Always Be Dancing

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: A Therapeutic Treasure Deck of Sentence Completion and Feelings Cards by Dr. Karen Treisman

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These cards are so engaging and fun and so very useful! I have been using them all month during my “I Am…” unit in my youth yoga and mindfulness classes. The pictures are easily associated with the sentence completion and feeling cards and are great visual cues, making the deck usable with the very young as well as those with special needs. The accompanying booklet is great and offers practical usages for the cards that also allow for a lot of creativity.

The other day in my yoga class (the kids run in age from 5-18), we first went through all the feelings cards and the kids offered up some of their own. I then handed out the more difficult, stronger feelings cards and each child pantomimed the feeling while the rest of the class guessed at what it was. We then played a game of opposites and each child chose a yoga pose that made them feel the opposite of their feeling card (i.e. hurt: choose a pose that makes you feel safe; surprised: choose a yoga pose that makes you feel calm…). We of course played this round robin, so every few minutes I signaled that is was time to switch mats and so round we went making up roughly 20 poses each that helped us to feel safe, calm and in-control of our feelings. To top it off, I set my phones alarm to gently ring every 11 minutes and when it did ring, we all had to stop everything we were doing and do a 5-finger breathing exercises. There was so much fun and play between the laughter and the silence throughout the class. Namaste!!

I highly recommend this deck as an aide for therapy as well as for yoga teachers, classrooms, homes…they are great conversation starters! These cards are excellent for opening up communication all about “I Am….”

Thank you to JK Publishing for sending me this deck. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Yoga In The Park/Framingham Common

Dear Friends,
I have partnered with Downtown Framingham, Inc. to bring yoga (with a little bit of flamenco) to the Framingham Common this summer. This weekly series runs from Saturday June 2nd- Saturday September 8th.
 
 
 
Hope to see you there! 
Classes are fully accessible and inclusive.
¡Olé Namaste!
Eve
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DFI is proud to announce our summer-long yoga series! Each Saturday morning from 10-11 a.m. a yoga class will be held on the Downtown Common. Each week a different local instructor will lead the group through poses and breathing exercises to help you feel calm for the whole weekend. Join us! Tickets or season passes can be purchased on Eventbrite (see links and schedule below). $5/class; $60/season pass (Children 12 & under, free)

If the weather is not suitable for classes to be held outside, they will be relocated to the upstairs gallery at Amazing Things Arts Center at 160 Hollis Street.

Schedule

Select the date you would like to attend to purchase tickets.

Click here to purchase a $60 season pass

June 2
Amy Moses

June 9
Samela St. Pierre

June 16
Eve Costarelli

June 23
Meghan Margarette

June 30
Eve Costarelli

July 7
Amy Moses

July 14
Samela St. Pierre

July 21
Meghan Margarette

July 28
Meghan Margarette

August 4
Amy Moses

August 11
Samela St Pierre

August 18
Meghan Margarette

August 25
Meghan Margarette

September 1
Amy Moses

September 8
Meghan Margarette


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Boston Voyager Magazine: Today we’d like to introduce you to Eve Costarelli.

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So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a beautiful yellow brick Victorian in Brookline, MA. Our home was an artist’s home, filled with the artwork of my mother Amelia Robin, a paper sculptor, ceramic artist and water-colorist extraordinaire plus our childhood art and countless other pieces of art covered and filled every space. Although not encouraged at first to do so, it felt natural for me to follow my mother into the arts, although it took me years to discover my form of expression. I always loved to dance and mover, yet I never attended dance classes as a child instead I spent every Saturday from 9AM-4PM taking art classes at the Museum of Fine Arts and attending classical music concerts, operas and theater. But I never stopped moving. I filled every waking moment with energy. I learned to dance by watching Soul train on Saturday mornings; was stopped on the dance floor and told I was the best dancer ever; I became the Go-Go dancer for Manray, the alternative nightclub in Central Square, Cambridge, MA but my first foray into dance classes didn’t come until after college when my mother decided I should learn to tap dance. She bought me some tap shoes and paid for classes. My luck to stumble in Leon Collin’s Tap dancers Paradise. I was hooked. Tap dance became my it. My mom then compelled me to go to Harvard Summer Dance Program to study choreography and through a woman I met there, I discovered flamenco. Flamenco became my it. After having my son, I found yoga. And keeping up with my MO, Yoga became my it. This self-focused exploration is truly my passion. Through yoga I was opened to new motivations as a dancer, yogi and educator. I use flamenco and yoga as mindful moment forms from which EveryBody can access their true nature to reveal to them their inner strength, determination and courage.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the most difficult parts of my career has been maintaining enough students and external projects to make a living. It is hard to make art a profession, because there is no one’s steps you can follow in. No job that is already created for you to step into. No promise that your art will pay your bills. Being an artist has meant for me forging a new path and then creating the opportunities in which I have been able to hone my skills, create my art and learn, learn, learn. I have had the absolute joy of spending over 20 years bring dance to the Boston the community but I have had a lot of sleepless nights stressing over creating the right balance of my art as a career and as a creative expression.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Always Be Dancing: Yoga & Flamenco for Everybody – what should we know?
There are three main aspects to what I do and then a whole lot on the periphery.

Firstly, through my collaboration with Open Spirit Center’s program, Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms, I bring yoga and mindfulness into the Framingham Public Schools My program, Always be Dancing: Yoga & Flamenco for Every/Body, integrates into K-12 classrooms age appropriate mindfulness strategies using breath-work, movements and adapted practices so that even the resistant students have access to the mindfulness education. Through worksheets, small group discussions and other various practices that I have developed, students learn to identity their emotions, feelings and intentions and become aware of the ways in which they conduct themselves, all by becoming more aware of themselves. Not only do I work with students, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD/ADHD, emotionally developing, the Gay Student Alliances, youth with trauma and those who have had limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE), but I also bring my classes and workshops to the teachers and staff though various Professional Development Days, after-school programs and retreats,

Secondly, through my collaboration with Hoops and Homework, an after-school program for some of the neediest youth in Framingham. I go to their two sites weekly to bring yoga, mindfulness and the arts to these kids who would not normally have access to them and I have developed a training manual to accompany my programming that I hope to get published soon.

That’s not all. Thirdly is my all-inclusive flamenco dance program ¡Olé Flamenco! which brings flamenco to youth without access or with limited access to the arts, including underprivileged populations, ASD, SPD, Orthopedic Impairment and developmental and Intellectual disabilities. I use flamenco to stimulate the whole child by using movement and expression as access points for a healthy, safe, engaging, supportive, and challenging environment. This type of learning exposes children to the creation of art forms, cultivates self-expression (whether of an individual or a collective) and demonstrates a successful mixing of diverse populations-lesson which are relevant for youth in today’s society.

And one last thing…I am a budding author. I started writing book reviews about 5 years ago to hone my writing skills in preparation to write several children’s books. I hope to make a good query, get an agent and be on my way to become a celebrated author! One must always have dreams and keep on learning. Be your own soul’s light.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Well it is teacher appreciation week 2018, so here goes: my tap dance teachers at Leon Collins: Julia Boynton, Josh Hilberman, Jimmy “Sir Slyde” Mitchell, Diane Walker & Sue Ronson, who believed in my ability and my vision as a dancer. My flamenco teachers: Ramon de los Reyes, Omayra Amaya & more recently, La Lupi, for opening up the secrets to flamenco for me; for my yoga teachers Barbara Benagh, Elizabeth Goranson and Guruatma Ji, in their own special ways, helping me discover me and allowing me to find my true voice. And most recently, Debbie Clark & Rosanne Kates from Open Spirit Center for helping to open doors for me; through them I connected with Herb Chasen & Pam Kaufman of Hoops & Homework and also Cheryl Aglio-Girelli & Mynette Shifman, the teen health nurses at Framingham High School.

My husband, Rob Costarelli, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, has been behind me 100% since day one-we are truly a power couple! My son, Anthony, my brothers Andrew & William and countless of families who have entrusted me with their children over the years. My “girls”…I have never lacked form cheerleaders and believers.

Contact Info:


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Flamenco Books for Young Readers and To Read Aloud

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  • All About Flamenco/Todos Sobre Flamenco by Silvia Oivo

  • Aunt Elaine Does The Dance From Spain by Leah Komaiko
  • Bird With The Heart Of A Mountain by Barbara Mariconda
  • Flamenco Fantasy by Cynthia Ventrola Struven
  • Lola’s Fandango by Ann Witte
  • Mo Baila Flamenco by Fresia Barrientos Morales 
  • ¡Olé! Flamenco by George Ancona
  • Perlie and The Flamenco Fairy by Wendy Harmer
  • Quiero Bailar Flamenco by Azucena Huidobro
  • Spain by Susie Brooks
  • Spain: The Culture by Noa Lior
  • Thea Stilton and The Spanish Dance Mission by Thea Stilton
  • Today I Am A Dancer by Marisa Polansky
  • With Love From Spain by Carol Weston


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Mindful Kids: 50 Mindfulness Activities for Kindness, Focus and Calm (Cards) by Whitney Stewart & Mina Braun

IMG_0522Along comes a new, beautifully crafted, set of mindfulness cards for kids!

Right off the back, I fell in love with illustrator Mina Braun’s adorable drawings and appreciated their fostering of diversity. It is so important to show that every child will be able to access the mindful activities on these cards. The color palette is cheery and each picture is full of captivating details and creative patterns.

Whitney Stewart has made mindfulness easily accessible by everyone. The simple step-by-step instructions make it possible for teachers and families to use the cards anytime during the day when a mini mindful moment is needed. The cards are varied and offer entrance into mindfulness through breathing exercises, mental focus, yoga and movement activities, self-reflection, laughter, relaxing and renewing, waking up and motivating, games and kindness. So much kindness!

Above all, these cards promote 1. Loving Kindness 2. Compassion 3. Empathetic Joy 4. Equanimity-helping to cultivate kindness to self, to the known and to the unknown.

I highly recommend these cards. I know they will become a staple in my own tool kit for working with youth and bringing mindfulness into my and their lives. They should be in every classroom, library and in any space that involves youth. Younger children will need help reading them but older kids will be able to engage with them on their own.

Thank you to Barefoot Books & Whitney Stewart for sending me these beautiful cards. All opinions expressed are my own.

Would you like me to read and review for you?

Please contact me at AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com.


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My Top 20 Books About and For Kids Yoga

Below are listed my top 20 books that I have found most useful in my youth yoga teaching career. Some are for kids; some are for grownups and teachers; all are filled with useful knowledge and tried and true activities.

  1. 100 Yoga Activities for Children by Shobana R. Vinay
  2. Angry Octopus Color Me Happy, Color Me Calm: A Self-Help Kid’s Coloring Book for Overcoming Anxiety, Anger, Worry, and Stress By Lori Lite
  3. Be Good To Your Body: Learning Yoga (Dover Children Activity Book) by Roz Fulcher
  4. Breathe Yoga For Teens by Mary Kaye Chryssicas
  5. Classroom Yoga Breaks by Louise Goldberg
  6. Creative Yoga Games for Children (Volumes 1 & 2) by Edna Reinhardt
  7. Creative Yoga Practice For Children by Yael Calhoun
  8. Fly Like A Butterfly by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
  9. Go Yogi! By Emma Hughes
  10. I Love Yoga! By Mary Kaye Chryssicas
  11. Little Gurus: A Yoga Discovery Book by Illustration Olaf Hajek
  12. My Daddy Is A Pretzel by Baron Baptise
  13. Storytime Yoga: The Treasure in Your Heart – Stories and Yoga for Peaceful Children by Sydney Solis
  14. Yoga Book Of Feelings by Mary Humphrey
  15. Yoga Calm Educating Heart, Mind and Body by Lynea & James Gillen
  16. Yoga For Children by Mary Stewart
  17. Yoga Kids by Marsha Wenig
  18. Yoga Planet Cards by Tara Gruber
  19. Yoga Pretzel Cards by Tara Gruber
  20. Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs by Louise Goldberg


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Book Review By Eve: Go Yogi: Everyday Yoga For Calm, Happy, Healthy Little Yogis by Emma Hughes; Illustrations by John Smisson

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Along with the titled book in the photo, you will see a bent pipe cleaner with beads on it. That is a Breathing Stick. We make them in class with the students and they can make a second one to bring home with them to teach a family member or friend how to use it. How to use it: 1. Slide all the beads to one side on the bend. 2. Breathe in and slide the first bead to the hump in the pipe cleaner; 3. breathe out, slide the bead over the hump and to the other side. Breath as slowly as a turtle. Repeat 4 more times.

I just received my copy of Go Yogi! and I decided to jump right in and bring it to my kids yoga classes and let them help me review it. Well, I must say, the book received 100% favorable reviews from my students, ages 3-6! They loved it and the classes were super fun, were rich with content and the kids remained focused and interested throughout the whole class. The illustrations by John Smisson are super engaging and they tell the whole story, so words are not even necessary. The descriptions hold a lot of vital information, including how to get in and out of the poses, what the poses are good for, and many positive thoughts to keep young minds joyful and healthy. Because of this, the writing is mostly best addressed by an adult while the children read along. There are separate “grown-up” tips that are very useful especially for adults who are not yoga teachers which makes this book a great addition to classrooms, homes and yoga studios alike. I love the overall feel of the book with its muted colors, computer graphic illustrations and its mindful take on bringing yoga to kids.

I highly recommend this book as a feel good book full of positive affirmations, fun yoga poses and a very well crafted sequence that is very helpful for all children. It worked very well for kids ages 3-6 and with some modifications it worked equally well with kids as young as 15 months.

Full Disclosure: Jessica Kingsley Publishing sent me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

How I will use this book:

The following is a detailed description of the class I taught, weaving together the book with my knowledge of teaching yoga to children.

Right off the bat, I started out with that funny word yogi The kids laugh when they hear that word. It’s great to use with kids and for comparison, I explain that just like someone who plays tennis is a tennis player, someone who surfs is a surfer, someone who dances tap is a tap dancer, a person who does yoga is a yogi. T’s what they call someone who practices yoga. Of course, the most popular word to use in yoga is namaste. The book describes it as meaning hello & goodbye; I add that it means thank you. Thank you from me to all of you; thank you from you to me; thank you from you to each other. It’s a beautiful, encompassing with a happy feeling, word. It is part of yoga in America. The kids know, that since I also throw in bits of flamenco into my yoga classes, that at the end of my classes, we say ¡Olé! ¡Namaste!

I ask them, “Why do we practice yoga?” Th e book tells us “yoga can help you feel healthy and happy” and with that we launch into our “I Am Happy, I am Good” meditation (link to previous post with meditation here) that I adapted from a meditation by Shakta Khalsa for Radiant Child Yoga.

The book points out it is best to practice in a space clear of toys and noise and we take a moment to notice that our yoga space is uncluttered, our mats are in order and it is as quiet as it can be (for a noisy child care center, that is!) I have a play list*, I use in the background, to create ambiance in our space, but I am always happy to practice in silence too with the kids. One of my major goals in bringing yoga to kids is for them to learn the difference between noise and silence in body, mind and energy.

At this point, I put the book on the floor so that my hands are free. The special yoga breathing exercise is well described and I add in “Sit up, criss-cross yoga sauce” and to have them try covering their mouths while they breathe. I demonstrated the sound of the oceanic breath so they could hear it for themselves and I did this while looking at each one them and timing my breathing with theirs, so we could flow our breath together.

Hello Mr. Sun (Singing-love me some Raffi!.…Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please shine down on me. Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Hiding behind a tree. These little children are asking you, To please come out so we can play with you. Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. Please shine down on me.). Here I make up some qi gong-like movements for the kids to copy while we sing. Singing and moving is a moving meditation.

In a sing-songy voice:

*We reach up to the sky, Mountain pose. Feel strong and, steady and still.

*Breathe in, arms up reach up to the sun (tippy-toes)

*Dive down , splash, wooosh. You are a waterfall, flowing your water down to a river.

*Step one leg back and the other leg back. Now you are a plank over the quiet water. Strong and long. Sturdy. Hold your tummies up so the water does not splash it but do not touch the sky with your backside. Hold it for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

*Slowly the plank lowers down to the water. Float on your belly, on the river, bobbing on the waves. Breathe in-the wave swells; breathe out, the wave slides away. Repeat. Be like a bird (hero pose), silently sitting on the water, bobbing up and down, but not getting jostled or ruffled. Just quietly resting on the quietly moving water.

*Oh! A little snake pops its head out of the water. Palms by shoulders. Now, you are the snake. Breath in, lift up (into cobra pose), breath out, hisssssssss. Here comes a dog, to play in the water. Press up into Downward Facing Dog pose. Press into the earth with your hands and feet. Lift your happy puppy tail and feel how long your back feels. One leg up, wag your tail. Woof! Woof! Put it down. Switch feet; wag; Woof! Woof! Bring it down. One hand up. Lick you paw. Other side. We try one paw and one leg (opposite sides) just for fun.

*Settle down into child’s pose to feel calm and happy, totally relaxed. Find that wavy feeling of your breath, calming you and bringing your focus inwards.

Usually we call this pose child’s pose, but for today we will call it seed pose. You, little seed, nestled in the earth, nourished by the rain and the sun, slowly your roots start to grow down deep into the earth and you being to know. Slowly we rise up onto our knees, let the head come up last, as it finally presses through the dirt. Now add your arms. Reach them up to the sun, palms together. Feel your body; it is a strong, rooted stem. With a final push, step up with one leg and then the other. Your roots strongly planted in the ground. Your arms burst open and greet the sun “Hello Mr. Sun! Here I am!” palms open wide as we grasp the energy the warmth, the glow from the sun and pull it towards you, bringing your hands to your heart. Right hand over the heart, left hand on top, and just breath. Energy, happiness and trust-pull it right into your heart. Feel your beating heart. Take a few breaths and slow down the beating.

Tea Pot or Watering Can (Triangle pose): I’m a little tea pot short and stout, here is my handle here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout! Just tip me over and pour me out”.

Feather Fingers is the perfect time for me to add some flamenco into class. Some cuerpo, braseo, floreo y taconeo! ¡Olé!

Barn Door had them tried the balance with no support and then had them hold onto a ledge to support their balance. Did they notice if it was easier or harder or them same for them when they held the ledge to when they did not? Try it again without.

Chair Pose: feel how strong this pose makes your legs feel. Feel the energy of a lightning bolt; then we shoot off, up, far however, kaboom!

Warrior 1,2,3…with the chant “I am brave (Warrior 1); I am bold (Warrior 2); My own power (get set up to launch into Warrior 3); I can hold! (Warrior 3).”

Balancing Boat builds strong tummy muscles! Rock-and-roll and come right back up to boat pose

Pebble/Child’s Pose: have them take the pose and then go to each one individually and help into the proper form. Do not press on their backs; gently guide them into the shape. Nice round back. Breathing in, feel your belly press against your legs as it gets round; breathing out, the belly softens and your gently drape over your legs.

Butterfly add in “Fly Like A Butterfly” sitting in butterfly pose: Fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly up so high. Repeat; Put hands together and place by a cheek, in a sleep like position: Sleep like a butterfly, (switch hand to other cheek,) sleep like a butterfly (switch hands, get a little quieter), sleep like a butterfly (switch; quieter) through the night. Repeat.

Tick-Tock Hands: I replace slightly with drawing circles on each others backs (sit in a large circle, so everyone has a person in front of them.) Go in one direction, now the other. Helps with cross brain and a great sensory exercises.

Calming Candle: First we go back to a little rock and roll action, and then roll up and over.

Savasana: Noodle Test: Go around to each child and have them totally release the effort in their arm or legs, like a wet noodle. Gently pick up the limb(s) and wobble them to have the kids feel the total loosey-goosey feel.

Sit up, cross-cross; rub palms furiously together to create warmth. Take your warmed, tingly hands and place them right one over the heart, then the left one on top, catch the thumbs (a bird shadow puppet) and feel the energy form your hands going right into your body and give yourself a happy, loving, friendly hug. Now let the bird fly away and we say “Thank you! ¡Olé! ¡Namaste!”