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The Know- Your-baby Quiz | What is Yoga?

Thinking, making new connections, and discovering the world!

In the first year of life wonderful and dramatic things happen. The baby usually triples her birth weight; she moves from being totally dependent to crawling and walking. Well before they use spoken language, infants are observing and making connections about what's going on around them. They are soon able to communicate, to interact with others, and to think about their surroundings. Each area of growth occurs in tandem with others- e.g., social and emotional with motor, communication and thinking.

Milestones are flexible; they are approximate times when certain abilities are observable. There is no strict timetable for acquiring abilities or confronting different challenges, and there's a wide range for what's considered normal. Every child grows and adjusts to the world at his or her own pace. This article outlines the development of cognitive abilities.

First Year Milestones

The newborn explores the world by mouthing objects; by one year he expands his exploratory techniques by imitating actions, manipulating objects and planning two-step strategies to get what he wants. He is establishing the base on which to build increasingly complex cognitive accomplishments.

Between birth to 4 months the child
  • turns his head to look towards sound
  • follows moving toys with eyes
  • recognizes family members
  • explores new objects by mouthing
  • makes simple associations, e.g. if he cries he gets picked up
    memory: starts to expect feedings at regular intervals; distinguishes key people in his life; may single out mother in a group of people
By 5-8 months the child
  • seeks stimulation
  • explores by touching, shaking and tasting objects
  • explores his own body with hands and mouth
  • discovers that objects exist even when they're out of sight; watches and looks for hidden toy
  • pulls string to get toy out of reach
  • explores cause and effect by banging, rattling and dropping objects
  • memory: may anticipate a whole object after seeing a piece of it; observes comings and goings of others; remembers sequences such a jack-in-the-box that jumps up at the end of a song
By 9-12 months the child
  • holds 3 toys at the same time
  • finds a hidden toy
  • uses an object as a container
  • imitates actions
  • holds one toy and explores with the other hand
  • starts linking meanings to gestures, shaking his head no and waving bye-bye
  • memory: notices when someone leaves room and anticipates their return
  • categorizes objects (thinks about similarities and differences), and develops symbolic thought.
  • "thinks" about things in very simple ways without actually needing them to be present and visible, an ability which leads the way to the development and use of imagination
Second Year Milestones

At 16 months the child
  • uses simple puzzles or formboards
  • places an object into a bottle and dump it out
  • scribbles spontaneously
  • points to body parts
At 21 months the child
  • knows what to do with common objects, such as a hammer, etc. and knows their purpose
  • plays imaginatively; pretend to cook, dust, wash dishes, play "mommy" or "daddy" etc.
  • points to four or more body parts
  • puts together a simple two-piece puzzle
  • uses chairs to reach things
By 2 years the child
  • categorizes faces, animals, and birds according to their individual characteristics
  • draws a circle, line or V after watching
  • looks for ways to work new toys
  • names pictures of familiar objects
  • nests boxes, cups or stacking rings
  • puts together simple puzzles
  • shows a basic sense of time when told "later," "soon," or "not now"
  • understands consequences of actions-physical: if I push a button, the light goes on, and behavioral: if I cry, my mother will come
  • understands the concept of one
By 3 years the child
  • draws a person
  • builds with blocks in all directions with the intent of making towers, trains, buildings, etc.
  • understands in, out, in front of, under, over, etc.
  • turns pages of a book one by one
  • makes inferences about new members of a category
  • enjoys displaying his new knowledge
The thinking of children at this age is still tied to the concrete; they are not yet aware of concepts such as change over time and have little idea of the true meaning of killing or dying. At times they may confuse fact and fantasy.

The Three-to-Four Year Milestones

By 4 years the child
  • learns to sort objects by shape, color and size; similarities and differences
  • counts four objects
  • a square and some capital letters
  • draws a human figure with a head, body, arms, legs and perhaps five fingers
  • names three coins
  • knows his age
  • knows about the seasons and related activities
  • knows at least four colors
By five years the child
  • understands a whole object or concept, but not always the relationship of the parts to the whole
  • uses simple reasoning; begin to understand cause-and-effect relationships
  • memorizes things but does not yet have strategies such as rehearsing lists
  • traces numbers and capital letters; may write some numbers and letters on her own
  • counts things
The teachers of parents’ club “Gelecek Nesil” do they best to educate your child at all direction.During the first five years, development proceeds at a pace exceeding that of any other phase of life. During this time the brain undergoes its most dramatic growth, and children rapidly develop the cognitive capacity that enables them to become intellectually curious and creative thinkers.

Once upon a time, many children didn’t attend preschool at all, and those who did spent their mornings cutting, pasting, and playing house. These days, preschool is a rite of passage, and “academic” preschools that promise to prepare kids for the cutthroat world of kindergarten are becoming more and more popular. But are they a good idea?

Not really, say many experts. “Research…shows that academic preschools offer children no long-term advantages academically, but make them more anxious,” says Roberta Golinkoff, author of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less.

While every preschool is different, there are some traits the best ones share, according to Martha E. Mock, assistant professor at the University of Rochester Warner School of Education. “Young children learn best through meaningful interaction with real materials and caring adults and their peers, not through the drilling of isolated skills,” she says.

Child development experts say that children in academic preschools often learn math and reading at the expense of their social skills. Kids from play-based programs usually catch up academically, while kids from academic backgrounds may never catch up socially. This can be devastating to their self-esteem.

Not surprisingly, supporters of academic preschools heartily disagree. “Children at that early age are like little sponges, and the more information you can expose them to, the better,” says Shirley Mace, administrator at the Stratford School in Los Gatos, California, who points out that the schedule includes time for play. Nonetheless, she adds, the program is “not for an overly active child…[it’s best for one who can] sit and focus for 20-30 minutes.”

Plenty of parents say their kids are up for that challenge. “He's very curious, asks a lot of questions, understands things at a deep level – overall [he’s] cognitively advanced for his age,” says one mother whose son attended an academic preschool. Contrary to the stereotype of pushy parents, many families send one child to an academic preschool and their siblings to a traditional play-based school, depending on their personalities. Others choose three days per week at an academic program and two days per week at a play-based school, hoping to achieve the best of both worlds.

Whether you feel your child will thrive best in an environment with dress-up corners and sand tables, or one with a regular academic curriculum, the good news is, there’s plenty of choice out there. Just make sure that in addition to any worksheets, there’s plenty of time for free time. Because play should be a major component of every child’s day! And we at the parents’ club “Gelecek Nesil” teach our children playing different development games.

What is yoga?

Often associated with Hinduism, yoga actually is older. It is the oldest physical discipline in existence. The exact origins of yoga are unknown, but it is thought to be at least five thousand years old. The earliest evidence of yoga practice can be traced back to about 3000 B.C. The original purpose of the postures and breathing exercises was to bring stability and relaxation so practitioners could prepare for the rigors of meditation, sitting still and alert for long periods of time.

The word yoga has its roots in the Sanskrit language and means to merge, join or unite. Yoga is a form of exercise based on the belief that the body and breath are intimately connected with the mind. By controlling the breath and holding the body in steady poses, or asanas, yoga creates harmony. Yoga is a means of balancing and harmonizing the body, mind and emotions and is a tool that allows us to withdraw from the chaos of the world and find a quiet space within. To achieve this, yoga uses movement, breath, posture, relaxation and meditation in order to establish a healthy, vibrant and balanced approach to living.

Modern scholars have defined yoga as the classical Indian science that concerns itself with the search for the soul and the union between the individual, whose existence is finite, and the Divine, which is infinite.

Yoga is one of the original concepts which today would be labeled as holistic. That means that the body is related to the breath; both are related to the brain; in turn this links with the mind, which is a part of consciousness.

The essence of yoga is to be in the driver's seat of life. Control is a key aspect of yoga: control of the body, breath and mind.
The secret of yoga practice lies in a simple but important word: balance. In every area of our life, yoga represents balanced moderation.

What is Hatha Yoga?

The system of yoga used most often in the West is called Hatha yoga. The word Hatha is a composite of Ha, which means sun and Tha which means moon. Yoga is the union between them, suggesting that the healthy joining of opposites - in this case, the mind and body - leads to strength, vitality and peace of mind.

Hatha yoga is the physical aspect of the practice of yoga. Hatha yoga emphasizes asanas (practice of postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation). It aims to balance different energy flows within the human body. As a form of exercise, hatha yoga consists of asanas or postures that embody controlled movement, concentration, flexibility, and conscious breathing. About half of the nearly 200 asanas are practiced widely in the West. The postures range from the basic to the complex, from the easily accomplished to the very challenging. While the movements tend to be slow and controlled, they provide an invigorating workout for the mind and body, including the internal organs.

Yoga exercises are designed to ease tense muscles, to tone up the internal organs, and to improve the flexibility of the body's joints and ligaments. The aim of proper yoga exercise is to improve suppleness and strength. Each posture is performed slowly in fluid movements. Violent movements are avoided; they produce a buildup of lactic acid, causing fatigue.

Hatha yoga is a complete fitness program and will release endorphins in the brain as well as any regular exercise program. Yoga postures stretch, extend, and flex the spine, while exercising muscles and joints, keeping the body strong and supple. When done in conjunction with breathing techniques, hatha yoga postures stimulate circulation, digestion and the nervous and endocrine systems. As a workout, yoga can be intense, easy, or somewhere in between.

It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, to achieve a more limber body, increased physical coordination, better posture, and improved flexibility without incurring the potentially negative effects associated with high-impact forms of exercise. Hatha yoga remains different from newer or more modern types of exercise. It does not aim to raise the heart rate (although variations such as Ashtanga, Power Yoga, or the flow series taught by Bikram Choudhury may) or work on specific muscle groups.
Overall, the postures release stiffness and tension, help to reestablish the inner balance of the spine, renew energy and restore health. Some postures provide the added benefit of being weight-bearing which helps sustain bone mass (very important for women). Relaxation and breathing exercises produce stability and reduce stress and put you in touch with your inner strength. In addition, regular practice of hatha yoga can promote graceful aging.

Whether you are learning yoga singly or in a group, it is a good idea to be supervised by a qualified teacher. A teacher will demonstrate how to ease your body gently into and out of the yoga postures. He or she will ensure that you do not strain your limbs and will help you align your body in the asanas.

According to a recent Roper poll, six million Americans now practice hatha yoga. Furthermore, yoga's visibility and viability as an effective exercise program has been increased by the endorsements of celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Sting, Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Keaton, Kareem Abdul Jabar and Evander Holyfield.

Yoga also is increasingly embraced by the medical community. Popular health practitioners who possess mainstream medical credentials and are open to alternative practices include Andrew Weil, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., Joan Borysenko, M.D., and Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. Such practitioners have long encouraged patients and clients to take up yoga. Yoga is also an integral part of many stress management programs endorsed and paid for by HMOs and insurance companies. In fact, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center includes gentle yoga postures and breathing techniques to aid the recovery of patients with heart disease.

Yoga asanas can be practiced by young and old alike. While there is no one who should be excluded, you should check with your doctor before you begin a course if you suffer from a medical condition or have any doubts. If you have any concerns about your health or fitness, consult your physician, qualified health practitioner or yoga teacher before undertaking a yoga practice, especially with these specific health problems: high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, back or neck injury or recent surgery.

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga does not meet the traditional definitions of a religion. Rather than broadcasting a philosophy or doctrine of its own, hatha yoga is a physical and psychological discipline that combines the learning and practice of asanas, pramayama, and meditation.

Because of its roots in Eastern religion and mythology, hatha yoga has often been associated with the Hindu religion. While both Hinduism and yoga have their roots in India, yoga is an independent tradition. Its separate physical and psychological processes have no connection with religious beliefs. Additionally, dedicated hatha yoga practice has been found to enhance the religious practice or beliefs of practitioners, whatever their current beliefs.

While yoga is not a religion, there are, however, a set of ethics associated with it which complements the practice of hatha yoga. This set of yoga ethic principles include five yamas which are: non-violence; truthfulness; non-stealing; chastity; and non-greed. Also there are five niyamas which are: purity; contentment; self-discipline; self-study; and centering on the Divine.

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