• 3 Things I Learned From The Whole Brain Child

    As a yoga teacher, a mom and a person that is around children a great deal I found The Whole Brain Child by Dr. Daniel Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. incredibly helpful on so many levels.

    Upon finishing the book I had two immediate thoughts:

    • Every mom and dad should get this handed to him or her as he/she is leaving the hospital after delivery.
    • Every person in the educational sector or any person that interacts with children on any level should read this book.
    In an easy to read style Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson explains how the brain develops, how it works and how to relate and help kids as they learn to identify, deal with, and learn from their emotions.  The book provides concrete examples and lessons so the reader has a healthier understanding of what children are facing on the inside.  It shows how to connect with them, helps them to feel safe and communicates how to become proficient in teaching the most effective lesson(s) possible.
    To offer a basic summary of the text, The Whole Brain Child explains how we have an upstairs and a downstairs brain.  The upstairs is the higher functioning and more logical brain and takes longer to develop in the course of a person’s life.  Then we have the downstairs brain that is developed from birth.  This is where our survival functions live such as the fight or flight response.  It’s here that many children get stuck.  Essentially, we want to help them move from this roadblock and into their upstairs brain where the logical thinking and understanding come into play.


    3 things I learned from the book:


    1. Connect:  We should connect with our child so they feel acknowledged and understood. When your children are struggling, it is not the time to teach or to attempt to discipline.  Once a child readapts the brain back into a cohesive state that is the ideal time to “redirect” and provide the lesson.
    2. Asking questions and telling stories: Teach children to talk through their feelings by using storytelling. This allows them to have a healthier way to process their emotions properly and efficiently. Teaching them to recognize how they feel and why (and reminding them these are temporary states and not what defines them).
    3. Problem Solving: Instead of enraging the upstairs brain, engage the downstairs brain. Teach children sound problem solving skills so they grow up to become confident, decision-makers in life.


    This book delivers so many helpful strategies and also provides the reader with a valuable toolbox to use when nurturing children.  The authors offer age appropriate exercises and an easy to read reference graph at the end.  You literally can identify the need of the child in the headings, scroll to the age and find the strategy recommended to help connect with your child so you can offer helpful and effective ways to teach a valid lesson.  The real life examples and strategies help any caregiver so they may easily teach kids to identify and regulate their emotions, connect to themselves and the world and live a happy life with love, confidence and compassion towards others.


    What else can you ask for!


    I'm also so excited that the authors of “The Whole-Brain Child” are  getting ready to release their new book “No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind.” It will be available in Sept, and you can find the full description here on Indiebound

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  • Tree Pose Exploration

    Tree Pose Exploration

    Tree pose is among the most recognizable of yoga poses for a good reason. It is a balancing pose that is both challenging and achievable, and once you’ve practiced a bit the feeling of steadily grounding down and reaching up at the same time is very satisfying.

    Tree pose is also the perfect place to play and explore how staying strongly connected to one focus point can make a huge difference in the experience of your body. You can practice this with your own children, or with the kids you work with, without even using a yoga mat. Be playful, and approach the practice as an exploration.

    In the Spring, take your practice outside, and bring the energy of the sun and the spring air into your body.


    1. Begin standing in mountain pose on your yoga mat.
    2. Find a place to rest your gaze that is straight out in front of you. This is called a drishti. It is very helpful to give your students something   specific to look at, such as a small stone placed in the middle of the circle. Keep staring at that spot throughout the entire practice.
    3. Slowly lift your right foot up off of the ground. Bend your knee and turn it out to the side, so that you can place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left calf.
    4. Try to relax the foot of your standing leg. Notice if you are curling up your toes, and if so wiggle them a little to help them relax.
    5. Imagine your standing leg growing roots deep into the ground to hold you steady.
    6. Press your foot into your leg, and your leg back into your foot.
    7. Bring your hands together in front of your heart. Pause for a moment and then lift them strongly up overhead.
    8. As your standing leg grounds down into the earth, imagine your whole body lifting up toward the sky.
    9. When you are ready to switch sides, turn your right knee to the front, pause, and then slowly lower it down. Then practice tree pose with your left leg.
    10. Now practice tree pose again, but this time, give your kids the following options for experimentation:
    • While in your pose, look up, then right, then left, then down…move your eyes quickly and notice what happens in your body.
    • Now try looking out a window, at leaves blowing on trees, cars going by, or anything else that has a bit of movement to it.
    • Finally try closing your eyes, and see what happens to your balance.


    *  Discuss how the placement of the gaze impacts the experience they are having in their bodies.  You may want to finish up with one more   round using a steady gaze point. Don’t forget to practice along with your kids!


    Get instructions for many more activities for children and families in LFY founder Jennifer Cohen Harpers book, Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance, available now from New Harbinger Publications.


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3 Things I Learned From The Whole Brain Child
As a yoga teacher, a mom and a person that is around children a great deal I found The Whole Brain

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