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Tag Archives: yoga in schools

Episode 158: Closing the Wellness Gap with Nicole Cardoza

Nicole Cardoza quote

Today’s guest is Nicole Cardoza, founder of Yoga Foster. I couldn’t be more excited about Nicole’s mission to bring more movement into classrooms across the country. Her approach is innovative, too — Nicole’s background in tech inspired her to create a platform that offers yoga curriculum and teacher trainings to classroom teachers. It’s a scalable idea and one that empowers classroom teachers to bring mindfulness breaks into their classrooms throughout the day. I love the idea of yoga being incorporated into the school day in a seamless way. Nicole also opens up about her recent experience doing a cover shoot with Yoga Journal and how important it was for her to speak out about a surprise cover survey they did after the fact. I ask her how she handled a situation that was shaming, ignorant, and racist and turned it into an opportunity to help others.

RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Yoga Foster website

Yoga Foster Field Trip tour information

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Episode 146: Yoga for Kids and Their Grown-Ups with Katherine Priore Ghannam

Katherine Priore Ghannam quote | yoga podcast | Yoga for Kids

This week, I talk to Katherine Priore Ghannam all about yoga for kids and her innovative program Headstand, which offered yoga to low-income K-12 schools around San Francisco.

We cover some of the lessons Katherine learned from starting her passion project from scratch, and why it’s oh-so-beneficial to introduce yoga and mindfulness in schools.

Whether you’re interested in sharing yoga with kids or just need some inspiration to keep working toward your goals, this episode is for you.

We talk about:

* The story of how Headstand got its start (and why she kept at it despite many of the kids initial resistance)

* Why she designed the yoga program as part of the school curriculum

* How she uses the techniques she’s learned teaching school children into her own family

* Practical tips for how to introduce yoga to children at different ages

RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Yoga for Kids and Their Grown Ups: 100+ Fun Yoga and Mindfulness Activities to Practice Together by Katherine Ghannam

Episode 16: Katherine Priore – Combatting Toxic Stress in Low-Income Schools

Spotlight on: Headstand

WRITE A YOGA PODCAST REVIEW

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

SHOUT-OUT TO OUR SPONSORS

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Episode 16: Katherine Priore – Combatting Toxic Stress in Low-Income Schools

Hi everyone!

I started this podcast to provide inspiration and advice for practicing — but I also hope to highlight people in our community who are working hard to bring yoga to populations who might not ordinarily experience the practice. Katherine Priore Ghannam (@katherinepriore on Instagram) is one of those people and she’s my guest on this week’s episode.

Katherine is the founder of Headstand, a nonprofit organization that teaches yoga and mindfulness to kids attending low income schools. As a former school classroom teacher and a yoga teacher, Katherine understood the importance of creating a yoga program that was part of the school culture and she had also witnessed how stressful learning was for kids who were growing up in poverty.

She believed strongly that yoga and mindfulness techniques could provide children with tools to not only cope with their circumstances, but to thrive. In the past eight years, she’s seen how yoga has helped her students cope with stress, how it has improved academic achievement, and how it has helped kids transition to college and beyond. Here’s a summary of what we talk about on the episode:

* The definition of toxic stress and how it can inhibit a child’s ability to learn.
* Learning to see a child’s behavior as their way of communicating their needs, difficulties, and emotions.
* The importance of adult self-regulation when teaching children.
* The types of changes she sees in students from the beginning of the year to the end.
* How yoga and mindfulness have helped create cultures of compassion in the schools that Headstand serves.
* How the job has fueled Katherine’s optimism
* Katherine’s desire to see social/emotional learning and mindfulness integrated into schools everywhere.

“When I see my students overcoming such incredible odds and discovering their own innate gifts and talents and inner beauty — it’s so inspiring. It fuels me. I’m stunned by admiration and respect for our students.” — Katherine Priore

Subscribe via: iTunes | Acast | RSS

RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
Headstand’s Web Site
Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris’s Ted talk: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime
Follow Headstand on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
Golden State Warriors Steph Curry doing yoga with Headstand students
How Yoga in Schools Helps Kids De-Stress

MUSIC
Salami Junior — Get Me Out of America
Jahzzar — Cold Like This
The Polish Ambassador — Wonder Continental ft Beatbeat Whisper

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Spotlight on: Headstand

Kipp_Summit

Said in my deepest, most convincing movie-trailer voiceover actor voice:

Imagine a world where yoga is a required subject in public elementary schools

Imagine a world where kids learn to enjoy having a body instead of feeling critical about themselves or only engaging their bodies in competition.

Imagine a world where kids can recognize and cope with their emotions without resorting to violence or drugs.

And where kids have tools to help deal with the stresses and anxieties of growing up.

This is exactly what nonprofit organization Headstand has been working toward for the past eight years. Founded by a longtime yogini and schoolteacher, Katherine Priore, Headstand offers yoga and mindfulness curriculum to kids at low-income in the Bay Area.

Katherine is a friend of ours and a student of Jason’s and I wrote about Headstand for Yoga Journal a few years ago. (You can read the story here.) Last week, I went to a class in a San Francisco elementary school to help support Headstand as they raise funds during their Mindful May Challenge.

There I met second-grader Sasha Chan and her teacher Hope Van Sciver and I was reinspired to help spread the word about Headstand. If you’d like to support Headstand, you can either donate directly to their Mindful May Challenge — just a dollar a day in May provides yoga for one month for a student like Sasha.

The other option is to become a fundraiser. Fundraisers who raise more than $2500 will be entered in a random drawing to win a free YogaWorks teacher training in Northern California. (Ahem: Mr. Jason Crandell still has a few spots left in his July YogaWorks teacher training module.)

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun for you to meet Sasha (photographed below) and to hear some tips from Hope on teaching yoga to kids!

Sasha Chan in Wheel Pose

Meet Sasha Chan

Age: 8
Grade: 2
Favorite pose: Wheel
Least favorite pose: Crow Pose
Favorite class: Science
Favorite book: Thirteen Story Treehouse
Favorite color: Pink
Why she likes yoga: “I like really challenging stuff that I want to learn.”
How yoga helps with her schoolwork: “It calms me down.”
What she does to stay calm: Bubble Breath, where you sweep your arms out and clap them together overhead, like you’re popping a bubble. Then bring them together at your heart.

Triangle Pose

Hope’s Tips for Teaching Yoga to Kids

1.Tailor Your Class According to Age and Ability

For her Kindergartners, Hope uses lots of animal names for poses and won’t hold Planks or Side Planks like she would with her older kids. But she finds that kids of any age can learn breathing exercises — and they benefit from them!

2. If Kids are Fidgety, Have a Go-To Pose Combo

Hope notices that jumping from Mountain to Star to Mountain to Star is a great way to help kids burn off energy and settle down. (Star is when you stand with your legs wide apart and arms oustretched). It’s something that kids of any age can do.

3. Try Breathing Buddies

Breathing Buddies are small, colorful puffballs (beanbag animals work, too). Priore started using them when she noticed that kids would suck their bellies in when you told them to inhale. When you place the Breathing Buddies on their bellies during Savasana, they can watch them move up as they breathe in and down as they breathe out.

4. Engage All Of Their Senses

Along with the Breathing Buddies, Hope brings a singing bowl and a “peaceful spray,” which is just a small spray bottle full of water and a tiny drop of eucalyptus oil. The kids know that once they’re calm in Savasana, she’ll spray just a little bit around them.

5. Figure Out Ways to Let Kids Participate

On days when focus is hard-won, it can be helpful to let kids choose a pose or two. Partner poses also work well for kids and you can make them fun — try having them sit in Upavistha Konasana with their feet touching. Then they can hold hands and act like they’re mixing up a mixing bowl. Or even simple self-inquiry engages kids — ask them to notice how they feel after doing a pose and make sure they know that it’s safe for them to have any answer.

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