Service Trip: Yoga, Meditation & Connection in Palestine

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Written by Dee Marie and Rachel Zelaya

CALMING KIDS (CK): Creating a Non-Violent World was a grateful recipient of a 3HO Live to Give Grant. 3HO Foundation is a Global Community of people who practice and share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga so that they may serve, inspire, and empower humanity to be healthy, happy, and holy. 

Thanks to the Live to Give Grant, we will return to the West Bank in January 2019, to continue the work we began in 2017. Here is a post from Dee Marie, CK’s Executive Director, from our first service trip.

“The beauty of the countryside combined with the effervescent energy of the children has created a joyful eye-opening experience. We have been blessed to teach yoga, meditation, and non-violent communication skills for the children and teens of Palestine.

One remarkable afternoon was in Odala Village, instructing 80 girls ages 7 to 14. Their enthusiasm, effort and warm welcome was just the beginning of the many heart-opening experiences I had in the West Bank.

Teaching a group of 40 boys, ages 11 – 17, was a fantastic adventure of balance, strength, surrender and humble success for all. Later, the Minister of Education met us at Awarta Village School for girls. She witnessed a joyous gathering of 35 girls practicing mindful movement, yoga asana, dancing, stretching and meditation. What a wonderful opportunity it has been to serve the big eyed, bright smiles and bountiful energy of the students in this part of the world.

CALMING KIDS was connected with AnNajah University’s Dean of Education. Dr. Alia Asalia arranged two CK teacher trainings, for elementary age and middle/high school instructors. They were overjoyed with the information regarding breathing and self regulation. I left beaming in the light of Spirit that has led me on this path – in my own small way helping to create a non – violent world.”

Please help us return to Palestine in January, 2019!

Pioneers School in Nablus has asked us to bring a yoga curriculum to their school of 680 students. Our goal is to promote relaxation within oneself in order to encourage peaceful relationships with others.

Rachel Zelaya, a Kundalini Yoga teacher in Boulder, CO, is developing a Kundalini curriculum to share with the students and teachers at Pioneers. She will focus on pranayam, kriyas, Celestial Communication, and meditations to support the community there with stress relief, self care, and awareness. Dee Marie and Rachel Zelaya will bring the teachings of Classical Yoga and Kundalini Yoga to a part of the world where none are available – we hope to spread this powerful technology to those who need it most.

“Recognize the other person is you.” With so much division and fear in this part of the world, we hope to see beyond the differences and reach children, teens and adults with practices that support the healing and transformation of all.

Please go to calmingkids.org/donate-now/ and donate to our trip, or contact us at calmingkidsyoga@gmail.com if you want to support the work we are doing.

Thank You 3HO and the Kundalini Yoga community!

Bullying | Local Non-profit Addresses School Violence

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With all the tragedy and violence in our schools today, teaching kids self regulation and stress reduction is more important than ever. Since 2004, CALMING KIDS (CK): is a local Boulder non-profit, has been focused on immediate and direct impact to reduce bullying and increase self regulation in kids and teens. 

On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida experienced one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. This tragedy Bullying in schoolshas left Americans across the country heartbroken, frustrated, and wondering how we, as individuals, can make a difference in stopping this vicious and violent behavior.

CALMING KIDS has been addressing this issue for years. CK, a Colorado 501(c)3, was created after the tragic shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, for this exact reason. For the past 13 years, they have worked with teachers and students in Colorado and around the world to reduce bullying and violence in schools. In addition, to helping develop better coping mechanisms and increasing students’ compassion for one another.

Calling your state representatives and supporting today’s youth in creating safer schools in the long term is undeniably important. But, what can we do right now, TODAY?

If you want to make a positive difference and feel passionately about ending school violence, then the best place to start is in the schools! This is exactly what CALMING KIDS is doing with their classroom programs.

CALMING KIDS has impacted 3,500 teachers and over 40,000 students through their work in schools locally, nationally and globally.

Anti Bullying Teaching Program

There is still so much more to be done. CK is looking to expand its impact and wants to get the word out to as many school teachers and administrators, students, parents, and to those who feel concerned about this issue. We CAN make a difference and help to create a non-violent world, stop bullying in schools and help kids focus.

In addition to classroom programs, CK has also produced a variety of support materials for teachers and students:

  • including classroom workbooks,
  • self regulation posters,
  • educational films

and a new pocket sized movement, mindfulness and meditation book, Finding Calm in a Moment. This book guides students of all ages through a variety of simple practices to release stress and self regulate immediately. Get involved NOW! Visit our website to learn more www.calmingkids.org

For more information contact: calmingkidsyoga@gmail.com or 303-530-3860.

Anti bullying for kids in the West Bank – March 2017

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Anti bullying for kids in Palestine

~ Written by Dee Marie

CALMING KIDS (CK) in the West Bank: The beauty of the countryside combined with the bubbling effervescent energy of the children and teens has created a joyful eye-opening experience for all of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City delegates. We have visited three schools together as a group, two in Nablus and one in Qosra Village over the past 12 days. I, Dee Marie, director of CALMING KIDS: Creating a Non-Violent World have been blessed to interact with schools teaching Anti bullying for kids on four other occasions.

One remarkable afternoon in Odala Village instructing 80 girls ranging from 7 to 14 years old. Their enthusiasm, focused efforts and warm welcome and thankfulness was just the beginning of the many heart-opening experiences I have had since in the West Bank.

Another morning traveling to Madama Village to teach a group of 40 male athletes, 11 – 17 years of age, was a fantastic adventure of balance, strength, surrender and humbled success for all who participated in anti bullying for kids program. The Minister of Education met us at Awarta Village School for girls. She witnessed a joyous gathering of 35 gals ages 10 – 16 practicing mindful movement, yoga asana, dancing, stretching and meditation. The intensity of movement and love escalated to its fullest at the American Academy in Nablus. An entire school day was enriched with yoga classes back to back serving 185 students, mixed boys and girls, from Kindergarten to 8th grade.

Wow, what wonderful opportunities it has been to serve the big eyed, bright smiles and bountiful energy of the students in this part of the world.

The networking magic of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project was able to connect CALMING KIDS with the An Najah University’s Dean of Education. Dr. Alia Asalia arranged two CK teacher trainings, one for elementary age staff and one for Middle and high school instructors.

The most striking thing as an American teaching in Nablus was the amazing amount of men in the teaching profession. Unlike the US where it is predominantly women in the field of teaching. The mixed gendered energy in the training room opened the doors for an enriching experience of laughter, seriousness, intellectual curiosity and deep spiritual connection. The educators were overjoyed with the information regarding breathing and self regulation.

As the instructor I left beaming in the light of Spirit that has led me on this path. In my own small way helping to create a non – violent world.

There is one more morning of two teacher trainings where the women teachers will have a separate training from the men teachers. Stay tuned for the update on those workshops.

Checking In for Self-Regulation

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Click here for a 2 minute anti bullying video demonstrating Checking In: CALMING KIDS ~ Checking-In

Checking InThe First Step Toward Mindfulness At CALMING KIDS, we strongly believe that a child who practices nonviolence is also a child who practices self-awareness and mindfulness. Children who are aware of themselves also tend to be more aware of the effects their actions have on others.

anti bullying videoOftentimes, kids who feel frustrated or angry will lash out by bullying or hitting one another before even taking a moment to assess what they are feeling and why they’re feeling that way. We created the CALMING KIDS curriculum for schools to teach children to pause after experiencing whatever it is they’re feeling, so that they may understand it — and themselves — better. As a result, the amount of bullying and violent acts among children is greatly reduced.

The first step to helping children achieve mindfulness is to teach them to “check-in” with their bodies and minds. With younger children, ages preschool through third grade, it can prove extremely helpful to start with an introduction to body awareness.

For children of all ages, CALMING KIDS approaches mindfulness with an exercise called “Checking In.” Children are encouraged to check in once or twice a day, especially when not feeling their happiest. They are taught to observe their postures and breath, which will help bring awareness to which emotions they’re feeling, and the kinds of thoughts that are coming to mind. In checking in, kids are learning how to get in touch with themselves and gain more control over how they express themselves. For a short anti bullying video tutorial on Checking In ~ click image above