My request of everyone is to find a couple of different things that make you happy, and when your brain starts chattering, bring them out! Hear more…
This week I’m sharing several new Yogarate videos! Please watch them and let me know what you think. Enjoy the video and don’t forget to leave your comments after the video!
Good Morning Sun Salutation
Big Belly Breathing
High Block Song
These will be wonderful to do at home with the kids or in the classroom! I hope you enjoy them. Please let me know what you think!
My commitment is to help as many educators, parents and children as possible with the knowledge that I have learned over my continuous journey working inside and outside of schools.
For example one thing I have learned is that some adults like to pretend that they have all the information and knowledge they need because if they don’t have all the answers, they make up something negative about themselves. Not true at all. You know what you about the areas in your life that you are an expert in. There is no reason a new(er) parent or teacher should have any idea what they are doing until they practice and learn from mistakes and successes and ask questions of their mentors who have become masters in their field.
The children in your lives look up to you and trust you to do your best to make sure they are taken care of. That means learn from experts in areas that you aren’t an expert in. Your bravery for being ok not knowing will allow you access to learn…and show off amazing new things you have learned to others.
I invite you to learn more about behavior management, bullying and other games the mind plays on us. This is my specialty and I promise to give you easy to understand and mind opening information.
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This weekend is usually spent with friends and family enjoying BBQ and enjoying a 3 or for some 4 day weekend. As with every journey worth traveled, there may be bumps in the road. For example getting stuck in traffic…or getting your buttons pushed by that one family member that just gets under your skin (Passive-Aggressive Patty). What about your children losing in a game of anything and getting upset and letting you know about it. Before you respond to a person or situation that will not serve you in the future, I offer 4 different types of breathing that will require 30 seconds of your time and a powerful choice to try something new. Each breath is based on an element of nature. Number 1!
EARTH BREATH (belly breathing)
Place one hand on your belly and one hand right underneath your throat near your collarbone. Take three deep breaths either focusing on something in front of you or even better closing your eyes. Notice if the deep breaths are coming from your belly extending out or your shoulders and chest extending up. Try to then intentionally focus on taking 3 more deep breaths with your belly while keeping your shoulders and chest calm and relaxed. You may have to focus on intentionally pushing your belly out farther than you’ve ever done and then as you breathe out pull your belly in. Then place both hands on your belly and breathe in while extending your belly, and then breathe out and pull your belly in. Belly breathing is a fundamental component of any yoga practice.
WIND BREATH (tongue breathing)
Cold breathing is designed to relax the body and give a sensation of coolness and calming. Take your tongue and place it behind your bottom teeth. While keeping your tongue behind your bottom teeth take a deep breath in with your mouth. What do you feel? Do you feel the cooling sensation of the air gliding over the top of your tongue? That cooling sensation will help a child or adult relax their bodies and become instantaneously more calm and aware.
FIRE BREATH (nose breathing)
Fire breathing through the nose is designed to invigorate and energize the human doing it. I first suggest that you blow your nose really well so that nothing comes out while you do this. Fire breathing is breathing in and out of your nose as fast as possible while keeping your mouth closed. As you continue to do this your abdomen will automatically be breathing in and out for you.
WATER BREATH (rib breathing)
The water element invites us to do our jellyfish breathing. When you breathe in with your belly your chest is still compressed so we tend to not get the fullness of the breath. With jellyfish breathing, we have our arms go up in the air floating like jellyfish so that our rib cage extends and we get to fill our lungs with a deeper breath. Try the jellyfish breathing in two parts. 1st be intentional about breathing in and making your belly big and then once your belly is full of air then raise your arms up like they are floating to the sky and open up your rib cage and see how much additional air you can fill in.
Try these with your children and other friends in your life and you will see a huge difference. How often do you get to take five breaths for yourself? This weekend I invite you to breathe and enjoy life. Have a wonderful weekend.
Physical fitness is proven to help a child develop a strong body and mind. Exercise increases oxygen intake into the body and works muscles and organs to keep us in Tip-Top shape. Sometimes we as adults make excuses as how we can’t get to exercise because we don’t have time. I’ve also heard that in many schools as well. Body weight calisthenics are a key component in my school assemblies as they implement different animals to use different parts of the body. These animal movements increase heart and lung power, strengthen all the muscles in the body and increase ligament and tendon flexibility. It also lets us be silly. And one of the best behavior management strategies I know is to get your children tired!
Below is a list of animals that we use in our classes . Included in the list are beginner basics like a bear crawl and a kangaroo hop to more difficult animals like the inchworm and gorilla. Try these out with your kids, especially before it’s time to nap. Yes, I suggested YOU try them out as well. If you do, you’ll feel a complete body change immediately after. If you know any other animals that are on this list, feel free to email me and I would love to add it and give you credit. And try to make the noises as best you can so that you can feel silly and light-hearted again. Let me hear you growl!!
- Bear walk – walking on hands and feet
- Frog jump – baby frog jump is squatting down all the way, heels off the ground and jumping. Super frog jump is when same frog jump is done however knees are brought into chest for additional height. Instruct children to land on balls of feet like a cat.
- Crab walk – start sitting on bottom. Feet are flat. Hands are flat under shoulders. Fingers pointing toward toes. Lift bottom off of the ground and walk either forward, backwards, or sideways.
- Snake slither – child is on belly, arms are in front, feet are crossed, and they slither around the room making any S sounds.
- Monkeying around – is just basically bucking around, any sort of body movement, walking on your hands or feet, your legs jumping. Monkeying with a combination of bear and frog.
- Kangaroo hops – kangaroo is when feet are together, knees slightly bent, elbows are tight to body and hands are in front and you are hoping, sometimes a “boing” sound. This exercise is great to finish off any animal exercise and go right into karate because it’s easy for any kid.
- Seal crawl– seal is when your lower body is laying on the ground and your legs do not move and your upper body is pulling your lower body.
- Tiger pounce – walk on all fours slowly for muscle tension, then get real low while trying to keep the body off the ground. Take a giant jump forward or straight up like a tiger pouncing on its prey.
- Bunny hops – like kangaroo except hands are over ears making bunny sounds, which also increases shoulder strength.
- Inch worm – student lies on stomach, hands on the ground, then jumps their feet up to their shoulders. Then they walk the hands out further and then jumps the feet up to the shoulders and walks hands out further and repeat.
- Gorilla – Just like a bear walk, however the child is developing wrist strength by walking on their fists. Either knuckles forward or sideways work.
In March of 2016 I had the true pleasure of observing a gym class at the Douglas school in Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. I had worked with autistic children before but only on an individual basis and sitting down with my two interns at the time to watch the gym class was truly an extraordinary experience. What I saw was a group of adults with patience and compassion in their hearts working one-on-one with these kids. They range from ages 10 all the way to 17. The class was an hour long and the kids had a great time. After having a lengthy conversation with the physical education teacher, he let us come back to do a sample class of Yogarate.
After teaching the first class I fell in love with all of those kids. Their uniqueness and their gifts were awe inspiring. Some of the kids picked up on the martial arts and the deep breathing immediately and were able to focus better than some of my other students in traditional schools. These kids had a yearning to communicate and there was something in the way that I was committed to figuring out. With the assistance of some unique associates and friends, I began the journey of inquiry. One of these amazing angels on earth is a lady by the name of Nicole who is a nutrition specialist and much more. She also focuses on other modalities of health and wellness. From her I learned about how color dyes and preservatives in food have a direct link to autism. With a wealth of information at her fingertips, she shared with me two articles that opened my eyes. However the articles that she shared with me intrigued and frustrated me, I made sure to read them. Even if it took me 3 sittings.
I have shared both articles below. The first article talks about how an autistic family completely changed their families diet and within three weeks their child had displayed dramatically less autistic characteristics than ever before. The second article is a case study that talks about the lack of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and how a deficiency in the body can affect children and adults with depression, ADHD, and autism just to name a few. Pause and think about it for a moment. Our bodies adapt to the environment that they’re put in and what we put into our mouths is the most important thing to be aware of in the realm of solving all of our ailments. My invitation to you is this… If you or anyone that you know have children or adults that have been diagnosed with ADHD, depression, bipolar, or Autism, I offer to you the opportunity to read these two articles. That is going to be the easy part. Actually having the power to make changes in your diet is going to be the hard part, especially if your kids are already addicted to things like gluten and fake foods that have different colored dyes in them. I get it. And you can still get them gluten free organic pizza and chicken nuggets.
You get to make a choice whether to take a stand for the well-being of your family or to keep giving them food poison so that they have continued challenges through the rest of their life. It’s not your children’s responsibility to go food shopping, it is yours. You get to choose right now to be a powerful stand for your family and make the right choices in the realm of nutrition no matter how hard it is in the beginning. A month will go by and you will look back and laugh as you realize it wasn’t that difficult. You’ve made important changes in your life and you survived and maybe even thrived. You can do it again for your family. What could it hurt? It could only change your family’s life forever. Is that worth it to you? I hope so. I’m honored that you read this blog post and I hope that you enjoy the articles as well. The second one is a case study so feel free to skip around to what pertains your child. I acknowledge you for being a powerful champion for your family. Get that that is a CHOICE that you make. Go you! Hi-five!
It’s the middle of the school year and the teacher has been notified by her higher ups that a new student is starting in her classroom today. That morning that child shows up and he is excited. Looking all over the classroom and wanting to touch everything and run around the room looking at everything that’s new. To some people he has too much energy. What three or four letters do you immediately think of as the reader to describe what’s happening with him? Did you say ADD or ADHD? You wouldn’t be the first and you certainly wouldn’t be the last. “That child has too much energy”, we think. “He can’t focus”, we think. The evaluations that we put on that child when he is six might be slightly different when that child is 16 years old and he is running up and down the sports field faster than anyone else. He understands plays and strategy better than the majority of the kids on his team because of his mind’s design. He is being scouted by 7 different colleges looking to cover his entire college tuition. Does he have too much energy now? Or do the other kids have too little energy? It’s all based on how inconvenient it is for the person evaluating that child. Unfortunately we still live in the world where there are teachers that think that their students have to conform and adapt to the teacher and if they don’t then the child is deemed unteachable. Then you have teachers who are loving and open and understand that every generation of children are smarter, quicker, sharper, and faster and it’s completely up to the teacher to adapt their teaching for that child. Also, that teacher that changes for her children doesn’t HAVE TO, she GETS TO. The first is being a victim of the situation. The second is being the source of the situation. One is a teacher that blames others for their happiness and another one is a teacher that chooses responsibility and power. Can’t have both. Which one are you?
There was a time where we had limited resources as educators on where to get access to activities to engage children with higher energy. Now we have Google and YouTube so that conversation is obsolete. It wouldn’t take a teacher longer than 60 seconds to find five activities to do with their children whether they are seated, standing, or in a physical movement environment. It’s all up to the teacher to take on that responsibility that they are the champions for their kids as opposed to blame in the child for being the way the child is. Would you take your puppy to an open field or dog park and then when they don’t stop running around and they keep on chasing other dogs while others don’t, would you ever classify them as having too much energy? Of course not. Our happiness and comfort are based exclusively on our perception of our environment and what we make it mean. Another trap that I’ve fallen into that happens with other educators is that for whatever reason we think that we can figure things out ourselves and don’t need help. That is one of the biggest sabotagers that ensures that we fail. Think about a parent that you as a teacher have had a conversation with that has been tricked by their own mind into thinking that they know what’s best for their child over an educator who’s been working with children for years. Would you go to your heart surgeon and make a suggestion as to how to do the surgery? Would you go to your attorney and tell them how they should run your case? Of course not. They are professionals in their field and have spent many hours studying and working in that field to see what works and what doesn’t. Yet for some reason parents think that they know what’s best for their child and usually it’s just to raise them the opposite way that their parents raised them.
Reach out to other educators who have experience with high energy kids. I taught at a school with one brother-sister tag team that were bouncing off the walls and each other. It was amazing to watch. After trying a few things, it seemed that the only thing that worked was showing up 15 early and having them do bear walks, frog jumps, crab walks, kangaroo hops and then finish by sprinting across the backyard area. And I had to reach out to a former associate for suggestions. I needed help and you do too. It’s ok and it doesn’t mean anything about you. Ask for help. People love to help. What could you use help with right now? Who could you ask that would be delighted to help?
I offer my help to start with the article below:
Picture by Homeschoolfacts.com
When I was in elementary school 30 years ago I would wear my backpack over both of my shoulders until I found out that it wasn’t cool to do that. I then was wearing my backpack over one shoulder and didn’t really seem to be bothered by it. That was also when we had 5 minutes between classes so that we have plenty of time to drop off and leave books behind in our locker. As I grew older I was learning that one of the behavior management strategies schools implement now is to cut down the amount of time spent in between classes. The problem that they didn’t foresee coming was that now children would have to carry most of their books for the day in their book bag because they didn’t have time to stop at their lockers. As backpacks got heavier, children’s bodies had to compensate.
During my Fun Fitness school assemblies, I show children a fake spine and we discuss how caring a backpack on one shoulder changes the muscular development around the spine. As we carry a backpack on one shoulder, the back muscles need to compensate for the extra 30 or 40 pounds of weight by working harder so that the body stands up straight instead of leaning over if the muscles worked at the same exertion. When a child carries their book bag over the same shoulder day in and day out, the muscles in the back on the opposite side get stronger and stronger and start pulling the spine over in their direction. Children that do not have scoliosis can actually develop it unintentionally.
As my purpose is to help solve problems instead of covering up symptoms, I’ve learned that one way to help this problem is to get a note from a doctor and bring it to the school and the school will be required to give you an extra set of textbooks for home in addition to ones that your children can keep in their lockers. Another solution is to make sure your child has a strong lower back by having them practice Superman’s on the ground where they lay on their bellies and stretch out and lift their arms and legs while only their belly rests on the floor. Below is an article with valuable information that any informed parent should have regarding back pain and backpack safety. Good luck.
Have you ever thought of someone and their face pops up in your mind and just as you think about them and wonder what they are up to, your phone rings and it’s them? Have you walked by your closet and something told you to grab an umbrella on a sunny day and then later on it rains? Have you ever made eye contact with someone and just knew that you should go over and talk to them and you didn’t? The word ” weird” tends to be spoken when these situations happened. I started practicing Reiki 10 years ago and was introduced to Universal energy and I’d like to share a story with you about how Universal energy help me while I was teaching the class.
It was three summers ago and I had just come back from a retreat in Upstate New York where the focus was about waking up and discovering your true you while also getting in tune with yourself on a mind-body and spiritual level. Two days later I was teaching a soccer class and I had two children in the class that never participated. One was a girl who would simply run around the field and would have no interest in kicking a soccer ball. As long as she was safe and didn’t interrupt any of the other children, I let her be. The other was a boy who just stood on his poly spot and didn’t move. He would be observing his fellow students however never wanted to move from his spot. I normally would have let them be however I just had a feeling that there was another solution. I took a deep breath
The first thing in connecting intentionally with universal energy is to take a few cleansing deep belly breaths. When you focus on your breath, the mind quiets and the messages can come through clearer. I waited patiently and kept on breathing. Then I heard that quiet, subtle and confident voice speak and say “take their hands”… so I did. Once all 3 of our hands connected, I felt an energetic yet calm feeling come over me. I passed the soccer ball over to the girl on the right and she trapped the ball by placing her foot on it. This was the first time that she had done that. I then asked her to pass the ball back to me even though she’s never done it in class and she did. I then passed it to the boy on the left and he amazingly trapped it and passed the ball back to me.
All three of us proceeded to dribble the ball up and down the field while passing to each other and enjoying the smiles and amazement of the teachers that were watching these two children finally participate. Then the universal energy whispered one more time and said ” put their hands together” and I did. Still to this day I can see the boy and girl running hand in hand with the soccer ball as if when they touched each other their opposite energies balanced each other out.
When I train teachers in their continuing professional development I introduce this concept and offer it as a possible solution when trying to implement behavior management strategies. If you ever have a question that needs to be answered about a child. I invite you to try the same. What could it hurt? Why not? Think about a problem that a child in your life is having and take a few deep belly breaths, wait, listen and try what you hear. If you have a story to share, please share it with me and everyone else. Good luck!
Over the last 15 years I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with teachers and parents in helping them wake up and truly understand why their children behave the way that they do. One of the most difficult concepts to get across to a parent is their role and responsibilities in the raising of their child and how to effectively discipline them. Discipline is not a bad word, by the way. When I was growing up being disciplined was a virtue and led to leading a more successful life. Now some people hear the word discipline and only associated with physical punishment. Children yearn for discipline and structure. The problem comes from the adult in the child’s life believing that there are other people responsible for teaching their child how to behave in hopes that they will behave the same way with that adult. If you are a parent or a teacher reading this post, I invite you to think about who you expect to implement rules and consequences so that your life is easier?
I have presented continuing professional development workshops on behavior management strategies in schools and conferences across the country. I continuously hear teachers placing responsibility on the parents for the way that the children act in the classroom at school. They say things like “if only their parents would…
- Discipline them at home.”
- Feed them better food.”
- Make them go to bed.”
Of course as a teacher they know that that is better for the child however they don’t realize that when they blame parents they throw away their power while they put the responsibility of the child behaving in the classroom on the parent. Unfortunately as humans we create expectations of how other people should be that only exist in our minds and then get upset at that person for not fulfilling the expectation that we created for them without even letting them know what the expectation was. Read that last sentence again and slowly until it makes sense.
That is completely unfair to the person that the expectation was created for and now there is upset between the two people because communication wasn’t clear.
As a parent, do you have an expectation that your child’s teachers will teach them how to behave and discipline them so that when they come home they will behave and be disciplined for you? If you do, how is that working? It probably isn’t. Try on that a child tests every individual adult that they meet and based on the way that the adult responds and reacts is the way that the child interacts with that adult from now on.
Whoever lets the child get away with whatever they want is the one responsible for the lack of discipline. Whoever reinforces consequences for negative behaviors no matter how much the child cries or throws a fit is the one that the child will listen to and be disciplined for. That’s it. If your child doesn’t listen to your instructions the first time, then just be responsible that you have trained them incorrectly and now start the training over.
I have spoken to many parents who only get to see their children for two to three hours an evening and makeup some silly story in their minds that they haven’t seen their child all day and they feel bad about not giving them what they want.
If you are more interested in appeasing your child instead of teaching them rules and how to act in a civilized society, then just be responsible that it is more important for you to be selfish than to be a strong parent. I know that is a strong statement and it is a fact. So now you get to choose.
Next time your child breaks a rule, do you let them get away with it and appease your selfish want for quiet or do you choose to be the powerful parent and teach them that there are rules and consequences in life? The actions that you take will be mimicked by your children. What would you choose? Good luck.