Yoga – Expanding the Boundaries of Global Children’s Minds, Bodies and Vocabulary!!

Namaste!

Yoga brings to mind relaxing, serene and healthful thoughts. Although I am not a yogi, I felt compelled to introduce my children to yoga when they were just toddlers. They both took to it instantly at the age of two. They attended Elahi Yoga Studio for infants, toddlers and kids in NYC.  It was a fun and playful way for them to explore and exercise their minds and bodies. It was an environment in which they felt at home, played, imagined, learned, relaxed and were plain happy. They practiced their breathing and poses and learned to concentrate in the most natural, soothing and supportive setting. Thanks to the non-competiveness of yoga, they understood it was alright to make mistakes or not be able to keep a pose as long as their friends. It was all about fun and self-discovery. They quickly discovered that their bodies could easily do some poses and with practice, their bodies could do other more challenging poses. Ergo, self-discipline. With every new pose, their self-esteem was boosted and their self-confidence was increasingly evident.

Yoga was great for their minds and bodies, and in hindsight, I can say that yoga was a way for them to learn more about other languages and cultures and gain a broader understanding of the world they live in.

An added bonus: yoga helped them excel in other physical activities and sports.

Mind, Body and Family Fun:

The animated poses such as tree, dog, cobra, windmill and table helped them understand their own strength, flexibility, coordination as well as body awareness. They learned how to focus and concentrate at an early age. Yoga is a family-friendly activity and much fun can be had. If you are a yogi parent, you can enjoy your portable passion with your children everywhere you go. If you are merely a “spectator”, you can celebrate your child’s progress everywhere they go.

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Family Fun – Mother Daughter Yoga

Vocabulary in the Target Language

The  child-friendly names of all the poses lend themselves to a fun and interactive way to learn words in a target language. For example: cat, bridge, table, waterfall, butterfly, bird, tree, squirrel, hero, candle, frog, dog, windmill and airplane are all words in a toddler and pre-schooler’s vocabulary.  We practiced these poses regularly AND practiced the words for the poses in French, German and Spanish – and still had fun!!! This is an easy way to complement your children’s language acquisition and reinforce vocabulary!!

They also learned to say a few words in languages they did not know, such as the Hindi words “namaste” “om shanti” and “chaturanga” and the Persian word “elahi.” Learning words in a different language typically  motivates children to learn more words and to stay onboard their language endeavor!!

World Instruments:

The Singing Bowl was one51teCzagt8L._SY450_.jpg of their favorite instruments. when they went to Yoga. It is an intriguing instrument with an unusual sound that undoubtedly captures children’s attention. They learned that it originated in Tibet – which in turn, piqued their curiosity as to geography.   Available on Amazon.com31VS1EYiEHL._SY450_ (1).jpg

The Rain Stick sparked interest in geography as well.  I have had multiple opportunities to stop with my children and listen to an Andean group of musicians play at major NYC subway stations. My little ones were always able to quickly identify the Rain Stick as one of the musical group’s instruments. Making the connection between their Yoga class and the Andean music made the experience so much more memorable for them.  Also available on Amazon.com

Physical Activities and Sports 

Yoga became the precursor to Tae kwon do for my older child, while my younger child has expressed an interest in taking up Fencing. Both Tae kwon do and Fencing require, the flexibility, strength, concentration, balance and coordination they already bring to the table. I find it interesting how they both gravitated to activities that require the skills they have already keenly developed.

The physical flexibility that children develop while practicing yoga, allows them to endure the challenges to the various muscle groups involved in learning Tae kwon do, Fencing and Gymnastics. Yogi children will be aware of their bodies and understand how their muscle groups function which are key elements in physical activities and sports such as Martial Arts, Fencing and Gymnastics. Balance and coordination are fundamental in yoga as well as other physical activities and sports. Accordingly, the cute balancing poses yogi children proudly display as preschoolers actually promote the mental and physical poise necessary in future physical activities and sports.

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One proud yogi/martial artist!

It is said that yoga helps provide building blocks for the future. In fact, in our case, it did very early on in my children’s lives. I never imagined all of the exciting benefits yoga would offer my boys when I signed them up for their toddler yoga trial class!!!

My blog is dedicated to providing inspiration and resources to and for parents, caregivers and teachers when looking for ways to complement a child’s language learning. To read some of my many blog posts that discuss this topic, please click here, here , here and here.  My tips are applicable in any target language, so I welcome you to read the various tips I have provided for the various World Languages I blog about.  Enjoy!!

 

Namaste!

 

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“S” is for Sports – The A to Z of Raising Global Citizens

I am very excited to be taking part in the A to Z  of Raising Global Citizens – a series that began on June 1st and will run through June 26th on a multicultural blog called: Creative World of Varya’s. 

My topic is Sports. There are many sports children can try out for fun or watch while learning about the world.  I have found that sitting down to watch the World Cup, The Olympics, Rugby, Golf and Tennis have always led to stimulating conversations with our sons about geography, flags, languages, government, even world economy. There are also sports you can seek out in your town, state or country that can be watched or played first-hand and can broaden your children’s horizons and help them become world citizens.

Polo

One of my family’s favorite summer spectator sports is Polo.  Don’t get me wrong, although Polo may sound intimidating and more like a sport for the jet-setting type, I am happy to report that  there are plenty of public polo grounds and State Parks which welcome the general public and go as far as educating and encouraging hands-on fun for children.  There are many aspects about Polo that captivate children’s attention. Let’s start with the most obvious: it involves horses (Polo Ponies) a ball and mallet, and it is played outdoors. How can you go wrong? Polo is also fun, fast and exciting. In the U.S.A., in my experience, most Polo teams typically include at least one international member. This fact usually sparks conversation about other countries and languages. A great historical tidbit you could include when introducing Polo to your children is the fact that Polo is arguably the oldest recorded team sport in known history, with the first matches being played in Persia over 2500 years ago. Polo is a fantastic way to expand your child’s knowledge of the world and discover yet another fun and exciting sport.

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End of the Match High Fives at “Polo in the Park”, Bethpage State Park

If you like to expose your children to unconventional sights and experiences while on holiday, I recommend attending a Polo match during your travels. Polo is an international sport played in at least 80 countries around the world. A list of playing countries can be viewed on the Federation of International Polo website.

My husband and I took our boys to see a polo match in Argentina. Everybody knows that Argentina is famous for soccer (fútbol), but Polo is another very popular sport in Argentina. It has a long history there. The game arrived in the 1800s with British settlers in the Argentine pampas. Argentina has since become internationally renowned in the sport, making it the perfect place to take in a match. It is a family-friendly event and attracts locals as well as European royalty. We purchased tickets at the gate for about $25.00 per person and saw an amazing match with some of the best players in the world. Campo Argentino de Polo in downtown Buenos Aires is the most important Polo Stadium in the world.  Their high Polo season is mid October to mid December.

Croquet

Croquet is believed to have been first played by thirteenth century French peasants who used crudely fashioned mallets to whack wooden balls through hoops made of willow branches.The hoops are often called “wickets” in the U.S.A. It is a much more accessible sport for children to try at home or in their  home town at a picnic or while on holiday. Our family enjoys croquet when we are on summer holidays as it does not involve running, getting winded or perspiring  (in other words, it is a “parent-friendly” sport to play with your children). One of the fun things about croquet is that it pops up throughout the year when we read new books or watch certain movies. Croquet always seems to be in the background of a museum painting, or an illustration in a book or a movie. My boys tend to catch these “croquet cameos” regularly. It is a wonderful way for them to feel like members of the global world we live in. If they play croquet at home and later observe others in different parts of the world playing croquet – albeit in books, art or movies, then, unconsciously they begin to  feel like global citizens who share interests with the rest of the world!

Croquet sets can be purchased at most sporting goods stores and on Amazon for a variety of prices.

Bocce

Bocce is also a ball sport played at many American backyard picnics. This sport shares a common ancestry with the ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Bocce was developed into its present form in Italy and it is played around Europe and also overseas – including Australia, North America, and South America and other places that received Italian migration.

The sport is also very popular on the eastern side of the Adriatic, especially in Croatia, Montenegro and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Southern France where the sport has taken on different names.

Bocce is still played regularly in many New York City neighborhood parks by the descendants of the original Italian immigrants. My sons used to stop and watch the senior Bocce players for a good 20 minutes at our local park before making their way to the playground. It was always a treat for them to watch the Italian members of the community play Bocce.

CampItalia, a summer camp in Long Island, NY, conducts an Italian language and culture program that includes Bocce as one of their many outdoor activities. The kids always enjoy this part of their day.  They have tons of fun and learn a little more about the world they live in as they become world citizens.

A fun-filled game of Bocce at CampItalia, Long Island, NY

A fun-filled game of Bocce at CampItalia, Long Island, NY

Remember to seek out sports such as these in your communities or while on holiday. It will most likely enrich your day and overall travel experience.

Which sports do your global children enjoy?

Buon divertimento!!

Global mini
In these Series 24 bloggers of Multicultural Kid Blogs Community got together to share ideas and tips on Raising Global Citizens. Follow us from June 1st to June 26th as we share a letter of the alphabet and an idea associated with it over at Raising Global Citizen Series page!
Creative World of Varya = Bilingual Avenue = The European Mama = Melibelle in = Smart Tinker = Good To Be Mom = Marie’s Pastiche = Third Culture Mama = Tiny Tapping Toes = All Done Monkey = Russian Step By Step = Multilingual Parenting = In The Playroom = Rue Du Belvedere = Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes = La Cité des Vents = Faith Seeker Kids = World Languages = The Piri-Piri Lexicon = Healthy Child, Global Mind = Mama Smiles = The Art Curator for Kids = Words n Needles = Multicultural Kitchen