Monday, March 26, 2018

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.
  2. How to manage emotions.
  3. How to communicate in a positive way.
  4. How to keep our body healthy.
  5. How to feel connected to our selves and be respectful of our bodies.
  6. How to increase our self-esteem.
  7. How to develop self-control – rather than how to be controlled better by adults.
  8. How to concentrate.
  9. How to relax and find some peace of mind.
  10. How to be creative and how to think independently.
  11. 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.

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. 
Yoga can give us tools to be better prepared for studying, for an exam, and even for life.



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Falling in Love with the Earth

We and the Earth are One
The Earth is our mother, nourishing and protecting us in every moment–giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink, food to eat and healing herbs to cure us when we are sick. Every breath we inhale contains our planet’s nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor and trace elements. When we breathe with mindfulness, we can experience our interbeing with the Earth’s delicate atmosphere, with all the plants, and even with the sun, whose light makes possible the miracle of photosynthesis. With every breath, we can experience communion. With every breath, we can savor the wonders of life.

We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things. We need to realise that the Earth is not just our environment. The Earth is not something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you–what you see is not your environment, it is you.

Great Mother Earth
Whatever nationality or culture we belong to, whatever religion we follow, whether we’re Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, or atheists, we can all see that the Earth is not inert matter. She is a great being, who has herself given birth to many other great beings–including Buddhas and bodhisattvas, prophets and saints, sons and daughters of God and humankind. The Earth is a loving mother, nurturing and protecting all peoples and all species without discrimination.

When you realise the Earth is so much more than simply your environment, you’ll be moved to protect her in the same way as you would yourself. This is the kind of awareness, the kind of awakening that we need, and the future of the planet depends on whether we’re able to cultivate this insight or not. The Earth and all species on Earth are in real danger. Yet if we can develop a deep relationship with the Earth, we’ll have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change our way of life.

Falling in Love
We can all experience a feeling of deep admiration and love when we see the great harmony, elegance and beauty of the Earth. A simple branch of a cherry blossom, the shell of a snail or the wing of a bat–all bear witness to the Earth’s masterful creativity. Every advance in our scientific understanding deepens our admiration and love for this wondrous planet. When we can truly see and understand the Earth, love is born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: To be at one.

Only when we’ve truly fallen back in love with the Earth will our actions spring from reverence, and the insight of our interconnectedness. Yet many of us have become alienated from the Earth. We are lost, isolated and lonely. We work too hard, our lives are too busy, and we are restless and distracted, losing ourselves in consumption. But the Earth is always there for us, offering us everything we need for our nourishment and healing: The miraculous grain of corn, the refreshing stream, the fragrant forest, the majestic snow-capped mountain peak, and the joyful birdsong at dawn.
True Happiness is Made of Love
Many of us think we need more money, more power or more status before we can be happy. We’re so busy spending our lives chasing after money, power and status that we ignore all the conditions for happiness already available. At the same time, we lose ourselves in buying and consuming things we don’t need, putting a heavy strain on both our bodies and the planet. Yet much of what we drink, eat, watch, read or listen to, is toxic and is polluting our bodies and minds with violence, anger, fear and despair.

As well as the carbon dioxide pollution of our physical environment, we can speak of the spiritual pollution of our human environment: The toxic and destructive atmosphere we’re creating with our way of consuming. We need to consume in such a way that truly sustains our peace and happiness. Only when we’re sustainable as humans will our civilization become sustainable. It is possible to be happy in the here and the now.

We don’t need to consume a lot to be happy; in fact, we can live very simply. With mindfulness, any moment can become a happy moment. Savoring one simple breath, taking a moment to stop and contemplate the bright blue sky, or to fully enjoy the presence of a loved one, can be more than enough to make us happy. Each one of us needs to come back to reconnect with ourselves, with our loved ones and with the Earth. It’s not money, power or consuming that can make us happy, but having love and understanding in our heart.

The Bread in Your Hand is the Body of the Cosmos
We need to consume in such a way that keeps our compassion alive. And yet many of us consume in a way that is very violent. Forests are cut down to raise cattle for beef, or to grow grain for liquor, while millions in the world are dying of starvation. Reducing the amount of meat we eat and alcohol we consume by 50% is a true act of love for ourselves, for the Earth and for one another. Eating with compassion can already help transform the situation our planet is facing, and restore balance to ourselves and the Earth.

Nothing is More Important than Brotherhood and Sisterhood
There’s a revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside each one of us. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth. We’ve been homo sapiens for a long time. Now it’s time to become homo conscious. Our love and admiration for the Earth has the power to unite us and remove all boundaries, separation and discrimination. Centuries of individualism and competition have brought about tremendous destruction and alienation. We need to re-establish true communication–true communion–with ourselves, with the Earth, and with one another, as children of the same mother. We need more than new technology to protect the planet. We need real community and co-operation.

All civilisations are impermanent and must come to an end one day. But if we continue on our current course, there’s no doubt that our civilisation will be destroyed sooner than we think. The Earth may need millions of years to heal, to retrieve her balance and restore her beauty. She will be able to recover, but we humans and many other species will disappear, until the Earth can generate conditions to bring us forth again in new forms. Once we can accept the impermanence of our civilization with peace, we will be liberated from our fear. Only then will we have the strength, awakening and love we need to bring us together. Cherishing our precious Earth–falling in love with the Earth–is not an obligation. It is a matter of personal and collective happiness and survival.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Happy Women’s Day!

#girlsrock #acroyoga #strength#atouteslesfemmesdemavie
#momanddaughter #kidsyoga#yogaoutside #yogaatthebeach #yogalove#memepaspeur

Our Kids are Stressed

Adulting is hard, but so is kid-ing. In fact, kids are more stressed than ever. Meditation can give them perspective on their thoughts and feelings the same way it does for us. Try this practice from yoga teacher and author Susan Verde with your child.

According to a 2010 American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America Survey, almost a third of children studied reported that in the last month had experienced a physical health symptom often associated with stress, such as head and stomachaches or trouble falling or staying asleep. What’s more, parents often don’t realize that their own stress impacts their kids. While 69 percent of parents surveyed by APA said their stress had only a “slight or no” impact on their kids, just 14 percent of youth say their parents’ stress doesn’t bother them.

What Is Stressing Kids Out?

Transitions, such as switching schools or relocating residences, and over-packed schedules are common stressors, says Susan Verde, a yoga and mindfulness teacher and best-selling children’s author whose new book, I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness is out this month.
“It’s hard to shift gears and be on-the go all the time,” Verde says. In addition, “Sitting still for so many hours in school, the adrenaline just pools—it doesn’t have anywhere to go.” And, there are social pressures, too. “Being a teenager is difficult to begin with. Today’s teens are constantly bombarded with tragedy and scary things through the media, and with social media, there’s the ability to post, threaten, and smear, which revs up the nervous system. They’re not at an emotional age to process it all or put it into context,” Verde says.

What Can Help Kids Handle Stress?

For those who care to embrace it, the practice of mindfulness, and attending to the present moment in a non-judgmental way can be of help, Verde says. “Once you cultivate mindfulness within yourself, you are able to find your own inner calm and inner peace. Once you do that, you can share it outward.”
Along with their kids, parents would serve themselves well by developing such internal awareness, too, she points out. “You can’t really care for others until you can care for yourself. And you can’t be kind, peaceful, and lovely to others, if you’re not finding that within yourself.”
To implement more mindful habits into your own life, begin to pause more—to stop, notice, and check in with yourself and the world around you, Verde says. “When I say, ‘do mindfulness,’ I mean check in with you. If you’re feeling an emotion, pause, and notice where you’re feeling it in your body. Don’t judge your feelings, just recognize and acknowledge them and let them pass,” she says. “Find your breath. Breathing more deeply in through your nose and out, calms the nervous system. This can make you feel empowered…like life is manageable.”

How to Introduce Mindfulness to Kids

To introduce the concept to kids, lead by example. “When having a conversation with your child, “Put down your phone and listen to what they’re saying. Look them in the eye and let them know they’re being heard,” Verde says.
And, release expectations, Verde says. “You don’t have to sit in meditation for 20 minutes to cultivate mindfulness. It’s not about that. It’s about disconnecting from mind chatter and emotion.”
It’s about changing your relationship to thoughts and emotions. Often, “we feel emotions are what we are at any given moment. For example, instead of saying ‘I am sad today,’ take a moment. You may feel sadness, your shoulders may be rounded, but sadness is not what you are—it’s just what you are feeling and it will pass. Everything is temporary. The more you practice attending to your own experience and the kinder you are about it toward yourself, then it becomes who you are—a part of you.”
And the payoff extends beyond lowered stress levels. “With more self-empathy, research is showing a greater ability for kids to attend to school work, test scores go up and anxiety and bullying goes down. There’s a greater collective compassion that begins to happen,” Verde says.
Guided meditation is a great way to help your child cultivate mindfulness. “It’s a way to pay attention to your breath. As you focus on this one aspect of your being, the breath is there to give space, to calm physiologically. It’s one of the best tools kids have at any given time,” Verde says.
To prepare, find a place that makes you feel comfortable and good—it doesn’t have to be near an altar or anything elaborate out of your norm. “If you want to make it more special, or create a dedicated practice space, pick things that are meaningful to you like a nice cushion—kids love this too,” Verde says. Then read the following practice from Verde’s new book I Am Peace aloud to your child.

A Guided Meditation to Bring Kids Peace

Either lie down or find a comfortable seat. If sitting in a chair, make sure your feet are touching the ground. Close your eyes and gently place your hands on your belly. Notice your breathing at this very moment. Is it fast or slow? Can you feel it filling your belly as you breathe in?
Lift a hand and place it in front of your mouth. When you breathe out, what does the air feel like on your hand? Is it warm? Cool? Just notice. There is no right or wrong answer.
With both hands back on your belly, start breathing in through your nose if you weren’t already. This will help slow down your breathing and filter the air going into your body.
Imagine your belly is like the ocean. With each inhale, the waves rise, and with each exhale, they fall. Feel your belly rising and falling as you breathe.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A Meditation to Open your Heart

Take a comfortable seat wherever you are and get grounded.
Ask yourself (your inner world) who am I? And how can any difficulty in the news or in my life be made into an opportunity to be my best and highest self? Start to fall in love with difficulty, as it's a platform on which to shine its opposite.
Inhale the difficulty in front of you and see whatever it is in all its color. See it before you like a projection or visual.
Then, as you exhale, blow with your mouth, pushing the difficulty away and also transmuting it into pure light. Feel yourself surrounded by a permeating light.
Do this 10 times for each problem you may be experiencing.
When you are done, feel yourself ready for a day that "anything can come your way" because you are ready.
Trust me: You are ready. Whatever 2018 may bring, be prepared to embrace it with open arms and an open heart. Practice this meditation daily and prepare for your most open, compassionate year yet.