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!
Dear Students & Families: past, present and future,
Welcome to my preliminary teaching and performing schedule for 2016-2017. All programs are inclusive and are adaptable.
This year, as lead youth/teen yoga and mindfulness instructor at Open Spirit Center, Framingham and their Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms project, I am aiming to bring yoga and mindfulness to target populations of students and faculty at Framingham High School and Hoops and Homework, an award winning After School and Summer Program serving the most under privileged kids in Framingham, MA. *** My ability to reach these populations is determined by grants and private donations though the Open Spirit/ Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classrooms Project. For more information, please visit our donation page.
On the performance front, I will be dancing for the Boston Arts Consort and Song Caravan. On the stage, you will find me either dancing traditional flamenco or my beautiful creative gypsy-freestyle, which blends my life of dance into my own artistic expression.
I am available for *private and semi private work, site specific choreography, educational presentations and master classes. *My private lesson slots are filling fast.
On Saturday September 24, 2016, I will be participating in Open Spirit Center’s Day of Spirit. Please join me for my gypsy-freestyle class and how mindful movement assists in freeing your artistic voice. Check Open Spirit Center/ Day of Spirit for more details
Just throwing this out there: I am looking to create a 11+ yoga boys class. If you are interested or know of anyone, please share my information with them.
Please contact me for more information. All programs can be tailored to fit your needs.
Emotional Health: is the ability to deal with your emotions in a way that is healthy for you and for those around you. Social-emotional development influences all areas of development, from intellectual to motor to interpersonal skills. To feel strong within your own skin, there needs to be a balance between the information you take in, and then your ability to healthfully ingest, digest, absorb and expel it. The greatest challenges lie in being able to communicate even when dealing with the strongest emotions, such as anger, frustration and sorrow. It is natural to feel these emotions, but how we respond to them is what separates us. Laying a path to healthy emotional security is being able to acknowledge the varied feelings you have, but being able to respond rather than just automatically react is what will help you remain strong, confident and flexible in difficult situations. If you, as an adult, can demonstrate this to your child, you will help them learn by mirroring a natural and comfortable way to express their emotions without harm.
Craft: “Breathing” Dragons:Since the activity before class was for such young children, I modified the craft. We took paper coffee cups and cut out a large hole in the bottom. Then each child, with the help of a parent/caregiver, if needed, put glue around the inside mouth of the cup and then glued strips of colored tissue paper flowing out of the cup. There were small pompoms for eyes, some kids used two eyes, some three, and even a few ones. When finished, we put them aside to dry and then gathered in the yoga area.
Ringing the Chime:Calm, quiet breathing. We ring the bell, gently swinging the two sides of the chime together. Take a breath in with your nose, like you are smelling a flower, cookies baking, fresh mowed grass, and slowly allow the breath to seep out your nose, a soft stream just trickling out through your nostrils, as the bell continues to echo. Carefully pass the chimes to the next person, trying not to make any sounds in between. Of course there are many types of chimes and bells that can be used. I like these chimes, because of their weight and their sound. Kids really enjoy being able to do this themselves and I find that all children can do it alone, given enough time and to assist only when needed. It is very rewarding for them and its fun! I strongly suggest that any person sharing the experience should take a try and ring the chimes. That means teachers, parents, kids…we even gently chimed them in front of any babies present and they connected to the sound immediately and smiles lit up on their tiny faces!g loud, quiet…
Demo Strong vs Soft breathing (cannot/can blow out candle):Usually I focus only on breathing in and out of the nose during yoga, but for this exercise, we took a breath in with our noses and then out with our mouths. For the “soft” breath out, we did a gentle exhale, one that would not blow out a candle. For the “strong” breath, we exhaled fiercely.
Breathing: STOP acronym for parents and care givers: “S” Stop; “T” Take a few deep, calming breaths; “O” Observe yourself and the situation at hand so that you can respond rather than react; “P” Proceed.
Hoberman Sphere:(the link in this title shows the sphere in action)This is the best all around visual breathing assistant. When it opens, you inhale and imagine you belly expanding; then as you exhale, let it close as your belly softens. It works for all ages and all abilities. Kids love to use the ball, as do adults. The Hoberman sphere is a structure resembling a geodesic dome, and which can fold down to a fraction of its normal size. The scissor-like action of its joints enables it to do this. If you look at it closely you can see a pattern in how its structured. It is made up of triangles and hexagons (the regular sized toy, that is.) It is a beautiful toy both aesthetically and structurally. It is truly a mesmerizing toy where form follows function.
Butterfly Sequence w/ Fly Like A Butterfly: Sit with bottom of feet touching. Gently flap the legs and sing: Fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly up so high (two times); Next place hands together by the side of the head to represent “sleeping” and sing a little more softly: Sleep like a butterfly, (switch hands to other side of the head) sleep like a butterfly, (switch one more time) sleep like a butterfly through the night (repeat, this time sing as quietly as possible and then even just move lips and say words); hands go behind you now on the floor and you sing more robustly: Soar like a butterfly (lift up right leg and put it down), soar like a butterfly (lift up left leg and put it down), soar like a butterfly up so high (Both legs up-body is being held up by hands on the floor) (second time through at the part when both legs are up, try to release hands from the floor and even try to flap like butterfly wings)
Little White Duck: Use the book that is based on the Raffi song (Here I interject that I highly recommend Raffi for his great kids music. He sings folk songs and is utterly appealing to kids and not bad on the ears for adults. Also, Dan Zanes. Love love love his kids music.) It is a simple book with an accompanying song. ..There’s a little white duck sitting in the water, a little white duck, doing what he oughta…In the book you have duck pose (squat and flap wings and say quack quack quack), take a bite of the lily pad (make a bite sound and rub your tummy), frog pose with hopping and ribbits (then have them jump back to their lily pads-whatever their space marker is), bug pose (lie on back with feet and hands in the air and say buzz buzz buzz); snake pose (on you belly, add hissing and squiggling); when there is no one left in the water, we all pretend to cry, boo hoo hoo. In the song their is the refrain “I’m glad” and I always cue the kids to sing with me at this part, “I’m g…….!” This book is full of fun onomatopoeia for kids!
Breathing Dragons: Get your (now dried) Dragon Breath craft. Strong breaths. Soft breaths. I once again talked about the differences between strong, happy, athletic breath and soft, calm, relaxing breath. The strong breaths really whip up the tissue paper, making the dragon breath fire. The soft breath, a gentle rustle is all.
Yogini Went To Sea(click this title for a link to the video): The greatest standby song/dance/meditation on the planet. It combines tapping, repetition, a fun sound track (by my dear friend Shakta Khalsa) and many many giggles. By singing and dancing, your mind is focused in the moment, adding an element of mind calming). The words are: Yogini went to sea, sea sea; to see what she could see, see, see; but all that she could see, see, see; was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea ,sea (tap forehead); Yogini went to jai, jai, jai… (tap upper arm at bicep); Yogini went to knee, knee, knee (cross body tap of opposite knee); Yogini went to oowajawa, to see what she could oowajawa, but all that she could oowajawa, was the bottom of the deep blue oowajawa (rub tummy); now of four motions in order: Yogini went to sea, jai, knee, oowajawa…. (tap forehead, tap arm, tap knee, rub tummy). As kids get older, I have them start with one hand, switch as the song gets faster and then on the third and fastest time, keep switching hands.
Savasana: Body scan deep relaxation script
Create the scene for a quiet relax time.
Everyone please rest on your back or your tummy. Choose the one that you feel will be most comfortable. The one that will let you be restful and quiet. Breath in through your nose, like you are smelling a delicious flower or some yummy cookies baking and as you breath out through your nose, you can feel your whole bod, from head to toe, relax.
Settle into your space/bed
Breathe in, out
Notice how the breath in fills you up with air, like a balloon, and you feel light and free.
Feel how the breath out allows your whole body to soften and relax; you feel like your body is just a cloud floating in the big blue sky..
Can you allow yourself to be very still and quiet? This means your mouth is not talking, your body is not moving and your mind is not trying to figure things out.
Breathe in, out
I am going to tell you to think about various parts of your body. I do not want you to touch these body parts, just allow yourself to think about them. Bring the attention to their heads, arms/hands, belly, legs, feet/toes. Pausing to breath in/out between each body part. Tell them to feel light, free, happy, good, friendly, still, healthy, loving, lovable, whole, complete, perfect. Say nice things to them. Then be silent. Maybe for a minute. Maybe longer?
All written material is the sole property of Eve Costarelli, DBA Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement/ Eve’s Amazing Yoga/ ¡Olé Namaste!
I just finished reading the delightful debut YA novel “Red Turban White Horse” written by the local author Nandini Bajpai that is set in the Metrowest (of Boston) and is full of thinly disguised local references. For someone, like myself, living in the region, this is a tasty treat!
The heroine of the story (Padmini “Mini” Kapoor) is a resourceful, caring teen who comes in charge of orchestrating her older sisters wedding while at the same time a hurricane is barreling down the east coast. Mini is a generous soul and armed with the current know-how of how-to-get-things done, she sets about to get everything in order from location to caterer to finding their mother’s lehengas (a skirt that is long, embroidered and pleated) that have been packed away for many years so that her sister can have the fairy tale wedding she deserves.
Start with the rich descriptions of the beautiful fabrics of the lehengas, from the gold and cranberry to the raspberry and silver, add in the mouth-watering descriptions of the delicious aromatic curries, warm crusty garlic naans, fragrant rice and Tandoori chicken, and then sprinkle in sweet, youthful romance and strong family values and you have a little slice of swarg!
I highly recommend this YA novel! It is a fun romp through Indian-American culture, with strong, likable characters and lots of local flavor (I did reach out to the author and she indicated that the little takeaway that comes to Mini’s rescue is loosely based on a diner on Route 9 in Framingham called Welcome India. I can’t wait to try them sometime.)
Full disclosure: I stumbled upon this book at the LOCAL library book sale! All opinions expressed are my own.
Today was the final day of Dance In The Schools 2015 at the Baldwin School, Cambridge. My classes were based on the life cycle of the butterfly (current with the 2nd grade science curriculum) and the concepts of senses we know (touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste) and then the ones we don’t know as much about (proprioception= an awareness of our bodies in space and the vestibular system=balance, gravity and movement information though our inner ear).
The best thing about yoga is that it allows for a sensory experience in a safe/non-competitive environment. You can manipulate your body in space, using poses, breath and meditation to clear pathways to achieve balance.
Breathing Sticks (once again, I noted to them to practice their breathing once they got their sticks)
What is the Butterfly Life Cycle?
Egg (usually laid on a leaf)
Larva/Caterpillar (eats leaves to grow)
What is metamorphosis?
Butterflies are active during the day feeding on flowers. They suck up the sweet nectar with their long, curly tongues. That is because butterflies cannot bite or chew.
There are about 150,000 kinds of butterflies and they and their caterpillars come in all sorts of colors and sizes.
Butterflies Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end). Most have four wings. The wings of butterflies are covered with tiny scales that seem to shimmer in the daylight. Some of them are brightly colored. Others have bold patterns or scary eye-spots. When a butterfly flashes its wings at its enemies, it confuses them, and gives itself time to escape the danger that they might be in.
Butterflies and moth belong to the order Lepidoptera. Lepidos is Greek for “scales” and ptera means “wing”.
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
Out in the fields, eggs are hidden from view. Child’s pose
clinging to leaves with butterfly glue. Stretching child’s pose. Fingers crawl to the left and right to stretch sides.
Soon caterpillars hatch. They creep and they chew. Creep forward into inchworm.
Each one knows what it must do. Press up to cobra. Add hissing and snaking back up and down.
Find a place where winds don;t blow, Locust.
then make a case in which to grow. Bow.
Caterpillar changes now begin– Rock and roll on belly, release. Rise up to standing position.
body and wings take shape within. Tapping.
When it’s time, each case is torn– Willow tree and joy breath.
wings unfold; new butterflies are born! Star Pose.
They pump their wings, get ready to fly, Add cross body kicks.
then hungry butterflies head for the sky. Yoga Jumping Jacks.
Looking for flowers with nectar to eat, Standing flower pose (tree)
they catch a whiff of something sweet.: Join a partner for partner tree/or group tree
They follow that fragrant scent of perfume, Melt to the floor. breathing in and smelling the delicious odor of fresh flowers 3x.
until they find our garden bloom.: Seated flower
We’ve been waiting for wings! Seated bat (opening flower)
We watch them circle, land on their feet, Lay on back and hug knees to chest. Legs up towards ceiling, as if walking on ceiling. Foot circles, both directions. Point and flex and then walk on ceiling and then bicycle.
unroll their tongues, and begin to eat.: Rock and roll. Grab feet, happy baby.
They dip and sip, Feet down. Simple lying twist.
then fly away, back home to the fields… Full body stretch-like a gingerbread man.
They have eggs to lay.: Savasana
Song (sung to the tune of Pop Goes The Weasel)…I tried!
I spin and spin my chrysalis
I stay inside to rest
When I come out….Metamorphosis!
Pop! Goes the butterfly.
Of course we then did a rousing version of Yogini Went to Seaand then the Downward Dog Crawl Tunnel. Not taking into account the size of the room, proved to be a stumper for a moment. But I offered up the challenge to the class and we were able to create a circle, which worked very well! I so appreciated the first groups problem solving ability!
Last night, I attended Ainoa performance in her school’s International Night event. I am so impressed with this event. First of all, it is a night solely represented by dancing-boys and girls alike and there are dances representing at least 12 different countries such as India, Mexico, Iran, Ireland, China and Peru. Ainoa’s dancing has reached a new level. She has found her self within the music, knowing the choreography, understanding the rhythms. We can call this the comfort zone. So now we attack the emotional content and how to express it to the audience.
Seated yoga sequence to balance the chakras
Muladhara Chakra- root chakra- color red
Easy pose (habitual cross leg first-both of us chose right over left). Feel sit bones. Show on skeleton model, where the sit bones are (Remind of the wrap of the psoas muscle and the Nerf ball.) Recross to non-habitual side and feel sit bones.
Svadhistana Chakra- sacral chakra- color orange
Upavishta Konasana, with legs only as wide as the mat (short ways), with bolster under knees. Just resting arms on upper legs and letting head drop forward.
Manipura Chakra- solar plexus chakra- color yellow
Easy seated twist. Right leg in front, right hand holds left knee. Recross. Left leg in front, left hand holds right knee.
Anahata Chakra- heart chakra- color green
Bolster under shoulders and then moves after 3 breaths down the spine. Stopping and always taking at least three breathes in each spot. End with bolster under hips and do knees into chest. I pointed out to her that this is a back bend too. At first she did not believe e as she sees wheel as the only back bend, but I had her close her eyes and I told her to imagine she was standing on the edge of a pool and by leaning back, she was going to be able to dive in backwards. I could just tell from her energy shift that she was getting it.
Vishudda Chakra: throat chakra- color blue
Ocean breath, in constructive breath, on in breath still holding, knees go out and on out breath pull knees back in towards chest, like a bellows.
Ajna Chakra: Third-eye chakra- color purple
Release legs and let them rise to the ceiling (Make your body into an “L” shape-do not do shoulder stand). Make ankle circles in and out. Point and flex feet. Re-hug legs into chest.
Sahasrara Chakra: Crown of the head chakra- color white light/ glimmering diamond