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I recently had the opportunity to try out three yoga games created by the company Upside Down Games. I have been teaching yoga to kids since 2008 and am always searching for new ways to engage my classes.

First of all, the products are adorable, very well made and nicely thought out. I tried out three of the company’s five yoga games.

I first played the Yoga Card game. We had a lot of fun on our missions to find poses within the deck of 51 cards that fit within certain themes. I love that breathing is made a big focus of the game. I did change the rule to holding the poses for five breaths versus the 10 seconds that was recommended. Though they both take the same amount of time, the kids are more accustomed to counting breaths while holding asanas. I also like that the name of the poses are on the cards both in English and in Sanskrit. The yoga poses are easy to understand visually without any alignment instructions, however, sometimes the more advanced version of a pose is depicted. Unless you have an understanding of yoga and know modifications of the poses, kids might become frustrated if they cannot get into the full pose or push themselves into a pose for which they might not be ready. I would also love added instructions on how to adapt this game for a larger group.

The next game that I played with my whole class was the Yoga Spinner game. In this game each player spins the spinner, and depending upon where the needle falls, picks a colored card and holds the pose, does a partner pose, loses a pose card or takes a pose card. The class really enjoyed this game and we did the poses with the person who’s turn it was to spin to keep everyone moving. With 66 yoga-pose cards, there was plenty to learn and I added many modifications for the kids to try too. I do think that removing the competitive nature of taking someone’s earned card would give the game a more yogic feel.

The last game that I tried with my smaller class of 8 students was Memo Yoga which is a yoga matching game. With 18 pairs of poses, the kids and I took turns flipping over cards—trying to find matching pairs. If you flip two matching cards over, you keep the card after holding the pose for five breaths or 10 seconds. The kids really enjoyed the game. The age minimum of this game is 3 years old, but my older class of  8-11 year old students loved playing and learned a lot while having fun.

All in all, I highly recommend Upside Down Games products. There are many poses that kids will learn while having a blast. My one word of advice is that if you or your fellow game players can’t do the pose exactly as is on the card allow for some modifications as some of the poses are advanced.

Check out the website of Upside Down Games to find these and other wonderful games. http://upsidedowngames.us

I’m talking pizza. Naked Pizza. A pizzeria opened up nearby in Victor, NY and we have not called our old standby place since. The deal about Naked Pizza is that is has no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no added sugar, no trans fats. It has a blend of up to 10 grains, fiber, probiotics, cheese, veggies and meat. It’s pizza stripped down to its most essential ingredients. It is healthy, tasty and guilt free. In a time of enormous portions, fast food and an abundance of junk food, it is nice to see some people taking notice and giving us positive choices.

I recently treated myself to a couple of new cookbooks for some culinary inspiration. I have been thrilled by my choices and thought that I should share my finds.

The first book is called High Flavor; Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking by J.M. Hirsch who is the food editor for the Associated Press. His book is full of tasty dishes that veer away from the typical dinner menu just enough to make the dishes unique but not enough to have any family revolts. In fact, my family consists of a very picky eater (no names will be mentioned here… you know who you  are) and two more adventurous eaters that each have their own, and usually opposite, tastes. I have had great success! How can a family resist Bow Tie Pasta with Bacon Pesto. Yummy! Hirsch’s recipes are simple, straight forward, quick and result in simple meals packed full of great flavor.

The second book that I bought is called What To Cook and How To Cook It by Jane Hornby. I first saw this cookbook in the store Anthropology. It’s that kind of book. It was published by Phaidon which in itself tells you that it is special. Phaidon publishes books on art, food, design, photography and architecture. The beautiful thing about this cookbook is its emphasis on comfort food, the simplicity of its recipes and its layout. Each recipe has a full picture showing every ingredient in the depicted amount and gorgeous photos of each step of the cooking process. This book makes cooking easy enough for kids who can read and really fun for those of us who have been cooking dinners for a while.

Bon appetit!

Every once in a while I come across something simple and inspiring. The website live-inspired.com has many wonderful items of this sort. I recently discovered this book. Check it out and let me know what you think!

The Five Book by Dan Zadra.

Are you looking for an end of the year gift for a teacher or a student? Here are some unique yoga gifts that keep on giving.

Donna Freeman, from Yoga in My School, wrote a great yoga book for kids called Once Upon a Pose. This simple book provides teachers and parents with an easy to use yoga adventure story combined with pictures of the accompanying poses. This book would also be a great gift idea for a French teacher as half of the book is written in French. Combining physical poses with French vocabulary words is a great method to teach children with different learning styles.

Shanti Generation for Youth Peacemakers is a wonderful DVD to give to a graduating student. The video is beautifully designed and provides young adults with many helpful yoga sequences to aid them throughout their lives. The video allows the viewer to choose sequences for creating happiness, for increasing energy and for finding internal calm and peace.

For your traveling yogi, Yoga-Paws allows you to take your yoga anywhere without dragging along your yoga mat. The gloves and “socks” have a rubber bottom that allows you to flow on any surface without slipping.

A yoga gift is a gift that will last a lifetime.

Current Classes:

MIDTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB

Mondays:
6-7:15am Power Vinyasa (H)

Thursdays:
6-7am Power Vinyasa

Story Time Yoga
1-1:45pm

Sundays:
5-7 year olds
9:45-10:30am
8-11 year olds
10:45-11:30am

STUDIO MOVE!

Wednesdays:
10:30-11:30 Power Vinyasa

Fridays:
Yoga for Athletes
9-10am

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