What is yoga?
Yoga came to Europe from ancient India. The 5000 year old discipline was designed to empower health, happiness and a greater sense of self.
Yoga is a way of moving our bodies and using our breath so that we can feel comfortable and calm in our bodies everyday. Asana is the word for poses that we do to stretch, strengthen and relax. Pranayama is the word for the way we use our breath to warm up, cool down, quiet the mind and stay alert.
Focusing on the breath while doing yoga based stretches and poses brings the physical body into balance with the mind.
Yoga also relates to how we live our lives, especially in terms of the way we treat others and ourselves.
Where is yoga from?
Yoga is thousands of years old; it began in the part of the world that is now the country of India. Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language and most yoga poses have Sanskrit names, that's why they sound a little funny.
What's with the name?
Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "yuj" which means to unite or bring together. Yoga helps us to feel connected, and that's a good thing!
kids yoga 6-12 years
For this age group I focus on yoga poses and alignment through stories, fun facts, yoga journeys to different cultures and countries and age group appropriate games.
For example a session theme could be to explore where yoga comes from, learning about India, we might listen to some indian music and learn about poses related to all things India. I always include breath work and relaxation as they are an important part of yoga and can be so beneficial for children in coping with life in school and all the ups and downs that come with this part of life.
I also like to encourage children to use their creativity and body awareness to come up with their own poses. We might read yoga stories together relating to how we can be good to ourselves (coping with emotions, stress relief, healthy eating) and express what we learn with yoga or we might look at how we can help the world we live in to be a better place (taking care of the environment, recycling, going by bike, etc)
teen yoga 11-16 years
With teens I focus very much on poses, alignment and their benefits for body and mind in our daily lives.
For example we might do a class focussing on stamina, building core or a leg strengthening class or we might learn about poses for concentration, stress relief and better sleep.
Growing to be young adults can be a stressful time in itself.
Yoga and mindfulness practices like relaxation, visualization and breathwork techniques can help us build confidence and self esteem about ourselves and our bodies and it can help us cope with anxiety, worry and anger.
Therefore in my teen classes I show poses that help with emotional stress, for example during exam time as well as working with stories and discussions about friendship, kindness and respect for ourselves, each other and our differences.
'Anti-bullying, health and wellness, and character education are
common themes in schools today, all focusing on educating the whole
child, mind, body and spirit. Yoga, by nature, supports this learning.'
As a working mum I know how busy life can get and how little time is left for quality family time. To take the time to connect again, to have fun together, to play together, to snuggle up together, to relax together, simply to spend quality time together as a family is what doing yoga together as a family can be. To strengthen our connection as a family while doing something great for our minds and bodies is what we aim for in our Family Yoga Class.
In this class we have fun experiencing yoga as a family team, we might go to the jungle together or take a trip to the beach. We do partner poses, breathe together, play games together, sing together and then we snuggle up and relax together while listening to a story and letting our imagination fly together. Sounds like fun? Let's do family yoga together.