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“No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids.”

—Bill Cosby
 
 
Mom Turns Passion into Small Business
Michele Pullo wondered about the direction her career was headed after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, so she quit her job selling airfreight services and began taking classes to become a yoga instructor.

“I just felt like I needed to do something that helped people,” the Rancho Cucamonga resident said.

Pullo had been interested in yoga for several years, and as a former professional dancer, she had a knack for the movement and balance yoga requires.

In 2007, a couple of years after she had her first child, Pullo began teaching yoga classes for children. She enjoyed working with the youngsters, and she could see how yoga was helping them gain better balance and, perhaps, a little inner peace.

But Pullo also realized kids needed more than just yoga to be happy, calm children.

“If they were stressed out about a test, they weren’t going to just stand on their head or do a tree pose in the middle of class,” she said. “I wanted to teach them something more specific, something they could use anywhere.”

Pullo began learning about stresses children face every day such as bullying, academics, school safety, and so on, and she also studied a variety of methods to help kids deal with those anxieties.

“We can’t protect them from the world, but we can give them tools to help them deal with those pressures,” she said.

That was the beginning of Pullo’s small business—happycalmchild.

The name says it all. Pullo’s mission is to help children develop skills that help them cope with stress and channel the seemingly boundless energy inside them.

“All of that energy isn’t a disability,” she said. “We just need to teach kids to focus their energy in a way that supports them.”

During Pullo’s happycalmchild classes, youngsters between the ages of 3 and 12 do yoga and other movement, play focus and trust games, participate in breathing exercises and, in general, learn how to be more relaxed.

“A lot of these games and exercises are very simple, but there are a lot of levels to them,” she said.

One of the children’s favorite is the imagination exercise. Kids lie on the floor and with their eyes covered with eye pillows as Pullo tells them a positive, happy story.

Eye pillows are essential since getting a group of children to close their eyes isn’t an easy task, but once the children are engaged in the story, their minds take over.

“Kids need to learn that it’s OK to relax,” Pullo said. “I know so many kids who have an activity every day of the week. They are just wiped out. If you don’t learn how to relax as a child, you won’t know how to do it as an adult, and that can cause all kinds of health problems.”

Some of the older children in Pullo’s classes also participate in journal and drawing exercises to help them learn how to express themselves and illustrate what makes them happy.

In addition to her happycalmchild classes, which take place at several preschools in Rancho Cucamonga and Upland, Pullo shares her knowledge with parent groups, and she is also in the process of creating a video parents can use to teach their children calming methods at home.

Learn more about Pullo’s small business by visiting www.happycalmchild.com.
 
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