Yoga Chicago is a resource for Yoga happenings and interesting articles related to the Yoga community in Chicago, where our training director - Mira Binzen, E-RYT, RCYT - once lived. She is a regular contributor to this publication and you can check out her many featured articles below.
Most are available for reprint. Permission required.
- Family Yoga and Art at the Art Institute
Mira relates a brilliant example of interpretive learning that combines seeing and hearing about art objects with related movements through Yoga.
- True Nature – Children Discover Themselves Through the Five Elements
Our bodies are made up of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. Understanding and experiencing these elements can help children be more aware of and present in their bodies.
The Banyan Tree--Teaching Handstands to Children
The banyan tree is a pose that can help increase awareness of the student's own capabilities. After practicing this pose, Mira asks the children, "If you can hold yourself upside down like this when you thought you couldn't, what else might you be able to do?"
- Let the Sun Shine! Sun Salutations for Children
The linking of movement and breath is a hallmark of the physical practice of Yoga. Mira addresses the benefits of Sun Salutations and how to this practice can be modified to suit various ages and interests.
- Sensory Integration and How Yoga Helps
Everyone experiences times when they are not responding well to the environment. Mira explains the wide variety of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorders) and how Yoga can help develop life skills to bring sensory processing into balance.
- Adults Benefit Too While Learning to Teach Yoga To Children
One quote from a participant at the Intensive Retreat captures the benefit; “The experience was a beautiful, nonjudgmental, comfortable environment that allowed me to look deep into myself with the support of the staff and other students. It was amazing--the experience, the memories, and what I learned will stay with me forever."
- The Worry Witch Helps Girls Manage Anxiety
Who is the Worry Witch and how does she help manage anxiety? Read and find out.
- Yoga for Stressed-Out Kids
The progress myth of our modern culture. New, better, faster, more. The cost of this unsustainable paradigm falls on the heads and shoulders of our children.
- Yoga for the Deaf
“How will I convey the concept of final rest (savasana)? How will I give instructions when students are in inverted poses like downward facing dog and bamboo (uttanasana)?” Mira asks herself and then shares the delight that both she and the children experienced in this series of classes at a school that has served the deaf and hard of hearing community since 1917.
- The Sounds of Yoga
Silence is golden, but sound is one of the most powerful tools in a yogi’s treasure chest of techniques.
- Kids Yoga: Each Breath Is a Smile
The outward pull of modern living can creep in and take even a child out of the present moment. Seeking to lessen this outward pull in her life, Mira attends a 10-day silent retreat in Thailand.
Being quiet and receptive is a natural state, a state rarely found amidst the busy-ness and noise of modern life. Yoga can give children the specific techniques they need to return to this natural state at will.
- Children Learn to Plant the Seeds of Self-Mastery
Like this land in the springtime, the delicate seedlings of positive thoughts are carefully tended, while negative habits are discouraged from taking root.
- Fun Tools to Help Kids Relax and Focus: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Stress can inhibit learning. What’s a kid to do? Fortunately there are several simple practices from the Yoga tradition that can help children thrive this school year.
- Nourishing Kids with Nature
Nature engages all of the senses. We know from our own experience that time in nature leaves us feeling inspired, peaceful and calm. Children and adults alike can connect with the 5 elements in many ways as described in this article.
- Mudras--Mini Yoga Poses for Little Yogis and Yoginis
Children enjoy many aspects of Yoga but seem particularly fond of these unique hand gestures.
- Permaculture--Yoga Philosophy in Action
Observe. Connect. Catch and store energy. Work with the edges. These same principles that guide our Yoga practice also guide permaculture design.
- Family Yoga
Finding time for fitness, family fun and a chance to relax can be a challenge. In family yoga classes, they are all rolled into one.
- Wiggly Kids Relax
Children, like many adults, have little conscious awareness of tension being held in the body and mind and few skills to cope with it. Yoga addresses three aspects of relaxation--body, breath and mind.
- Yoga Birthday Parties Take Stress off Parents as Well as Kids
Keep it simple. Less is more. Stay present. These are the mantras that go along with the practice of Yoga. A party with a Yoga focus can be a simpler, saner way to celebrate. A Birthday Fairy Tea Party incorporates Yoga games and poses that can be enjoyed in your own living room or backyard.
- Yamas and Niyamas by the Lake
The yamas and niyamas are guidelines for how to interact with the outer world and with our inner world. The students in this class seem wise for their age as they talk about not harming themselves with negative thoughts, not stealing other people’s ideas and being disciplined with their homework.
- In the Wheelchair, On the Mat: Matt Sanford Shows Yoga is for Any Body
Perfect bodies in perfect poses grace the pages of modern Yoga magazines. Someone living with a disability may look once and consider the practice inaccessible. Matt Sanford is proving otherwise.
- Yoga for Kids; Let the Body Breathe
Breath is life. With or without our conscious participation, the body breathes. Teaching children simple ways to connect with their own natural breath can help them preserve this big, beautiful baby breathing right into adulthood.
- Yoga for Children--Now Proven Effective!
In “The Yoga Tradition”, Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., describes the ancient sages as “seers (rishi) who ‘saw’ the truth, who perceived with the inner eye the hidden reality behind the smoke screen of manifest existence.” Today’s discerning Westerner wants a little more proof.
- Ancient Stories for a Family Yoga Class in Singapore
Yoga is a universal language everyone can understand and enjoy, whether in Chicago or Singapore. Although Yoga is an individual practice, it has the potential to unite families and cultures.
- Bedtime Gorilla - Help your Children Ease into a Peaceful Sleep
After a full day of being bombarded by stimulants from sugar to city noise to eye strain from computer and TV screens, little bodies need a signal that it is time to disengage and rest. Bedtime gorilla to the rescue!
- Getting Kids (and Adults) to Eat HAPPY, not SAD
Standard American Diet (SAD). What is a HAPPY diet?
- Yoga Therapy for Children - With Insights from Ganesh Mohan, M.D.
Kids today are facing many of the same complex health challenges as adults, including depression, obesity, high blood pressure and anxiety. Yoga therapy has become widely accepted as an effective method of treatment for a variety of ailments, largely due to its unique ability to treat a person on all levels: mental, emotional and physical.