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.
Select the date you would like to attend to purchase tickets.
Listening To My Body by Gabi Garcia is a really nice, effective book to aid children in understanding about sensations and feelings and how these things interact to better help them navigate understanding their own needs. The book is written with compassion and obvious desire to help kids tune in and trust themselves. There are great short noticing activities throughout and I really like the recap word list at the end for a visual reminder of the sensations and feelings brought up by the story. The noticing activities are also listed for easy access. A special shout out to Ying Hui Tan for her adorable illustrations. The characters are sweet and they clearly express the content of the book. The art is textural and creative and very endearing.
Listening With My Heart: A Story Of Kindness And Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia shares the messages of awareness, self -respect and friendliness, using positive self talk within a story that empowers you to being true to yourself. The spirit of the book is openhearted and generous and the illustrations are super adorable. The message is clear-be compassionate and kind to yourself so that you can reach past yourself and extend the kindness to others. The illustrator, Ying Hui Tan, has really developed her style and palette. The children’s wide-eyed expressive faces display great emotion and work in beautiful unison with the words. I love the layering effects and the wide use of texture. The back of the book has some wonderful kindness activities. All around, this is simply a lovely book!
I highly recommend these books. They make great read aloud’s to share with children, students, parents and teachers. These books should be in libraries, classrooms and homes!
Full Disclosure: The author sent me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.
Halloween Yoga Comes to Mini Miracles Childcare Center:
Class started, as it always does, with the ringing of the chime, breath in, breath out.
Me: Where does a skeleton live before it is dead and is buried in the ground?
Them: In the ground, in a scary house, icky and gooey….In your body!
Me: That’s It!
We had a talk about how some things are scary like skeletons, zombies, ghosts and witches, but they are not real, so even though you feel scared by them, they are not real and cannot hurt you. At Halloween, it is fun to dress up in scary costumes, but it is also fun to dress up in non-scary ones, like Belle, Ariel, Superman and Elsa. Remember to respect other children’s’ feelings.Not everyone likes to be scared. Also remember, that even if you do feel scared, inside the costume is just a friend or a sibling or even a parent. Stay with your adult, do not run into the street and let your parent help choose the candy you can eat. Have a happy and safe Halloween!
Halloween Yoga Sequence for ages 15 Months+ All inclusive. Adapt as needed.
- Happy Pumpkin: Easy pose with hands in Garuda Mudra at the heart center. Give yourself a heart hug as you breath in and out.
- Twisting Ghost : While making a Woooooooooo sund like a ghost.
3. Mixing the Candy : Slow to Faster one direction. Stop. Repeat opposite direction.
4. Candy Bowl: This can be done with hands in the back for support. Also, lift one hand, reach in and say “Trick or treat” as you pull out a piece of candy. Switch Sides. Then try both. Try mixing the candy while in bowl pose. Throw hands up and say “Happy Halloween.”
5. I Am Happy, I AM Good Meditation: Sitting, criss-cross yoga sauce. Pointer fingers stretched out and using thumb to hold other fingers curled.
I am happy; I am good. I am happy; I am good (Shake pointer fingers)
A-E-I-O (finger tips together at the belly button) ; A-E-I-O (finger tips together by the heart) ; A-E-I-O (finger tips together by the forehead); U (hands reaching up to sky).
Ha-ha-ha-ha (finger tips together by the forehead) ; He-he-he-he (finger tips together by the heart) ; Ho-ho-ho-ho(finger together at the belly button) ;Hooooooo (pronounced “who” hands reaching our by the knees). I have finger tips join as a brain gym activity.
6. Feel Your Heart Beat: Use Ride Your Bumpy Camel-up and down faster and faster, like a heart beat when you get scared. Then bring the tempo back down, to show resting heart rate.
7. Howling Wolf: Hooooooowwwwwoooooooo & Back Cat: Meoooowwwwwww
8. Haunted House: Lift one leg up for a chimney, swirl the ankle for the smoke coming out of the chimney. Switch sides.
9. Kick Away The Ghosts: We did it 8x.
10. Welcome Mat: Taking a rest mid class. Lay on your belly, rest head, eyes and energy. Listen to your heart and try to hear your heart beating. Can you slow it down? Do you notice how calm you feel? How Happy? How Safe? How strong?
11. Zombie: Rise up and find your inner zombie. Similar to mountain and up mountain pose. Skip the last one with the cut in 1/2, guts spilling out. But do say “arrrgggghhhh” and plod around on your mat a bit.
12. Crescent Moon: Can do it with breath.
13. Witch on a Broom (with hat), Witch Taking Flight & Flying Witch: “I am brave (Warrior I). I am bold (Warrior II). To our brooms, we take hold! (Warrior III)”
14. Eye In The Sky: Twinkle fingers. Big smile.
15. Owl: “whoooooooooooo” breath. Turn head side-to-side. Tuck arms in like wings.
16. Littlest Pumpkin in the Patch:
17. Tootsie Roll: The most calming!
18. Freeze Yoga Dance: Start out by leading them into poses and saying freeze to get them to hold the poses. Then let them do any poses they want and randomly stop the music. Then starting adding in suggestions, such as: Do a pose with one hand on the floor. Do a pose with your belly on the floor but not your feet. Make the smallest pose you can. The largest. And so on…
Fun Halloween Songs:
- Purple People Eater
- Woolly Bully
- Monster Mash
- I Put A Spell On You
- Love Potion No. 9
¡Olé! Happy Halloween! Love, Eve
To create the sweep for classic flamenco arms you must grow wings! Spread your back wide and lift your arms. Keep this image of wings as your back body spreads open to cradle the front body. As arms rise, shoulders must stay down and back. Not wrenched back, so that the shoulder blades pull in, but spread wide open to make the arms even longer than they already are. This is the key to the elegance and gypsy arrogance held in flamenco dance. Elbows must remain high throughout the movement as the shoulders remain down. Feel the the initial extension of your wings from deep within muscles between the shoulders. When you arrive at “T” position, shoulders must drop over the back of the rib cage. This will cause the front body, around the collar bones, to open wide, like a display case. There you will imagine that you are wearing a beautiful diamond necklace. This area is your display case, lift it up and display your necklace! Wear it proudly.
The arms must have energy all the way to the fingers; use Dynamic Tension. Feel your arms moving with the strength and unity of the whole shoulder girdle.
Feel your arm pits are deep caverns with vaulted ceilings. You can create a small hollow opening inside as if to cradle a very ripe, very juicy apricot (do not squish it or drop it).
The passage of the arm must go through all the “stopping” points (3, 6, 9, 12 n clock face) and create the shape necessary at each point (ie Never just bring your arm up with out passing through: low “v” to “t” position to high “v” etc…). In low “v” & 6 o’clock, make sure you do not compress the arm pits.
Arms must always be controlled. Never throw them around as if you are directing air traffic. Arms are under constant tension. You can imagine from the torso to the wrists, as your arms rise, that an elastic band is pulling tights. Feel the tension, but do not show the tension. There is a buoyancy as they rise, like they are pushing through water. Keep the gently descending line from shoulders to elbow to wrist to finger tips. This picks up again as the arms pass through “T” position and then again the dynamic tension is created from the arms back into the body. Make sure your arms flow.
A little about hands:
Hand movement are very personal and your hands are an extension of your personality and the emotional content to your dance. They are the fine sable hairs at the end of a paint brush. They add flourish, punctuation and can pull energy into your field or press it away. They add the final important details to your dance. the hands move from the circling of the wrists. The wrist circles do not involve any other part of the arms-so pay attention to your elbows!
There are two hand movement styles:
- Gypsy: The little finger leads the way in opening and closing the hand-like a fan opening and closing.
- Classic: The middle finger leads.
- Keep thumbs in as you turn your wrist.
- SEQUENCE: palm, fingers, wrist, fingers
- Bend wrists as much as possible. Bring your finger tips towards the very inside of the wrist before making the rotation. That is your accents point. The unfurling carries the rhythm till the next accent.
- Hands move with rhythm not randomly.
Cultivate your flamenco body
At the beginning of class, we explore the body structure to be held during flamenco and I describe the process physically:
*Feel a long lower back
*In return you will feel a response in your belly, a lifting in your belly
*Bring your belly into your spine, so you fill out your lower back
*Feel your side ribs lifting
*Have deep arm pits
*Lift your shoulder girdle up and then drop it over the top of the rib cage
*Do not pull your shoulders back, instead open your upper back wide
*At the same time, open your chest up wide too
*You need a micro-bend in your knees and elbows
*Pull the back of your cranium into your neck for a long straight line from tail to crown of head
*Eyes are down cast (hooded) in a far off type of way (do not look at the floor)
This week, however, I led the class using visualization to allow my students to create new habits in forming the flamenco body:
“When you want to plant a flower, you first need to till the soil, nourish it, plant the seeds, water it, and then sit back and wait to see the blossom….now in relation to the flamenco body. If you imagine that the soil line is at the hips, so your legs and your feet are the roots below the surface. The roots grow down and ground the dance to the earth. From the waist up is the blossom, growing from the soil line (which is your hips). This is the blossom.With good, strong roots, you then use the upper body to create the shapes and lines true to flamenco, building out of the hips and allowing the legs and feet to move separately.”
This is a much different image than if you imagine the feet are rooted to a soil line right below them. In this scenario, the legs are not rooted in the soil. But with the soil being at the hip line, you can instead imagine the legs to be strong roots growing deeply down into the soil and then allow the feet to hold you to the earth.
I was pleased to receive the book Growing Up Mindful from the author, Christopher Willard, PSYD. As I have become increasingly more focused on bringing mindfulness into situations where mindfulness might not be readily available, such as in schools, offices, and with the special needs populations, I have enjoyed the wide array of books on the practical applications of mindfulness, that I can adapt to my needs. Dr. Willard is at the top of the game. This book was really user-friendly with just enough scientific knowledge mixed with common sense. A dream book of ideas to help create a sense of balance, ease and flexibility in your life, that of your family and also to those around you. From the excellent mindfulness exercises to the practical advice, Dr. Willard offers creative and useful scripts, examples and ideas on how to bring mindfulness into your day. I highly recommend this book. It is an excellent tool for anyone: parent, teacher, and boss who wants to help young people bring mindfulness into their lives.
He also has an audio companion to his book available on Sounds True and a great set of Growing Mindful card deck that features 50 unique mindfulness activities to teach awareness, how to be present in the moment, and cultivate kindness & curiosity. Perfect for all ages!
As a special treat, here is a YouTube link to Dr. Willard’s TedX – Growing Up Stressed or Growing Up Mindful?
Disclaimer: The author sent me a copy of Growing Up Mindful. All opinions are my own.