As a mother, educator and mentor to children, it is no secret to me that it is important to develop the whole child. It is in the best interest of our children to develop their minds, bodies, behavior, emotional health, character, compassion and spirit. We put so much pressure on ourselves to simultaneously mold, stretch, protect and tame them while also allowing them to make their own choices and find freedom and independence from us in this world. Of course we do. It’s our job to raise them into positive contributing members of society. That’s a beautiful thing. However, what if there was a way to take some of the pressure off of ourselves to develop our children? What if some of this development could take place naturally within our children, allowing them to take some ownership of their personal growth? Children crave this. They want to feel ABLE, to prove to themselves and the world that they can do things on their own while also resting in the comfort of our guidance and support along the way.
As I develop as a yoga teacher and my personal practice of yoga grows, I’ve discovered that yoga has played a pivotal role in developing self awareness and personal intuition. As someone who believes in the development of the whole self beginning in our youth, I’ve realized that beginning our yoga journey as a child can and does contribute profoundly to that development. My yoga practice did not begin until I was in college, but I often wonder what it would have been like to grow up with yoga. As a mommy of two and an elementary educator, I have chosen to instill the practice of yoga in the children I personally influence and inspire, and the benefits are truly evident.
Don’t just take my word for it though. If I have learned anything as a mother and teacher, it’s that children are all unique. So let’s look at studies and statistics. The evidence is overwhelming. In one study, 88% of children reported that they have a more positive attitude towards themselves, 96% of children reported that they are kinder toward others, and 76% of children reported that they use breathing techniques to help them focus. Studies demonstrate that the practice of yoga positively impacts academic performance, discipline, attendance, and attitude. It provides physical fitness and emotional sustenance while developing coping skills, calm disposition, resiliency, compassion, and strength. It even significantly impacts education, prevention of violence, and behavior management. Activation of balance and movement aids in attention disorders and reading development. It stimulates the neurological paths of the body allowing the entire body to learn and grow. Frame of mind, vigor, vigilance, stress response, and brain development are positively impacted and children develop an overall sense of well-being.
Come join us for Kids Yoga at FreshJax on Fridays from 3:30 to 4:30. We look forward to igniting passion for the practice of yoga in your little ones. Ages around 4-10 are welcome.
The word mandala is Sanskrit for “circle” or “center.” It’s a simple geometric shape that has no beginning or end. Within its circular shape, the mandala has the power to promote relaxation, balance the body’s energies, enhance your creativity, and support healing. Mandalas are used universally to promote healing and other positive states of being.
The mandala is a circular matrix with a center point—a point from which all things are possible. From this sacred center comes forth infinite possibilities and unlimited potential. The “circle with a center” pattern is the basic structure of creation that is reflected from the micro to the macro in the world as we know it. It is a pattern found in nature and is seen in biology, geology, chemistry, physics and astronomy.
Circles are a powerful symbol found in every culture. We see them in halos, prayer wheels, and other religious symbols, architecture, and nature. To the Tibetan monks, the sand mandala represents multi-dimensional fields of spiritual consciousness and the state of enlightenment. To the Native Americans, the medicine wheel, a form of mandala, symbolizes sacred ceremonial space and the circle of life. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung has called it “a representation of the unconscious self.” The mandala is widely recognized as a meaningful reflection of its creator. In both eastern and western cultures, the mandala has come to symbolize harmony, unity, wholeness, and healing.
Benefits of Meditation Through Mandala Coloring:
People who color mandalas often experience a deep sense of calm and well-being. It's a simple tool that doesn't require any expertise, but it can be remarkably soothing and nourishing. Mandalas not only focus your attention, but allow you to express your creative side, which many of us neglect in our daily lives.
Much like the experience of being in the comfort of their mother’s womb, rocking, swaying, back rubbing and baby massage are all gentle touches that babies enjoy. These interactions help them to feel comforted and trust the arms of their caregiver. Gentle movement and touch after birth helps unite sensory experiences with emotional exchanges.
Baby + Me Yoga, which is offered on Thursdays at 2:00 at FreshJax, helps parents and caregivers learn new ways to handle their babies at each developmental stage. It is a beautiful way for parent and baby to bond while building a foundation of exercise from birth, promoting positive sleep habits, strengthening growing muscles, and stimulating the baby’s bodily systems, especially the nervous and digestive systems.
Baby yoga helps assist babies in their transitions from one stage of development to the next, contributes to the development of the brain, and can even alleviate colic and gas. Early birth distress can be healed through tender interaction. FreshJax believes in providing relaxation and rejuvenation for all seasons of life, including our fragile and delicate babies.
Baby + Me yoga doesn’t only serve Baby’s body, but it strengthens and heals the mother’s body as well. Pelvic floor dysfunction affects fifty percent of women following childbirth. It is important to ease back into your fitness routine by first restoring your core and pelvic floor function. In this class, we focus on carefully rebuilding the pelvic floor and stability muscles of the core, so that Mom can safely return to efficient exercise and movement following birth.
However, this class is not just for mothers and babies. Dad or any caregiver will benefit from Baby + Me yoga. This class offers a great opportunity to get out of the house and interact with other parents and caregivers. We combine yoga and play while strengthening the bond between you and your infant. You will experience postures for both you and baby as well as calming and restorative time for both of you in a safe environment for mobile babies and newborns. Joint relaxation is beneficial for both parties and enhances nonverbal communication between baby and caregiver. You will get to know each other better through active communication, and you can take these practices home with you. New movements will be presented at a pace that is safe for babies to absorb, and assimilating these movements into their home life will help baby to positively manage new situations.
This class helps you to reconnect with your body and breath while bonding with baby and helping him/her to develop body awareness. We encourage you to listen to your baby’s needs and cues throughout class. We want you to feel comfortable stopping to nurse or feed your baby, as well as to change diapers and soothe baby however you see fit. Babies are often unpredictable, so we establish an open environment where you can come back to the practice whenever your baby is ready. These affirmative relations are the foundation for future positive social interactions, and they help your baby to build trust and feel safe in your arms.
FreshJax offers Baby + Me Yoga on Thursdays at 2:00. You and your baby can join us as soon as your doctor or midwife has cleared you for light exercise. Mobile babies are still welcome up to eighteen months of age. Our Baby + Me yoga teacher will modify postures and movements to meet the growing needs and desires of you active infant. We look forward to practicing yoga with you and your littles here at FreshJax.
"I am not flexible enough. Fit enough. Strong enough. Zen enough. Granola enough. Thin enough. I am too busy. Too out of shape. Too tight. Too overweight. Too awkward. Too old. Guys don’t do yoga, do they? Is it safe for pregnant women? Do I need to have good balance? Do I need to wear yoga pants? I don’t have a yoga mat. I don’t have time. I will laugh too much. I never have a break from my children. What if I pass gas in a yoga posture? What if I have a health issue? What if I can’t touch my toes? What if I am recovering from an injury?”
It is true, and our goal at FreshJax is to create an all inclusive environment for people to fall in love with yoga and receive the many benefits of this practice. We welcome all women and men, including pregnant women, senior citizens, new mothers and even their babies, kids, athletes, empty nesters, working professionals, runners, teenagers, teachers, college students, and all shapes, sizes, colors, cultures, languages, religions and physical impairments. No matter what your season of life or experience is, yoga is for YOU. Our teachers are expertly trained to assist you in modifying your practice in order to meet the needs of your body and health. Whether that means modifying a posture to make it more comfortable or safe for your body, or advancing the posture to provide more challenge and take you to a new edge.
We will help you develop better body awareness, understand contraindications of each posture in order to keep you safe, and become knowledgeable of the benefits of each posture. You will become more connected with your body and breath, mindful, present, and have a deeper understanding of how to engage in a complete state of relaxation. This practice serves and regulates all of your major body systems and organs. It is a 6,000 year old system of self care with a host of amazing benefits.
FreshJax is centered on relaxation. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the world around us. Tension can go unnoticed and affect our overall health if we don’t take the time to rejuvenate. Stress looks different for everyone, yet we all experience stress in some form. The common ground we share is our need for relaxation and stress relief. From restorative and gentle yoga, to health food, to aromatherapy and self-care products, FreshJax makes relaxation possible for everyone.
The truth is, you don’t need to be flexible and strong to do yoga. You can do yoga to become flexible and strong. We are an all encompassing studio. Come just as you are, wear what helps you to feel comfortable, and allow us to provide the rest. We provide yoga mats and a variety of props to enhance your practice, and we encourage you to borrow these items free of charge. We aim to decrease any obstacles stopping you from getting here and experiencing the refreshing benefits of yoga. Come get centered, stretched, relaxed and strengthened with us at FreshJax.
Welcome to our yoga community. Namaste.
Studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful—benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike.
Tips for using your gratitude journal:
Keeping a gratitude journal—or perhaps the entire experience of gratitude—is really about forcing ourselves to pay attention to the good things in life we’d otherwise take for granted. Perhaps that’s why the benefits seem to diminish when you start writing more than once per week, and why surprises induce stronger feelings of gratitude: It’s easy to get numb to the regular sources of goodness in our lives.
How to use your gratitude journal:
Choose a time each week to write in your journal.
Refer to other entries in your book for inspiration or just write from your heart.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to write in your journal and, just like life, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be a wonderful experience.
A vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on specific life goals. It is a display of words and images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.
No matter what happens during your day, your vision board is a constant reminder of where you intend to be. Appealing to you on both conscious and subconscious levels, a vision board can work wonders toward keeping your mind focused on your goal, your attention on your intentions, and your life headed in the direction you choose.
Your vision board should focus on how you want to feel and the steps you’ll need to take to get there, not just on things that you want. Creating a sacred space that displays what you want actually does bring it to life. What we focus on expands. When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, you essentially end up doing short visualization exercises throughout the day, just like professional athletes before a big game. They visualize themselves performing to the best of their abilities before stepping into the spotlight.
The purpose of your vision board is to bring everything on it to life. First, write down your answers to the following questions to help focus your vision.
Next, gather anything that inspires and motivates you. This could be photographs, quotes, images, letters, words, etc.
Then, attach them to your vision board and place it where you will see it every day. Each time you look at it, visualize yourself achieving your goals. When an item on your board no longer matches your goals, replace it with something new!
There I was, breathing in the aromas of freshly cut grass – a smell I so dearly love. I was so excited to finally be a teenager and I was setting some pretty lofty goals for myself. Looking to my right, I was proud of all of my hard work creating the perfect mowing lines throughout the yard, clean edging, and swept walkways. I did a great job, and I was holding my head high. Looking to my left, I could see all of the neighbor’s yards and my mind started to dream. My dreams tend to involve myself as a world class athlete winning just about any type of sport you could think of, or it involves me creating something special and finding a way to change the world. Rarely do my dreams seem obtainable to those around me, but I have always been able to dream big. It’s a dream after all, so why not go big?
Oh yeah, back to my daydream standing in front of the well manicured yard… I quickly imagined how I would be able to manage my time to take care of all of our neighbor’s yards as well as my family’s yard, as well as excel in school, tennis, basketball, and track. I immediately walked over to the next door neighbor’s house to ask to mow their yard in return for payment. They said no. That’s okay, there are plenty more neighbors, so I went one more house down and knocked on their door. They said no. That’s okay too. I continued with my entrepreneurial dream and knocked on the next door. They said no. Still determined to make this work, I continued to the next neighbor. They said no. I’m sure that at this point, most kids would’ve just given up, but I have never been known to be a quitter (other than playing the trumpet, that was not for me – ha!). I was determined to go to 100 houses or more until I got a yes, and sure enough – someone finally said yes!!! I immediately mowed the yard, trimmed it, swept up and made the yard look great. At the end of all of the hard work they came outside and actually paid me. Before you know it, the neighbors all started talking and I was mowing 40 yards every week and even hiring some of my friends to help with the workload. I loved every moment of it too.
So, there I was - a 13 year old entrepreneur who was ready to take over the world. I hadn’t really realized it at that moment, but when I was walking back to my house after mowing the first neighbor’s yard with a crisp $20 bill in my hands, I had become the type of person who chased after my dreams, no matter how big they were.
I will always dream big, but I am so thankful for where we are today. I have an amazing wife, a wonderful family, an excellent team at FreshJax, super friendly customers, and I am in great health (thanks to food & yoga). I believe it is possible to live in the moment and to shoot for the stars at the same time. For those of you who are interested in my health journey, feel free to ask me anytime.
With all of the love in my heart, thank you taking the time to read my ramblings today. I pray the best for you and your family and we hope to see you soon at the storefront. FreshJax is on a mission to share health, happiness, and love with every person who walks through the front doors. If you love our mission, please make sure to share this on your social media. Your help is greatly appreciated and we can’t wait to talk with you soon.
@FreshJax – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Do your wrists ache just thinking about coming into a plank pose? Read on to discover a few easy ways you can care for your wrists and find more comfort in your yoga practice.
In yoga, we often aim to stack joint over joint for more stability in postures. In this picture you can see my wrists, elbows, and shoulders are all in alignment over one another. For many people this stacking of joints feels steady and comfortable, but for others this wrist position feels achy and awful.
Before your practice begins, take a few moments to stretch out the muscles around your wrists.
Try these alternate hand positions for more comfort during your yoga practice:
Don't suffer in silence with wrist pain! Arrive a little early to your next class and let your yoga teacher help you find the right hand positions for you :)
By Guest Blogger: Jean Ann
I go through rough times. The following are things I need to hear... and maybe you do too...
Here is something that you probably don’t even realize.
Everyone in the world looks at their own body differently than the people around them.
That person that you always compare yourself to...yeah I GUARANTEE they do not view their body the same way you do.
And oh, lets talk about comparing yourself to other people.
Comparing your body to someone else's is as silly as comparing an oak tree to a palm tree. Yes they are both trees, but they are not and will NEVER look anywhere near the same!
Why is this? Because they are two completely different trees.
You will never look like that person because you are not that person.
AND THAT IS OKAY.
It’s okay to have flaws. It’s okay to know them and it’s okay to point them out to yourself.
If you can’t point out the things that you may find inadequate about yourself, then they have no way of fixing it.
If the flaw that is holding you back is something that you can change…
Now don’t get me wrong, it will be hard. Nobody said this was going to be easy.
Positive change is something that takes time to blossom.
If the flaw that is holding you back is something that you cannot change…
There is no sense in beating yourself up about something that you have no control over.
But this won’t be easy either. Building up mental strength is harder than getting a perfect score on an exam.
It’s possible, but it will take a lot of brainpower.
Be clever, and love yourself.
The way you are right this second physically is not going to change.
Accept yourself. In all of your glory. You are a living, breathing miracle of life, so take the opportunities that you are given in life and RUN WITH THEM.
Don’t hold yourself back because you are too afraid of judgement.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF YOU.
The only thing that matters is how you view yourself.
Explore yoga + healthy living in Jacksonville, FL with FreshJax!