Making Art a Family Weekend Ritual with the Whitney Museum

It’s the weekend! What’s the plan? This used to be of great concern to me, given I have two active toddler boys who get restless playing at home. I constantly have to find activities for them to keep them engaged and happy, so thank goodness the Whitney Museum offers a family art program where I can give my kids a chance to play and explore!

The Whitney Museum has a world class drop in art program for your kids – who knew! I take my kids there every weekend, as a family ritual for so many reasons:

1) to spend quality time as a family

2) to set expectations (for fun!)

3) to avoid tantrums at home – that’s a big one

4) to have fun making art and develop fine motor skills and focus

Most of us know that there are many benefits of art for kids. The Artful Parent says it best: “Educators tell us that art encourages fine motor skills, neural development, and problem-solving abilities and that it can be used effectively to teach and understand other key subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science. Therapists tell us that art is valuable because it allows children to process their world, to deal with sometimes scary emotions in a safe way, and because it gives them critical sensory input. Artists tell us that art is important for its own sake—as a source of beauty and expression, as well as simply for the process of creating. Kids tell us that art is fun, an activity they enjoy. Parents tell us that art is vital to their families because it keeps everyone engaged and happy and helps with the sometimes difficult transitions of the day. Art is naturally linked to creativity, an attribute that is increasingly being touted as one of the most important factors for the success of individuals, organizations, and cultures.” – Excerpted from The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity, © 2013 by Jean Van’t Hul.

What happens:

As you leisurely walk in, knowledgeable and personable facilitators as you to take a seat and they explain the project you will be doing that day. They make sure you have all the materials you need. They check in with you to see how you are doing and engage with your kids, asking them questions about their art and the process by which they create. It’s great!

Why Whitney

1) The facilitators try to get to know you; Lowe and Olivia know my kids by name and allow us to be messy. We also love Billie, Jiyoon, Laura, and Rebecca; they greet us with a friendly smile and make sure we have everything we need to work on the project of the day.

2) You can come in any time when the program is open and take as much or as little time as you need to complete your project.

3) There are a variety of projects, usually changing every weekend.

4) Family Open Art studio is free with admissions, but if you get a membership for $85, you can get your money’s worth in 4 visits (for us 1 month) – well worth it!!

Who: Your Family!

What: Family Open Art Studio – free with admissions

When: Saturdays and Sundays (generally) 10:30am-2pm but check the schedule

Where: Whitney Museum of Art – 99 Gansevoort, between Washington and West

How: nearest subway 14th St. A/C/E/L

Why: To spend quality time with your kids and have fun making cool art projects!

The 2017 Biennial Family Day is happening Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 9:30am-3pm, featuring the artist Jessi Reaves, whose work is seen on the 5th and 6th floor. If you’re in town, check it out!

Check out Family Programs Calendar of Events

Here are some of our family projects; you can find more on my Pinterest Page. http://pin.it/tf9OIze

(All photos copyright @yvettejain)

Free Indoor Play in the Meatpacking – Artech Adventures in Art & Technology

One of the great things about living in NYC is FREE things to do for families. The Children’s Museum of Art is hosting ARTech: Adventures in Art & Technology, a pop-up play space designed for kids 4+ years to explore Art & Technology, throughout March & April – perfect for spending quality time with the kiddos over Spring Break, if you happen to be in town. The space is located in the Meatpacking District, just one block away from Chelsea Market, where you can grab a bite before or after play.

Arjun had a lot of fun exploring the STEAM-based activities. (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematic). We raced a homemade car with others down a ramp, made a mini telescope, and posting on the large art wall. “B is for Brother”, Arjun says. There’s also a mini planetarium, ball pit, block building (also fun for kids under 4 years), and GIF making stations for kids to enjoy. Please ignore the mess on Arjun’s shirt. Art is always messy with us.

ARTech is free and open to the public. Reserve tickets https://artech.splashthat.com. Play is open for 1 hour increments and you can come as often as you like!! YEAH!

ARTech: Adventures in Art & Technology

March 1 – April 29

Wednesdays & Thursdays: 3 – 7 PM

Saturdays & Sundays: 10AM – 5 PM

@ 459 West 14th Street (at 10th Ave)

I’ve Cloned Myself so I Can Practice Yoga With You!

As a mom of two toddlers, there have been many moments when I’ve wished I could teach at a certain day/time but could not because of schedule conflicts. If only I could clone myself and be at two places at once!

Well now I’ve creatively figured out how to do just that and teletransport myself to wherever you are!

Sign up on Pow How now and join me for a LIVE class every Wednesday 9:30 to 10:30 AM Eastern standard time, which with purchase, you can access at anytime at your convenience! (YEAH!)

If you have a WebCam this can be a two-way street, and I will be able to see you and guide you through your own practice at the convenience of your own home or wherever you may be.

Below is the link to the class I taught this morning! 🙂 Show of hands (via LIKES or COMMENTS) and let me know if this is something you want to see more of!!!!

POW HOW: Open to Possibility 60m Vinyasa with focus on chest and hip openers with awesome abs

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YvetteJain/

IG @yvettejain

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/yvettejain/

Keep Calm and Carry On, Warrior Mom

“Keep calm and carry on, warrior mom” is what I would say to myself, 4 years ago.

I had no clue I was pregnant in this photo. I only knew that I kept passing out in the back of the car as my yogi friends & I drove to town. John made fun of me saying maybe I was pregnant but nah, I was just “exhausted and dizzy from the flight, I swear”. Still I wondered – why did I keep rolling over my ankles in Warrior III?

That very night, two shooting stars swept across the clear sky of Sedona, Arizona and I made a wish upon each. (Cheesy, but true.) The first manifested 9 months later, and I named that star Arjun. The second wish came true almost 2 years after that, and I named that star Aarav.
Grounding down has not been easy at times when the environment and circumstances around me are unstable and uncertain, nor has it been simple when my ideals, beliefs, expectations are being tested. Life has really asked me to dig deeper.

Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster that is motherhood.
The exhaustion. The joys.
The tantrums. The sweet, innocent love.
The breakdowns. The breakthroughs.
The body & mind changing over and over again because of the hormones…need I say more?
The sweet smell & soft skin of a newborn.
PUPPP- the full-body rash from hell that made me sick, taking prednisone for over a month. The probability of getting it once is 1/200 pregnancies; I got it twice. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
The funniest things kids say and do to make everything alright.
The NYC school admissions process that at times brings me to Child’s pose with my hands in Anjali mudra.
The community of moms who support each other, lift each other, who lend an ear, a hand, an extra diaper, and who together drink many, many, many cups of strong coffee (or even stronger glasses of wine). We are all in it together.
Did I mention the toddler tantrums? Just making sure I did.
The big, BIG hugs, and 35 kisses the boys give me at night just before bed. I count and cherish each and every one.

Staying centered is also challenging some times. I remember one morning just 6 months ago. Arjun & Aarav woke up crying – the baby needed to be fed the bottle and at the same time the toddler needed emotional support to go to potty by himself. Both needed me, equally. The two little boys who would pull me apart, literally, with Arjun on one arm and Aarav on the other, in opposite directions. I wish I could be like the dancing Shiva with 8 arms, so not only could I have calmly & gracefully attended to my boys but also open the front door to receive some packages from Diapers.com, too. Wow, I’d be super productive! I might even get through all the laundry, cooking, errands, tidying, and shower. Oh and eat. Not my kids leftovers. But a real meal. Sitting down. In peace. That’s important. (Thank goodness I have some help most days!)

If I could go back to the day this photo was taken and give my younger, more rested self some advice, it would be this: Every day, practice Warrior II. Practice being calm so that you are calm when toddlers are being extra, extra… toddler. Practice being strong, centered, and grounded within so you have that energy to give to them even when they are testing you. Breathe so you can teach them to breathe and calm themselves. Meditate – even if just for a couple of minutes – so you can be still and find the very things you need more of in yourself – patience, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. These are by far, the hardest things to teach, for you must teach by example. We are all human, no mom is perfect, and no parenting is perfect. As Van Gogh said, “What is done in love is done well.”

Oh, and one more thing, practice Child’s pose for humility because you don’t know what you don’t know and Savasana because you will need every bit of rest you can get.

So take a deep breath and carry on, warrior. Be the eye of the storm around you. You may even see a rainbow after it passes.

How do I get into Warrior 2?

  1. Stand in Tadasana, at the front of your mat.
  2. Step your left foot back as far as you can comfortably do so and angle your left toes so they face forward at about a 45 degree angle. Plant your heel, big toe mound and pinky toe mound down so you can keep the slight arch along the inside of your left foot.
  3. Bend your right knee to 90 degree angle as much as you can, and stack your right knee over your right ankle.
  4. Open your hips. The feet should be in the same plane in all the traditional standing poses – warrior 1, warrior 2, extended side angle, triangle, etc. Here are some possibilities, depending on your anatomy & practice: the front foot heel could bisect the back foot arch, the front foot heel and back foot heel could align in a 90 degree angle (heels in one line), the front and back heels could be apart (width-wise) an inch or two. It really depends on your practice, but whatever you choose, it should be consistent for all standing poses, and you should feel a sense of center.
  5. Stack your head over your heart, and your heart over your hips.
  6. Extend both of your arms out, with the right arm reaching forward and the left arm reaching back, with equal effort.
  7. Draw your navel in, engaging in uddiyana bandha, and set your gaze just beyond your right middle finger.
  8. Using ujayyi breathing, breathe in and out of your nose with equal force and counting.
  9. Carefully notice that your hips are level and parallel to the floor, that your ribs are neutral not puffed out, and that your face is relaxed.
  10. After 5 breaths, extend your right knee, and step your left foot forward back to Tadasana pose, standing at the front of your mat.
  11. Repeat process on the left side.

I’m back!

As many of you know, yoga is my passion. Over a number of years, I have been fortunate enough to practice and teach. There is nothing else I’d rather do than to share my experiences and connect with my community.

Except perhaps, to raise a family.

I made a conscious decision to be mama and focus on my family. I took a long break from teaching to do just that. Now I have two beautiful, very active toddler boys, whom I adore!

But I miss the connection with you all. So I made a conscious decision to teach again. I am happy to be back and I hope you can join me in class or on this website.