Motherhood Milestones Turning 21

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This Friday, my first born turns 21 years old. Wow! Seriously?! It’s the anniversary of my birthing her. And the moment that forever changed my life. As I reflect on the ongoing motherhood journey, I’m reminded of what matters most in her precious life, and mine.

1. My right to have her (or not to). Freedom is having agency over your body. I’m so grateful to have had this liberty. Currently, my daughter’s, and millions of other birthing people’s rights, are at risk. For me, their choice is between them and their God, not legislators who want to control them. Vote them out!

2. Surrounded by loving support. Having a partner, family, friends and a community that wraps their arms around you, and your growing child, is essential. There are so many moments where circles of support with other parents, teachers and kind leaders not only educate and enrich our lives, but save them. Connection matters!

3. Success skills built in. My daughter was a 2020 high school graduate. Covid created so much loss for her personally, and for her entire grade who were launching to college. Three years later, many still struggle to balance their lives. Confidence builds resilience, and the ability to adapt - is everything. Learn it to live it!

Major milestones have been reached like, walking, talking and graduating. Now, she’s a young adult and I listen to her. I hear where she’s at. I remember where I was at at the same age. In some ways we are similar, and in other ways, there’s a world of difference.

Every step of the way, I remember the power of the brain - specifically neuroplacticity. Knowing that you have the ability to break negative patterns and re-shape them is extremely powerful. It’s what I learned in yoga. It’s why I teach yoga to children and adolescents. Strengthening, stretching and stressing less are the skills our kids need to succeed in today’s world.

Happy birthday to my darling, Kate! She inspired me to start IYK® when she modeled my sun salutations (perfectly modified) at 18 months old. At 21, I bow to you, dear one, for making me a mother, and for the privilege of having you as my daughter. Shine bright, baby!

Spring Equinox Family Yoga Event

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Spring is the season of regrowth when the natural world revives and reinvigorates after a cold winter. New seedlings sprout, dormant plants begin to grow again and hibernating animals awake.

The Spring equinox is when the day and night are almost equal. There are two equinoxes each calendar year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring, or vernal, equinox occurs on March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere. Following the flow of the season, we too can spring to new life! Unlike the New Year when intentions or SMART goals are set in the dead of winter, spring gives us the good luck and spark to make things happen.

Here are 3 ways to celebrate Spring:

1. Enjoy a nature walk. Look for signs of new life on trees and flowers. My favorites are the daffodils, tulips and cherry blossoms that burst this time of year when the temperatures rise.

2. Seek balance. With the length of the day and night being equal, notice areas of your life that need to be equalized. Make sure you have enough work and play as well as energy and rest.

3. Come to family yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to energize and equalize. Our Spring Equinox event is outdoors at the stunning Palace of Fine Arts. We’ll do a special spring craft after class and this event supports Hamilton Families.

Enjoy the season! Utilize the natural energy of new life to spring onward and upward toward your dreams. It’s a great time to learn something new like how to be an IYK® Warrior too!

Yoga to Listen and Be Heard

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Okay, hear me out because it’s National Be Heard Day on March 7. Who knew? Now, we do! "The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished." —George Bernard Shaw

First of all, it’s take takes (at least) two to communicate: a listener and a speaker. There’s a lot to be said about what it means to feel heard and the skill of how to listen. Let’s break it down.

Active listening means getting out of your own head and trying to understand another person’s point of view. It is conscious process that requires presence and empathy.

Reflective listening is when the listener repeats what the speaker said to ensure what they heard and understood correctly like placing an order and having it reflected back to you.

Discriminative listening is when we hear, interpret or derive meaning from what is being said and how it is said - maybe even how it’s not being said because it’s true that communication is 55% is nonverbal, 38% tone (hello sarcasm), and just 7% words. 

Selective listing is ONLY hearing what we want to hear and disregarding the rest. It’s incomplete listening and leads to misunderstanding and misinformation.

Evaluative listening is when the listener makes a judgment about what is being said. How often does this happen - especially with our kids? A lot.

Active and reflective listening are the best ways to be heard and understood along with inquiry when unclear. Asking for clarification helps ensure complete understanding so that we don’t get lost in translation.

Yoga makes you a better listener. When you pay attention and listen to your body, you can receive information and respond more effectively. Listening to your instincts and intuition sharpen with the practice.

Tune in to you and those around you. Try a class with your child or get training in your area. Remember listening is an act of love.

Teen Mental Health Wellness Day Yoga Works

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March 2 is World Teen Mental Wellness Day and there’s lots to talk about like…poor mental health is a problem for adolescents. Results from the CDC's 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey show startling trends.

Fifty. Seven. Percent.

  • Nearly 3 in 5 teen girls (57%) said they felt "persistently sad or hopeless." That's the highest rate in a decade.
  • And 30% said they have seriously considered dying by suicide — a 60% jump from a decade ago. Almost 70% of LGBTQIA+ students felt the same. The stats are worse for students of color.

"Our teenage girls are suffering through an overwhelming wave of violence and trauma, and it’s affecting their mental health," said Kathleen Ethier, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

Experts counted social media and COVID-19 among the key causes for teens’ negative mental states. Now, health officials say investing in school programs could help. Enter yoga.

Yoga is preventative medicine for teens to build the healthy habits they need to meet today’s challenges. Mindfulness practice, movement, meditation and mindset work fortifies the growing adolescent brain and body to ensure they have the skills they need to succeed.

And it works! 100% of IYK Teens who practice yoga once a week, or more, report feeling “healthier & happier.” Our goal is to make yoga more accessible at school to boost its positive impact for every teen to strengthen, stretch and stress less.

Kids Yoga and Basketball Leadership Program

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President’s Day is the third Monday of February. On this day, we remember and honor all presidents in American history for their work in making America the country it is today.

What makes a great leader today? For the last eight years, It’s Yoga Kids (IYK) has partnered with Empower ME Academy (EMA). Together, we help student-athletes achieve, and lead, like STARS. With Coach Gumbs, here’s how sports and yoga develop L.E.A.D.E.R.S.:

L: Listen - leaders listen to their inner guidance, also known as, intuition. Driven by their vision, success requires them to pay attention to those involved so they are heard and feel valued.

E: Empathetic - leaders are understanding and have compassion for others. This is a skill we often cultivate when we are humbled by errors and falls. Empathy connects us to one another.

A: Accountable - leaders actions must align with their values and words. We all make mistakes. Leaders are willing to own them, learn from them and commit to doing better.

D: Daring - leaders take on challenges. They are willing to dream big and they dare themselves to go for their goals - even when they are afraid. Leaders face fears to reach their highest heights.

E: Energy-Giving - leaders are not takers, they are givers. They understand the glory comes from the collective not from their self-serving needs. They are positive and up-lifting. High vibes!

R: Resilient - leaders bounce back when things don’t go their way. They overcome obstacles with agility. They are adaptable so they can handle whatever adversity arrives in order to grow.

S: Self-less - leaders are mindful of others who look up to them as role models. They put the needs of their team above their own. They are focused on the greater good.

There is no better place to learn these skills than on your own yoga mat and in team sports. Everything we learn on the mat, court or field can be applied to everyday life. Being a leader takes persistence, patience and practice.

Join IYK + EMA for holiday camps & clinics in San Francisco where we develop leaders to achieve and lead like STARS. Get the FREE Coaching Guide.

Learn all sorts of useful tips about Yoga for Kids!