Young Leaders honouring our teachers this Mandela Day

This year, Earthchild Project took a different spin on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018. While there were many organisations and individuals who supported us through donating money or giving time in support of Earthchild Project, our facilitators, junior staff and Young Leaders chose to give back in a creative way, where it really matters! And so, they created The Pamper Your Teacher Day for all of our four schools in Khayelitsha – a special day just to honour our unsung heroes who devote so much time and energy to nurturing our earthchildren.

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The synergy between mindfulness and medicine – words from an Earthchild Project volunteer

Naomi Heller is a volunteer with Earthchild Project. She is a doctor by profession, working in paediatrics with an interest in paediatric palliative medicine (this is an area of medicine focusing on children and families of children coping with life limiting and life threatening disease). Her long term aim is to incorporate yoga into this area of healthcare and work with children, siblings and families managing medical symptoms, grief and emotional trauma.

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Earthchild Project Ambassador Spotlight – Melissa Brake and Erin Sprong

Over the years, there have been a number of really special yoga teachers who have dedicated a lot of time and energy into supporting Earthchild Project and being a driving force behind the work that we do. In order to honour these people, we have initiated an Earthchild Project Ambassador Programme. And we are proud to introduce you to our second and third ambassador, Melissa Brake and Erin Sprong. Melissa owns Yogaway Yoga studio in Newlands where both her and Erin teach. These two incredible women have selflessly been dedicated to teaching Monday yoga classes in Khayelitsha for many years and their motivation has never wavered.

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The Earthchild Project 3rd annual Teachers Wellness Convention

Earthchild Projects’ 3rd annual Teachers Wellness Convention was held on Saturday 24 February 2018, and it was a huge success. With workshops ranging from healthy cooking demo’s to stress management, hormone balancing techniques, water saving tips and advice on how to follow your purpose and passion, the day was packed with wellness and holistic living education.

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Connecting souls across cultures through yoga

Photos by Niquita Bento: @xx_niquita_xx

It was such a joyful pleasure and privilege last week to be connected to three international yogis – Adriene Mishler, Clio Pajczer, and Chelsey Korus. To be able to host these three beautiful women was humbling and genuinely made for a really fun Friday! In partnership with adidas, these women made the trip halfway across the world to check out Earthchild Project’s work and to do some yoga with our Earthchildren in Kkayelitsha.

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Mindfulness Activities for Children

We are well aware that there is much evidence out there that proves the benefits of mindfulness for children. But we are equally aware of the challenges that come with trying to implement that mindfulness in the chaotic classroom and often hectic home. So, in order to assist, we’ve scoured the web for some resources and tips that offer excellent methods for child mindfulness that are sure to make being present for children a little bit more fun and, well…mindful.

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Mindfulness in the classroom

Mindfulness practices are beginning to be more fully recognised in their capacity to benefit children physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually not only at school, but in everyday life. At its core, mindfulness is about being fully aware of the present moment with a disposition of kindness and curiosity. Paying attention to the moment through visualisation, mindful walking, meditation, breath-work and yoga are all ways in which children can become presently embodied and grounded.

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Earthchild Spotlight: Sonwabile Tafeni

In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we are highlighting 10 remarkable Earthchildren from the past and present. Last but not least, our Earthchild Spotlight number ten is Sonwabile Tafeni who is 16 years old and a former student at Sakumlandela Primary School in Khayelitsha. Sonwabile is an engaged yogi, hardworking high school student, and a committed Earthchild alumni. She keeps inspiring me with her personality and engagements and I’ve had the great fortune to meet her a handful of times throughout my past three months in Cape Town. Sonwabile is only 16, but she speaks with such depth and her eyes are clearly set on a bright future for herself and her community.

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Earthchild Spotlight: Dilshaad Julius

©Amanda Norrlander

In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we are highlighting 10 remarkable Earthchildren from the past and present. Our Earthchild Spotlight number six is Dilshaad Julius who is 9 years old and in Grade 3 at Harmony Primary School in Lavender Hill. This young girl is truly a positive energy boost for everyone around her. Dilshaad entered the staff room at Harmony Primary with a confident, big smile and one can immediately sense how excited she is about yoga.

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Earthchild Spotlight: Carin-Lee Williams

In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we are highlighting 10 remarkable Earthchildren from the past and present. Our Earthchild Spotlight number four is Carin-Lee Williams who is 10 years old and in Grade 4 at Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill. To say that Carin-Lee lights up a room when she starts talking is no exaggeration. Her passion and confidence radiates from her within, and she attributes her inner light to yoga and her experience with Earthchild Project.

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Positive Thinking

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Why embracing positive thinking is so important – especially now.

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The Law of Attraction basically contradicts everything your mum told you when you were a young child and the other children at preschool would pull at your hair and make fun of you: Opposites don’t attract; rather, like attracts like. People who think and act positively will experience positive energy. People who surround themselves with negative and damaging energy are more likely to experience negative side-effects. Happiness and positivity do not just happen. You have to actively work for positivity, actively surround yourself with it and embrace it in your lifestyle.

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Mindful of Teacher Wellbeing

A teacher’s sense of wellbeing impacts directly on their students’ wellbeing. As one of the most rewarding careers, it can also be a stressful and emotionally-demanding profession, particularly for teachers working in under-resourced communities South Africa. Read more

Yoga fundraiser at The Shala

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Last Wednesday we teamed up with our long-time partners and great friends at The Shala yoga studio to host a fundraiser for Earthchild Project and we’re thrilled to say it was a resounding success! Not only was it a beautiful evening but The Shala raised an astounding R11 600, which will sponsor 58 children’s weekly yoga classes for a whole year – how fantastic is that?! We were over the moon with this result and cannot stress enough how much we appreciate the support of everyone who attended the event. We hope that you all enjoyed it as much as we did!

The night began with a talk from our founder and director Janna Kretzmar about how Earthchild Project came into being and how it has continued to flourish over the last ten years. She outlined the work that we do and the ethos behind it, setting the tone for an inspirational evening and leaving the attendees feeling humbled and happy to be able to contribute. Tamsin and Mariah led the 43 yogis of all levels through a beautiful series of asanas, gently encouraging us to use our practice to (re)connect to Self, others and the world. Throughout the class they affirmed the importance of self-love and acceptance in a way that was truly empowering. We also were lucky enough to have local musical duo Agulhas in the studio with us performing live (and mostly improvised!) music, making the evening all the more special and the atmosphere completely magical. Hearing their soft songs drifting in and out of our consciousness while enjoying a peaceful savasana was utterly blissful!

We are so grateful to The Shala, whose on-going support is such a blessing to us at Earthchild Project. Holding events like this reminds us of the beauty and power of yoga in grounding people and teaching them to love themselves, each other and the earth, which is why we wanted to spread the love of yoga in the first place.

If you missed out on this event but would like to keep updated about our future events, please subscribe to our newsletter by providing your details in the form at the bottom of this link:

Boost Memory: Climb a tree and practise yoga

By practicing dynamic yoga, climbing a tree or balancing on a beam you can significantly improve your working memory. Researchers at the University of North Florida have found that proprioceptively dynamic activities, or activities that bring awareness to the relative positions of the neighboring parts of the body through movement, where one navigates space , improve our cognitive skills.

Why is your working memory important? Have you ever gone to the store with a short list of goods to buy, and forgotten items? Then you’ll appreciate the frustrations at our working memory’s limitations. Working memory impacts on our ability to hold onto information long enough to use it, to concentrate and follow instructions and our ability to learn.

Often people who have a regular yoga practice speak of such improvements from experience. Our project has been active for over nine years, and we have seen and had teachers notice that after practicing yoga and meditation our children perform better in class. They’re able to concentrate more in class and their academic results improve.

However, the research indicates that even a few hours of proprioceptively activities can increase ones working memory by up to 50%.

So, here are a few suggestions for how you can spend the afternoon (either alone or with your child) doing proprioceptively activities:

  1. climb a tree (and remember that the tree is doing more than just improving your working memory), walk across a beam,
  2. move while paying attention to posture (this could be yoga, but it’s important that you move around in space, don’t remain static on your mat – move around the room, use the wall for inversions, use the door frame for stretching, etc),
  3. go for a barefoot run,
  4. visit your local park and create a navigation course, moving over, under and around the jungle gym equipment.

Let us know how you it goes?

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