I began my own yoga adventure when I was in my 20s. I spent two glorious weeks at an art school called Penland in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The school is tucked up into the mountains and the atmosphere is just plain cool. There were art students like myself, art teachers, working artists and a feeling of awakening and blossoming as everyone’s creative energies bounced off of each other.

Every morning before breakfast and every evening before dinner the school offered yoga classes. In the adventurous spirit that surrounds Penland, I decided to try them out. The morning class was held outside in damp grass. The gentle flow helped remove the kinks from the night before and focused my mind on the creative challenges of the day while the evening yoga helped stretch out achy body parts that were sacrificed during the day in the name of art. I remember having actual out of body experiences during savasana. The relaxation was intense and the instructors sensitivity to our needs was something that I hadn’t experienced before.

Upon my return home, yoga became just one of many fond memories of my art school experience in North Carolina. I didn’t take class again until I was almost 30 and had my first baby. I signed up for a vinyasa yoga class and again found bliss in the experience. I would drop off my often screaming or fussing son with my mom and enter the studio where my mind would calm. For the next hour and a quarter, I was not mommy. I was in the present moment, sweating and breathing. Savasana was the deep rest that I craved post baby. With my mind and body cleansed, I came back to my baby refreshed and ready to be “on” again. I started supplementing my class time with videos whenever I needed a dose of calm.

With life speeding up as my child was growing up, yoga again fell by the wayside. I found running again to be my choice of exercise in my limited time and experienced the same mind cleanse. After starting triathlon racing, I returned to yoga to help me balance the impact of running and cycling on my body with the stretching of yoga. My yoga of choice is still heated vinyasa flow. I love the workout, the sweating and the mind release while breathing through the asanas. This time I found that yoga strengthened both my body and my mind. The messages of yoga were often translated back into my life off the mat.

It is these messages that I want to share on this blog and to the kids that I teach. I hope that as I sort out my years worth of lesson plans, successes and challenges, I can provide ideas for those of you who teach yoga to children now, mothers or fathers who are looking to yoga as a means to connect with your own children or teachers in schools who need ideas to help focus and inspire their children.

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