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It’s that time of year again: Back to School.

There are bags to pack, lunches to make, and a never-ending list of things to buy. And if you are stressed out just thinking about it you are not alone. Going back to school is a stressful time for parents, no doubt, but many people often forget that it is also a stressful time for children.
School places a great deal of expectations on children. After two months of summer relaxation, the idea of going back to a strict school routine can be very unnerving. Not to mention it is a new year with new teachers and new lessons to learn. Perhaps your child is going to a new school and has to go through the process of making new friends. It is no surprise that our children get overwhelmed at the idea of returning to school.
With all of these things to consider it is important to practice mindfulness when approaching the new school year, and stress in general. Mindfulness simply means being aware of how you are feeling and how those around you are feeling, so that you are better equipped to handle stressful situations.
Children handle stress differently than adults.. Stress can have serious effects on children in the long run, leading to physical and mental health issues later in life. Therefore, it is important to be aware of your child’s stress levels, anxieties over school, and potential problems. It could make all of the difference in their worlds here.
As parents, there are a few things you can do as we move into the 2016-17 school year:

  • Listen to your children. They are often telling you more than you think at first. It is the subtle things that mean the most.
  • Let your children be kids. If you overload them with extra-curricular activities provided to help with the powderpuffmaids.com atlanta cleaning you will burn them (and yourself!) out.
  • Eat breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, and ensuring that your children start the day with one healthy meal can make all the difference.
  • Let them sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation children need 8-10 hours of sleep so encourage a sleep schedule and follow a routine.
  • Practice mindfulness. Even if it just means taking a walk outside to take a break from homework.
  • Teach your children to breathe. Taking a deep breath during a stressful situation can be the difference between loosing your cool and finding a solution.
  • Be present. Sometimes all they need is for you to be there to help them, listen to them, sit with them, or joke with them. We are all busy, but it is important to be present in the lives of the ones we love.

We wish all of the students the best of luck in the 2016-17 school year. May you have a stress free year.
For more information about mindfulness and yoga for kids, or how to book a class please contact us at info@theyogakids.com

Romeo and Juliet

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Oh, look. It’s another one of those cute photo series of animals, sent to me from a friend. It’s true, these are amazing photos: A deer comes to a residential yard every morning to greet and spend time with the homeowner’s cat. Every morning!
Being an animal lover, I have to admit that I linger over each photo in the series, marveling at the communication between these two animals, one wild, one domesticated. A communication that I do not understand, but want to.
I quickly forward the message to my list of animal-loving friends, and go to hit “delete” to clear it off my list and move on with the real business of my life.

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My son happens to pass by just at this moment. He stops to take a closer look, and says simply, “Romeo and Juliet.”
Really? Did I miss all that?
What he apparently sees is a deep friendship between members of two species so different that their interaction could potentially cause big problems. An ill-fated romance of true, pure love that can, tragically, never be, because, well, a deer and a cat are different. Too different. Like the Montagues and the Capulets.
Why is this photo series so fascinating? Why don’t we see different species of animals interacting like this in our daily lives more often? Why do some animals do this, but most don’t? Is it an unnatural mutancy, or is it a common occurrence that we simply aren’t privy to in the wilds of nature? Should we assume it only happens when someone can capture it on film?
Or should we assume that it happens all the time?
Humans can take lessons from animals on how to see and experience friendship and love despite differences, so maybe that’s why this kind of message get posted and forwarded and messaged around the world: Because we all, instinctively, want people of different backgrounds to get along.
For me, the takeaway here is that my son’s gut reaction caused me to consider this photo essay in a more thoughtful light than I would have otherwise learn academy. And that difference – the different views I have from my child’s – are included in the idea that we all CAN be friends, even if we don’t see everything (even a simple photo essay!) in the same way.

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I will now do my best to view this and other messages that come my way from my brand new “deer” perspective along with my regular “cat” perspective.
Incidentally, the photo series came with a message that says
Those we love don’t have to be exactly like us. Life is too short!

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The Science of Yoga… For Kids

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Last February, a new yoga book came out and it’s been causing some stir within the yoga community lately. The Science of Yoga is written by William J. Broad, the Pulitzer-prize winning science writer for the New York Times.  He’s also a yoga fan and practitioner.

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In his new book, Mr. Broad says that “the benefits [of yoga] unquestionably outweigh the risks.”  But the hubbub among yogis and students is mainly over one of the book’s chapters which discusses how injuries can be sustained by practitioners who do not practice asana yoga “intelligently,” and his statement that “yoga can kill and maim.”
Naturally, many in the yoga community are concerned about this chapter.  They feel, as I do, that yoga is not only excellent physical exercise for people of any ability, but that the psychological benefits – reducing stress, reducing pain, improving sleep patterns, increasing the ability to focus, and long-term improvement in self-image – make yoga a safe and beneficial choice for people of all ages.
Not to get nit-picky, but The Science of Yoga’s  chapter on yoga injuries is based on case studies and sketchy interpolation; while the book debunks some debunk-able yoga myths by showing how unscientific they are, the injury chapter itself has no scientific method to back it up either.
That’s OK.  It’s hard to put the results of yoga practice into a scientific study no matter what you’re trying to prove.  (I’ve listed a few links at the end of this blog for my readers who would like to see some actual studies from the scientific horse’s mouth.)

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Either way, The Science of Yoga is, for the most part, very favorable about yoga, and it’s informative too, if you can get past the slightly superior tone and a few disparaging remarks about people who have been deceased for decades
There’s nothing to fear in yoga as long as you use a little common sense and follow your gut instinct when practicing yoga or choosing a yoga instructor for your child.  Like choosing a school, a doctor, a hairdresser, or a tennis instructor, we all seek out those we can trust, or at least those we believe knows what they’re doing.  It’s the same with yoga, for adults or children.
Our classes are about breathing awareness, balance, mindfulness, ability to focus, being a good person, and valuing ourselves language classes at englishcollege.com.  The poses we use are chosen for their ability to illustrate and assist these elements, as well as for their ease for children of all abilities.  I believe that our students not only enjoy their yoga classes, but truly benefit from them in many ways.  And that’s good science!
Remember:  If you ever have any concerns or questions about yoga, I am just one quick phone call away!

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Harvard University https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/April/Yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression
Leipzig University https://biodanza-online.com/yoga_for_children.pdf

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By Popular Demand: More Fabulous Safe & Clean Home Cleaning Recipes!

A few weeks ago I posted a couple of my good friend Monica Koncilja’s safe and clean eco-friendly home cleaning recipes in my Spring Cleaning blog.

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Boy were they popular! And rightly so. They’re easy to mix up and they clean everything with no worries about toxins remaining in the air or home surfaces.
One of my favorite aspects of homemade cleaning products is that they massively reduce the amount of plastic I use. Even if you buy big “refill”-size cleaners, you’re still stuck with a large amount of plastic, sourced from petroleum and now headed to the landfill because many of these containers aren’t recyclable even if you put them in your recycle bin check out Active Office Cleaning.
So without further ado, here is more miraculous cleaning magic by Monica that you dont have to be a millionaire to afford!

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Safe & Cheap Fruit and Vegetable Spray – great for disinfecting kitchen surfaces too!
This procedure removes dangerous microbes from fresh produce, fresh meat and decontaminates kitchen surfaces without utilizing chlorine bleach. Kills salmonella, shigella, and E. Coli bacteria. Both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar are natural substances that are produced by living organisms. Use the 2 together for the most effective and safest kitchen disinfectant with this post.
Do not use these sprays on marble countertops. Vinegar dissolves calcium-based stone
such as marble, limestone, dolomite, and calcite, and may etch the surface of other natural stone.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
A little more background: Our bodies produce hydrogen peroxide as a byproduct of metabolism; it is basically water with an added oxygen atom. When hydrogen peroxide is exposed to heat, light, or any organic material; it releases the extra oxygen, this reaction creates pure oxygen which is toxic to microorganisms, which is why hydrogen peroxide is an effective antiseptic.

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Hydrogen peroxide is 100 times more effective in killing bacteria than vinegar – and studies show that vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses! Now that’s strong!
1. Buy 2 plastic spray bottles in 2 different colors. One bottle must be completely opaque and as dark of a color as you can find. This bottle is for the hydrogen peroxide which degrades if exposed to any light. (Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide cannot be kept in the same bottle because hydrogen peroxide is delicate and readily breaks down into pure water).
2. Buy a large bottle of consumer strength (3%) hydrogen peroxide at the drug store or grocery store. Fill your dark spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and store it in a cool, dark place. (Do not attempt to use laboratory strength–30%, hydrogen peroxide, as it is a very strong oxidizer that starts fires.)
3. Buy a gallon of distilled white vinegar with https://tubeporn.cc
Disinfecting meat or produce:
When you are washing fruits and vegetables, rinse off the dirt and grit off fruits and vegetables. Spray meat or produce first with vinegar and then with hydrogen peroxide click here. The peroxide, which has no taste, rinses the vinegar off the produce or meat. No further rinsing is necessary.

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Disinfecting surfaces:
Fist spray vinegar, then spray with hydrogen peroxide; wipe clean. No need to rinse.
References: Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

The Nature of Self-Compassion Yoga Kids

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“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
~ Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching)

Of all the tools available to us for handling difficult circumstances, self-compassion surely stands as one of the most efficacious. And this is as much true for our children as for us.
In her book, Real Happiness at Work, Sharon Salzberg writes, “Compassion is the recognition that conscious or unconscious unhappiness is the cause of so many difficult behaviours, and loving-kindness is the wish that all beings be peaceful and happy.” Self-compassion, then, consists of a genuine well-wishing towards ourselves. A sincere desire that we be happy.

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Citing the work of psychologist Kristin Neff, Sharon goes on to explain that self-compassion has three dimensions:

  • Mindfulness: A bringing of awareness to difficult emotions like shame and anger, and an acceptance thereof.
  • Common Humanity: A sense of being human and part of the human community and, therefore, imperfect.
  • Kindness: A feeling of gentleness and warmth towards ourselves, rather than scathing self-blame.

The wondrous thing about self-compassion is that, no matter how difficult our circumstances might be, it always anchors us to our own self-worth. The meditation below is an easy and effective way to begin cultivating feelings of compassion to yourself. Try practising it with your children. It might help instil this positive attitude at an early age.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

  1. Seat yourself comfortably and close your eyes. Take a handful of deep, calming breaths.
  2. Begin by saying silently to yourself, “May I be happy…may I be well…may I be loved.”
  3. Next, picturing a person who is dear to you, say, “May you be happy…may you be well…may you be loved.”
  4. The third step is to picture a person for whom you hold no particularly strong feelings. The postman, a person you briefly spoke to today, even a neighbour. Picturing that person, say, “May you be happy…may you be well…may you be loved.”

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  1. Next, picture a person for whom you hold negative feelings. Then, as best you can, say to them, “May you be happy…may you be well…may you be loved.”
  2. Finally, consider yourself as part of the larger human community, and say to yourself: “May all beings be happy…may all beings be  well…may all beings  be loved.”

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8 Science-Backed Benefits of Yoga

There’s a multitude of benefits that come from the practice of yoga, especially when it’s started at a young age. As we grow older we tend to “live less” in our bodies. Alongside invariably meaning less flexibility, this habit also cuts us off to a degree from our emotions. It’s always worth remembering that our feelings are embodied, they are part of our physical being.
So starting a practice that reconnects, both physically and emotionally, can have tremendous benefits for children. It also builds a foundation that can be returned to later in life. Check out https://burniva.com/knowledge-center/
Have a look at these eight science-backed benefits for a clearer picture of just what yoga can do for your child.

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8 Scientific Benefits of Yoga

Improves Flexibility. This is one of the most tangible, satisfying effects of yoga. Over the course of a handful of sessions your child will notice that they’ve gone from being unable to touch their toes to being able to twist into all manner of weird and wonderful shapes.
Improves muscle strength. Better muscle strength can help protect against physical problems, like back pain and arthritis, later in life. Also, check out betking
Improves spinal alignment. Our spinal disks thrive on movement. Bending can help keep them healthy, reducing the likelihood of hernias and trapped nerves.

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Improves blood flow. Researchers have found that yoga increases levels of haemoglobin in red blood cells, leading to better oxygenation of muscle and organ tissue.

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Boosts immunity. This is one of the most researched areas of the ancient practice. Many yoga poses improve the functioning of the lymphatic system, responsible for fighting infection, by improving drainage of lymph fluid around the organs.Helps balance adrenal glands. Anxiety is a common, and often misunderstood, problem amongst children. Through lowering cortisol levels, yoga can have a direct and natural anxiety-lowering effect. The calmness that this results in will also help improve concentration. Which leads on to…
Improves concentration. Improvements in concentration don’t only come from a rebalancing of the adrenal glands. Yoga often goes hand in hand with “mindfulness” or “awareness in the present moment.” Numerous studies have linked the practice of mindfulness to increased concentrative abilities.
Improves sleep quality. One of the ways that yoga improves both the immune and nervous systems is through fostering a neurochemical environment conducive to restorative sleep.
Is It Safe?

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It’s understandable to have safety concerns regarding yoga and children. You can rest content in the knowledge that the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with a host of other organizations, has said that yoga is safe for children. Class sizes will be small and there won’t be any handstands or one-arm balancing acts either. All of the poses are simple and gentle.

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Three Simple Mindfulness Exercise to Try

‘Make of yourself a light,’
said the Buddha,before he died.

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I think of this every morning as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds of darkness…
(From House of Light by Mary Oliver)

There’s no excuse for not giving mindfulness a go. It’s benefits are many and its dangers few…if any even exist at all! A full list of the positive effects are well beyond the scope of this article, but chief amongst them are improved mental and physical health, better concentration and an easing of day-to-day anxieties. For both you and your children.
Here are three little mindful exercises that you can use with diet tea by burniva. Try them for a while and see if you notice any tangible effects in your day-to-day life. They’re also perfect to try with your children.
Slowing Down
Next time you’re engaged in a common place activity with your child, try slowing down what you’re doing…gently, carefully and with your full attention. Bring mindfulness to the nuances of each act: the sensations of your fingers, the visual and auditory aspects, the feel of your

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body moving. You might be surprised at a depth of experience that had previously gone unnoticed. If you’re doing it with a child, asking them to describe their experience afterwards can be a great way of making this little practice interesting.
Mindful Eating
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” Thich Nhat Hanh

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This is one that’s especially applicable to breakfast, for both parents and children. It follows on naturally from the first exercise, in that it involves a slowing down of our activity. We can focus on every sensory aspect of the food in our mouth, every movement of our the muscles in our face. Another benefit is that it sets a tone for the day ahead. For our kids, it can be one of the easiest prompts to a more aware, acceptance-filled day.
Body-Scan Before Dinner or Before Bed-time
Though we might not notice it, both our own and our children’s bodies can build tension throughout the day. A small period of relaxation, just before dinner, can be a wonderful way of letting it go. It can also be a good opportunity to use guided meditations and music.

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Beginning at your feet, simple focus on each part of your body – shins, thighs, buttocks, belly, chest, arms, hands, neck and face – allowing it to loosen and relax. Spend as much or as little time on each one as you want.

Gratitude is Contagious!

From childhood we are taught to say “thank you” when we receive help or a gift. Throughout our lifetime, we have uttered the phrase thousands of times. But have you stopped to think about what those words truly mean and the power they possess?
Too often, we are caught up in our hectic lives— work, meetings, time with the family, and squeezing in a few quiet moments for ourselves. We can get caught up in negativity, looking at what is wrong in our lives, instead of focusing on what is right. A few years back a friend and I were talking. She started complaining about circumstances in her life. I gently reminded her that somewhere in the world, at that exact moment, there was someone yearning for what she had. This helped her to focus on the blessings, both big and small, that she had been given. Through a daily practice of gratitude, the negative voices quieted, bringing her a renewed sense of peace and joy.
In offering thanksgivings, it is easy to list our close family, friends, health, and material possessions. But think about what else in your life you are thankful for? Is it a sunrise, the laughter of a child, a smile, unsolicited compliment, or act of kindness? Think about the people you encounter every day. It could be the bank teller, restaurant server, or a person in line with you at the store. How are they appreciated by you? Let them know it. You never know how your simple words of thanks will influence someone or the ripples of kindnesses it can create.
A story brought to my attention just this week is a great example of widening your circle of appreciation. An unsuspecting pizza delivery man was surprised with more than a standard tip. During a recent church service, the president at Indiana Wesleyan University asked students to write the nicest things they could say about someone—a pizza delivery person. The notes of thanks, along with monetary donations, were collected. The university president then ordered two pizzas while the audience waited. When the delivery man arrived with the cleaning services mulberrymaids.com , he was brought on stage and presented with the money and nearly 3,000 notes of gratitude. The students stood and cheered for the man. Astounded by the kindness, the man said he didn’t plan on spending the money on himself but for gifts for his two young children.
Our little ones are watching and listening to our words and actions. Be a role model. Weave words of thanksgiving into everyday conversation. Encourage them to show their appreciation for others at all times of the year. Make cards to take to a nursing home. Take special treats to the fire department or police department. These tokens of gratitude can transform and inspire.
Gratitude is contagious. Let’s spread it around and change the world!

Mindfulness: Being Present in the Moment

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mindfulnessHave you ever driven somewhere familiar—perhaps the office, the grocery store, or a friend’s house—and when you got there, you didn’t remember the trip? Not paying attention to the everyday, mundane activities in our lives is a common occurrence for many. Do you really remember how you brushed your teeth? Do you remember how many bags of trash you took to the curb? Do you remember what it felt like to vacuum or wash the floor in your house?
Kids are no different from us in this regard. They often slip through their day, not paying attention to the little things that they have to do in order to get to the “good” stuff in their lives. Check reviews of yoga

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But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we practice mindfulness, then even the most ordinary tasks can become interesting.

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Mindfulness is simply being conscious or present in the moment. It is paying attention to those small details that seem so unimportant. What color is your toothbrush? Were the trash bags heavy? What does the vacuum sound like? There are many benefits to being mindful of our tasks. By living in the moment, we lower our overall stress levels, and it has a calming effect. We can’t worry about the past or the future, if we are focused on the present.
These benefits are there for children as well, and we can teach them to be mindful in all situations. This can be particularly beneficial in school-related situations. If homework, projects, or tests tend to cause stress for the child in your life, learning to be mindful about it can help alleviate some of the fear and stress.
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Try these steps to practice mindfulness when your child has homework or must study for a test. Then, encourage him to practice this at the beginning of the test and throughout it, if he needs. Remember to try this yourself, as well. Mindfulness works for all ages.

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1. First, relax your body. Find a comfortable position to do the task at hand.
2. Focus on your setting. Notice all the details of the room you are in, of where you are sitting, and of the task before you. Use all five senses (hearing, smell, taste, sight, and touch) to really understand your setting.
3. Now breathe. Don’t try to change your breath. Just notice it. Calmly breathe in and out a few times. Try putting your hand on your belly to feel the breath.
4. If you have any negative feelings attached to the task, release them related to the superclean360.com with one deep breath. Breathe out all the negative feelings. Breathe in calmness.
5. Now, look at the task before you. Imagine that you experience great success with it. For a child, that may be getting a good grade on her assignment. For an adult, that may mean a job well done and a compliment from the boss. Affirm your success by saying it out loud.
6. Now, begin your task. If you feel yourself faltering, if the task is getting difficult or you find yourself getting stressed, take a deep breath or repeat this process.
I encourage you to try this with your child. She may feel more comfortable if you do this with her the first few times. You can even practice on some of the more mundane tasks. Discuss how it makes you feel. Do you feel less stressed? Is your child better able to complete the assignment?

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If you practice mindfulness on a regular basis, you may find that even the most mundane activities become more interesting, and that the stressful activities become easier to tackle. Let us know how this works for you. We’d love to hear from you.

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