams-Sonoma

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.

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Kirtan performer Jai Uttal brings family-friendly experience to Arlington

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.

Jai Uttal_FINAL_SUNDAY__low res

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.
Kidkirtan1Grace 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.

headlineWhen 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.

The kirtan is part of a larger bhakti tradition that aims to create “a dynamic flow of energy from the heart chakra,” according to The Expanding Light.

Click here to purchase tickets to Thursday’s event.

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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Resources for Children’s Yoga

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.

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Yoga Camp at 532 Yoga

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.

Last week I learned that 532Yoga in north Old Town Alexandria was offering a Kids Corner yoga camp.

532 yoga kids camp

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.

532 yoga camp group

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.

532 yoga camp book 2

During the class, while I enjoyed some kid-free time at the Starbucks across the street, I sent Lisa some questions for further reflection.

Mindful Healthy Life: What was your favorite thing about the first day at yoga camp?
Lisa Sonntag: I loved having the children feel comfortable and active at the studio. They talked a lot and showed me what yoga poses they could do already.
MHL: What made you want to teach a kids camp this summer?
Lisa: I have always been excited to be babysitting and teaching children either over the summer in a camp environment or during school. After getting my 200-hour yoga teacher certification this year, I just knew I would incorporate my love of yoga with my love of children!!
MHL: What are your goals for the campers?
Lisa: My main goal for the campers is to enjoy yoga and have a great time learning new things that they can do with their bodies and minds. The campers will be listening and visualizing during meditation activities, communicating their thoughts and feelings, playing games and hearing stories that promote movement with yoga poses.
MHL: What are your goals for yourself as a teacher of young children?
Lisa: My personal goal, as with all teaching that I do, is to instruct the child where they are at and help them learn to be the best that they can be. It is okay being different!
MHL: What made you decide to pursue yoga teacher training after working for so long as a special education teacher?
Lisa: I have always wanted to be a yoga teacher and as I continue to work as a special education teacher, I realized yoga would be beneficial to my students as well as for me personally. 

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.

Visionary Mom Inspires Play-In for Climate Action

Northern Virginia mother of two Heather Clark is so serious about climate change that she’s organized a day of play to playin_logodraw attention to it! On Wednesday, July 9, parents concerned about the effect air pollution is having on climate change will join Moms Clean Air Force for a Play-In for Climate Action on the Hill to raise awareness and demand action from politicians.

I had the chance to chat with Heather to learn more about how this event came about. As principal of the Biome Studio, Heather has long been passionate about sustainability. Her work is involved in visionary projects that start to change the places we live and the way those places behave with an eye toward zero energy communities.

Heather says, “We currently have the knowledge to redesign the places where we live so that they can power themselves with renewable energy, clean themselves with plants and micro-organisms, produce food organically, and provide habitat.  This is the type of work I do – I have firsthand experience that it is possible. By overcoming climate change, we will solve other problems in the process – toxic waste, air pollution, water pollution, habitat destruction, etc.  As a society, we just need the vision and will.”

350.org climate change childrenAfter Heather had her second child, now two years old, she spent more time researching climate change in particular. In February 2013, Heather attended her first protest since she was a teenager, the “Forward on Climate Rally” in Washington, DC organized by 350.org, an organization that has led global climate action events since 2009. She brought her children, aged 1 and 3 at the time, in a double stroller with a sleeping bag with a sign that read, “We need a future. Please! Stop dumping carbon.”

 

When Heather got loads of attention from photographers, NPR, and other reporters because of her children, she saw the promise of parents getting together around climate change.

Inspired by sit-ins for civil rights, Heather mulled the idea over for an organized action around climate change, initially envisioning something in Congressional buildings. “It’s hard not to notice kids playing in a government space,” she says, adding that she hopes Wednesday’s Play-In for Climate Action will be replicated by informal groups across the country of parents and their friends. Wednesday’s event took off after a friend of Heather’s at the Natural Resources Defense Council pointed Heather to Moms Clean Air Force, which got very excited and ran with the idea.

Heather Clark 1

Here is a modified version of Heather’s blog post for Moms Clean Air Force:

“I have tended to be fairly quiet about sharing my thoughts about climate change, until now. As a mother of two toddlers, I realized that creating a smaller carbon footprint at home is not enough. I am deeply concerned about what the world will look like in 2045 when my children are my age and having children of their own. Climate change threatens our food supply, our homes, our safety, and most importantly, the health of our children.

I first learned about climate change in seventh grade. Then I studied climate change in college, but it seemed so abstract and futuristic that I had a hard time believing it would happen. Somewhere between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, climate change became very real for me. Those storms prompted me to read climate change reports from the The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) formed by the United Nations, the Pentagon, NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, The U.S. National Climate Assessment and other sources.

On YouTube, I watched the Philippine representative at the UN Climate Summit announce his hunger strike, as he spoke tearfully about how climate change is devastating his country. I also began looking at flood maps of Cape Cod and Virginia Beach, where my sisters and parents live. I cringe when I think about the world our families will live in if we don’t do something now to curb climate change.

As a parent, I know that we must take action! After attending my first climate change rally when my kids were one and three, I experienced the power of children and families together, calling attention to climate change. I recently came up with the idea of a Play-In – a family-friendly event that gives parents the opportunity to demand action from our politicians.

Sadly, some polluters and politicians are doing everything in their power to undermine solutions As parents, we must vocalize our power by supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency efforts to regulate carbon at power plants.

Please join my family at the Play-In for Climate Action in Washington, DC on July 9, 2014. As parents, let’s join together and let our voices be heard loud and clear!”

play-in horizontal

Thanks to Heather for talking with us here at Mindful Healthy Life!

For more information on Wednesday’s event, which will take place 10 a.m. to 12 noon in Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill,  go to http://www.momscleanairforce.org/play-in-climate-action/ or the Facebook event page.

Attendees who register ahead of time are eligible to win either one organic crib mattress or two organic pillows from Naturepedic.

Here’s a glance at the schedule for the event:

10:00 – Arrival and sign-in

10:15-11:00 – Yoga with Holly Clay-Smith of lil omm yoga studio; Music with Rose Tootle; Parachute activity; poster-making

11:00-11:30 – Press conference

11:30-12:00 – March to Senate offices

Refreshments to be provided by MOM’s Organic Market

Moms speak out: what Mother’s Day really means (+ giveaway)

For lots of us, Mother’s Day brings more than a bouquet of organic roses; it brings up a lot of emotion about our role as daughter, mother, partner and more. Other than Scary Mommy.com‘s hilarious take on what mothers really want, most of the emails I saw about the day from blogs and businesses were beyond cheery. If I watched commercial TV, I expect I might have been overwhelmed by images of silk and sweets. The richness and complexity of this day often isn’t given adequate space. Read More

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