Looking for Sleepy Dust for Your Children?

By Amanda DeGrace, owner of Little Lotus Yoga How many times a day do we as adults pause and concentrate on a slow and relaxed breath? If you are like me or many of my clients we don’t do it often enough. We spend our days moving from one appointment to the next, groceries, laundry, cook, clean up, bathtime for the kids, bedtime routine, repeat.

The next time you find yourself running from one task to another take a moment to pause and just notice your breath. Is it shallow or deep and full? Our children feel our energy and can feed off that. When we are feeling stressed then our children can become stressed. When we feel calm, cool and collected then our children do as well.

Many times I hear from our awesome mamas and papas that their children have a challenging time settling into bed at night. They toss and turn, can’t get comfortable and end up wide awake for hours.

Here are some tips and tricks that may help your children in settling in for a quiet and peaceful evening.


In a soft voice guide your child through the following meditations:

This guided meditation is appropriate for school age children and pre-teens.

Sit or lie down comfortably and try to close your eyes. Make any little movements that your body would like to make to make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Try to close your mouth and breathe in and out of your nose. Notice what it feels like when you breathe in and out of your nose. I am going to ask you some questions and just think about them in your mind for a moment without speaking out loud.

(parents- pause for a few moments in between each question)

Do you feel your breath as it enters and leaves your nose?

Do you feel your belly and chest expanding as you breath in and getting smaller as your breath leaves your body?

What does it feel like when you slow your breathe down and take a deep slow breath and then let it go slowly as well?

Try to follow your breath with your mind as it enters through your nose, travels deep down into your belly. Feel your belly grow and expand and then fill your ribs and your chest. Follow your breath with your mind as it all leaves back through your nose. Let the air in your chest leave first. Then your ribs.Then your belly.

Continue to follow the wave of your breath as it slowly enters and then leaves your body.

This guided meditation is appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers.

Lie down on your back and close your eyes. Place your hands lightly on your belly. Try to lie very still and quietly. Close your mouth and breath in and out of your nose.

Feel your belly move up and down as you breath. Your belly is just like a balloon. Fill your belly up with air and it expands like when you blow up a balloon. When you breathe out feel your belly get small again just like a balloon does when you let the air out of it. 

Imagine your belly is a balloon and blow your belly balloon up really really big and then let it get very very small again. Try to blow your balloon up slowly and softly.

Some children may be resistance to lie or sit to listen to a guided meditation at first. Try not to push them into it. Allow for self-discovery and join in with them. Lie down with your child, hold their hand or rub their belly or back, and softly allow your mind and body experience the guided meditation as well.

From my family to yours I am sending lots of sleepy vibes!

Namaste Amanda

The 'Boro House (Art Table): Creativity for Kids

by Alanna I came across a gem. You know how friends like pages on FB and you sometimes check them out? Well I did just that. "The ‘Boro House – what could that be," I wondered. Low and behold it is a creative program for children and adults.

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DING! DING! JUST what I was looking for. My incredibly creative 7 year-old had been looking for a summer camp to go to. I wasn’t looking for a cookie cutter program that would actually stifle her creativity with their rules. I wanted a place where I knew she could experiment, play and create. I signed her up immediately.

I knew I was in for a “Mama, please stay” when we got there. We were greeted by the owner Kelly who instantly won over my daughter. My little girl quickly shooed me off on my way. (Insert stunned look here) When I returned to pick her up 7 hours later, there she was – as happy as a clam. She pulled me over to see all that she had created, in the same breath asking if she could come back. I needed to know more about this program!

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The ‘Boro House AKA The Art table has been in existence for 10years. Nestled at 560 Churchill Ave. in the heart of Westboro, the program is run by Kelly Hotte - professional photographer with a background in ECE. According to Kelly, “we believe that creativity is brought to life through the expression of our unique and hidden talents.”

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My daughter and I would agree. Each child is given a high quality drawing book to use as they wish. Kelly provides the materials and the encouragement. Experts are brought in from the community. Everything from cooking with a real chef to doing yoga with a yoga teacher.

Kelly explains that “our program draws on the creativity of local artists as leaders who add knowledge and excitement to our workshops and regular programming. This practice creates a wonderful sense of meaningful community with the children and staff.”

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As an Early childhood Specialist I could not agree more. This type of education will inspire children and support their learning. The positive self-esteem that grows from being provided with real life experiences and opportunities is priceless. This is more than your average everyday creative experience. This is a lifelong learning opportunity. Oh, and did I mention she does Adult classes as well?

Alanna lives in Richmond with her husband, two children and four cats. She is an Early Childhood Educator and Algonquin College Professor.

Yoga for kids

by Jason My 3 year old daughter enjoys going out with us and trying different activities. So when I was invited to the Moksha Yoga Orleans Grand Opening Celebration  and I heard they would be offering Kids Yoga, I thought of her right away. She already enjoys doing gymnastics once a week at Starr Gymnastics, so I figured yoga would be no different. I told her that we were going to a party, she was obviously excited to hear that, and that she would be doing some yoga at this party. She didn’t quite know what yoga was all about, but just knowing that it would be at a party was good enough for her.

To my surprise, there must have been 30 kids with their parents in the room. We started out with poses in standing, such as the tree pose, chair pose, and warrior pose 1 and 2.  I was quite surprised that my daughter was not only able to do the poses, but was able to hold them for an extended length of time. The poses then changed to positions in sitting. My daughter and I shared a number of smiles as we were holding the various poses. This signaled that she was having a great time.

Her favorite part of the entire session was when we started doing animal poses. The staff would ask the kids for their favorite animals, and we would then get into the pose and make the sounds for each animal. We quickly went through some of the most common animal poses, such as the dog, cat, monkey, and lion. We had fun during this part of the session and the noise was so thunderous as everyone was roaring loudly like a lion; the subsequent echoing of everyone’s participation surprised my daughter.

We finished with a nice cool down to relax from all the excitement. After 20 minutes of yoga, the session came to an end. I told my daughter that the yoga was done and that we would go find mom. She informed me that she wanted to do it again and actually had a disappointed look on her face. It’s at that point that I knew she really enjoyed the activity we did together.

Typically, Moksha Yoga Orleans doesn’t offer a kids yoga class, they did it as a special feature for the grand opening celebration. However, a friend of mine owns Little Lotus Yoga, and they provide yoga programs with the entire family in mind. They offer classes for children and adults of all ages and levels. If you haven’t done yoga with your child yet, it is an activity that I would strongly suggest doing together. Yoga is not only a good way to unwind and relax together, but also share a few smiles.

Jason is the father of Emilie, age 3 and Sophie, age 1. He's a Physiotherapist and Manager of the Orleans Family Physiotherapy Centre . You can find him on Twitter @JasonBPT or read his blog at Physio Made Easy.

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Pre-natal care: Pregnancy Massage

by Amanda

Pregnancy can bring much joy and excitement as you learn that your family will be growing and you prepare for your little loved one to enter into your life.  However, with this joy one may also experience common aches, pains and discomfort as the body expands and prepares for the growth and delivery of your precious baby.

With only 6 weeks left (hopefully not 8!) before we get to meet our little girl I have found this pregnancy much harder on my body than the first.  I noticed I looked pregnant sooner then second time, my round ligament pain started earlier, sciatica problems which were easily relieved by yoga before were a bit more of a nuisance and my body was just plain exhausted all the time.  Now, some of these symptoms could have been increased due to the fact that I have a super cute but active 20 month old to chase around but even with taking much care of my body, practicing yoga daily, eating well and sleeping lots I found things still just felt different.

I am one of the few “blessed” women who experience nausea through their entire pregnancy.  Nausea may actually be down playing it a little.  What I experience is downright ugly and I carry a garbage can with me everywhere because you just don’t know when you may need it for 40 weeks.

There is only one thing that can make my nausea, discomfort, pain and aches completely disappear or at least lessen.  That thing is…… MASSAGE!  I worship my massage therapist. I met her when I was only 12 weeks pregnant with our first child and we became fast friends. She was hired as our doula and I had massages at least every 4 weeks.  As I near the end of this pregnancy I have been seeing her every three weeks and it has been divine!  My body continues to thank me.

When having my massage it is the only time I can once again lay on my stomach with complete ease and comfort. The special cushioning system ensures that the belly is supported at all times but that there is lots of room for baby and that both mom and baby are comfortable. The cushioning and padding provided under the chest ensures that sore and growing breasts are comfortable throughout as well.  As soon as I lay on that magic table, face down; I feel my body begin to ease.  The hands of my therapist warmly and with great intentions of healing begin to ease my mind, body and soul.

When you are pregnant going to a massage therapist who specializes in pre and postnatal care is crucial.  It is not only your body that they are working on but that of your unborn child as well. Anything you as the mother are feeling can be passed onto the child.  Aches and pains the mother is feeling can be because of various positions or growth of the baby. It is important that your therapist is experienced and knowledgeable.

I cannot recommend enough the importance of taking care of your body as you grow such a precious and innocent little baby that will become a part of this world.  Take time out for yourself, pause and enjoy the positive moments of life.  While you are at it book yourself a prenatal massage….you deserve it!

Amanda DeGrace is mom to a 20 month old boy and a baby girl due in 6 weeks.  When she is not at her massage therapists enjoying her treatments she can be found running her company DeGrace Energetics (www.amandadegrace.ca) & Little Lotus Yoga (www.littlelotusyoga.ca) and is the Fitness Supervisor at the Ottawa Athletic Club.

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Getting your kids moving with fun games at the park

by Katie

I am a stay at home mom, with two young girls, ages 3 and 5.  About a year and a half ago my husband and I joined a gym, and our family’s lifestyle changed dramatically.   We went from a sedentary lifestyle to one where we enjoy finding ways to move and breathe and play.

One of the things that I have fallen in love with in the last 4 months or so is Yoga.  I attended a class most Fridays and have also tried out a few hot yoga classes, and even an anti gravity class.  I do yoga at home as part of my stretching routine for running and my girls have been picking up on some of the moves.  They started to play around imitating me and we discovered that this is something we can do together in a playful way.  This past weekend we were at the park and I was feeling tight after a very long run and thought, “you know why don’t I take the kids up to that grass hill and we can do a bit of yoga”.  The girls thought that was a great idea, and we soon found ourselves on top of a little grassy hill doing mountain pose, downward dog, cobra and some triangle.  I am so very far from being an expert or even remotely qualified to teach living things yoga.  But as a mom, I can certainly ‘play’ yoga with the kids just as if we were playing kitchen or school.  We bend and try to hold our balance and make a game of it.  We are moving and breathing and having fun.

We have even made up a ‘yoga balance’ game that we play with their friends.

The idea is I show them a balance pose (I really don’t know the correct names) like Tree, Airplane, Star, and Pelican and if a person’s foot touches the ground they are ‘out’ and have to sit down.  The last one standing wins the game.  I love this game, and so do the kids!  Let me tell you it can get pretty giggly.

I have one more game to share that goes over really well with the kids.  Its one I like to pull out when I am tired and not feeling too limber (like after trying out anti gravity yoga LOL).  We play it in the park, where there is lots of room to run and play.  I give them tasks to perform kind of like in circuit training.  I will give them an instruction and the first person to complete it wins that round.

The tasks are things like: -find me 5 pine cones -find 2 big sticks -take a stick and draw ‘blank’ in the sand -do 2 laps around the picnic table -crab walk to the tree and back -do 3 slides etc….

I love the challenge of coming up with fun ‘tasks’ on the spot and they for some reason seem to love running about completing the tasks.   This game gets them good and tired and ready for some ‘quiet’ time when we get home.

I love taking bits and pieces of what I am learning in my own fitness training and sharing it with the kids.  Getting them moving and sweating and having fun.  Most of all, I like that I am able to run about with the kids now without feeling like I am going to fall over.  That I can be  ‘fun Mommy’ in the park.  All though truth be known I am still pretty guilty of bringing a book and indulging in a teen vampire novel. But at least I feel less guilty if I can mix in a bit of ‘game’ time too.


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