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Sharing the Gift of Giving and Receiving with Kids through Yoga

in YD News

yogi-beans-kids-yogaby Lauren Chaitoff

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season already cast upon us, it is an ideal time to discuss the importance of giving and receiving with the beans in your life.

At Yogi Beans, in our Tween and Teen classes, we begin to discuss yoga philosophy. One of the first topics we discuss are the Yamas and Niyamas, or yoga’s ten ethical precepts. One of the five Yamas is aparigraha. Aparigraha is the Sanskrit word for greedlessness or non-grasping. Aparigraha means to take what is truly necessary and no more. During the holiday season, among family feasts and gifting, it can be quite easy for all of us – especially kids – to fall into the mindset of “I need this” and “I want that.” The holiday season is a wonderful time to ruminate on and practice the rich concept of aparigraha with the bean(s) in your life.

Rather than creating a list of all the toys your little bean wants, try asking him or her to create a list of what they are going to give. Another idea is to ask your bean to choose one toy or gift from their list to give away to a child in need. You can also try hanging up two gift lists on your refrigerator door: one is a Thanksgiving List, which shows all the people, pets, places and material things in your bean’s life they are thankful for; and the other is a Holiday List, which shows the toys and gifts they may receive this holiday season. Looking at the two lists side-by-side can help children and adults alike realize what is truly necessary – that we usually have all that we truly need – and the most appreciable gifts are not those bought in stores!

A question we often ask children in Yogi Beans classes during the holiday season is, “What are some gifts you can give that you cannot buy in a store?” Some of their answers are below:

  • Making my mom and dad breakfast

  • Making my bed

  • Giving someone a hug

  • Drawing a picture for someone

  • Telling someone something nice about themselves

Now, it should not be denied that receiving presents is fun; however, giving to someone in need is the most fulfilling gift that can last a lifetime. Below are two lists: the first list contains toy brands for children, and online stores that sell children’s toys that are all natural, sustainable, and environmentally sound. The second list is a bunch of Yogi Beans’ favorite charities and causes.


  • The Little Yoga Mat – An eco-friendly yoga mat that is just the right size for beans under age four.
  • Norman & Jules – Handcrafted toys and imaginative décor encouraging children to develop creative play.
  • Hape Toys – Quality wooden and bamboo toys.
  • Sarah’s Silks – Beautiful selection of Waldorf play silks.
  • Haba – Creating high quality wooden toys for learning and fun for over 70 years.
  • Green Toys – Classic toys made from recycled material.


  • March of Dimes – Helps mothers have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.Stand Up for Kids. Mission to end the cycle of youth homelessness throughout the USA.
  • Gilda’s Club – Provides social and emotional support to kids or family members with cancer.
  • St. Jude’s – Pediatric cancer center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance.
  • ASPCA – Works to rescue animals from abuse and lobby for laws concerning the treatment of animals.
  • First Book – Provides access to new books for children in need.

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season!


Yogi Beans is the brainchild of mind-body-fitness expert Lauren Chaitoff.  In 2005, after training in theater and working in Los Angeles as an actor, Lauren decided to shift her career towards positively impacting children’s lives through fitness and wellness.  In 2007, Lauren created Yogi Beans, a company devoted solely to teaching yoga to children of all ages in and around New York City.  In 2010, she fortuitously met Alexa Klein, Yogi Beans’ CEO & Co-Owner, and the two united to open Yogi Beans Kids Yoga Studio in NYC. Lauren currently oversees and trains the stellar Yogi Beans Instructor team, leads regular Yogi Beans’ public teacher trainings, and teaches weekly classes to beans of all ages. Lauren continuously evolves Yogi Beans’ programming from her extensive experiences in the classroom, on her mat and through her love and nurturing of her own baby bean, Vivienne Bell.  Find Yogi Beans on facebook and twitter@YogiBeans.

image via Yogi Beans facebook



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