Day 14 (but really 8) of 31: Stuck


Stuck. Seems to be the word of the day. Chicago is stuck on being winter (thanks snowstorm), which caused many cars to be stuck while driving to work. One of my little kindergarten loves is stuck on stories about Tigey (his stuffed animal tiger that he insists is his sibling). A fish is stuck between the tentacles of an octopus in our non-fiction book from the library. My sesamoid bone is a bit stuck when my toe tries to fully extend, which makes me feel a little stuck in terms of this (absurdly long) recovery. It’s technically day 14 of the Slice of Life challenge and I’m stuck on day eight (aka I haven’t been blogging). And lastly, I’m stuck on a song again…

You know you can’t keep the ground from shaking
No matter how hard you try
You can’t keep the sunsets from fading
You gotta treat your life like you’re jumping off a rope swing
Baby cause the whole thing’s really just a shot in the dark
You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart
You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart

So. Good. Right?! Old Dominion, you get me every time. That line “you can’t keep the sunsets from fading” spoke to me specifically today because one of my little loves who is still low in language was trying to describe something he knows how to do for our informational writing unit.

Me: “What is something you know how to do really well?”

Kiddo: “Look. Sun. Fall.” (as he points to his drawing of a person and the sun)

Me: “You know how to watch the sunset?” (Yes, I’m fluent in five-year old).

Kiddo (grinning from ear to ear): Nods yes.

This is why we teach. These are the moments we crave. Perhaps to the outsider, this kiddo is stuck in language. The way I see it, he’s more aware than most. How many five year olds, no scratch that. How many people would confidently consider themselves an expert on how to watch the sunset? If you had to write an expert list (as we call it), a top six list of things you know how to do really well, would you ever consider something as enchanting as a sunset? I certainly didn’t when I modeled my list during writer’s workshop. 1) Basketball 2) Yoga 3) Baking Caramel Yummies 4) **I actually can’t think of the fourth item I drew. HA! 5) Tying Shoes 6) Vacuum

Really? That is my expert list? The first three make a lot of sense. Tying shoes was only on my list because I had tied sooooo many that day and apparently it was on my mind. I actually don’t care that much about vacuuming. My expert list would look oh so different if I wasn’t so stuck on modeling ideas that had such specific directions. Leave it to the littles to peel off the layers of adulthood in which we sometimes get too stuck.

Yes, stuck might have been what snow-covered my day. As I sit here though, tucked under my cozy blankets, thinking about all the little loves who keep me unstuck, I can’t help but still play this song over and over again.

You know you can’t keep the ground from shaking
No matter how hard you try
You can’t keep the sunsets from fading
You gotta treat your life like you’re jumping off a rope swing
Baby cause the whole thing’s really just a shot in the dark
You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart
You gotta love like there’s no such thing as a broken heart

Day 7 of 31: Make Them Gold

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

-CHVRCHES

This isn’t the first time I’ve used a lyric, a verse, a refrain, or a song as inspiration for a blog post. I just started listening to this band on Spotify, recommended to me by someone important, and this song stuck out like…well, gold. The truth is that I feel the most me when I am connected to music. Perhaps this stems from my infant and toddler days when my mother used to sing to me “Tura-Lura-Lura (That’s An Irish Lullaby).” Perhaps this is the result of my father’s microphone craving and inability to ever have the radio off. Regardless of where it originates, my life has always been surrounded by music. Although I rarely excel at “Name that Tune,” I can sing the lyrics to almost any song that comes on the radio. Like Make them Gold, I tend to put a song on repeat that I’m particularly drawn to. I love words. I love stories. I love the way the perfect lyric can be a recipe for a moment. I love how songs remind me of very specific moments in my life. Songs transport you into this space; this other world where we are not alone.

As educators, it is our job to help our children see the best parts of themselves and make them gold. Today, we started a journey with some really special people who believe that music does just that and we cannot wait to see how it unfolds.


Day 6 of 31: A Good Day

Today was a good day.

Yes, that was simple. I often think that every time I write I need to say something profound. In reality though, not every moment is profound. Not every moment is wow. Not every moment sparkles. Some days are boring. Some days are mundane. Some days are just normal (whatever that means).

Today was a different day.

Hmm, a little more descriptive of an adjective. We did not have school today, so my routine of waking up at 5:30 AM was altered. Instead, I allowed the pounding of hammers and screeching of trucks next door wake me up.

Today was a productive day.

Alright, sounding a little more exciting. We met with a potential new partner to provide yoga in schools, toured this dreamy little space, and felt inspired by the surroundings. We sipped coffee at Starbucks during the weekday, laid out our new custom Erin Condren Life Planner, and puzzle-pieced our summer schedule together. We proceeded to knock out multiple proposals and even prep for another business meeting tomorrow.

Today was an energizing day.

YES! I feel more profound as I type. Meg and I are the perfect balance of similarities and differences. We have this uncanny ability to always be on the same page and yet come with a fresh perspective. We energize each other and pick each other up when we need it. Despite any differences, we both come to the table with the same vision for Buddha Belly and respect each other’s place in our partnership.

Today was a good day.

Maybe every moment has the ability to be profound and mundane all at the same time. Maybe it’s not the moment, but our perspective on the moment that counts. Maybe, just maybe, good can be enough.

Day 5 of 31: Feeling Like Me

Currently, I am reading The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines (my most favorite couple). Meg got it from her fiancé for Christmas and passed it along to me after she finished reading it. We both loved watching Fixer Upper together when we lived in our cute little coach house. What I love most about this show (other than watching the remodel unfold), is how real and right Chip & JoJo seem to be as a couple. They are quirky, kind, honest, and supportive. The book reveals even more about how their relationship got started and frankly, their story is just so refreshing. Time and time again they talk about how being around each other simply energizes them. What a unique way of feeling in a relationship.

“I wonder sometimes if we know ourselves a lot better than we think we do when we’re children. We get into our teen years and college years, and so many of us let others redefine who we are, or we get lost along the way and have no idea what we really want to do with our lives. But once we finally figure it out, it often seems easy to look back into our childhoods and find a few clues that say, “Hey maybe you were headed in that direction all along.”” 

–Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story

This passage struck me because I find such truth in the sentiment. Sometimes I step back and think… How in the world did I co-found a business? When did I become such a yogi? Why yoga for kids?

Looking back at my childhood though, it just makes sense. I’ve always been a teacher. That’s a fact that anyone who knows me can validate. There is a picture of my six-year old self playing school with a clipboard in hand. Classrooms have always felt like my natural habitat, and yet I remember school bringing out some anxiety. I’ve always been one who feels deeply and for a variety of reasons learned to be very in tune with both my body and my emotions at a young age. Although my yoga practice hasn’t spanned my whole life, it makes me feel so much like me. 0-6 year olds are my people, as I say. I’ve had the holding a baby thing down since I was six (that’s what happens when you come from an absurdly large family). I wrote a research paper on child-development in eighth grade. I can talk to a wall and the wall talks back, so making friends and networking comes easy. The more I reflect, the more I see that I’ve never felt more like me than I do in this moment. Perhaps Joanna Gaines is right. Maybe I’ve been headed in this direction all along.

Day 4 of 31: Poor Mr. Peppers!

This morning I woke up quite tight in the hips, a bit achey in the lower back, some pain in my sesamoid, and just a bit tired. Sounds like one of our favorite yoga games to play called “Poor Mr. Peppers,” which not so coincidentally was part of our sequence on Thursday. It’s a super silly, creative game where each little yogi adds an ailment to Poor Mr. Peppers as we move around the circle and try to recall each pose. This game can be played in both a yoga setting or classroom setting. It’s highly entertaining and even adults get super into it. We learned this during a Rainbow Kids Yoga training in L.A. last summer and has been a favorite here in Chicago ever since.

On Saturday mornings, Meg and I make it a routine to voyage to Zen Yoga Garage for a delicious hot yoga class with the always present and powerful instructor, Monika. Seriously, this amazing woman always knows exactly what you need before you do. As if she wrote the sequence just for me, Monika’s juicy class consisted of hip opener after hip opener. Oh boy my root and sacral chakras are so in love.

Monika began as she always does articulating words of wisdom and strength.

Be whole in motion.

The phrase that stuck with me as we gathered in Supta Buddha Konasana, a reclining bound angle pose with such restorative benefits. This idea of being whole has been a theme in my life for quite some time. It’s probably one of the most transparent reasons I “do” yoga. Time and time again, I am reminded of how connected we are in mind, body, and spirit.

Being whole requires a commitment to seeing this connectivity and choosing to move in this direction.

Being whole nourishes relationships, both within ourselves and others.

Being whole opens us to new sensations.

Being whole fills our cup, bringing out the best in us, so that we have enough to pour out.

Being whole. Recognizing when we’re not, accepting it as fleeting, and being able to move through these shifts.

Be whole in motion.

Day 3 of 31: The Queen of Dairy

It’s March in Chicago, which means it’s a cold & windy 31 degrees. Or 65 and sunny. No wait it snowed yesterday. Actually that was a thunderstorm. I’m so confused. Why do we live here again? Have you heard of a little something called “Summertime Chi?!” Ahh, yes!

I can almost hear the sound of school-free children running around the block catching fireflies.

I can almost see the bright, bold colors of the fireworks shooting off the lake.

I can almost smell the tropical scent of sunscreen.

I can almost feel the sticky, humid July air.

I can almost taste the luxurious flavors of Black Dog Gelato.

Why isn’t it Wednesday boat night?

Sigh. Because it’s Friday and it’s March; even if Chicago has a confusing way of showing it. However, with Fridays comes the weekend. A time for family or friends, plans or couches. A time for waking up with the sun or ignoring the alarm. A time for porch hangs, night walks, and Dairy Queen diners.

As I sit with my favorite seven year old stud, listening to his rendition of Hamilton, I can’t help but mosey back to Dairy Queen diners and my grandma. Mama: the queen of dairy. The sweetest little thing with the strongest heart and the simplest taste in dessert. One large vanilla cone. For being the daintiest of humans, she could demolish a bowl of ice cream before you even decided what to order (Oreo blizzard is the only option of course).

It’s funny how these itty bitty slices of life melt out of your head so easily, as if your Mama is taking that night walk with you. Even in 31 degree weather because…ice cream (like grandmas)…defies all seasons.

Day 2 of 31: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

When I was prepping for today’s Big Buddha’s class at The Yoga Centre, I came across an article from one of our favorite sites. Elephant Journal is a guide to the mindful life discussing everything from yoga and spirituality to the arts and love. The founder and writers are “dedicated to bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” Yes, a bit hippy-dippy perhaps, but always such interesting perspectives and usually exactly what you need to hear in the moment. Just like a yoga class. Yoga truly is exactly what you need to hear in the moment.

This particular article features a seussical-like poem entitled “If Dr. Seuss Had Been a Yogi” read to the rhythm of Green Eggs and Ham. Oh, it’s good! SO. GOOD. As humans, we can all relate to having those moments (or longer) of simply not wanting to do something.  All those “I do not want to” twinkles of time that Sam’s big furry friend exhibits when Sam persistently asks him to try something new. We’re scared, tired, bored, confused, unmotivated to {insert activity here} and we just…DO. NOT. WANT. TO.

It is in these slices of life when we choose to do the “I do not want to’s” that usually have the most impact. Actually trying {insert activity here} brings a new wave of energy, a new perspective, a new love, a new friend, a new interest. Every once in a while, a ‘Sam I Am’ shows up and his persistence can change the course, or at least alter our taste in eggs. May we be open to this invitation; find our own version of ‘Sam I Am’ or be him for others.

Thank you, Dr. Seuss! (Cat in the) Hat’s Off to You!

“Okay! Since you refuse to quit,
I guess I can practice… a little bit.
I will unroll my mat and see
What a little asana does for me…

Say! Breathing does help me relax!
I’ll just do a few more minutes, max.
These forward bends feel pretty good
They release my back, so I guess they should.”

If Dr. Seuss Had Been a Yogi (Elephant Journal)

Day 1 of 31: 30,000 Feet

Last night I carved out a couple hours to sit down and catch up on composing some lesson plans for Buddha Belly, as well as finish up earning some badges for the Apple Certified Teacher program for our school district. As you know, we are teachers by day and business owners by night! (The lines are obviously way more blurred than that). Anyways, yesterday was an institute day because there was an election in Berwyn, so our staff met as we usually do at the middle school for a morning of professional development break-out sessions. Ironically (or not so ironically if you know Meg and me), we happened to follow each other to the same three sessions. The final session being called “Blogging & Slice of Life.”

Correct. It’s been a LONG time since we’ve posted! Blogging has been on our “to-do” list for an embarrassing amount of months. Just last week we pondered blogging again and making it a priority in the month of March. Why March? Why now? Why didn’t we just keep blogging last year when we were already on a roll? Well, we could sit here and justify an answer or we could just get to blogging. I went to the Blogging PD with the intention of updating our blog because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you own a business, right?!

Supposed to…shaking my head. That’s the exact opposite reason why one should blog. Enter…Slice of Life. What a brilliant concept! Writing is something both Meg and I crave; like the water in our 15 ounce water bottles. We both find joy in putting pen to paper (albeit text to print these days).

So, while I re-focused my intentions last night and turned on “Your Daily Mix 1” on Spotify, the most perfect foreign (yet familiar) song began to play. The universe has a funny way of speaking to us, don’t you think?!

 

Sometimes we can get lost living in the here and now

Sometimes it takes the sky to see what’s on the ground

I’ve been better, I’ve been worse…

Seen a couple places that I never thought I’d see
I’ve walked into harder times, and I’ve walked out the other side
It seems like you end up getting what you need
Yeah, looking down from 30,000 feet, life’s been good to me.

-Ben Rector (30,000 Feet)

 

 

Follow Meg at That Literacy Lady for her Slice of Life challenge, too!

Think About It... There Must Be a Higher Love


Precisely one year ago today we closed our eyes, trusted our hearts, and began walking down the most magical path. Literally and figuratively. James Vincent McMarrow’s angelic version of Higher Love led us through this “Angel Walk” as we felt the support and presence of our new soul sisters, and ended with a giant squeeze from our fearless leader. With this embrace, Amanda McFayden congratulated us on graduating from the three-day Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training. And just like that, we were Certified Children’s Yoga Teachers. Yes, Higher Love is obviously playing on repeat while this buddha is blogging.

Our three-day training was merely the first leap of faith in the incredible journey that has been Buddha Belly Kids Yoga. We are women who feel…who feel strongly, might we add. We are women who connect…and connect with authenticity. We are women who believe…believe we have something to offer this crazy thing called life. Feel, connect, believe. A perfect description of our experience with RKY. The best thing we could have done one year ago was meld into this tribe of gorgeous souls. Gopala and Angel Yaffa, owners of RKY are truly otherworldly. This couple’s spirit and energy pervades every person and place that they have stamped. If you haven’t seen what this dynamic duo has accomplished, google them. Seriously. #lifegoals

BBKY is here because of these ingenious beings and we are definitely better together! As we have sunk deeper and deeper into this tribe, we have truly benefited from the holistic approach of Rainbow Yoga. Our lives are richer and therefore the children we encounter will be forever changed. Gopala puts it best: “I believe many children are misunderstood by grownups because grownups have forgotten how it was to be a child. And often grownups are misunderstood by their own kind because they fail to remember that they are just big kids and they need to play too.” Ahhh YES! Isn’t that why we are here anyways? To provide a space for children to marvel at all things enchanting. To feel, connect, and believe. When we provide this space for children, the magic so naturally unfolds. When we connect with our inner-child, it conjures up what we believe is innately human. Yoga transcends and it is through our practice that we can better this world.

Being otherworldly, Gopala and Angel attract like-minded people who mirror this magnetic energy into their tribe as senior trainers and mentors. We only know the power of Gopala and Angel from soaking in the physical presence of such people. No, we have not yet met the RKY founders. We say the word “yet” with gumption! In the meantime, we are forever thankful that they placed Amanda, founder of BlissKids A Children’s Yoga and Music Company, into our lives last December. If you gathered anything from the description of our graduation ceremony, you may infer that Amanda is also wonder-ful. She’s basically a fairy! She is creative, energetic, and kind. Truly kind! Amanda brought bliss to our weekend, embodying all that a yoga class for kids needs. Frankly, most adults could benefit from this type of yoga class. We were drawn to Amanda for many reasons, but what sticks out most is her true understanding of child development. As educators at our core, this matters. It matters more than one might think. It matters more than one might see (but that’s for another blog). Knowing that there are Amandas in this world reassures us that something is going right. Amanda gave birth to the most fitting mentorship program for us, right around the time she brought her sweet Noelle into this world. Inspiring on so many accounts, we relish in the opportunity to learn and grow from this mama! Thank you, Amanda, for bringing us a higher love…without it life is wasted time.

Namaste,

Erin and Meg

 

Glowing with Gratitude

Here in the United States, we are winding down our Thanksgiving holiday. We say “here in the U.S.” because we are blessed to reach fellow yogis and readers across the globe. Although it’s technically only one day, an American Thanksgiving tends to spread across the week with school breaks, travel, and holiday festivities. Sometimes, November even turns into an outpouring of gratitude as the growing fad of Friendsgiving celebrations pop up throughout the month. In some ways, Thanksgiving serves as the kick-off to all December holidays; a starting line to the traditions that come with the colder weather.

Although we love the recipe that is the Thanksgiving holiday, giving thanks is not something we should cook up only once a year. Breathing an attitude of gratitude “turns what we have into enough.” At a recent meditation workshop hosted by Zen Yoga GarageYogi Danny B. reminded us of the “pause between stimulus and reaction.” This pause allows us to be truly present. To us, this pause is gratitude. May we strive to pause in each and every moment a breath of gratitude; in all that we are and all that we do.

Rainbow Kids Yoga, a magical movement that has infused into our being, is the very first source of light for BBKY. To Gopala and Amanda, thank you for creating the Level II Teaching and Business Mentorship. May you truly understand the impact you have on this world…on our world. We are forever anchored into the RKY tribe and for that we glow with gratitude. BBKY shines in new ways because of the love, support, and guidance of our beautifully talented mentor, Vanessa Pouliot. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We know what you’re thinking…why are you bringing up the Oilers?! We’re Chicago Blackhawks fans people! Believe us, Edmonton has much more to offer  Vanessa, owner of Glow Yoga Kids, is an incredibly kind, perfectly positive, and impressively insightful human. She is a gentle, yet fierce force. She is inspiring and uplifting. Each month, we get to spend two (uh ok maybe more) hours face-to-face (thanks modern technology) with this lovely person that truly glows good! When Jamie Gepner of little om BIG OM (I know, I know…we talk about her a lot) guided us in our discernment process to begin RKY Level II, she couldn’t stop raving about how “seriously amazing” Vanessa is, how she is “eloquent and helpful,” and how “her business is exploding!” Oh boy was Jamie more than right! Vanessa is all of these things and more. Most importantly, she is the perfect fit to our dynamic duo and budding business. Our meetings are full of laughter and joy. Vanessa drives us to conceptualize our dreams, reflect on our practice, and simply believe in what we can offer this world. To Vanessa, thank you for cultivating a space to fuel BBKY into it’s own force. May we emulate your passion, dedication, and spirit. We are forever connected and for that we glow with gratitude. To all BBKY beings that we have encountered over the last year, thank you for allowing us to exist. May you know the importance of your continued support. We are forever changed and for that we glow with gratitude.

Namaste,

Erin and Meg

Centre Yourself!


Ten months ago, we were approached by the one and only Jamie Gepner of little om BIG OM regarding the wonderful world of kids yoga. Know this: 1) You’ve heard about her before. 2) This won’t be the last time we mention Jamie’s name. 3) There’s no such thing as coincidence (oh wait, we’ve also already talked about that). It’s crazy to think that since the beautiful realization that we CAN do this whole kids yoga business thing, we…created an after-school club, ran a four week summer camp, started yoga on the farm, partnered with Chicago Parent, and finished our first series class with Legacy Sports Camp. BOOM! Are you out of breath yet?! Thankfully, us yogis are pretty good at this whole breathing thing, so no that doesn’t sound exhausting at all 

In the midst of all of this, we also sought out more opportunities to educate ourselves about kids yoga. As teachers, clearly professional development is in our blood. So, when Jamie approached us about Blooma‘s BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) Teacher Training, we were IN. I mean, how can you not love that name?! The search party began for the right yoga studio to host in Chicago. We tried a few contacts and although there was interest, most studios just could not commit. All good, no need to force the wrong energy. Then, during one of our lunch breaks at summer camp, we started perusing more local trainings and stumbled across a three-hour workshop by YogaKids. Conveniently, the workshop was being held at The Yoga Centre in Oak Park, not too far from our summer camp location. Quickly, we signed up and immediately thought to connect about the Blooma training. We reached out to Diana Shea, Director of The Yoga Centre. Although there is not a set date yet, we have a strong feeling that the BYOB training will come to fruition in 2016.

Just as we were discussing the possibility of hosting the Blooma training, Diana mentioned that she was hoping to expand their kids programming and wanted to see if we would be interested. Did you hear that? A yoga studio sought US out! Hello universe making things happen. Umm…YES PLEASE! Instantly, a wave of excitement and calm came over us. That feeling in your gut when you know it’s the right fit like a brand new pair of yoga pants! We scheduled an audition where we met four of the most adorable little nuggets and pulled out all the stops. Our butterfly yoga sequence. A winner every time! In a follow-up email, Diana stated “I am very impressed with you both and look forward to building a following for you at The Yoga Centre.” What an incredible joy it is to have others believe in you the way you believe in yourself!

We are honored and grateful to be surrounded by such supportive and positive people. It is our belief that this movement of mindfulness and kids yoga, which we are blessed to be a part of, has the potential to centre a world full of chaos and uncertainty. Want to know how to do that? Centre Yourself!

Namaste,

Erin and Meg

BBKY_Yoga Centre

A Winning Combination


As the leaves begin to change colors, the air becomes a bit more crisp, and pumpkins begin to take over Chicago-land porches, it only seems fitting to dedicate this post to a place that truly exemplifies the magical season of Fall. Precisely 25 weeks ago, we came across an exciting Instagram post from Pick. at Garden Patch Farms sharing their new “Farm and Garden Library for Children.” As an avid reader of children’s books (yep, the school teacher in us) and fan of their field trip program, we love to follow @pickthefarm. With BBKY merely budding, this sparked the idea of doing yoga on the farm. Physical movement surrounded by nature? Families spending an hour of their weekend connecting? Picking fresh produce to create family meals and traditions? YES PLEASE! Thanks to our field trip connection, we were hopeful that Tony and Lexi would at least be open to hearing our idea. It didn’t take much to convince them of the winning combination. One trip to the farm for a business meeting, one demo class at their annual Butterfly Festival, and a whole lot of laughs later…Buddha Belly Picks the Farm was born! We love spending our Saturday mornings bringing families together through the power of yoga at the best family farm there is!

Pick. at Garden Patch Farms is more than just a farm; it is an extraordinary space that allows bustling 21st century individuals and families the opportunity to explore the art of homegrown. Their passion for teaching others how to pick fresh produce and create family traditions around healthy living is evident from the moment you pull up to the farm. Tony and Lexi’s incredible work ethic, commitment to sustainability, and kind souls make it an easy choice to support Pick. at Garden Patch Farms.

As educators, we have experienced the benefits of partnering with this family farm. For three years, the kindergarten program at Pershing School in Berwyn has made it a priority to pick this field trip. It is an easy process to coordinate schedules and extremely affordable. The field trip coordinator makes each experience unique and developmentally appropriate. The pure excitement and wonder on our students’ faces as we roam through the fields is nothing short of amazing. Pick. at Garden Patch Farms allows these students to get their hands dirty and really get a taste for nature. It is truly a trip back to the good old days of childhood! With backgrounds in education, Tony and Lexi have designed curriculum aligned with both the Common Core State Standards and Illinois Next Generation Science Standards. What a rare gift this is for teachers!

It has truly been a joy to partner with the Ndoca/Miller family of Pick. at Garden Patch Farms! Join us as we close out the season for a special edition of Buddha Belly Picks the Farm on Monday, October 12th from 10:00-11:00 AM (Columbus Day).

Namaste,

Erin and Meg

'Twas the Night Before School


As the summer begins to unwind and the school year begins to unfold, there is a mixture of emotions in the air. Being educators at heart, this time of the year is always a little bitter-sweet. The thought of new students, new schedules, and new routines is both exhilarating and exhausting. We long for summer freedom and yet crave a sense of order. Crisp, new planners go from empty to full in a matter of minutes as we busily write down to-do lists, lesson plans, meeting times, deadlines, goals, dreams, etc. We envision how our new little beings will capture our hearts and fill us with that sense of purpose that only a true teacher can understand. Between the two of us, we have been in this scenario 13 times. Although we are clearly veterans of the night before school, this year brings a new sense of purpose and peace. For this year we are not only school teachers, but yoga teachers and business owners. Wow! Did we just say that out-loud? We’re doing it! Along with the myriad of ways we multi-task our school lives, we will be adding this new adventure of joy! Here at BBKY, we are Falling into Yoga as we announce our first set of six-week sessions. Legacy Sports Camp’s Buddha Belly Kids Yoga is ready for participants from preschool through eighth grade. We are beyond grateful that our journey continues and look forward to one good year! You can register here or visit our events page for more information.

Namaste,

Erin and Meg

"Capturing the Beats Between the Noise"


“Before spending a few hours with BBKY, I had not given much thought to yoga + kids at all. In fact, I’d say they didn’t exist in the same brain space for me. Now, I can’t separate them. Yoga is inherently a child-friendly activity and the kids love it! Yoga doesn’t have to be an inaccessible Eastern practice — for these BBKY kids it’s about learning to love themselves and their bodies, gaining confidence, and being a little silly.”

Kylie Larson, you couldn’t have said it better! Just as we love watching kiddos find the magic of yoga, it is equally as fulfilling to see adults understand the power of what we are doing on our mats. As our yoga journey unfolds, we are grateful for all the cheerleaders along the way. One such supporter is the insanely talented Kylie Larson of Kylie Larson Photography. Her recent path of becoming a small business owner has strangely paralleled ours, and we are excited to be sharing the road. We admire her perseverance, leap of faith, and passion for pursuing her dreams. There was a strong pull in both our directions to have her photograph some yoga sessions. We are thrilled that she jumped at the invitation! Kylie truly does have an eye for “capturing the beats between the noise.” Joy simply pervades her images. Her shots from summer camp help to tell the story of our beginning. Through these images, our Busy Buddhas exude confidence and calm, strength and serenity. How lucky we were to have Ms. Kylie travel all the way to Pick. Garden Patch Farms to capture the beauty of family yoga. Perhaps this concept seems foreign to some, but it is an innately human experience. The family bond brightens with each movement and allows for true connection. In a world inundated with distraction from every angle it’s precisely what we need; to reconnect with the ones we love. Kylie’s farm photos encapsulated the allure of this experience. We are forever grateful and humbled by your work. Thank you for featuring our sweet ones on your blog!

Namaste,

Erin and Meg

Buddha Belly in the News


Although we have only been alive for less than a year, we have a prediction: Buddha Belly is going all the way! On June 19th, Vickie Jurkowski wrote an article for the  Daily Southtown entitled “Fields of Fun” highlighting a myriad of opportunities for families to enjoy while surrounded by nature. Unexpectedly, we were also featured in Sunday’s Life & Style edition of the Chicago Tribune on June 28th. Humbled and grateful for some exposure in both of these newspapers! More importantly, we would like to thank Tony Ndoca and Lexie Miller of Pick. at Garden Patch Farmsfor believing in who we are and what we do. We are truly more complete because of you. Stay tuned for a blog post devoted to those perfect people at Pick!

Namaste,

Meg and Erin

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Buddha Belly Living Its Legacy


Those of you who know us or have read our initial blog post, know that we believe there is no such thing as coincidence. Our Buddha Belly Kids Yoga (BBKY) journey commenced and continues because our minds and hearts are open to what the universe has in store. Amanda McFayden, senior trainer at Rainbow Kids Yoga and founder of BlissKids used the most perfect visual of her hands stacking stones; with each small movement, everything began to build up and fall into place. We truly believe that is what is happening here at Buddha Belly. Jamie Gepner of little om BIG OM, the pioneer of movement and mindfulness in Madison, WI, planted the seed that we had a gift that needed to be shared with Chicago. Soon after, Meg woke up one morning knowing that our name was Buddha Belly Kids Yoga. We are women who don’t mess around with our guts, so it was an easy decision to trust our intuition. Our dear friends jumped on our yoga team to tackle the advertising world. Kristen Paige Gathanydesigned our adorable logo and Joe Calderone of Calderone Marketing gave breath into the life of this website. We knew that in order to grow, we would need to partner with an elite, established fitness organization. Dan Kane of Legacy Sports Camp was absolutely the right route to take in order to launch our inaugural summer camp. Ready for this connection?! Meg and Erin are close friends, co-workers, and business partners. Dan and Erin are childhood friends and fellow Chargers. Turns out that Meg and Dan’s grandmothers grew up as best friends in Oak Park. If that’s not the universe at work, we don’t know what is!

Legacy Sports Camp in Oak Park allows elementary school children to learn proper technique in individual and team settings while instilling positive character traits in these young athletes. However, one could say that Legacy’s myriad of opportunities was missing one thing. Although Dan wasn’t familiar with yoga for kids, he trusted that Buddha Belly meant business and that we would not disappoint. Yoga for kids is the perfect balance to a high energy sports camp. The juxtaposition of these two companies could not have aligned more perfectly. Just like that, Buddha Belly’s Legacy began!

We started the conversation in late winter, began to advertise, hold demo classes, and by the time Chicago looked a bit more like spring, we had our first participant! Thanks to Legacy Sports Camp, Ascension SchoolSouth Berwyn District 100, and Oak Park District 97 enrollment for our four week summer camp included the most amazing three through thirteen year olds. Some joined us for a week at a time, while others shared in the entire journey. Themes included: On the Farm, At the Beach, African Safari, Going to the Zoo, Camping, Fourth of July Picnic, At the Circus, Life Cycle of a Butterfly, Story Yoga, Rainbow Colors Yoga, Our Feelings, Gratitude Yoga, Building Balance, Partner Acrobatics, and Yoga Obstacle Course. Feedback from parents and children was nothing but positive and they cannot wait for weekly classes during the school year. Frankly, neither can we! One little yogi received a new yoga mat for her birthday and woke up extra early to start her practice. “She really does love it! What a powerful tool for a six year old to have. Confidence in her body and self.”

Namaste,

Meg and Erin

**Stay tuned for some amazing photos!

Namaste

Welcome to Buddha Belly Kids Yoga! We are thrilled you have become part of our yoga journey. Buddha Belly Kids Yoga was born only a few short months ago after being completely enamored by our training experience through Rainbow Kids Yoga (RKY). Two years ago, the universe brought us to Zen Yoga Garage  (ZYG) to begin our yoga practice. This community empowered and rejuvenated us in ways we never thought possible! Our physical and mental strength, confidence, and mind/body awareness simply skyrocketed. At Buddha Belly, we believe that there is no such thing as coincidence. Just about the time our own yoga practice began to take shape, we felt a strong desire to see how we could incorporate yoga with our passion for children and education. Within days of this discussion, a flyer was posted at ZYG for the Rainbow Kids Yoga teacher training. In a matter of minutes, we signed up and embarked on this new journey with open hearts. As educators, we truly believe we have something unique to offer! In a world saturated with yoga for kids and adults, we are ecstatic to find our niche and bring a breathe of fresh air.

Namaste,

Meg and Erin