Themes, Relaxation Techniques, Games, and an Introduction to SOLA Stikk Yoga

I. Introduction
      "One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." —Oliver Wendell Holmes
            This book expands the kids' yoga developed in our first book, "Create a Yoga Practice for Kids: Fun Flexibility and Focus" (Sunstone Press, 2006), while it also introduces the new "Five Minute Yoga Classroom Break" and the energizing SOLA Stikk Yoga. Many people now want yoga ideas for 'tweens and teens, so this book addresses a wider audience, as we include youth to young adults and have added "Challenge" sections. Our purpose is to share ways to give people yoga as a life long learning tool and to expose them to a wonderful way to make themselves both emotionally and physically stronger.
            This book has three sections, each reflecting the individual author's unique style of teaching and asana practice. Each of us invites you to create your own yoga practice by weaving together different sections to meet the needs of your group—whether it be kids, teens, high school athletes, or people with special needs.
      1. The first section contains new themes and yoga games developed by Yael in her teaching of kids' yoga to diverse populations in a variety of settings: schools, libraries, shelters, and summer camps. The themes are interactive and sure to keep everyone's attention as they move and laugh their way toward a good yoga practice. Yael develops themes based on a topic in which everyone has an interest—their own bodies. Sharing yoga in this way keeps the yoga dynamic and interesting for all ages.
      This section also introduces the "The Five Minute Classroom Yoga Break", a section requested by teachers both as a classroom management tool and to help them meet some state PE requirements. It is designed for use in grades K-12.
      2. The second section of the book offers more of Matthew’s “mind/body” yoga games, meditations and relaxation exercises. Integrated into a yoga journey, poses are used to invite meditation and healing into a practice. Youth comes with a supple body and open mind. A major benefit of yoga is to teach us to release the mental and physical stress and tension of modern living. To teach a young person to learn with a relaxed mind and body is to offer a gift that can last a lifetime.
      3. The third section brings us back to energizing yoga, as we proudly and happily introduce the all new and engaging SOLA Stikk, developed by Nicole to add support and artistic expression to a practice. Nicole thought of using a stick as a yoga prop as she was cross-country skiing in the Rocky Mountains one winter's day and began to use her ski pole to do some yoga stretches. The SOLA Stikk was developed to help people hold poses longer, find intuitive alignment, and deepen their stretches. The SOLA Stikk can also serve as an individual totem, or an artistic expression of qualities or values one wants to incorporate into everyday life. SOLA Stikk yoga is a wonderful approach to engage every age and ability level—from kids to high school athletes to people with physical or emotional challenges. SOLA is an acronym for (S) Self-awareness, (O) Observation, (L) Love and (A) Acceptance. SOLA Yoga is program developed by Nicole during her years of teaching yoga to college students, youth at risk, cancer survivors, and male and female prisoners.