1 out of every 3 kids in the U.S. is physically overweight, but the truth is this alarming statistic doesn’t reveal how truly unhealthy our children are.
While we often think about the food we digest, we also need to think about the words we digest. It is time to recognize and teach our kids that in the same way we consume unhealthy foods and become physically heavy, we consume unhealthy thoughts and become emotionally heavy.
This emotional weight creates the same feelings of being stuck and weighed down as physical weight. The heavier we are, the more anxious and frustrated we become and the lower our self-esteem plummets.
In kids, this leads to bullying, anxiety, stress and frustration. When a child is this emotionally weighed down, it can feel impossible to focus in the classroom. Lack of focus can block a child from learning how to achieve their goals.
When we teach children the value of being physically and emotionally fit, they become better students and learn the tools to create a brighter (and light) future.
Learn how to lose emotional weight
We’ve developed a complimentary email course that will guide you through 6 steps of losing emotional weight. Do this one week detox with a child in your life and teach them the value of being emotionally fit.
We teach kids the value of physical and emotional fitness. One of the ways we are taking action is through an innovative, two part program that combines a physical fitness regimen with a mindfulness- based emotional literacy component.
While studies show that a focus on physical activity, emotional health and character development leads to better academic performance in students, many schools can’t offer this type of education because of the confines of the education system, including but not limited to:
+ competition for resources
+ limited classroom time
+ outdated and bureaucratic thinking
+ strict guidelines with no room for creative teaching
The NaliniKIDS program not only addresses these concerns, but bypasses any bureaucratic roadblocks that get in the way of teaching our youth the value of physical and emotional health.
NaliniKIDS is proud to partner with the NYC Department of Education to train STEM teachers in our unique curriculum.
[NaliniKIDS] is not your conventional STEM program. When many teachers think about STEM, they think about robotics or programming so giving them the full spectrum [and including health and wellness into STEM] is really important to us. If students are not connected to how they’re feeling and their social emotional wellness, it’s hard for them to learn. Breaking down the barriers to learning is what the NaliniKIDS program does really well. Without an opportunity like this, you can’t optimize learning in the classroom.”
– Nancy Woods, Director of Technology and Engineering, Department of STEM, NYC DOE
Curious how do we do this? It all starts with a book… Click here to learn more
At the beginning of every school year, teachers and principals come together to make choices about the books they will be teaching students that school year. They choose from classics like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Diary of Anne Frank as well as lesser known novels. Our program is about introducing a new book to the line-up, a memoir called Connect To Your One.
Using this book and innovative curriculum, teachers can:
– Adhere to the Common Core, STEM and English/Language Arts requirements, while also teaching students valuable life lessons. This leads to more efficient use of class time!
– Increase their own skillset and get trained in this specialized curriculum. (A great use of professional development dollars!)
– Take an academic approach to the non-academic subjects of physical education and emotional literacy
– Customize and adapt the program to engage students from all different backgrounds, learning styles and reading levels
– Connect lessons to meaningful physical activity that reaffirms the link between physical and emotional fitness
The ONE WORD journey is about understanding the impact words have on our lives, physically and emotionally.
Students begin by recognizing what words they use and are exposed to daily, allowing them to realize what words and phrases weigh them down and which ones lift them up. Analyzing words motivates students to make clear and powerful connections to phrases, people, actions and experiences in their lives.
The ONE WORD physical workout accelerates the word/action connection by teaching students a true mind/body workout that makes them stronger and healthier.
With this foundation, students eventually choose their own ONE WORD that uniquely motivates, inspires and drives them. This word serves as a focal point for students to use to navigate themselves and guide them in achieving their goals.
Upon graduation, students have reflected on their own lives and can identify and share how their ONE WORD has influenced them and how they determine it will drive them in the future.
Physical fitness is taught through the ONE WORD workout. This workout is a series of 16 strength training, yoga, and Pilates-based exercises.
Each exercise is associated with one word. For example, a push-up is associated to the word STRENGTH.
The workout is designed this way so that kids learn to make a meaningful emotional connection to physical activity. Doing the same, equipment-free, word-based workout after each lesson solidifies the exercise in the child’s mind, encourages a mind-body connection, and empowers them to do it anywhere.
Emotional fitness is taught by learning about the weight of the words we use every day.
Using lessons developed from each chapter of the book Connect to Your One, students discover and discuss which words make them feel emotionally heavy and which words make them feel light. Journaling, visual art projects and reflective writing exercises aid students in learning how to appropriately express and manage their emotions. They develop a deeper connection to themselves which leads and supports them in building stronger relationships with their peers, teachers and caregivers.
Interested in becoming a NaliniTEACHER
and teaching NaliniKIDS in your school?
Our teacher trainings are held every fall so new NaliniTEACHERS can begin impacting their students lives immediately. Send us an email and we’ll share resources with you that will help you get your school on board!
We look forward to collaborating with you!
"If students are not connected to how they’re feeling and their social emotional wellness, it’s hard for them to learn. Breaking down the barriers to learning is what the NaliniKIDS program does really well. Without an opportunity like this, you can’t optimize learning in the classroom."
– Nancy Woods, Director of Technology and Engineering, Department of STEM, NYC DOE
"They learn through the program, in finding their ONE WORD, what it is that drives them. They didn’t know before. No one’s asked them questions like this before."
– Brittany Chance, NaliniTEACHER, College Prep
“The kids [get] very involved, they love to share stories about their families. NaliniKIDS really brings kids out of their shell. I like to watch how the kids grow as friends, and as students throughout the year.”
– Amanda Xavier, NaliniTEACHER, 6th grade ELA
"The dedication I’ve seen from my students has been inspiring. It inspires motivation and confidence in them that I’ve not seen before.”
– Katie Hopkins, NaliniTEACHER, Chorus
"I was really excited to teach this program because my students really needed it, and it’s a unique teaching tool.”
– Leza Tazama, NaliniTEACHER, 8th grade Law
Researchers from Teachers College at Columbia University will be conducting a formative evaluation of the NaliniKIDS program in middle schools in New York City during the 2016 – 2017 school year.
The NaliniKIDS program has been designed to improve students’ physical fitness, emotional intelligence and self-control through a unique combination of physical and emotional literacy activities. The evaluation will measure teacher and student receptiveness to the NaliniKIDS curriculum, as well as its impact on students and teachers.
Make checks payable to NaliniKIDS, Inc.
Please write in the memo line of your check whether you’d like your gift to be directed to supporting a student, supporting a teacher, or our operating costs.
Checks should be mailed to:
NaliniKIDS 248 West 60th Street New York, NY 10023
Donate By Check
We welcome donations by check. Please make payable to NaliniKIDS, Inc. and write in the check memo line whether you’d like your gift to be directed to supporting a student, supporting a teacher or our operating costs.
All checks can be mailed to:
NaliniKIDS 248 West 60th Street New York, NY 10023
My name is Rupa Mehta and in 2008 I wrote a book called Connect to Your One, which is basically a love letter to my parents. It’s a thank you for the life lessons they taught me growing up, but also represents a lesson finally realized. As a child, my dad made me look up words in the dictionary all the time. It was only when I sat down to write this book, some 25 years later, did I finally understand why. Without me knowing it, he had instilled in me a deep respect and understanding of the impact of words. More than that, I came to discover the power of having ONE WORD to come back to daily, a word to help me stay focused on my life and my goals.
I also started to understand how certain words and thoughts hinder me from living my best life. I discovered that the weight of these words affected my mood, which in turn, affected me physically. At some point, a light bulb went off and I truly understood the mind-body connection. Writing this book started me on my path to define the concept of emotional weight.
Because I’m a fitness instructor, I saw first hand how many physically fit people still “feel fat” because they are emotionally heavy, weighed down by words. Emotional obesity was (and still is) everywhere!
When teaching classes, I started incorporating language that encouraged my clients to consume healthy thoughts, words that would strengthen their body and mind. When I saw how people responded – feeling confident, empowered, energized – my heart was light. I was now making the kind of impact in people’s lives that I always wanted to.
Seeing how valuable these lessons of body and mind were in adults is what inspired me to create NaliniKIDS. Why not start these life-changing lessons at an earlier age?
We began the program in conjunction with Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC Service office and volunteered in one Brooklyn middle school, MS 354. Principal Monique Campbell handed over to me 13 of her most challenging twelve year-old boys and to be honest, I was nervous. I had no idea if they would listen to me or if they were even interested in taking me seriously (the first question I got asked was “How tall are you??” – they were ALL so much taller than me!) Right away, I realized that these boys wanted the time we were going to spend together to be unstructured ‘goof off and run-around-the-gym’ time. I had a serious challenge ahead of me…
I stuck to what I knew best and held them accountable to form, alignment and fully understanding the intention and reasoning behind each physical position. As the weeks went on, students that were once reckless, uninspired and uninterested in school transformed in front of me. I saw these kids become mature, focused, connected, accountable and self-aware. They were excited to set goals and confident in their ability to reach them. It was amazing!
Ironically, I don’t have enough words to describe the joy I felt at that first NaliniKIDS graduation (and every graduation since). I knew then that we were creating something really unique and special.
I’m so proud of our dedicated team of teachers, principals, volunteers and every one of our NaliniKIDS graduates. I hope to connect with you to help kids across the nation shed the weight of words and support them in discovering the ONE WORD that drives their young lives and bright futures!
Want to partner with us?
We would love to share the philosophy of emotional weight and support the members of your community in finding their ONE WORD.
“NaliniKIDS means broadening access to and prioritizing holistic wellness as part of a well-rounded education.”
Ali Peyser is a corporate and transactional attorney. Previously, Ali worked at Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP in New York City where she met Rupa while helping her to form NaliniKIDS and obtain 501(c)(3) status. Ali has always had a passion for working with children and has volunteered in many schools, including helping to run an after-school program focused on physical and mental health for teenage girls at a West Philadelphia public school during college.
Ali holds a B.A. in History and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
ONE WORD: POSITIVITY
“NaliniKIDS will absolutely impact the emotional stability and intelligence of our youth. Bringing about the conversation of emotional weight and empathy at a young age will give kids and adolescents the tools to not only respect themselves, but to love and respect their neighbors. I firmly believe this program will generate positivity, productivity, and a future that can hold space for differing but respected ideas and values.”
Julie Anderson is a brand and community manager for lululemon athletica. She loves bringing a variety of people together through meaningful experiences that create a mind, body, and spirit connection. An athlete at heart, she is motivated by sharing her passion for physical activity with a broad spectrum of people.
Julie graduated from the University of Minnesota-Carlson School of Management with a degree in marketing and entrepreneurial management. She is committed to creating a positive impact on kids and young adults by sharing life experiences and facilitating vulnerable conversations.
ONE WORD: CONNECT
“NaliniKIDS means empowering students as individuals to become their own teachers and navigate life with increased emotional and physical intelligence. With this connected intelligence, there are no limits.”
Rupa Mehta, founder of the Nalini Method and NaliniKIDS, is a dynamic and experienced fitness professional, dedicated health and wellness advocate, creative entrepreneur, committed philanthropist and recognized author.
Vogue Magazine calls Rupa a ‘pint-sized guru’ and the New York Post referred to her as the “Rachael Ray of Fitness.” Rupa holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and achieved extensive fitness training from the Lotte Berk Studio, Yoga Works, Yin Yoga and Baron Baptiste.
ONE WORD: PASSION
“NaliniKIDS is ripe to change the way educators, administrators, politicians and parents think and feel about the education of our children. This program is perfectly suited to help prepare the upcoming generation for the myriad challenges that face them in the modern world.”
Samuel Goldberg is a film and theater producer. Prior to working with NaliniKIDS, Sam worked extensively within the African refugee community here in the USA and has assisted in the production of multiple nonprofit documentaries.
Sam is a firm believer that art has the ability to increase empathy in society and attacks each of his creative endeavors with that mindset. He achieved his undergraduate degree in English and Theatre at the University of Pennsylvania.
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