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Dosha Pops Gives Back through Bent On Learning

The holidays are always a fun time for us and this season we were excited to partner up with Bent on Learning, an organization committed to teaching Yoga to New York City public school children. Our Dosha Poppers were on hand to participate with a 4th grade yoga class at the Children’s Workshop School in the East Village. Each child was rewarded with a special treat from Dosha Pops after they concluded their yoga session held during class hours.

Bent on Learning, from their website, “teaches core instruction in yoga and meditation to students from grades K through 12 in New York City public schools and youth centers as a means of reducing stress and improving concentration, self-esteem and overall health. They additionally train public school teachers and staff in yogic techniques and exercises so they can assist students in focusing their energies.

Bent On Learning strives in allowing more and more students each year to experience yoga all throughout the boroughs of The Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Their known for, “incorporating simple yogic techniques and mindfulness training into their teaching.”

Our yoga class was led by Sherry Russel who’s been working with children since 2004, predominantly those with special needs or in underprivileged communities. Class started off with Sherry spraying the kids with an aromatherapy mixture as they laid flat on their yoga mats. We were told that Bent On Learning encourages their teachers to create their own blends as students of all ages love a spritz. Often, this practice is used as an opening to the class or at the end during the final relaxation.

Upon commencement of the opening rituals, the kids played Yoga Detective (also called Yoga Chief). In this game one student is chosen as a “yoga detective” while another student is picked as a “yoga chief.” The yoga detective slips outside the classroom while the yoga chief is chosen. The yoga chief secretly chooses the yoga poses for the whole class when the yoga detective returns to the classroom. The goal of the game is for the yoga detective to figure out which classmate is the yoga chief. Since these students were 4th graders, they’ve had yoga for quite a while so they had lots of great poses to show us. This game was a lot of fun as you can see in our photos.

We were told that this game is in their curriculum as part of teamwork/team building. Bent On Learning encourages a lot of partners, group poses and games to reinforce learning and gives students autonomy to make the practice their own. Their program started at Children’s Workshop in 2010 so this is the 6th year they have been working with their students.

Bent On Learning Program Coordinator Kristen Lalka told us the yoga practice is pretty intuitive to students and that they have them choosing poses or leading from their first year in the program. We’re impressed!

After Yoga Detective, the kids got a chance to do their favorite yoga poses in a free-form style. So cute! At the end of yoga class the kids quietly laid on their mats to closed their eyes. Once the class ended, we gave the kids Dosha Pops. We’re glad we could spread some holiday cheer while also introducing our herbal tea Ayurvedic lollipops to a young crowd for them to discover the 5,000 year old science of life. We seem to have a new fan club.

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