Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Little Yogis

Who would think that kids love meditation? Freeze in #lotuspose or #littlebuddha. Then you can hear all sorts of outside sounds and noises... maybe incuding butterfly wings clapping?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10 Benefits of Restorative Yoga

I used to be more into strong, core or cardio exercising... Naturally, I slow down in my practice now, including in yoga, and pay more attention to myself.. And apparently, for a good reason!

"With the explosion of yoga in the West, there’s been an influx of yoga styles, each expressing their own blend of breathing, poses, meditation, chanting, relaxation, and philosophy. Restorative yoga, a practice that leads the yogi toward a more healing and recuperative experience, ushers in a host of wonderful benefits that are often overshadowed by the popularity and visibility of more dynamic yoga styles.
A restorative practice frequently relies on the use of props and the prolonged holding of a few simple poses to achieve a deep level of relaxation. “Restorative yoga” can also be an umbrella term that encompasses several sub-styles of relaxation and healing-based Hatha yoga practices.
But what exactly makes this style of yoga unique? Here are some of the benefits a restorative yoga practice has to offer.
Slows Down the Pace of Life
Restorative yoga is an excellent opportunity to disconnect from the frenetic activity of daily life and let your speedometer return to 0 mph. It offers a welcome respite among all the turbulence of life and helps to prepare the mind and body for the inward stroke of meditation and deepened awareness. Moving slowly through the poses allows you to explore your mind and body at a steady and natural tempo.
Soothing to the Nervous System
The slower pace and deep breathing that you get in a restorative yoga class triggers the parasympathetic nervous system from the very first pose. This activation helps to mitigate the effects of the regular fight-or-flight stress response that can be damaging to your physiology and well-being. The overall calming effect on the nervous system sets a deeply relaxing tone for the class that comforts your mind and body down to the cellular level.
Encourages Mindfulness
Restorative yoga could just as easily be called “mindful yoga” due to the expanded awareness of self and body that comes through the practice. Slower movements cultivate space for a deeper experience of the poses and the breath. Awareness of the physical sensations, the thoughts or emotions that arise, or sounds in the environment, can all take on a much more profound significance in the depth of the restorative practice. Simply put, you’re able to notice and feel more of the world through your yoga experience.
Fosters Transcendence
On the whole, many forms of Hatha yoga are considered a precursor to extended periods of meditation. Through the practice, muscles, joints, and subtle energy centers are enlivened to help facilitate a deeper and more comfortable experience of meditation. However, the practice of restorative yoga in and of itself often leads to a transcendent experience of deep oneness with the universal level of consciousness. Each pose and each breath serves to lead you further up the ladder of expanded awareness. As the practice expands, the vehicle of yoga carries you from the waking state of consciousness into the silent space between your thoughts—the space from where you’re able to glimpse the soul and awaken the divinity within.
Cultivates Heightened Body Awareness
The comfortable pace of restorative yoga opens the doorway to a deeper understanding of your own body, letting you actually feel what it means to be a spiritual being having a human experience. Sadly, many people aren’t intimate with their own bodies. Through a restorative yoga practice, however, such intimacy can be explored and embraced. Deeper levels of bodily strengths can be integrated and owned and a more profound sense of self-love and acceptance can emerge.
Deepens Self-Awareness and Introspection
The subdued quality of a restorative yoga class often helps you draw attention inward and away from external events and situations of the world. With your awareness directed within, the practice becomes a sanctuary for the mind and spirit from which you can take a deeper look at who you are, what you want, and how you can serve the world. Restorative yoga opens us up to new levels of self-exploration and contemplation, allowing your inner being to shine forth.
Creates Deliberateness of Action
Through the mindfulness of the practice, you become increasingly aware of your actions or karmas, and how they influence your level of comfort or discomfort. You can see the direct cause and effect relationship between your poses, breathing, and overall level of well-being. As this experience continues to deepen, you begin to make more deliberate and attentive choices, both on and off the mat.
Strengthens Acceptance and Detachment
By its very nature, the restorative yoga practice is the antithesis of the “no-pain-no-gain” mentality. You receive the greatest benefits from your practice not through forcing yourself into a pose, but by releasing and surrendering to it. This mentality helps to cultivate acceptance of your body and its inherent limitations. Further, it strengthens your ability to let go of preconceived notions of your body and how you think it should look or feel, both in and out of a pose. When increased ease and comfort are the theme of your yoga practice, acceptance and detachment naturally emerge as a result.
Helps You Feel Safe and Nurtured
In daily life it’s easy to get pulled into the insecurity that is a byproduct of the modern world. Many people move through their days haunted by fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Restorative yoga provides you with a safe harbor wherein you can reconnect with your true nature, which is immortal, invincible, pure, and nourishing. Making that connection through your poses, breathing, and deep relaxation restores the memory of who you are and helps you to reclaim the fearless nature of your soul. From this refuge, you emerge feeling secure in the inherent goodness within your heart and in the world.
Connects You to the Divine and Establishes You in Pure Being
The ultimate goal of yoga is union with the divine. Therefore, your practice should be a means to that end. Luckily, restorative yoga is the perfect vehicle to help you reconnect with the divinity within. Through the techniques of the practice, you awaken grace, poise, flexibility, balance, strength, and present moment awareness. This combination creates a mind and body ideally suited for seamlessly merging into the non-local field of awareness, or pure being.
As a tool for self-transformation, restorative yoga facilitates the integration of all the layers of life—environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual—culminating in the goal of all goals, awakening to your own divine nature.
The benefits listed here may not be isolated solely to restorative yoga, but they are some of the most defining benefits to this type of practice. If you’ve never explored this style of yoga, this is your open invitation."


Thursday, November 17, 2016

One simple method to teach your child not to interrupt

A simple trick to implement at home!

"Often, my kids are just BURSTING to tell me something, and will come straight up to me and tell me what’s on their mind regardless of whether I am already talking to someone.
Well, they used to.
That was before I saw this truly genius little technique.
I was chatting with her one day when her (then 3-year-old) son wanted to say something. Instead of interrupting though, he simply placed his hand on her wrist and waited. My friend placed her hand over his to acknowledge him and we continued chatting.
After she had finished what she was saying, she turned to him. I was in awe! So simple. So gentle. So respectful of both the child and the adult. Her son only needed to wait a few seconds for my friend to finish her sentence. Then she gave him her complete attention.
My husband and I started implementing this straight away. We explained to Jack and Sarah that if they want to talk and someone is already speaking, they need to place their hand on our wrist and wait. It took some practice and a few light taps on our own wrists as gentle reminders but I am so happy to report that the interrupting has all but stopped!
No more, ‘wait‘. No more, ‘Please don’t interrupt‘. Just a simple gesture; a little touch of the wrist. That’s all.
Give it a try. It works!"


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bringing Kids Yoga to Schools

We're lucky to have a wide range of schools in Singapore, and lots of them are getting more and more aware of the benefits of mindfulness, yoga ect..
Here are a few reasons why yoga is such a big gift for our children:

It is undeniable that kids also experience stress, and one of the most stressful places they spend a lot of time in is school. The endlessly increasing spirit of competition and achievement, the social struggle, busy schedules and very stressed out role models (teachers and parents) make the children’s lives a constant struggle.
  Schools are supposed to be an environment that supports the kids in their growth and study, but it is long proven that stress is a factor that inhibits this development.

What We Don’t Learn in School

We learn many things in school, mainly so-called “facts”, but we don’t receive there many tools that will help us live a better life. Here are a few of the most important things that can support and enhance our lives but are absent of most schools curriculums:

  1. How to be happy.
  1. How to manage emotions.
  1. How to communicate in a positive way.
  1. How to keep our body healthy.
  1. How to feel connected to our selves and be respectful of our bodies.
  1. How to increase our self-esteem.
  1. How to develop self-control – rather than how to be controlled better by adults.
  1. How to concentrate.
  1. How to relax and find some peace of mind.
  1. How to be creative and how to think independently.
  1. In fact, we don’t even learn in school how to study.

Yoga offers tools to imbibe these skills that can create a healthier and well-adapted future generation.
Yoga offers tools to imbibe these skills that can create a healthier and well-adapted future generation.
Why Kids Get Stressed in School?
The competitive and goal-oriented nature of most schools creates social phobias, exam anxiety, and even insomnia. The non-competitive spirit of yoga and the focus on the well being of your self and your environment can help cure some of those negative effects.
Kids suffer in schools not just from mental stress but also from physical tension. Sitting still for long hours in awkward poses and carrying heavy bags creates a lot of employment for pediatricians and orthopedists. When kids are bent over their desks, they find it hard to concentrate, breathe properly, and even stay awake.
Small changes in the way kids sit and breathe can make a big difference in their ability to stay focused and to learn.
School curriculums were created by people who have maybe forgotten how it was to be kids, and include expectations that cannot be fulfilled even by most adults – can you sit for 5 or more hours a day and listen to a lecture without moving and fidgeting?
A couple of stretches and a few deep breaths with kids yoga every few minutes can help greatly in keeping the kids’ attention throughout a class.
How Yoga Can Help Both Teachers And Kids
It’s important to remember that kids learn through example and that having stressed out teachers can also create stressed children.
Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach…so maybe if we could give school teachers some yoga tools to incorporate in their classroom teaching throughout the day, we will also have better role models for the kids to look up to and imitate. And of course, you can also offer weekly adult yoga classes for the schoolteachers.
Yoga also provides a way to learn through movement and breathing and imagination. Kids are not all the same, and although many of them are auditorial learners and do well at school, many of them learn better through moving creating and visualizing.
A lot of the tools we learn in yoga can be adapted and applied to fit classroom settings where we cannot move the tables and chairs and put down our yoga mats on the floor. Even while sitting on a chair, we can still:
  1. Stretch and do yoga poses
  2. Breathe
  3. Use guided imagery and relax
  4. Meditate
  5. Positively interact with our neighbors
Some schools do not have the space or the budget to have weekly yoga classes, and even in places that do have regular yoga sessions, the benefits of yoga can penetrate much more deeply and be greatly enhanced if they become a part of the students’ daily routine in the classroom.
There are not many spaces in life now, where kids get a chance to relax, to look inward, and explore what they’re feeling and who they really are.