Kids Yoga and the Practice of Kindness

PlayingwithBlocksKindness is a practice. In yoga, Ahimsa or “Non-harming” is the foundation of practice.  As a yogi and yoga teacher, this is the building blocks of my life, my Yoga with a capital “Y”. Young children can astound us with spontaneous outbursts of kindness.  Yet in another moment we will observe the same child act out of frustration.  Taking the perspective of another is a developmental milestone for preschoolers. This perspective is necessary in tasks such as waiting, sharing and taking turns. As a result, young children are not always kind.  They are learners, growing in the practice of friendship. Children learn kindness through imitation, through experience and with practice.
In all children’s yoga classes my primary objective is to model kindness. In doing so, I am planting the seeds that will grow and bloom in the future.  As parents and teachers, our actions are vital, we are setting the example that children will follow. Treating children with kindness and respect is more than “the right thing to do”, it is a powerful tool, a gift.  Just as important, acknowledging simple acts of kindness reinforces that kind behavior is how we treat others.  

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Inspiration: Ken’s Yoga Book List


The content here will grow over time. Check back soon.
Ken has classified these resources from his library as Level 1, 2 or 3. The higher the level the more in-depth the material.
Currently reading emptiness dancing Adyashanti

Hatha – Postures & Pranayama
L1 Yoga the Iyengar Way. Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta
L1 Awakening the Spine. Vanda Scaravelli.
L1 Yoga: The Spirit & Practice of Moving into Stillness. Erich Schiffmann
L1 The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. TKV Desikachar
L1 Back Care Basics. Mary Pullig Schatz, MD
L1 Relax and Renew. Judith Lasater
L1 The Back Pain Book. Mike Hage
L1 The Yoga of Breath. Richard Rosen
L1 Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language. Swami Sivananda Radha
L2 Anatomy of Movement. Blandine Calais-Germain
L2 Anatomy of Movement Exercises. Blandine Calais-Germain
L2 Pranayama: The Yoga of Breathing. Andre van Lysebeth
L2 Light on Yoga. BKS Iyengar
L3 Job’s Body: A Handbook for Bodywork. Dean Juhan
L3 Anatomy of Hatha Yoga. H. David Coulter Read More »

Kripalu Yoga

Many of the classes taught at alleyCat focus on Kripalu Yoga. Kripalu Yoga – more than just a stretch…Posture by posture, breath by breath, the mind/body integration that is Kripalu Yoga awakens the deepest levels of self-awareness. For it is through such recognition that a new level of caring and compassion is attained. Kripalu means compassion and this is a yoga of consciousness, practiced not only on the mat, but just as importantly “off the mat,” as well.


Referred to as a “meditation in motion,” Kripalu Yoga is practiced through a unique combination of disciplines. Asanas (postures), meditation, devotion, and selfless service are intended to establish a conscious communication of body, mind, and spirit.

The practice combines moving through progressive stages of relaxation, absorption of sensation and movement, conscious attunement to experience, and free expression of released energy. Kripalu Yoga begins with listening to the wisdom of your body and then focusing your mind on the awareness of the posture and your internal state, taking into account sensations, emotions, and thoughts. Read More »

Swami Kripalu

swami-kripaluSwami Kripalu (1913-1981) was a remarkable man, a bridge between the traditions of ancient India and contemporary Western society. A yoga master renowned in India for the intensity of his spiritual practice and the depth of his compassion, Swami Kripalu came to America in 1977 where he spent the last four years of his life in residence at the original Kripalu Center.

Maintaining his schedule of ten hours of Kundalini Yoga meditation per day, Swami Kripalu taught a small number of close disciples including Yogi Amrit Desai, the originator of Kripalu Yoga. He also made weekly public appearances that catalyzed the growth of the Kripalu Yoga community. In these ways, Swami Kripalu played an essential role in the transmission of a spiritually potent yoga tradition to a large community of Western practitioners.

An articulate speaker and talented musician, it was Swami Kripalu’s genuine love for people that set him apart. His singing stirred deep feelings of devotion within the hearts of listeners. Discourses were peppered with captivating stories, eliciting tears of sorrow and peals of uncontrollable laughter. A prolific writer, Swami Kripalu wrote books of practical spiritual guidance aimed at uplifting the lives of his many devotees.

Radiating a palpable energy of compassionate love and spiritual power, few came into Swami Kripalu’s presence without being touched, moved or changed in some way. Swami Kripalu returned to India in 1981 and died shortly thereafter. Held dear by a multitude of Indians and Westerners, Swami Kripalu’s death was honored as the passing of a humanitarian saint. His teachings on yoga practice and supportive lifestyle still form the basis of the Kripalu Yoga approach.

~Ila Sarley

Used with permission

Kids Breath, Laugh and Grow During Yoga Practice

Garland1What barks in Downward Facing Dog, meows in Cat Pose and moves nutrients through the earth in Worm Pose? A yoga kid, of course!

Kids take a break from video games, school pressures and the commotion of daily life when they step into the yoga studio. The benefits that children gain from yoga are unlimited. Children learn body awareness through movement in a non-competitive atmosphere while building flexibility, balance and concentration. In addition, practicing yoga at an early age fosters self-esteem, cooperation and relaxation, all of which are essential to health and well-being throughout a lifetime. Read More »