How I Came to Understand Children’s Yoga ~ My elephantjournal.com debut!

My elephantjournal.com debut!

I am so excited about this. The community of bloggers and thoughtful people over at elephantjournal.com are a huge inspiration to me. It is one of my favorite places to hang out online and if you head on over there and look around a bit, you will see why.

I would be truly honored if you would read my very first post for elephantjournal.com and leave a comment there and even share with your friends and social networks (that would be awesome!).

My Children, My Gurus

As a mother of two, I know parenting to be one the most challenging and rewarding endeavors one can experience in life.

I am grateful to have found myself seeing the world through my children’s eyes as they explore with reckless abandon and plenty of giggles. There’s nothing quite like a big squishy hug and an “I love you, Mommy” after a long day of enforcing boundaries and worrying about their safety.

As a yoga teacher, I find sharing yoga with others to be incredibly rewarding as well. You can learn a lot by having to explain something to someone and by seeing people become empowered to participate in life mindfully and compassionately. Why it never occurred to me that combining the two (children and yoga) could be such a profound experience is beyond me.

So, it happened by chance that I stumbled upon the amazing gift of teaching yoga to children and I have my beautiful 6 year old daughter, Tobin, to thank for it. Continue reading on elephantjournal …

Thanks for your support!!

Previously published here on my blog in December 2009.

Strike A Yoga Pose: Warrior II Basics and Benefits

Warrior II Pose Virabhadrasana II

By channeling your inner warrior in asana practice, this posture can bring focus, strength and courage into your life helping you to overcome the challenges of ego and pride.

Yes, shaky thighs and all …

Virabhadra Symbolism

Creation of the Hindu Lord, Shiva, images and mythology portray Virabhadra as having raging, fiery hair and three burning eyes.  He wore a garland of skulls and wielded terrible weapons in each of his one thousand arms.  However, he was not simply a murderous demon. Just as Shiva and destruction are an important part of the Hindu Trilogy (Brahma/Creator, Vishnu/Sustainer, and Shiva/Destroyer), Virabhadra, the Great Warrior, symbolizes that within ourselves which has the power to overcome the prideful ego (symbolized in stories by king Daksha) for the sake of the heart (symbolized by Sati, Daksha’s daughter and first wife of Lord Shiva).  Thus, Virabhadra destroys in order to save.

Here is the Wikipedia article where you can read more about the Origin of Virabhadra.

Warrior II Pose Instructions:

  • Start in Tadasana.  Lift your arms over head and bring your hands in prayer position.  Step 4-5 ft to the right bringing your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down.  Heels are in line from the side and feet are parallel to each other at this point.  Scoop your tailbone under slightly, bringing your hips into a neutral position.  Arms move back, chest lifted out in front, shoulders roll down and imagine them sliding down your back.
  • Pivot on the right heel 90 degrees (heels still in the same line).  Bend the right knee until the right underside of the thigh is parallel with the floor and continue to sit down, softening in the hips until you have a 90 degree angle with the right shin and thigh.  The knee might have a tendency to move inward and if this is the case, soften your right inner thigh and you can use the right hand to externally rotate the right thigh so that the knee is centered directly over the right ankle.
  • Your weight should be evenly distributed in both feet and you want to make sure, especially, that you have the outside edge of your left foot in contact with the mat and some weight in that area as well.
  • If your upper body begins to lean forward, draw the left arm back in order to bring the upper body centered over your hips.
  • Shift your eye gaze to look out over you right arm across the right middle finger.

Benefits:

  • Increases the strength and flexibility of the legs, ankles and feet.
  • Therapeutic for flat feet, sciatica, backaches and osteoporosis.
  • Stretches the groin, hip muscles and connective tissue of the hips.
  • Opens the chest, lungs and shoulders.
  • Builds stamina.

 

 

 

Virabhadrasana II

 

Thanks for tuning in! Please, feel free to share using the buttons below and ROCK ON with your yogi self!

Lots of love,

Lindsay

Recipe: Honey Lentils

Here is a recipe guaranteed to warm you up this winter.  Super easy, healthy and inexpensive too!

A very satisfying dish, my family describes this as tasting like an entire Thanksgiving Dinner all rolled into one scrumptious casserole.  Delicious served over quinoa or rice, or eaten as a dip with corn chips or pitas.*

lentils

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Tsp ground ginger (1 Tbsp fresh grated)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup veggie of choice, grated (carrot, daikon radish, turnip, sweet potato, eggplant are examples of some that I've used)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours or longer depending on your thickness preference.  I have found that the longer you cook this, the thicker it becomes.

Yum!

Lindsay

*Thanks and credit to my friend Falon for sharing this recipe with me!! 

Immune Boosting Recipes

It's official.  Cold and flu season is here.

After experiencing the first wave of illness in my house this year, I was inspired to share a few recipes that I use, some things I have picked up over the years, that can help boost immunity naturally and lessen the severity of colds and flu.*

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.  Here is a great, simple recipe.  Definitely a staple in our house.  I make one batch every year and I can confidently say, even my kids love it.

Good for a boost if you feel you are beginning to get sick or as a preemptive measure if you've been around anyone who is sick .  Adults take between 1 tsp and 1 tbsp twice a day.  Children 2-5 can take 1/2 the adult dose.  Ages 6-12 take 1 tsp twice daily.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh elderberries, or 1 cup dried (can be found at natural foods markets)
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
  • Juice of 1 lime (or lemon juice will work)
  • 1 ounce echinacea tincture (also available at natural foods market.  You can alternately use dried echinacea – about 1/2 cup)

Directions

  1. Combine berries, ginger, water (and if you're using dried echinacea) in a stainless steel pot.  Bring to a simmer.  Do not boil!
  2. Gently simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered, until reduced by half.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Strain well using cheesecloth so that you can squeeze the berries.
  4. At this point you can measure what liquid you've collected (usually about 1 1/2 cups) and combine with equal parts honey.
  5. Add the lime/lemon juice and allow to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, here is where you would add the echinicea tincture.
  7. Store in a 1 qt mason jar.  Don't forget to label with the date.  This syrup will keep for up to 1 year.

For more information on the medicinal benefits of elderberry click here.

Hot Ginger Lemonade

Great when you are in the thick of it.  This can provide relief when experiencing the fever and the body/headaches of the flu.  *Ginger is not recommended for children under 2 or pregnant and/or nursing moms.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch ground cayenne pepper

Simply combine all ingredients with 1 1/2 cups hot boiling water.  Strain and drink as a warm tea.  Amazing.

Click these links for more information on ginger root and cayenne pepper.

Garlic Lemonade

Also great when experiencing symptoms of a cold, garlic has wonderful antibacterial properties.  This can help reduce the duration and severity of colds.  It tastes like regular lemonade with the essence or smell of garlic.  Interesting, this beverage can take some getting used to.

Ingredients

  • Garlic – a handful, about 7-10 cloves
  • Juice of 3-4 lemons
  • Honey – 1/4 cup or to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional – can be too spicy for children)

Directions

  1. Coarsely chop garlic.
  2. Pour approx. 1 quart boiling water over garlic (and optional ginger)
  3. Cover and allow to infuse 4-8 hours or overnight.
  4. When the infusion is ready, reheat gently (do not boil) enough to get a nice steam rising.
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey.

Can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Click here for more information on the health benefits of garlic.

Theives Spray

The last thing I will share with you is a room spray I use to decrease airborne bacteria. The spray incorporates a blend of essential oils known as the Thieves Oil Blend.  This mix of essential oils, which I also use as part of a natural yoga mat cleaner,  was reportedly used by a group of thieves who robbed the dead and dying victims of the bubonic plague.  According to the story, the robbers did not contract the infection.  As an added bonus – this room spray smells wonderful!

Click here fore more info on the Oil of the Four Thieves.

Simply combine equal parts (5 drops each) rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and lemon essential oils with 1 tbsp food grade alcohol and 4 oz. water and keep in a spritzer bottle to spray periodically.

So, there you have it.

Here's to a happy, healthy winter and holiday season for us all!

Lots f Love,

Lindsay

*Thanks and credit to a lovely group of Asheville Mamas for inspiring this post and sharing their cold season wisdom.