Every Day Is Valentine’s Day

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I had to share these photos that I took in one of my kids yoga classes yesterday. My theme was Every Day Is Valentine’s Day. We pretended we were Cupid (none of the kids knew who Cupid was). Sending love, chocolate and lollipops to anyone who was sad or needed extra kisses. It was so sweet.


Yoga Isn’t Just For Kids


Now that school is back in session, so are my kids yoga classes. This past week I’ve slowly eased back into my teaching. I taught two classes in East Orange to kids who have suffered trauma and now demonstrate severe emotional and behavioral issues. I will admit to being a bit nervous about resuming teaching there. Before I enter the Center, I take a few minutes in my car to center myself.  I pray and ask for guidance and support to best serve the kids. I send Reiki to myself and the room. I slather myself in calming essential oils and off I go. The classes I taught this week are the “easy” ones. The kids are younger and, for the most part, not as affected. Yet, I was cursed at, called stupid, had my props thrown across the room and a child tried to kick me. This particular child knew me from last year so I was surprised at his reaction. I do my best to stay calm and present to them an adult that will not react to them by yelling or getting overly upset.

I also led my free kids yoga class at Shatki Yoga. I had 20 kids (!!!!) in my class.  While my class is geared for kids ages 3-7, most of the kids were on the younger side. This free class always draws a large crowd. We like to offer a free class a few times a year so the kids can try the class before the series begins and the parents can see how it goes. This free class is a bit different than the classes I teach in the rest of the series simply because there are so many kids. I had an assistant this time which helped tremendously. What usually happens is one child asks to use the bathroom and then every single child has to go. With that amount of young kids, I needed an extra set of hands. All the kids seemed to have a lot of fun. So did I.

On Friday I visited Karma Kids Yoga. I became certified to teach kids yoga through this studio and I have continued to take numerous trainings they offer. One of the great things that the director, Shari, extends to graduates is the opportunity to observe classes. Since I don’t begin to teach on Fridays for another two weeks, I took the opportunity to head into the city and observe a 3-4 year old yoga class.

karma kids room

The studio is filled with butterflies, bright colors and fun. It was great to watch the teacher. It made me feel a lot better about my own teaching since her class was very similar to the ones that I teach. Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing a good enough job but observing this class helped increase my self confidence. The teachers who teach there are so lucky as the studio is filled with amazing props right at their fingertips.

Lastly, I volunteered to teach a free kids yoga class for my community on Saturday afternoon for the Maplewood Loves Wellness event. Even though I had just taught a free class a few days before, I still felt compelled to offer my service at this event. I assumed there could be families who weren’t aware of my class at Shakti. There really isn’t a way to prepare for an event like this. The event was like a street fair. My class was announced over a microphone and kids started to come over. I had kids ranging in age from 2-12. We sang some songs, did sun salutations and breath work as parents and passerby’s walked by.

All in all, it was a nice transition week back to teaching. Plus I was also able to give two in person Reiki sessions and one long distance session. I’m thankful to be able to continue offering healing energy sessions in addition to teaching kids yoga. As the weeks go on, I will be teaching at a preschool and an enrichment program at my daughter’s elementary school. Summer was great while it lasted!

Read It and Believe It

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a group of kids that I teach. I think about these kids all the time. Honestly, I think about all the kids that I teach all the time. I spend a ton of time online, searching blogs and websites to get ideas and things to do in my yoga classes. I buy books and props to use in my classes. I’m always on the lookout on how I can best serve my students.

I am really enjoying the Nurture Affirmation cards. The kids love looking at the pictures and try to read the affirmations on their own. The other morning, my daughters and I picked out a card for ourselves. It was a fun way to start the day.

I told the creator of the cards, Roxanne, that she should create affirmation stickers to go along with the cards. I’ve been craving a way to give the kids a take away, something they can have for the rest of the day. This morning, as I was preparing to teach, I thought of purchasing tattoo markers.

I gave each child a card and we took turns reading each card out loud. Then I told them that I was going to write one word on their hand with a tattoo marker. As you can imagine, this was a big hit! I had only intended to write down one word that was on the card on each student, but then one child asked for two words, then three words, so I ended up writing three words on each child. I wrote words like love, helpful, and courage.

The children told me they were never going to wash their hands or arms. One child said he wanted to keep the words on his arm to remember me. I just hope they  know and feel love, helpful and courage.





More Than Words

nurture cards

I’ve been teaching yoga to children for nearly two years. I never imagined myself in this position and yet here I am, doing my best to serve my students. My intention when I teach kids is to get them to smile. It sounds easy, doesn’t it?  But that’s not always the case.

I teach four classes a week to children who have suffered trauma and now demonstrate severe emotional and behavioral issues. Most, if not all, do not live with both of their biological parents. Some are adopted but aren’t aware of that. Some have one or both of their parents incarnated. Some have been expelled or suspended from school at age 5. Most of my kids can’t sit still. They will tell me “Miss Judie, I can’t help myself. I can’t stop moving.” Of course sweetheart, I think, this is not your fault.

I do my best to introduce props, songs, books, whatever I can to brighten their day. I bring in my Tibetan healing bowl. I bring in essential oils and crystals. I give out coloring sheets and stickers.

I recently entered a contest to win a deck of Nurture Cards: Affirmation Cards for Children. OMazing Kids is an AMAZING website with fabulous resources for anyone who works with children. OMazing Kids offers contests on what seems like on a daily basis. I am so grateful to them!!!

I was SO HAPPY to have won the contest. Even though the cards were shipped from Australia, they arrived very quickly. I was able to use them in my classes this afternoon. I put a card on each mat. Most of the kids do not know how to read but the ones that did took pride in reading the affirmations. I read every single affirmation. As I expected, the kids loved the cards.

Some of the affirmations were “I love myself for all that I am” and “I enjoy doing my very best in all that I do” and “I am happy to forgive the people that I love.” When one of the students got that card, we spoke about forgiveness. It was such a sweet conversation.

I wish I could show you every card! I especially love how the cards feature faces of all different skin tones. I have used yoga cards with these kids before and they once asked me how come none of the kids in the cards had brown skin. Hmm, good question! Now I specifically search for cards that have all skin colorings.

Thank you Angela at OMazing Kids and Roxanne from Nurture Cards. The world is a better place because of you.

Blog Brag

I wanted to share with you my latest yoga article. I titled this post Blog Brag because I feel like bragging a bit.  The two girls in the photos are my two daughters.  Alessandra turns 7 in June.  She loves yoga.  She takes two of my classes. Sofia turns 9 in May. She has taken different yoga classes, mine included, but prefers activities like soccer and karate.  Alessandra takes karate too but Sofia really loves it. I don’t hold it against Sofia 🙂

My girls have shown me a lot.  They have shown me my shadow, aka, dark side. I always thought of myself as an easy going person, until Sofia turned about 2 and started saying no, throwing tantrums and not doing what I asked her to do. I was shocked. I was a very obedient child and assumed my own children would be the same. HA! Laughs on me.

I think that is a huge aspect of parenting. Again, I always considered myself open minded but nevertheless, I had a subconscious expectation of what I expected my children to be. I once read an article that featured parents who had biological children and adopted children. One mother said that with her biological kids, she had high expectations but with her adopted children, it was great because she didn’t know what to expect so she accepted everything.

I never forgot that sentence. I keep it in mind when I start getting annoyed at their messy room or markers left on the table. What can I expect? I’m messy too 🙂

Smell This!

Last week I got together with a few other health and wellness moms for our spiritual book club. (Side note: our book club is called Mamaste).

The host uses essential oils and I asked her to give us a quick run down on the types of oils she uses and their purpose.  She uses a brand called Young Living.  A few years ago an acquaintance of mine got into these oils too.  I purchased a starter kit. While they smelled wonderful, I just didn’t know exactly how to use them. I know lavender is supposed to be calming, but Continue reading

Yoga and Going With The Flow

As suspected, my life is becoming more and more immersed with yoga. As part of my training, I am reading Jivamutkti Yoga by Shannon Gannon and David Life. I’ve only begun reading it but I am already in love. I feel like I already know all this. I am simply remembering. It’s a wild feeling. I cannot wait to check out their studio in the city.

Even though I am overwhelmed with the amount of work and reading that I have to do within the next few months, I keep on reminding myself to breathe. I am also reminded to go with the flow. For the first time that I can truly remember, I went with the flow this week. I was asked to  Continue reading