Shining Light Yoga MHK was born in the spring of 2018 while Pastor Caela was supposed to be quieting her mind during savansana (that time in yoga where you lay down quietly and rest). Instead of focusing on her breathing, she was thinking about how thankful she was for the practice of yoga and how it had helped her immensely with finding calm in the midst of a very hectic (and sometimes downright scary!) world.
Caela knew there were a lot of people who are a part of First Congregational UCC and also practice yoga regularly. She started wondering if any of them would be interested in starting a kids' yoga program here in Manhattan. If the world is stressful and scary for adults, imagine what it must feel like to young kids! If we could find a way to help kids honor their bodies, get in touch with their spirits, and learn self-confidence and calming techniques....all while having fun? That would be AWESOME.
So we wrote a grant and submitted it to our denomination, the United Church of Christ. We said that we would like to "Improve the overall mental, spiritual, and physical health of children in our community by helping them
learn to manage emotions, care for and connect to their bodies. We hope to help the children learn skills
for living peacefully and cultivate a commitment to non-violence in a violent world."
We received the grant and in the summer of 2018, eight of us were trained to become kids' yoga teachers (seven of us were trained through Om Slice in Chicago and one of us through YogaKids online). We worked with SEG Media Collective here in Manhattan to spread the word about our new program.
And now....it's happening! We host a Yoga+Donuts program the first Sunday of every month at 9:30am. You can learn about our upcoming events by following us on Facebook or signing up for our e-mail list.
FAQs about Shining Light
Why Sunday morning? Well, that's a time when we already have a group of kids at our church who are used to participating in activities (we have Sunday School the other weeks of the month). And we know that lots of families aren't busy on Sunday morning, so it seemed like a great time to invite people to join us.
This is in a church....are you going to be teaching the Bible to my kids? We are just doing yoga at these events. Yoga is, of course, inherently spiritual in nature and it is a goal of ours to help your child get in touch with their own spirit. But these classes are meant for people of all faiths or no faith at all. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, Buddhist, Wiccan, atheist....you are welcome! It's probably a good time to mention that we believe there are lots of ways to experience the Holy and be a good person. We don't think Jesus is the only way to do that. Of course, if you do happen to be looking for a Christian faith community, we'd love to have you join us....but that is totally optional.
How much do the classes cost? We want the classes to be accessible to everyone, so they are by donation only. We do have a few ongoing, fixed costs....the website, food, supplies for class, etc. First Congregational UCC is self-supporting and we aren't a huge church. So if you can chip in a few dollars or $5 or $10, awesome. If not, no big deal. | donate online
Do you want me to stay with my child? Totally up to you. If you'd like to enjoy some quiet time you're welcome to hang out here in a different room or go grab a cup of coffee or take a quiet stroll through downtown MHK. If you want to stay and join in the fun, great! If you're interested in doing church-y stuff, we have classes for adults that meet at 9:30am every Sunday, too. We would like to have you come back by 10:20 to join us for snacks. One of our goals is to help parents get to know each other and develop a sense of community. We ask that kids be picked up no later than 10:30am.
I have more questions. No worries. We've got you covered. Send us an e-mail and we'd love to be in touch.