Kids and Family Yoga Earth Day

People ask me why I teach yoga to kids. This is why: what we practice on the mat translates to life off the mat. Skills like acceptance, resilience, presence, endurance, confidence and ultimately attention. What do we pay attention to and for how long?

The current issue is evil: war, violence and atrocities. Why do they exist? How are they different than evil thoughts like, “I hate my brother. I’m gonna kill him!” Simply said, evil thoughts are not the same evil acts. However, all actions are based in a thought, feeling, or impulse.

I believe evil is a learned behavior. No one is born evil. Further, a learned behavior that leads to wrongdoing comes from a child’s upbringing. This includes morality, conditioning, impulse control, anger, inner conflict and fear. Specifically, how a child’s leaders (parents, teachers, coaches) deal with these factors.

How do we overcome evil within and around us? Raise compassion. Raise awareness. Act from that place. That’s it!

No one is immune from inner conflict, fear, and anger. Look inside yourself because external conflicts are the extension of inner conflicts. Develop your own humanity by living from a deeper state of consciousness. With practice, you will become an agent of peace which is the greatest contribution you can make to counter evil.

Kids and Family Yoga Earth Day

Earth Day is coming on April 22. Every day is earth day, but I’m glad a special day exists to bring worldwide awareness to protecting the environment. What is the environment? It’s anyplace you dwell including your body, your home, our communities, our nations, and our planet. Let’s explore how to keep these environments healthy and clean so everyone prospers.

The body. Purify what makes you sick or unwell. This includes stress. Yoga removes toxins from the body and stimulates our organs so all internal systems work better. Further, practicing yoga connects our feet to the earth through mindfulness to help us feel grounded and safe.

The home. Spring cleaning is crucial to making sure your home's air is healthy to breathe. Dust and allergens that build up over the winter need to be removed, especially with the onset of the allergy season. This clearing helps you breathe clean air inside and outside.

The community. Helping our communities elevates the energy all around us. Investing in your community makes us all feel more safe and connected. This is why volunteering and caring for those in need matters.

The nation. This is the moment to change it all: the business and political climates. We are more aware of how our conduct matters, what we stand for, and what we will no longer stand for.

The earth. Take courageous action on the climate. Now is the time to preserve and protect our health, our families, our livelihoods… together, we must invest in Our Planet. A green future is a prosperous future. Our water. Our air. Our soil. There is much we must do!

First held on April 22, 1970, Earth Day now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. Look for local events near you.

Join our IYK® Earth Day Happy Hour event in the Presidio of San Francisco at 4:30pm. Strengthen and stretch your body, mind, and heart with movement, music and a special art project to honor the planet. Have fun, take meaningful action and raise your positive vibes. Register your family here.

Luck and Karma

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I became curious about The Luck of the Irish and how it intersects - or doesn’t with karma. What makes one lucky or not - or to have good karma or not? Is the Luck of the Irish Good Luck or Bad Luck—or Dumb Luck?

The Luck of the Irish is used to describe someone who is extremely lucky and has good fortune. During the California Gold Rush (1848-1855), many of the most successful miners were of Irish descent giving birth to the American phrase the Luck of the Irish. Another theory is the phrase stems from Irish folklore or possibly Celtic mythology which bestowed a special kind of luck on the Irish people.

The phrase itself is used to express good luck and good fortune, but it’s easy to see why one might think it is used ironically to express actual bad luck. The history of the Irish people is anything but lucky. Over the centuries, Ireland has been wrought with famine, civil wars, foreign invasion, and the oppression of its people. Finally, its origins also have a slight connotation of dumb luck, as if to say the only way an Irishman could be successful is due to luck and not through hard work, skills, or intellect.

What about Karma? The Sanskrit word karma means “action,” but the word implies actions that have consequences. That concept is an everyday idea. However, according to Deepak Chopra, there are deeper implications for karma: Every action leads to a result. These results are calculated by a kind of cosmic power than balances everything. The consequences of your actions are not randomly good or bad—they are organized in an evolutionary way to move your forward.

“Good” karma means evolution. “Bad” karma suspends or delays your forward motion. This goes beyond “everything happens for a reason.” The reason is evolution. This is why the doctrine of karma originated, so that despite the ups and downs of everyday life and the random reactions we have to everything that happens to us, there is a larger karmic pattern.

Perhaps it’s true, the harder you work, the luckier you get. And to grow, you must become aware of your experience, interrupt negative patterns and choose positive ones. This is the opportunity. We do yoga to become more aware. Full stop. The power is in the pause to act for the highest outcome in every situation.

Kids and World Peace

Events that threaten war over peace are disturbing. They disturb us personally and collectively. What can we do when that fear is REAL and not imagined?!

Instead of spinning out with fear, I go inward to find my center. Because as soon as one conquers suffering, one realizes a source of inner peace. That energy reflects outward, supporting family and friends, as well as society as a whole. Ultimately, around the world, there will be peace and harmony.

Being connected to our purpose and peace is power. The power of choice to be unified within and to reflect unification outwardly. Staying committed to a state of “one-ness” is something we can all do.

Try this exercise to bring yourself to center. It’s an adaption of Sa, Ta, Na, Ma.

  1. Sit tall and hold your hands open on your knees
  2. Touch your index fingertip to your thumb tip - say Peace
  3. Touch your center fingertip to your thumb tip - say Begins
  4. Touch your ring fingertip to your thumb tip - say With
  5. Touch your pinky fingertip to your thumb tip - say Me
  6. Repeat this sequence for up to 11 minutes and let the energy flow through you
  7. Finish the sequence with a moment of silence and let the sound resonate
  8. Feel the peaceful state inside of you

Our hearts go out to all of those affected. If you’d like to offer your support, find out how you can help here.

Not Feeling the Love

What do we do when we’re not feeling the love? This usually gets activated by others not meeting our needs for love. Sometimes, we feel unlovable. It’s heartbreaking.

When this happens, we’re supposed to love ourselves more. Sounds easier than it is. For some, self-love feels selfish. This isn’t the indulgent kind of expression of love that comes from spoiling yourself with “things.” Instead, it’s the simple care and compassion we might feel for another directed toward ourselves. And that takes practice!

Balancing external validation (oh hi, social media) with internal satisfaction can be a challenge, especially for teens. How do we develop the inner fortitude to both feel the love we need and to and share it in a way that’s healthy - not demanding or demeaning?

I’ve cultivated many of these skills on my yoga mat and applied them to my life off the mat. It’s proven very effective to maintain my inner strength and peace.

Recently, I read Deepak Chopra’s article: You Are Never Alone: A Global Safety Net. I totally agree with the “in here” vs. “out there” approach to living safely in today’s environment. The sooner we cultivate this practice of safety with ourselves, and our kids, the better off we, and they, will be.

What do you think? Please love yourself today and everyday. Remember, you are never alone.

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