Articles and Practices

Walk Stop Wiggle Sit: A Focus Building Game for Kids

We love this playful game, taught here by LFY Founder Jennifer Cohen Harper. It builds focus and concentration, and helps kids practice using their thoughtful brain to reduce impulsive actions. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!    

What is Yoga Service: A Working Definition

Yoga Service: A Working Definition: The intentional sharing of yoga practices that support healing and build resilience for all, regardless of circumstances, taught within a context of conscious relationship rooted in self-reflection and self-inquiry. While yoga and service have long been practiced together, yoga service as a unified field is new and growing. As the field… Read more »

3 Simple Chair-Based Mindful Movement Practices

Mindful movement is an effective way to reduce stress and its physical consequences. When we bring a mindful approach to chair yoga, we provide an accessible and simple way to integrate mindful movement and practice into our daily life to get out of our heads, into our body, to find the present moment.  Increasingly, researchers… Read more »

Working with Teens: Creating Engaging Mindfulness Experiences for Adolescents

As a high school teacher in the Bronx for 14 years I got to meet and deeply know a lot of teens. Having those relationships taught me a lot about what makes adolescents tick. I saw that the way adults view teens impacts the way teens see themselves, and ultimately the lives they think they… Read more »

Nurturing Gratitude in Young Hearts: Activities and Quotes to Inspire Appreciation

Gratitude is the ability to be thankful and to see and appreciate the good that’s in our lives. As an educator, mother of two children, and program director, gratitude is both professionally and personally important to me. In my own life, gratitude helps me keep a wider lens to allow my mind and heart to stay… Read more »

Secularity: Guiding Questions for Inclusive Yoga in Schools

As the school year begins and we have the priviledge of working with children from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, it is essential that we work to create inclusive and welcoming learning communities. An important part of this work, particularly in public schools, is a committment to secularism in our teaching, and to respecting… Read more »

This Moment is Your Life (and so is This One). A New Resource by Mariam Gates

When new books to share mindfulness and yoga with teens are released, we typically await them eagerly, as this can be a hard population to reach and good resources are scarce. Mariam Gates new offering, This Moment is Your Life (and so is This One), exceeds all of our expectations and provides teens and tweens with a… Read more »

Body of Emotions: A Mindfulness Practice to Explore Emotions with Teens

Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves. ~ Bessel A. van der Kolk The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma One of my favorite… Read more »

Holiday Gifts for Little Yogis

My Top 10 – Holiday Little Yogi Gifts The most important gift for any child is your attention and presence.  But if you happen to be looking for a gift for the special yogi or yogini in your life then below is a list of just a few or our favorite yoga gifts for kids.  We included the… Read more »

Spread the Love: Great Books to Cultivate Gratitude for Children of All Ages

Research from the Greater Good Science Center tells us that gratitude actually blocks toxic emotions even as it allows us to celebrate the present. Additionally, its been proven that grateful people are more stress-resistant and have a higher sense of self-worth. How can we help kids be happy with what they already have and cultivate an attitude… Read more »

Finding Your Anchor: 3 Creative Ways to Explore Mindful Breathing with Your Students

Anchor breath is one of my favorite practices to teach my students. Anchor  breath is the practice of using your breath to help focus your mind on one point. The instructions are to place your hand where you most feel the breath in your body.  I offer three options: on your belly, on your chest,… Read more »

The Peace Corner: An Essential Classroom Resource

The peace corner is a powerful and touching space in the classroom that supports self regulation.  It’s private. It’s structured. It includes choice. It’s an experiment. It’s inviting. It’s a movement toward independence onto the mat (or the desk or the rug spot) and ultimately into everyday life. It’s called the “peace corner” because there… Read more »

Movement as a Pathway to Mindfulness

HOW CAN MOVEMENT SUPPORT MINDFULNESS? Movement is one of the most fundamental and important functions of our body. We usually don’t notice our body at work because it is so wonderfully engineered to move. As a result, we often lack a strong mind-body connection. While some of us might pay a lot of attention to… Read more »

Tips for Teaching Trauma Informed Yoga to Children and Adolescents

I’ve been reflecting on my time spent this summer teaching yoga to children living at a local shelter in NYC and want to share some of the things I learned. The NYC shelter I worked in is provided as transitional housing for children and mothers who were victims of domestic violence. Due to the nature… Read more »

Managing Frustration – Empower Tools for Children

Life comes with a lot of challenges. Sometimes these challenges can lead to frustration. I find one of my most effective ways to empower the children I work with is to give them tools that help them navigate big emotional experiences, like frustration. What triggers frustration can be different for each individual. Some examples of triggers… Read more »

5 Ways to Teach Thankfulness to Kids

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to help students and our own children cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.” And it turns out, there’s a lot to like about gratitude. Research from the Greater Good Science Center tells us that gratitude actually blocks toxic emotions even as it allows us to celebrate the present. What’s more, grateful people are… Read more »

How I Learned to Police from Within: Thoughts from a School Resource Officer

I have always believed that my job as a Police Officer was about serving and protecting my community with compassion. Early in my career, I realized many people feel the police are heavy-handed enforcers of the law, devoid of empathy and reliability.  And for many, many years, I was upset with these people. How can… Read more »

What Can We Do When The World Feels Like It’s Falling Apart: Cultivating Safety in Community

I recently had the pleasure of being a panelist for the East Harlem Scholars Academy charter network community in a discussion about how to cope in the face of the rash of conspicuous police brutality, terror attacks, not to mention the inflammatory and degrading remarks provoked by presidential campaigns, and innumerable other anxiety producing incidents that have flooded our… Read more »

Songs for Children’s Yoga and Mindfulness

There are certain points in your life when you feel like everything is decided for you. You can clearly see your next hour, day, week and year. Life is a finished book, each chapter named, edited and ready to read. Some may feel that being in this space provides clarity, safety, and security because the… Read more »

The Upside of Stress: Book Recommendation

LFY founder Jennifer Cohen Harper was recently interviewed by Yoga City NY for their must read book club series. Learn why Jenn recommends Kelly McGonigal's newest book, The Upside of Stress, and how it relates to the children we work with.  “I particularly loved reading about how the body works to bring us together during stress.… Read more »

Bringing Best Practices to Yoga in Schools

LFY founder Jennifer Cohen Harper was recently interviewed, along with Traci Childress, by Kelli Love for YogaDork on the process of creating Best Practices for Yoga in Schools, a guidebook published by the Yoga Service Council and Omega Institute. Read these short exceprts below and find the full interview, in two parts, on the YogaDork website. … Read more »

Ha Kriya: A breathwork exercise

Check out one of my favorite ways to empower the children I work with. This segment will show you how to prepare a child for challenging tasks using our most powerful tool: breath. Thank you PESI for creating this video. If you'd like to learn more activities like this, check out the short WEBINARS we have available… Read more »

Kids Yoga, Music and The Arts – Song: “One Step At A Time”

“One step at a time see what you can find  with one step at a time  One step at a time what is on your mind  with one step at a time” “One step at a time see what you can find with one step at a time One step at a time what is… Read more »

Kids Yoga, Music and the Arts: “I Am” by Lianne Bassin

The creative process is a funny thing; I’ve always been fascinated with how and when inspiration strikes. Some songs that I wrote for Breathe In took so much time, so much writing and rewriting. And yet other ones hit me immediately, and it seemed like I finished them in just ten minutes.   “I Am,”… Read more »

Six Classroom Management Strategies to Live & Breathe By

A few years ago I decided to take on a position as a full-time Yoga Specialist at a charter school. I was ecstatic about the groundbreaking experience that lay ahead. It is also fair to say that I was totally naïve and in over my head regarding the enormous tasks that lay ahead: Design a year-long yoga… Read more »

Kids Yoga, Music and The Arts – Song: “Mr. Bear and Birdie”

I was recently thinking about the notion of sharing, and what it takes for a child to share what they have with someone else. This can be very hard for even some adults, let alone young children. I imagine that when asked to share, some children think something like this:  Why should I share what… Read more »

So What Is It That First Year Teachers Need To Know?

This year as an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching I’m getting the opportunity to work with a lot of first year teachers and that’s made me think a lot about what supports good teaching. At Hunter College I’m working with dance, theatre, and music first year teachers.  These are Lincoln… Read more »

Beginning with Intention by Kelli Love

As I explore my intentions for the beginning of another school year, I take a look at what I want for my teaching practice and turn to vital topics such as embodied teaching and self-care.  My presence in the classroom is what I know to matter most, and yet the only way for me to… Read more »

Practice: Relaxation – What Can Be Done For A Sleepless Child?

A lot of children tell me they have a hard time falling asleep. Thoughts about the day, stress about schoolwork and tests, worrying about the wellbeing of mom and dad, and concerns for the future can keep them up. These distractions, plus children having their own mobile devices like smart phones, iPads, iPods, and you have the perfect… Read more »

Kids Yoga, Music and The Arts – Song: “Hugging Words”

As I begin the new school year, I'm been thinking about many things while setting up the classroom. I’m getting ready to meet a whole new batch of Pre-K students, and both little details and larger questions are entering my mind: What color should I use for this bulletin board? How do I get back… Read more »