Resources

International Day of Yoga http://idayofyoga.org/
Patanjali Yogpeeth http://www.pyptusa.org/
Isha Foundation http://www.ishafoundation.org/
Art of Living http://www.artofliving.org/
Gayatri Pariwar http://www.awgp.org/
AYUSH http://www.indianmedicine.nic.in/
Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga http://www.yogamdniy.nic.in/

International Yoga Day features yoga for kids and families

Like a blossoming flower, the benefits of yoga are like each unfurling petal.

Yoga and all of its elements—including making good choices for yourself and others, mindful breathing, cultivating concentration and focus, as well as poses or asanas—help people of all ages grow and blossom into their most authentic selves. Indeed, a myriad of research shows what many have known for centuries: people of all ages who practice yoga are empowered to better manage emotions, stress and energy levels.

While most studies and programs are designed to help adults become stronger and better manage stress, there is mounting research that youth and families also gain important life-skills from practicing yoga on and off the mat.

Just like adults, when youth experience stress or strong emotions with which they are unable to handle, their brains literally do not function to their greatest capacity. In order to maintain high cognitive functioning and succeed academically and socially, kids must learn tools and techniques to self-regulate their own stress, emotions and energy levels.

And since stress often happens before leaving our own front doors at home, it follows that family yoga classes and programs can improve the stress-levels among youth and their families thereby expanding a sense of connection and support by putting increased love into action.

Toward adding more love and tools to foster calmness among youth and their families, including as a way to celebrate dads on Father’s Day, International Yoga Day Houston will feature yoga for kids and families led by the Houston-based, Yogiños: Yoga for Youth®.

Yogiños for kids ages 3+ takes place at the Main Stage, 12:30 p.m-1p.m. Families with yogis of all ages can play and pose with Yogiños for Families near the main stage from 1:15-2 p.m.

Yogiños: Yoga for Youth® classes for kids and families are similar to adult yoga classes as Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras.

This eight-limbed path that forms the foundation for most yoga classes—including the one for adults on the Main Stage 9:30 a.m-12 noon—also provides the structural framework for the foundation of Yogiños: Yoga for Youth®. Using the 8 limbs of yoga not only teaches participants to have respect and awareness for self, others and the environment, but also encourages youth and families to weave yoga into their daily lives both on and off the yoga mat.

For simplification, we call practicing the Eight Limbs of yoga on and off your mat being “OHMazing®!”

We teach youth and families this powerful philosophical concept by defining OM as all things are interconnected, or, as stated in the first verse of the Upanishads, all is OM. We then discuss the meaning of amazing: cool, super cool, really great, and so on.

From here we share that when we make “super cool” and positive choices to be mindful that all things—including us!—are interconnected, that is OHMazing®.

During Yogiños classes we discuss that as humans we are OHMazing®, along with the fact that we must consciously practice making OHMazing® choices.

When we make amazing choices for ourselves, others and the environment, that is OHMazing®! Or as Yogiños: Yoga for Youth® Instructor and Team Member, Athea Davis, states, “Family yoga is the bridge that will bring our world communities together in peace, purpose, and possibility. And, family yoga is awesomesauce!”

The first International Day of Yoga will be held on Sunday, June 21,from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The Consulate General of India, Houston will conduct the celebration in close coordination with Patanjali Yogpeeth (USA) and numerous other Yoga schools, institutions, and social and cultural organizations. Participants are encouraged to register online for free at the event website (http://iyogadayhouston.org/) which is mandatory for participation.

Elizabeth “Beth” Reese, Ph.D., E-RYT, RCYT, is the founder and executive director of Yogiños: Yoga for Youth®. Through YYY Beth has authored award-winning, bilingual DVDs, CDs, and other printed and digital teaching materials, including the Online Studio & Resource site, The OHMazing® Way. YYY offers pre K-12 schools in-services and special Toolkits for integrating Mindful & OHMazing® Strategies for Students and Teachers. Beth is a teacher with over 25 years of experience with preK-12 grades in art, windsurfing, skiing, and yoga.

She is also a researcher and published writer, having authored numerous chapters in academic texts along with a four-year weekly newspaper column. Beth has a PhD in art museum education and has taught art history, art museum education and museum studies at the University-level. A yoga practitioner for over 16 years, Beth is the mother of three OHMazing® yogis under the age of 16. Her oldest daughter, Jordan, is part of the inspiration for Yogiños: Yoga for Youth® as she learned to navigate challenges associated with Sensory-Integration “Disorder” through practicing yoga on and off the mat.