New Offering for August: Girls’ Empowerment Camp

In high school, my  list of activities included the gymnastics team, yearbook,  running the charity dance marathon, playing the flute in a swing band and various menial jobs.  At the time, I was keeping busy and even way back then, heeding advice to collect sought-after resume-builders for college applications.  My memory tells me it was fun to juggle, but I am certain my parents would describe me as a whirling dervish.

My penchant for juggling and keeping occupied continued for decades, until I hit my mid-forties and decided there was a better way than constant mayhem. Or at least it would be better to slow down periodically.  Often in our lives, we pursue seemingly disconnected activities that tap into our various interests.   I love having various interests, which now include cooking, yoga, paddle boarding, writing, knitting, walking, training teachers, learning, reading.  It still does make me feel like a whirling dervish at times, but I love all the things I do.  I’ve learned it (“busy-ness” and “have-tos”)   can create stress. Unhealthy stress.

I am  deeply intrigued by how our kids grow up and am committed to better understanding their journey, busy or not.  It’s become a desire of mine to learn ways to support them and celebrate with them, so they learn to manage the stress in healthy ways.   You or I will never know their true experience –  what it feels like physically, mentally, emotionally. We know far more now about the toll stress takes on them than we did in the ’70s and ’80s.  Unless you’ve been under a rock for years, you are well aware that the stress our kids face and how they manage it is not our kind of teen stress.  We know more about how their brain works (the folks over at Grown and Flown wrote about this, highlighting Dr. Jenson’s book,  The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults ) and we need to help them learn to make good choices, explore what they love, manage stress,  and enjoy this period of life.

When my various interests overlap like a Venn Diagram, I tend to geek out and get wildly tickled.  It’s thrilling and exciting and makes me work harder to understand how all the pieces fit together.  And that’s where I am now with my various pieces.

My passion for teaching, children and emerging adults, yoga, mindfulness, and health in general, are coming together in a new way.  As school ends for the year, hopefully, that brings down time for all. But then August will roll around and for many tween/teen girls, that transition will resurrect old stress.  Stress doesn’t have to consume us, especially our young girls.   It can be managed with things like exercise, yoga, good eating, trusted friends,  honest conversation and a whole host of skills I will be exploring and sharing with local middle school and high school girls in Girls Rock! Mind Body Empowerment Camp.

If your girl is in the Annapolis, Maryland area in August, why not sign her up to come work with our group?  This course will be offered over five afternoons and includes exercise, mindfulness, lively and honest conversation, skills practice and of course, some healthy eats.  Have questions? Want to bring it to your site? Shoot me an email and we’ll make it happen.

Take care,

lisa

 

 

 

LWells

9 Reasons Yoga is For Kids

photo courtesy of St. Anne's School of Annapolis
photo courtesy of St. Anne’s School of Annapolis
This week students from preschool through eighth grade at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis are celebrating “Mind Body Spirit Week” with five days of events and learning about the essential connections between what we do with our bodies, how we interact with ourselves and the world and how we take care of ourselves and others.  I was lucky enough to be asked back to teach a few yoga classes with some of their young friends and then later for teachers.
Like classroom teaching, practicing yoga with children is a curious mix of joy, laughter and the unexpected.  It always makes me a better person and teacher. I  came armed with some lessons plans, but those were promptly pushed aside as we just responded to the energy and interests that arrived.  We explored of our physical bodies on the mat  and some frank discussion on mind-wandering and what it feels like to have all those big and little thoughts in our head. Oh, yes…and they eagerly shared the  things that make them feel stressed (you’d be surprised!).  Our brief chats concluded with some breath awareness and the immediate feedback that breathing deeply is, in their words:
  • calming
  • peaceful
  • feels like you’re floating
  • make me more me
From teetering tree pose to fierce planks, their asanas revealed determination, a true sense of play, friendship, and a willingness to take risks. I’m quite certain these traits carry over into other aspects of their lives. After spending several hours with these little yogis, here are 9 reasons yoga is for kids, too.
1. Yoga is for everybody because everybody has a body and everybody can breathe.
2. Yoga is about self-care.  It’s incredibly useful to learn how to care for yourself. Knowing your body and what you can do with it, along with when  you can challenge yourself, is a life lesson.
3. Yoga helps you recharge and become clear-minded.  Kids, like adults, report they feel better after doing yoga and that they are then,“very calm.” The experience of relaxation that comes with a good physical yoga practice can be very profound.
4. Yoga helps you cope with things like anxiety, depression, ADHD, anger, jealousy.  I always feel grateful after I practice yoga. It’s also the perfect time to smile and have fun!
5. Yoga is a workout, too!  It really is.  It helps regulate metabolism and increase self-awareness.  You’re also likely to feel better about yourself. 
6.  You can get better at the poses just like you can get better at a sport, As long as you are operating from a place of knowledge and respect for how your body works, expect improvement for yourself as you get stronger, your coordination improves, and your muscles lengthen.
7. You’re so lucky to be doing yoga now.  So many people say they wish they had known about yoga earlier in life.  It’s really a gift to have the time and place to practice yoga.  It’s a sacred time to acknowledge the blessings of our life, including our body and breath.
8. The point of yoga is to remain curious about what you can do.  Yoga helps you improve your mental outlook so if you’re feeling jealous, self-defeated, or envious, yoga gives you the chance to forget those methods of thinking and instead to observe and engage in your own experience.
9. Seek things to do that will empower your strength of mind, body and character like yoga and not things that will disempower you (unkind friends, things that might harm you).
Take care,
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Lisa Dewey Wells