Sunday, June 11, 2006

Downward Dog for Little Folks

Yoga for adults has gotten kinda trendy (and for good reason), but the newest thing seems to be yoga for kids. It makes total sense too. A way to channel that wonderful energy they have, as well as a teach them techniques for calming themselves down. Skills my sleep-hating boy needs to learn. We bought an excellent DVD at Target put out by Giaim called KidsYoga. The one we have goes through the ABC's with various positions - "D is for down diggety doggy down" to "R is for roar."

Studies have shown that children learn through movement (, so this DVD qualifies as eduational, plus it builds self esteem and body awareness. Okay, so mostly it's just fun. Teacher Marsha Wenig is not annoying like most of the people you find on yoga tapes. It's filmed outside in nature, as opposed to in a studio, and the children are not phoney Barney types, but are actually getting into the moves. I was pleasantly suprised by how much Mr. Big liked it. To try a few postures with your little one, go here:

One of the few yoga studios around here is Inner Works Wellness Center in Upland (located on MonteVista, 3 parking entrances above Foothill). It's the only Kundalini yoga center east of Los Angeles in California. I've been doing Kundalini yoga for 6 years and I can't speak highly enough about it. I believe it helped me to get pregnant, it helped me have a great pregnancy and birth, it got my body back after birth, and it's definitely helped diminish the aches and pains of motherhood after 40. I still go once a week. Kundalini is said to be the quickest acting yoga in that you get results right away. The postures are very similar to hatha, with more of a mind connection though, in part because it involves meditation. Most of the teachers at Inner Works are Sikhs, which means that they wear white turbans and have spiritual names like Guru Mahan Singh. While they sometimes go into the meaning and philosophy behind their religion, they in no way push their religion on you.

Inner Works Wellness will be offering children's yoga classes this summer on Fridays from 10:45 to noon for 6 weeks begining on July 7 and running until August 11. I thought it was going to be Saturdays, so working mothers could go as well, but oh well. The teacher is a licensed psychotherapist and certified Kundalini yoga instructor. The description on their website says it is for kids 5 to 12, but my own teacher there told me that children as young as 3 were there last summer. I have no idea how Mr. Big will like doing yoga in this type of setting, he is afterall a spirited boy, but I'm willing to give it a try. Cost will be $10 a class. For more info on this class, as well as their adult classes, go to:

Inner Works Wellness is looking for a new home. When I recommended Pomona to my teacher, her eyes didn't glaze over like I was talking crazy again. Geuss that's because the folks at Inner Works are open minded. That's why I like it there.

I first did yoga in an apartment in Oakland at the instruction of my friend Cheline, must have been about 1990. She had learned yoga from/with her hip stepmother Malkeea, a New Yorker turned Ojai spiritual seeker. At the end of each set, Cheline taught me how to say, "hello world" complete with Malkeea's Jewish New York accent while putting our hands up in the air and fanning them down to our sides. Cheline's since become a yoga instructor, and works at Apple, where she is a recruiter. She has brought yoga classes to the board room at Apple in Cupertino. To this day, I still do the "hello world." I even tell Mr. Big that is what he said (and how he said it) when he first popped out of my tummy. Malkeea died recently, some six months after Cheline's father (the deepest, most charismatic dude I ever met). Hello world. Goodbye and rest in peace, George and Malkeea.

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