Meet My New Friends, Adam and Wuf Shanti – A Focus on Mindfulness
Interview with Adam Avin and his dog, Wuf Shanti
I have been so inspired by getting to know Adam Avin, fourteen-year-old founder of Wuf Shanti. At twelve years of age, Adam drew a dog character with a grand vision that he could inspire youth to live with gratitude and kindness. That small idea has grown into a full organization with an illustrated children’s book, games, and videos aired through Children’s Television Network, local PBS Stations, and YouTube. His videos were recognized with the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award. And Common Sense Media names Wuf Shanti’s Mobile App one of the “Best Health Apps and Games for Kids.”
Wuf Shanti is an adorable dog yoga character that travels the world and shares with children – through yoga, fun, and great music – how to live mindfully, think like a yogi, look on the bright side of life, be kind to others, and live in gratitude. The organization’s mission is to teach the next generation how to have a yogic-mindset, cope with their emotions in a healthy way, think positively, and spread love and peace.
Adam interviewed me for his blog. We exchanged illustrations (check out his!). And I asked him a few questions below. Here’s a small sampling but I hope you’ll go to his site and check out the tremendous resources for kids and families you’ll find there! I can’t wait to try out the yoga videos with my son this summer!
Interview with Jennifer Miller, Confident Parents Confident Kids:
Today I got to speak with Ms. Jennifer Miller, founder of Confident Parents Confident Kids. She teaches mindfulness to kids and parents, and helps them navigate this world so they can be their best selves.
How can we get all the companies with similar missions to understand that we will make more positive change in this world for the next generation if we work together? What ideas do you have to scale up to get these programs in all schools in the country?
I think our children and teens are beginning to lead the way. You are such a perfect example of this. The games, videos, your book, and the many ways Wuf Shanti teaches kids’ mindfulness has greater power because they were conceived by you for your peers.
I assume the large organizations’ missions you are referring to all are focused on our next generation. We need to keep a mindful focus on our children – their present social and emotional needs and concerns. Students are raising their voices more and more, as in the Parkland tragedy. We need to encourage and support those voices and also, push to action. How can each child, each family contribute to a safe, caring learning community? What can you do? We all have an important role to play…
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AND CHECK OUT THE MANY RESOURCES ON THE WUF SHANTI SITE.
Interview with and Drawing by Adam Avin
I asked Adam about the illustrations he drew and sent me. Here are my questions and his responses.
- Why did you choose Gandhi and the Dalai Lama to draw?
I drew them for a project for school when I was ten, I think. We could pick anyone we wanted to draw. There was a theme – “Dream, Believe, Inspire.”
2. What do you admire most about these two individuals?
They are about making the world a better place. They understand that we need to teach mindfulness to kids at an early age so we can have peace in the world and stop the violence. Early education is key, and we need to reach kids, parents, and teachers so kids learn social and emotional skills and how to cope with stress and emotions. We need to teach communication, inclusion, kindness, and positivity.
3. Why do you think role models are important for teens? Do you think teens have enough access to role models?
Role models are really important. Lots of kids look up to athletes or actors or singers but only because of the sport or movie or sneakers. Lots of these people do some sort of yoga meditation every day as part of their routines. And they do good in the world. They have foundations and charities. These are things the kids should be hearing about so they can start learning that behavior. It’s about physical and mental health and wellness, but also about healing others and making a positive impact.
Thanks so much, Adam and Wuf Shanti!
Adam Avin and Jennifer Miller in the Mindfulness in Education Summit COMING SOON!
Adam and I will both be speaking at the Mindfulness in Education Summit coming up in one week. Mark your calendar — May 28 – June 1. It’s a free online conference featuring other experts including, Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, and most recently, co-author with Richard Davidson of Altered Traits; Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body. Susan Kaiser Greenland will also speak. She is the author of The Mindful Child and Mindful Games. And they’ll be many more excellent speakers. Learn More or Sign Up!
Jennifer – This was great. So interesting. I love that itâs about NOW not LATER. Planning is fine but I think we also must DO. Planning without doing seems like it could turn into a â too little – too lateâ problem. L,M
Yes, I agree. If you are planning, you can also be worrying and thinking about the “what ifs” but if you are in the now, you are likely more appreciating and noticing the goodness. It’s a hard balance to strike and one I find I have to remind myself about a lot. Thanks! I loved connecting with and learning about Adam’s work! Jenn