As a drill team and drum corp band played, thousands of people began rushing into the White House South Lawn, which had been beautifully transformed to host 30,000 families from all 50 states for the 133rd annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The Yoga Garden was the first visible activity for the visitors, but was passed by many as the kids made a mad dash to meet characters such as the Smurfs, The Cat in the Hat, Power Rangers and Felix the Cat; to see 10-year-old pop star Willow Smith or boy band Mindless Behavior (to name a few of the celebrity performances); or to get in line to hunt for eggs. Yet after the families rolled eggs, listened to music and had their picture taken with big furry animals, they came back to the Yoga Garden to relax and have fun.
This year’s theme was “Get Up and Go!” and focused on promoting health and wellness and encouraging children to lead healthy and active lives. This is part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative to combat childhood obesity and is the third year that yoga was offered as part of the activities. Fellow yoga teachers from around the country, including several Baptiste teachers, came together to share the health and wellness benefits of yoga throughout the day in a Big Way! The families participated in fun yoga poses mimicking animals, trees, flowers, mountains and airplanes.
Having the White House acknowledge yoga has been an exceptional opportunity to raise awareness and has enabled tens of thousands of children and parents to experience yoga in their bodies and learn that yoga is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. We communicated how yoga makes us stronger, more flexible, reduces stress, aids in weight loss, wards off disease and gives us the tools to make healthy choices for a happy body, spirit and mind.
Following every mini-yoga class, we gathered the children in a close circle to declare what makes them happy or what they were thankful for. The sweet smiling faces would yell out things like, “my brother or sister!” “Mom and Dad!” “the sunshine!” “to be at the White House!,” as well as a few comments about ice cream, chocolate bunnies and pizza. Those few moments of gratitude we spent, sharing heart felt appreciation, and smiles connected us in community and humanity so genuinely that it will have an enduring impact.
I am filled with so much gratitude to have had the experience to share what I so deeply love with the families, teachers and other volunteers at the White House. This ancient practice has the power to transform lives from the inside out.
And YES I did shake President Obama’s hand and got a great photo of the First Lady!
Watch the video on the homepage!
Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC