Heart and Soul Work with Children

by Shakta Kaur Khalsa

Khalsa Parenting has been called “the highest yoga”, and for good reason. Where else do you have the challenge and opportunity to be your most mindful at each moment? Where your every communication has the potential to create conflict or upliftment? Children respond either consciously or unconsciously to the vibratory energy of each moment. Much of the time, we adults have lost our sensitivity to the energy that vibrates between us all. Children can make us painfully aware of our gaps in awareness.

On the other hand, I have found greater motivation to stay on target since having a child. I use yoga, meditation, prayer, whatever it takes! Nothing beats a consistent daily spiritual practice to “tune up” to higher consciousness. In other words, if you touch and verify your own soul regularly, you won’t stray too far in your interactions with your child. Whether you’re having trouble with your child, or your life, it won’t be so serious, and you won’t take it so seriously. When difficulty comes, your attitude is less “This is a big problem.” and more “Where’s the lesson here?”

Many of us use yoga and meditation to improve the quality of our lives, and the lives of our children. Still, I’ve not met any parent, including myself, who would say that life with children is perfect. Nor do I believe it will ever be. There will always be new challenges to keep us on our toes! But we can learn to meet each challenge with grace and success. And yoga, our dear friend, will come to the rescue when we are in a tight spot.

FROM DRAMA TO DHARMA Every parent can recall a time of emotional crisis in progress. Imagine for a moment that your child is bugging you, whining, perhaps screaming–pressing on you for something he or she wants. You can excuse yourself, go to the bathroom, have a seat on the only one available, and close your eyes. Listen to your long and deep breath coming in and out, instead of the chatter, nagging or screaming from the other room. Don’t feel pressured to do anything about the situation, or to say anything at all. Go into an inner space where drama doesn’t exist. Only you and your breath exist in this space.

Now open your mouth into a “O” shape and inhale deeply through your mouth. The lips are slightly pursed, as though you are drinking from a very large straw. Close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose. Look in the mirror to get it right, then close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Do this for two minutes and see how you feel. This exercises slows down your mind and emotions, allows you to return to your full self. It at once calms and strengthens the nervous system.

Take another few moments to assess the situation you will be returning to when you open the door. Have confidence from deep within that you know what to do and how to do it. Your communication will come from your essential self. Your child will feel it, and relax. The two of you will come to a common meeting ground. If your child chooses to resist, you can still remain neutral, open, and centered in your decision. Allow your child to go through whatever changes she needs to. Give her that right. Give both of you Bach Rescue Remedy in water, or just a drop straight into the mouth. It will calm her and let her know you are on her side. You are the kind and merciful master of yourself, and the helper of her soul. The trauma will lose its power and fall flat, leaving you both in a clearer place of understanding.

PASSING IT ON One wonderful way to create more harmony and happiness in the home is to teach your children to meditate. The “O Breath” exercise given above is perfect for children too. Initially try it at a time when there is a real camaraderie between you. It is hard for a child to follow your direction when he is in conflict with you. Patience pays– wait for a good opportunity to give him these tools of change.

It becomes easier to use yogic techniques to bring balance when there is imbalance when you have a daily yoga practice. Your child sees that you rebalance yourself each day. His unconscious mind tells him, “This is what we do each day to set ourselves for the day.” Rebalancing through yoga in troubled times will seem most natural for him.

THE CALM HEART Chanting and singing are wonderful tools to bring peace to the heart. A very simple and effective meditation uses the sounds, “Sat Nam” (pronounced like “but mom”). It literally means “Truth-Identity, or Truth is my identity” in Sanskrit. To practice this meditation, bring the hands into prayer pose, with palms and straight fingers pressed together. Then bring the hands to the heart center and press the thumbs into the sternum. You will find an indentation in the upper center of the chest. Press there with about five pounds of pressure. This will connect the meridians of the head and heart. Then inhale deeply with the eyes closed. “Saaaaaat”, then a very short “Nam” at the end when you have only a little breath left. You will begin to notice that Sat has “waves” of sound to it. Make Sat have six waves, and Nam one.

Taking it one step further, on each wave of sound, thread the sound through each consecutive chakra (energy centers). Begin at the base of the spine (rectum), move to the sex organs on the second wave, the circulate the sound at the navel on the third, the fourth resounds at the heart. Move upward to the throat on the fifth wave, the sixth resonates between the eyebrows (third eye), then with “Nam” move the sound through the top of the head through the crown chakra. Keep going for five, ten minutes or more. Feel yourself as the instrument of the Divine.

Children love the sound of chanting. Maybe it’s because they are attuned to sound vibration. When I taught school I used song to catch the attention of a noisy classroom. It worked every time. The sevenwave Sat Nam meditation is a very simple and fun way to introduce children to chanting, and it helps them develop the ability to direct their focus and awareness–an invaluable tool for life.

SPARKING AWARENESS Share the wealth of breath and sound awareness with your child. Not all at once, but at just the right time. Light a candle before bed and create a beautiful sound together. Sit outside in the fresh air and show him how to breathe long and deep. See who can breathe slower.

When our son was seven, my husband taught him a yoga exercise that incorporates blowing out strongly through the mouth and encouraged his enthusiastic participation in a clever way. The breathing pattern is a long inhale through the nose. The exhale is powerfully blown out through the mouth. My husband put a plant between himself and our son. He challenged him to make the leaves of the plant move. Our son worked on moving that plant, and the exercise worked on moving him—into an internal place of fearlessness, for that is the gift of this exercise.

If you would like to try this exercise, the mudra, or hand position, is as follows: first the right elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle. The arm is out to the side, with the palm facing forward, as though taking an oath. The left hand position is the same with the exception that the elbow is tucked into the side, so the hand is close to the left shoulder. After three minutes, the position is reversed. Then after three minutes both hands are over the heart center with the left underneath and right on top. Press hard for two minutes. Continue blowing on the outbreath. Blow hard!

FUN IS GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL In parenting children, sometimes the answer to challenging situations is breathwork, and sometimes strong physical activity can simply melt problems away. It is as if the sun of strong movement turns the icy blocks of tension to water. And water? It flows!

Practicing Bear Walk, you will ground yourself with the earth element, and “walk off” tension. When you don’t feel like yourself, do this exercise. Get into Triangle Pose, also know as Downward Dog Pose, and begin walking all around the room, or better yet, outdoors. You will find yourself walking in a natural pattern of right arm forward, followed by the left leg, then the left arm, followed by the right leg. Keep the legs and arms straight, but not locked. The bottom is up in the air. Go for three to five minutes. Get primal, get earthy. Let yourself growl if you want! This is a perfect exercise to share with your child. He never needs to know how fantastic it is for him. That can be your little secret! Just let it be fun.

In our family, one person (usually my son) initiates some fun physical activity, such as blasting the Beatles while we all dance and sing at the top of our lungs. We have pillow fights, jump on the trampoline, have running races, and tickle until it turns into a wrestling match. I find I have to consciously drop all my excuses for not joining in (“I don’t really feel like it.” “I don’t have time for this.” etc.), and just realize that spontaneous fun is good for my soul. And what’s good for my soul is my yoga.

BLESS YOURSELF, BLESS YOUR CHILD If our goal in raising children is to create whole, happy, and healthy children who know how to love, share their radiance, and keep their center no matter what life brings, then we will want to act in our highest consciousness at each moment. They learn what they live. And that means they learn what you, as their parents, live. Give yourself that yogic edge. The science of yoga is a tool that you must pick up to use it. So pick it up. Make it your routine. It will deliver you to your soul. It will bless you, and it will bless the soul that comes in the form of your child.

Radiant Child Yoga Training, Levels 1-3
October 4-7, 2012
30 hour certification

Ananda Nilayam on St. Thomas is very excited about offering this training because they have a specific purpose on how they intend to use this training to fulfill our vision and mission of working with the youth. Ananda Nilayam has created a program teaching youth tools to promote peace in their lives through yoga (including self-inquiry, meditation, pranayama (breath work), conflict resolution skills and more. They are currently teaching these skills to a group of girls participating in the Girl Power Kidscope Summer Camp. They are working to expand this program to the schools, at-risk youth groups, youth in the criminal system and to the prisons. They believe that by working with the youth, we can help bring lasting peace to the VI.

If this resonates with you, please consider attending this training so you can be part of our vision of bringing peace to our children and our community.

For more information, contact:
Jennie Alvarez
Email:  jlastt@yahoo.com
Cell:  340-643-7758

For children’s yoga programs on St. John, contact certified Radiant Child Yoga Instructor Beth Gowan at:

Elizabeth Gowan

Beth4health@ gmail.com

Shakta Kaur Khalsa has been teaching Kundalini Yoga for over three decades and children’s yoga for nearly as long. Her training program, Radiant Child Yoga, is well known around the world. Shakta is a parent, a Montessori educator, an E-RYT-500, and author of several yoga books, including the classic Fly Like a Butterfly: Yoga for Children.

3-day Ayurveda Workshop – August 3rd – 5th

Join us at Concordia Eco-Resort, St. John, for a beautiful weekend of self-discovery through Ayurvedic traditions. Ayurveda translates to mean the “Science of Life” and is truly a living experiential science that develops awareness and a deeper connection to self. Through the use of foods, herbs, yoga asana, massage, and practices, Ayurveda guides us towards balance and optimal health. This workshop will help you create a tool kit to maintain balance in your life and in your diet specific to your constitutional dosha (dominant elemental energies). Your Ayurvedic guides will be Maureen (Mo) Washburn, San Francisco, California; Jessica Rhodes, Sacramento, California; and Lindsey Chabot, St. John, USVI – all Certified Ayurvedic Practitioners.


Friday, August 3 – 5:00 – 9:00PM

  • Ayurveda revealed – introducing Ayurveda including breathing, elements and doshas.
  • Guided Yoga Asana – a gentle evening practice
  • Dinner – Ayurvedic inspired with specific information about each dish and a discussion on food and recipes.


Saturday, August 4 – 8:00AM – 3:00PM

  • Early morning Yoga Asana followed by tea and snack
  • Ayurveda presented- gaining a deeper understanding of the doshas and the pulse
  • Lunch – Eating for your constitution, more learnings about food, preparation and recipes
  • Ayurveda explored – experiencing the senses…balancing your life with spices and essential oils


Sunday, August 5 – 8:00AM – 2:00PM

  • Early morning Yoga Asana followed by tea and snack
  • Ayurvedic practiced – learning about self care tools, oil pulling, salt scrubs & massage
  • Hike down to Salt Pond Bay
  • Lunch – Sensing and Balancing




You will be going home with:

Guided written instructions on balancing your life

Ways to incorporate yoga into your life, specific for your needs

Tridoshic recipes

Salt Scrub with essential oils

Resources for future needs



Concordia Eco Resorts


To make your retreat experience complete, we welcome you to stay the weekend at Concordia Eco-Resort. Take advantage of discounted accommodations available for this event, including Eco-Tents from $55 and Eco-Studios from $99 per night for all Puerto Rico, BVI, and USVI residents. Non-resident discounts are also available; please call Rosanne at 340-693-5855 for more information on package discounts for this event. or book your reservation at 800-392-9004 or 340-715-0500.

Surrounded by pristine US Virgin Islands National Park on the island of St. John, Concordia Eco-Resort overlooks the Caribbean waters of Salt Pond Bay, Drunk Bay, and the Drake Passage. A variety of accommodations are perched like tree houses along the hillside, connected by elevated walkways to minimize impact and engage the surrounding flora and fauna. Low-impact construction, an extensive rain-water collection system, photovoltaic electric generation, and its recycling program make Concordia the perfect retreat for the eco-conscience traveler. For more information about Concordia visit their site by clicking on the following link.




Maureen (Mo) Washburn

Mo is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who has been joyfully practicing at the dhyana Center since January 2011. Mo is deeply connected to facilitating self-awareness and self-care for those interested in transforming their lives into a greater state of balance.She listens compassionately to each client’s needs and approaches each client’s journey with creativity and care. She utilizes sessions as a space to not only assist her clients in change physically, but also as an opportunity to impart tools of taking care of one’s self out in the world.Whether its nourishment or stir that is needed, Mo’s attention to detail and ability to hold space for each person’s process creates an environment that is comfortable and safe for reflection and release.She practices Ayurvedic/Tibetan style pulse assessment, which guides conversation around current states of health and wellbeing. This lays the foundation for what types of food, remedies, and treatments are called for to support each client’s needs.

Jessica Rhodes

Jessica’s classes will support and uplift you, as she has a remarkable eye for spotting emotional and physical blocks through asana. Jess is a devotional teacher that draws from Pattahbi Jois’ Ashtanga , Sivananda, Power Vinyasa, Bhakti and Yin schools of thought. Yoga isn’t elite, she says, and it isn’t a perfect combination of lycra and spandex. Yoga is breath, yoga is life, and yoga is for all people – all faiths – all cultures – all sizes – and all bodies. Jess started seriously practicing yoga when she broke her back and was bedridden. Yoga brought joy and movement to her life again, and she now loves to bring it to others.

During her stay in India, Jess lived in both the Sivananda and Hari Om ashrams. These experiences afforded her the knowledge of practice, daily observances, and Ayurvedic background that enrich her classes around the world. Jessica has completed two 200-hour teacher training programs, one in Rishikesh, India focused on Pranayama, Chanting, Kriah, and Asana. She also completed a 200-hr Power Vinyasa Teacher Training Course in Sacramento, California. She is also a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and a Certified Massage Practitioner, and will be available for some one on one training, pulse diagnosis and massage therapy sessions while on St. John.


Lindsey Chabot

Lindsey went looking for something different after running a marathon in college. It was all over after going to her first Bikram yoga class. She immediately fell in love with the focused energy and self-discipline that yoga requires. The way that yoga makes you face yourself moment by moment has allowed her to know herself in great strength, and in moments of extreme weakness. She has since been exploring the many ways yoga changes….absolutely everything. Yoga quickly became something like taking a shower, you just DO IT. Having been lucky enough to practice in many different studios all over the country, Lindsey tries to absorb as much as possible and share it with friends, yogi’s and anyone who’s interested. She was trained and certified in Ashtanga by the late and great Larry Shultz and the amazing people at It’s Yoga, San Francisco in 2008. Also a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, Lindsey’s interest in wellness stretches way beyond the perfect pose. Well aware that her journey has just begun, she feels honored and blessed to be on it with the people of St. John. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about feeling good.



The fee for this three day workshop is $175; if paid for before July 25th, the early discount price is $150.

This fee includes – dinner on Friday, lunches on Saturday & Sunday, three yoga classes, salt scrub, written instructions and recipes.

Also available and highly recommended additional sessions and fees (limited space so please reserve your times early):

Ayurvedic Birth Pulse Assessment: Discover your constitution – 30 minutes – $40

Ayurvedic Nutrition and Wellness: Consultation including Birth Pulse Assessment and how to eat for your dosha – 60 minutes – $60

Chakra Reading: Deepen your understanding of your emotions and how they impact your body – 30 minutes – $40

Personalized yoga plan: Customized yoga practice based on your body type, condition and wellness goals – 30 minutes – $40

Ayurvedic Package: Includes your choice of three of the above sessions: 90 minutes – $100

Ayurvedic Massage: Specific to your needs for 90 minutes $125 or $250 for six hand massage (limited space available)



For more information call Lindsey at 978-790-4016 or email her at ldchabot@gmail.com or call Nancy at 340-775-0533 or email her at nancy@doyogastjohnvi.com.


Ayurveda: Intro to the Elements

Someone recently approached me saying, “Have you heard of Ayurveda? Its totally becoming the new thing.” A lady in the room contributed, “Yeah, even Dr. Oz is all about it.” What is this magical healing art called Ayurveda?  Before you go out and start tattooing the elements on your body and putting turmeric in your ice cream, we thought we’d give you some introductory information to this amazing and ancient form of medicine that can be used to treat all 7 Aspects of Wellness.

Translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the Knowledge of Life(or Science of Longevity).  Although it is rapidly increasing in popularity here in the West, Ayurveda is not a new-age fad. One of the oldest continued practices of medicine, Ayurveda originated in India, where it is still practiced today.

Much like all ancient forms of medicine, Ayurveda views health and disease as a combination and a balance of the elements. Each process, each organ and each person has a predominate element (or multiple) based in its functionality. An imbalance to the natural elemental combination results in a symptom. The elements are described as follows:

The Elements from an Ayurvedic Perspective:


Ether is space. An element associated with the cosmos, it contains all life. Ether, or space, exists within and around all things because it is that within which life is held. From an Ayurvedic perspective, someone with an excess of etherical properties may be considered an “air-head” by their peers. Lightheadedness and out of body experiences may also be associated with an excess of Ether.


Air is an element of movement and can also be described as wind. Too much air can dry out a person, resulting in dry skin, hair, or nails. Internally, restless energy, anxiety or gaseous expenditures may be symptoms of air related imbalances.


Fire is heat, which can result in light and power. It is the element associated with digestion. Fire breaks down old thoughts, food, and emotions and makes way for new growth. An excess of fire can lead to rashes, acne and even anger.


Water is another element connected to digestion and waste removal. Water and liquid facilitate the movement of toxins broken down from the digestive fire, so that they can release.  People with water imbalances may experience bloating, edemas, or even fluid thoughts and adaptability to transitions.


Earth is a stabilizing element. It is nurturing and grounding. Too much Earth can lead to symptoms like weight gain, depression, or lethargy.

Each person is a combination of all of these elements, although some elements may be more prominent than others. Ayurveda seeks to ensure that these elemental combinations stay in balance within our bodies and within the world in general.

Using elemental medicine in its most basic form uses a lot of common sense. If you are feeling hot, what do you do? Perhaps you drink a cold drink, or remove some warming layers. This is a way to add water and cooling air elements to reduce fire. If you are feeling dry, maybe you moisturize. This is a way to bring water to excessively dry areas.

To delve a little deeper, elemental cures can also treat emotional problems. If someone is experiencing heavy Earth influences and feels depressed, heavy and lethargic, a way to lighten the effect of Earth would be to add aspects of the other elements into their life so that the heaviness can be lifted. This could mean walking (movement being associated with Air and Fire). It could mean eating food that was light and airy – like fresh fruits with high water content (Ether, Air & Water).

Ayurveda is a system of medicine that uses elemental properties to diagnose and treat people, but this is only the beginning of this science. Ever wonder why you love broccoli but your partner hates it? Ayurveda believes that not every body is the same. We are all made up of a combination of elements, but each person has a particular combination that makes them who they are. Ayurvedic doshas classify people into particular elemental groups. The doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.  Read more from our Ayurvedic Doshas article — Coming soon!

Author’s Bio:

Jessica Rhodes is a certified wellness adviser for the 123 Feel Better Company. The 123 Feel Better® Life Change System™ is a wellness program designed to help individuals reach their wellness goals and live fuller, more complete lives. 123 Feel Better is based on the 7 Aspects of Wellness™ model. Learn how to make real changes in the areas of Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Environmental, Occupational, Social, and Intellectual Wellness to create a balanced life with 123 Feel Better and our free wellness resources at 123 Feel Better.

Sacred Sounds – April 2012


Sacred Sounds

Concordia Eco-Resort

On April 20th, over 30 students joined Elizabeth Gowan for Mantra Yoga.  Elizabeth lead our journey through a chakra based asanas practice for freeing the voice within.  Suki Buchalter proved beautiful sounds on her crystal bowls that vibrated all around each of us, touching our souls.

After the asanas,  a kirtan was led by Ananda Nilyam from St. Thomas.  The pavilion filled with smoothing chants in a call and respond format.   A plentiful vegetarian

dinner followed catered by East West Catering.  All the produce and herbs were organic and locally grown.  The meal was outstanding and loved by all.



The evening event continued to amaze us all…once nightfall set, a fire show with Pyros of the Caribbean began…Sandwich, one of our yoga teachers, performed…the photo says more than words!!!

The evening ended with a quiet candlelit hike down to Salt Pond Bay beach for a blessing.  The perfect end to a perfect night.








Sacred Mother – May 2012


Sacred Mother – May 2012

Maho Bay Campgrounds

On May 18th a group of approximately 25 yogis met at the beautiful F Pavilion at Maho Bay Camps in Honor of the Sacred Mother and were led by Suki and Jessa Buchalter, St John’s resident mother/daughter yoga teaching team in a joyful asana practice.  Viki Brown opened the event by Honoring the 7 Directions and led the group in a guided meditation with drumming and flute which grounded us.  The theme for this event was Building Compassion, Cooperation and Community in our lives. Jessa guided everyone through a lovely vinyasa flow warmup then Suki offered some Heart opening exercises building compassion.This was followed by a fun series of partner poses where we practiced cooperation.  Finally in seated pose we released any negative blocks such as blame, shame criticism and judgment that may be separating us from finding community in our homes,on St John and in the wider world community. After much laughter, grounding, working together and releasing of negativity we were all feeling energized, open hearted and ready to greet the world with compassion,  cooperation and in community.  We enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the staff at Maho Bay Camps.  The movie “Playing for Change” was shown at the dining pavilion, which was enjoyed by all who stayed.

Originally we planned to view the documentary “For the Next 7 Generations” put together by the Alliance of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Stay tuned, this will be shown at a later date.