Parenting based on Your Yoga Practice

SK Photo 1Speak to the Big Soul in front of you, no matter what form it comes in.

To do that, you have to be the Big Soul too.

Get on the same level.  Look the child in the eye, and put a smile in your eyes.

Don’t try to talk with a teen- or pre-teen for that matter–about anything important before 11 am.

If possible, wait until 4 pm to have that conversation.Unknown

Text your young adult infrequently and use only the most important words.

f & m yoga 1018Rather than try to make your child do yoga, you do it…and do it for real.  You’ll be able to connect to your Big Soul when you are with them.

They will notice, and may want to pick up a few tips from you, here and there.

Less is more when it comes to advice, including yoga tips.

Match your breath to your child’s breath while they are sleeping.  Guaranteed you will be connected.images-3

Remember the connection the next day when busy life takes over.

You are the adult, so you need to lead the way to being Who You Really Are.

Your child will notice.  Believe it…and you will see it.

images-4

Posted in appreciation, Children's Yoga, conscious relationships, kids yoga, Kundalini Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, parenting, teens yoga, tween yoga, tweens yoga, yoga, Yoga for Women, yoga therapy | 1 Comment

Log Roll Yoga for ADHD and Autism

Bundle Roll for Strong Nerves

Bundle Roll for Strong Nerves

We all know that exercise in general is good for children.  But did you know that yoga has  poses and exercises that specifically work  with different body systems?  

For children with Sensory Integration difference, like ADHD and Autism,  the key is balancing and strengthening the nervous system.  When the nervous system is organized, the senses process input (from eyes, ears, etc) in a balanced way, in a way we consider to be typical.  

My training is in Kundalini Yoga, which was brought from India to the west by Yogi Bhajan in the late 1960s.  I studied with him for almost 40 years.  Somewhere in the 1980′s I remember my ears perking up when he mentioned that there was a great Kundalini Yoga exercise for children with Hyperactivity–the early name for ADHD and ADD.  It is called Bundle Roll.

In the Radiant Child Yoga training program, everyone learns the Bundle Roll.  It is a very fun way to help balance the nervous system and create relaxation and alertness in ALL children, including those with Sensory Integration issues.  Try it here:  

Bundle Roll: Start out lying on the back.  Stiffen the arms and legs, use the core muscles to pull the arms and legs up.  Rock back and forth until there is a momentum to begin rolling. The child should be encouraged to keep his/her body tightened and straight while attempting to roll over and over in one direction, then reverse and do the same in the other direction.

The intense tightening of the body strengthens and organizes the nervous system and creates an effect that is similar to swaddling. Wrapping from the shoulders down to the legs and using hammocks made of lycra have been used effectively in what is referred to as deep pressure therapy for ADHD and Autism. Additionally, as the child’s body contacts the floor while rolling over an instant release of tension, like a full body massage, is created.  

Log Roll: Bundle Roll with a story line!  The children gather at one end of the room. While waiting for their turn to roll, they can be trees along the shore of the river (standing in tree pose). One at a time, they become logs (by doing Bundle Roll) and roll across the river (the length of the room). They can then become trees again on the other side of the river and stand on the opposite leg in Tree.images-2

Tips:  Have children spread apart so they don’t bump into each other.  Don’t worry if they do not roll straight, but encourage them to keep their body stiff and use their core muscles.  The head naturally stays out of the way during the roll,

Bundle Roll/Log Roll is great for proprioception (feeling all parts of your body and where they are in space), and for vestibular system too (equilibrium in motion).   Have fun doing Log Roll with your child.  Having fun is always good exercise, no matter what your age!

You can find this pose in my book:   Fly Like Butterfly, at http://www.childrensyoga.com, or better yet—take a workshop with us!shakta_ad_yoga_intl_3

Posted in ADHD, autism, brain yoga, Children's Yoga, kid's yoga camp, kids yoga, yoga, yoga games, yogi bhajan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Occupational Therapist Speaks about Yoga

quoteadhd1As a follow-up to the Yoga for Children with ADHD, Autism training, students write about their experience working with the Radiant Child Yoga method. What follows is from Eve M, an Occupational Therapist and Radiant Child Yoga teacher:

“I have been using both the meditative aspects of Kundalini Yoga as well as the asanas at home after work.  I have found simple sequences incorporating weight bearing postures using downward dog, plank, cat and cow to be most helpful in regaining my state of grounded-ness.

 My children have observed my breathing and my movements, but most of all, my attentiveness (truly) to them, afterwards.  My life is typically hurried and can feel non-observant, at times.  This basic practice is allowing me more inner awareness to simply notice my life more and more.  To notice the words my youngest daughter is learning to say, to notice the humming of the refrigerator, to notice how I am feeling moment to moment.  That is the biggest gift I’m receiving from my practice.

I have also been incorporating these ideas at work, as I’m an OT in the school setting.  The question “how are you vibrating?” really is sticking with me.  It’s a question I ask myself all day, with co-workers, at meetings, and most importantly in my sessions with the children.

Just that awareness has allowed me new connections with one specific young girl with multiple challenges including hearing loss, cognitive delays, sensory integration dysfunction, and more.  She is making notable eye contact with me during our time together, whether it’s yoga, brushing, or passing her by in the hallway.  She has hugged me spontaneously, which is totally new for us.  Also, our verbal exchanges are much more relevant and functional, as she shares with me spontaneously about her home life/routines.  She had previously been using much more immature styles of communications such as noises and behaviors, rather than her words.

I cannot say enough about the change I’ve see in our relationship by putting these simple ideas into practice.  I have to say it’s more about my state of being than what I’m doing with her.  I came to the conference looking for yoga strategies to use from a motoric standpoint, but I left with so much more than that to help me be more effective with my students.

Posted in appreciation, autism, awareness, Children's Yoga, hyperactivity, kids yoga, Radiant Child Yoga, yoga, yoga therapy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My First Children’s Yoga Class, part 3

budapest bagMeet Kriszta from Hungary, who I met last summer when I taught Radiant Child Yoga in Budapest.  We had a heart-centered, fun-loving group who are now spreading children’s yoga all around Amsterdam, Kazakhstan, Norway, Italy, Poland, as well as Hungary.

Kriszta is a founder of a wonderful non-profit that empowers incarcerated people with art and movement, called Mural Moral Field.  I recently met her in my home area of Northern VA, as happy circumstances would have it.  She was the sole Hungarian chosen by the Embassy as a delegate to participate in an international training for 22 world-wide NGOs, and Washington DC was her first stop on the training tour.  Here we are together at dinner, along with my son, Ram Das.

Image 1You get a feel for her contagious happiness in this note to the rest of the RCY Budapest training group:

Dear Radiant-sisters and brothers,

I would like to share with all of you a very nice experience what I lived last weekend. We gathered for 3 day group building with my collegues and friends at my family’s house in Szekszárd, and among of the artistic activities I offered them to do yoga in the mornings. They were happy about the idea and we did two mornings one and a half hour yoga training. 

kriszta treeIt was first time for me leading yoga for anyone, and I was really excited before doing it -how I can work as leader.  It worked fantastic, and my friends were very grateful for it. For me the most beautiful thing was that my mother also joined in and lots of times I could see her laughing and enjoying the exercises so much -these expressions I saw long time ago on her face.

My first yoga class with children and their parents

(comments in caps by Shakta) 

Sitting in circle on a carpet in the middle of the room: after introducing myself I was speaking first about kundalini yoga, Children’s yoga, the mission of Shakta, then about the most important approach of children and the main principles of dealing with them. These information were quite new for all of the parents, they were really interested in them, mainly what I said about the children in general.

I invited them for a nice journey –starting with Ong namo, guru dev namo –I translated the meaning of it. Then we took a big ballon breath and in our imagination we left the ground and we flow in the sky and slowly arrived in a desert.  It was interesting to see how enthusiastic  the parents were –and how helpful was their active presence at involving the children. GREAT TO HEAR!

partnersWe tried travelling on a camel, -chest going forwards and backwards, then we washed our clothes –washing mashine excercise –turning to the left and the right with holding hands on the shoulders. After washing we dried the clothes, and suddenly we saw a beautiful butterfly.

The story touched the children a lot, but unfortunately they were more wondering and looking at the movements –doing short parts of them.  THIS IS NATURAL AT FIRST WITH YOUNG ONES.

We sang the Butterfly-song –putting soles together, and moving knees up and down.
All the parents sang with and some of the children were doing the movement with. It was –I think- the first magic moment, joining together singing and moving.  THE SINGING GETS THROUGH EVERY TIME!
Then came a nice, colourful bird which called us to new adventures. We followed the bird with lifting arms straight up to our head and back to the floor.
images-7Cobra
It was the favorit excercise of one 3 years old boy, who was very happy while doing it –he didn’t want to stop it. He also tried to look at his feet backwards.
Mountain-climbing, at the top finding a huge, old tree.
In this part of the story most of the children “arrived” to the yoga, and they were doing with us everything:

  • Tree
  • Mushroom
  • Balloon breath

Excercises in pairs:
These were the jolly joker excercises. They loved them so much! There were child-parent and parent-parent pairs. They were so focused on each other , and than they were laughing –they were really free and happy at these moments.IMG_1829

  • Rowing the boat
  • Stone
  • Blowing small feather, balancing with big pea-feather

IMG_1820There were a 4 years old girl and a 5 years old boy –brothers-, they  discovered very fast the magic balance of their body and the pea-feather. They were crazy for balancing. They also walked around the carpet and didn’t want to stop it for long time. I felt so happy when I saw it.  WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING THAT REALLY CAPTURES THE CHILDREN, MAKE SURE TO BRING IT BACK THE NEXT TIME.  AT THIS AGE YOU CAN DO A LOT THE SAME EACH WEEK WITH JUST A LITTLE VARIETY.

Relaxing on backs, being cooking spaghetti:
All of the parents were doing it and 3 children. I saw that the parents were so deep in the relaxation. It felt that it was a very long time since they could give themselves last time this kind of attention. I made the spagetti test on each one’s arm, and slowly they rolled up. There was a nice moment when a mother did the test for her daughter and than the daughter asked her mother to be spaghetti again, and she did the test on the mother as well. These were the most beautiful moments, which I truly thought that was the aim of the class.  I AGREE, THESE ARE THE SPECIAL MOMENTS AND EVERYONE CAN FEEL IT.   IT ALSO GIVES THEM A GOOD EXPERIENCE OF WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE TENSE AND THEN WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE RELAXED. THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SELF-REGULATION.

Meditation with applesimages-1
I brought a bowl of fresh apples from the garden, everyboda took one, we looked at the apple first, than everybody closed their  eyes and I started the story about the life of the apple. Almost everyone could listen the story till the end –except of the children under 3-who started to take the apple in their mouth.:)  NATURALLY!

Standing in circle –singing ”The long time sun”-song in Hungarian

Conclusion:  I suppose if the children would have been alone, they would have been more active. In this case the parents became the main participants and the children were acting sometimes as audience of their parents. I think the group was “too” colourful in the sense of ages, and it was difficult to involve everybody at the same time –the parent with 1 year old child, the 2 years old and the 5 years old children.

But in spite of every difficulties I think the class had a very nice flow, I had to be very flexible and react to the present moments. In the big picture, everybody took part in some of the activities and the closing circle was very beautiful.  It showed how each of us were part of the circle, holding hands, then singing the Long Time Sun song in Hungarian. SOUNDS BALANCED EVEN WITH THE DIFFERENT AGES.  GOOD THAT YOU CAN RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS IMPORTANT TO LET IT FLOW AND NOT WORRY IF IT IS A BIT  “LOOSE”.  WHAT PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER IS HOW THE YOGA MADE THEM FEEL.
I enjoyed the class very much –my fears of the new situation disappeared very fast when we started the exercises. At the end I felt strongly about what I want to give people:  the possibility to discover their body and their inner world more through doing yoga.
IMG_1869Since that time I also tried some excercises with gypsy youngsters –they loved the relaxation the most. That experience also empowered me in my mission with yoga and community arts.:)  KEEP ME POSTED ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING.  LOVE TO HEAR MORE KRISZTA!  YOU ARE DOING A BEAUTIFUL JOB.

BLESSINGS

SHAKTA

Posted in awareness, Children's Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, meditation, Radiant Child Yoga, school yoga, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Positive “What If?”

When you really think about it, everything is neutral.  It is our perspective that literally makes all the difference in the world, since we see the world that we program ourselves to see.

The yogis have said that it is the cautionary mind, the “what if?” mind that gets accessed first in the thinking process. This makes complete sense for survival.

Most people, myself included, know how to use the “what if?” question for cautionary purposes;  “What if I have an accident?  What if they don’t like me?  What if I don’t like them? What if this is not the right person for the job?  For the marriage?”  Asking ourselves what could go wrong has its place.  It is prudent, necessary.

diagram1-copyWhat happens when we tip the scales and create a habit of automatically following the cautionary “what if?” brain?  We create extra stress in the body, stress that was meant to activate the nervous system so we could run away from danger or fight it.  When our nervous systems are taxed over and over again by habitual thoughts of what could go wrong, we become ill, weak, nervous, hyperactive, despondent….the list goes on.

What can be done?  How can we first even the score.  And then, little by little tip the scale on the side of the positive mind, the one that sees opportunity, and dare I say…even sees the opportunity in challenges?

The mind is habitual unless reigned in.  Yet, the good news is that over time it will respond to the creation of new habits.  So it takes an effort at first to create the new habit.  At first, you will have to introduce your habitual mind to your conscious creative mind.  Be friendly, firm, and have patience.  You have to be in it for the long haul.

Start by asking yourself a few key questions, like….

  • Does there have to be a problem here?
  • What could go right?
  • What if it went well?  What would that look like?go right

Flesh it out.  The habitual mind will fight to be heard.  Your conscious, creative mind can acknowledge it.  It wants to keep you safe.  That is its job.

One of my dogs is like this.  She is wired to look for what could go wrong, or what needs fixing, or what she may need to defend.  When I take her to the dog park, her idea of having fun is to supervise the other dogs.  I talk to her much the same way I am suggesting you talk to your mind.  I say, “Thank you for your help.  It is not needed here.  You can relax now, and I’ll let you know when I need your help.”  She gets it, at least for a while.  Patience pays.

Here’s a rampage of positive “What If?” statements.  You are welcome to borrow them, or create your own as life unfolds:

  • What if I can trust this?
  • What if I can find a way to relax now?
  • What if it is okay if the other person feels this way?
  • What if it is okay if I feel this way?
  • What if it is okay that something I thought I wanted didn’t happen?
  • What if there is a bigger gift here?
  • What if it is okay just as it is right now?
  • What if I am okay just as I am right now?possible

Add to this list as your life shows you the opportunity in every single Now moment.

If this work appeals to you, you will love a course I teach called Happily Ever Now.

Play with it, let me know how it goes.

Posted in appreciation, awareness, Kundalini Yoga, meditation, notes from Shakta, Radiant Child Yoga, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bring Yourself Back to the Work, not the Worry

This is for you who love children.

imagesI was re-listening to a tarot reading I did with Victoria, the fabulous Tarot master of Kripalu Retreat center.

We were talking about coming into prominence with the work I do. The cards were showing a beautiful unfolding of positive momentum.  As well, the cards showed the challenge to that glorious path—the theme of WORRY.

Then Victoria tapped a card that she interpreted as the way out of worry, which was to bring myself back to the WORK.  “In other words,” she said, “Ask yourself–What is the purpose? Why am I doing this?”

Hearing these questions, I go to my consciousness. I go to the depth.  I suddenly see the Spirit of children.  And all at once I have the understanding that we are all children.  I understand that this is the value of what I have to share; this loving energy–this knowing– fuels the joy of who we are.

I like the line from Abraham; “You don’t go back to a time of innocence and wonder, you move forward to it as you live a life in alignment with yourself.”  This is the Work that brings me back to the children, as teachers, givers, and learners. As we all are.

 This is for you who love children….Bringing yourself back to the Work is the way out of worry.

From Radiant Child Song, Cozy/Happy Albums

From Radiant Child Song, Cozy/Happy Albums

Posted in appreciation, awareness, Children's Yoga, notes from Shakta, Radiant Child Yoga, school yoga, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wings for 2014

Cozy CD, Yoga for Children

Cozy CD, Yoga for Children

My Godson, GuruFateh Singh, whose photo is on the cover of the Cozy CD, and who sings beautifully along with his sister, Siri Kirpal (my Goddaugher), created this special drawing when he was about 6 or 7.

I’ve always loved it–the cheerful, can do anything attitude of the little bird, the cracked egg showing a moment in time that never comes back.  So it naturally fit for my prayer/intention/gift to you for 2014.

A number 7 year, 2014 relates to the crown chakra.  Spiritual connection is a given.  Stick with it this year, and it will stick with you….

(You can PIN this poster by clicking it to go to Radiant Child Yoga Pinterest Board!)

Wings for 2014

Wings for 2014

Posted in appreciation, awareness, Children's Yoga, kids yoga, meditation, mindfulness, parenting, Radiant Child Yoga, school yoga, yoga, yoga music, yoga numerology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

imagesContinuing the Legacy of Mandela

What an auspicious time for the light of Radiant Child to be shining in South Africa, right at this very minute!  At this time when the world’s attention goes to the passing of the beloved Nelson Mandela, leaders from all over the world are gathering to pay tribute.  It feels so good to know that in our own small way, Radiant Child Yoga is contributing to the elevation of South Africa through empowering young people in the principles and experience of yoga.

B-Striebig-IMG_94127-1Enter Lisa Brodrick, a tuned-in, devoted, accomplished yoga teacher and trainer for Radiant Child Yoga, and most of all–an exquisitely beautiful soul.  Lisa is presently in South Africa with the expressed purpose to spread yoga in areas that would not easily have that opportunity.  Radiant Child Yoga is collaborating with Global Camps, a non-profit org that brings kids out of the hardships of their lives, and teaches them how to stay HIV safe and connected to their greatness.

Do your heart good and watch this 30 second video of South African youth tuning in with Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo  

The following is an excerpt from Lisa’s blog, Joy Republic:

You will want to read everything she’s written, trust me.  Here are some previews:

“I did not know yoga could be for black people.”

Image

Before this knowing yoga, I had a lot of conflict in my life…I thought the conflict was outside of me.  Now I know the conflict is within me.  And I have the power to change that which is within me….”

Image 1

 “I’ve felt a paradigm shift. I always thought I had to be sad to connect with my inner self. Now I have a way to connect inside without being sad.”

After spending time teaching yoga in Africa, meeting the people, visiting orphanages, ghettos, Africa represents to me a place of mostly untapped potential.  The power of that potential, once freed, is beyond imagination.  I think of a slingshot… the hardships that a people have endured has created a deeply pulled back stretch.  Can you imagine the height and the power of the release?

Freedom to live in all the glory that growth has brought you?  The wisdom that experiences…both positive and negative.. have brought you to?

Freedom, at last, to be.  Mandela embodied this.shaktakids.jpg

Thank you Lisa, from the bottom of my heart.  And thank you Madiba….Nelson Mandala….from the depth of my soul.

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After Gravity….Before the Stars

images

I don’t know if you saw the movie that came out this past November called Gravity.   The movie is beautiful and horrifying at the same time. In any case, it is not essential that you see the film in order to feel the energy of this writing.

The lead-up to the poem is this–  

I was so affected by the intensity and magnificence of the film, that I could barely communicate with my husband and son as we left the theater and arrived home. I felt like the woman in the movie in a way I could not explain.  Once home I walked alone, looking at the night sky for some time.  I wrote the skeleton of this poem at that time.  Then a month later, I was (am) at my Qi gong training, away from my usual business and busyness.  And in the middle of the night when I couldn’t fall back to sleep, I got up and finished the poem in a couple of hours.

I am grateful to enjoy this kind of writing, hope you will too.  Best read slowly.

After Gravity…..Before the Stars

 Feeling an urge for the magnificent,

she closes the door behind and

pulls her eyes up to the night sky.

Trembling and deep,

a singular breath breaks the quiet.

Stars cradle the night.

glimpsed between the moody thicket of clouds.

She can feel them.

She does not need to see them to know

just how they embrace the earth.

The Seven Sisters in their triangular house,

bright and solitary Venus,

the angles of the Dippers, large and small.

and beyond the named ones

orbit the rest of the protectors, helpers,

the angels of the night.

The spotty clouds, still lazily forming and reforming,

now speak to her–

“We are of the earth. Made of the same elements as you.”

Same as me?  she wonders, then imagines

the stars as her sisters…clouds her brothers.

While musing

understandings breaks away and regroup.

What is anything but a way

of capturing and releasing in another form?

Am I capturing the clouds in my mind,

capturing the stars in my feeling?

Suddenly she understands as clearly as if

she were holding in her hands the chain made of thoughts,

linked to produce concepts, words, feelings.

Tonight a hooded walker is stabilized by gravity,

aware of the cradle of stars surrounding her,

surrounding earth.

She walks, hands in pockets,

shivering from the brisk air and the revelation.

Silent stars revolve inside her,

micro universes with orbits unseen, unfelt.

Gravity puts one foot in front of the other.

She thinks about gravity,

and how it keeps thoughts stable and moving.

Strains break off and reform, cloudy thickets of brain stuff,

coming together as never before and never again.

Arriving at the doorstep, a pinprick point

in the galaxy she calls home,

the flashlight is still upright by the door.

It did not spin off, revolving in its own orbit.

It is stable, as is the doormat,

as is some part of her.

The micro orbit of cells and particles,

named and unnamed frontiers of the inside universe

continue their ancient revolution

as her hand reaches for the doorknob.

Gravity is unwavering.

Forms break away and reform.

Micro and macro orbits continue

beyond what she can know.

Awareness is a name for life,

stable yet always moving

in the now and in the ever.

images-1

Shakta Khalsa

Nov-Dec. 2013

 

Posted in appreciation, awareness, conscious relationships, guided imagery, Kundalini Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, notes from Shakta, Poetry, Radiant Child Yoga, relaxation, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My First Children’s Yoga Class, Part 3

Radiant Child Yoga Teacher Training

Patricia Creola, RCY Training done in Zurich/Switzerland in June 2013

I am currently based in South India where I teach yoga and meditation to children at a charity nursery and school. At the moment the group consists of up to 30 children aged 4. Next year we plan to take also children for 1st and 2nd grade and teach them the national curriculum.DSC_0325

As I am doing the class in basic English, I actually just say the names of the asana, mostly animals or some asana names I adjusted so that it is understandable for those Indian kids, eg. the clothes dryer I am calling motor or ride a bumpy camel I call sitting cat stretch as here they don’t know camels.

These kids are only 4 years old, so I try to include a lot of movement, a game, a song so that we all have fun :-) And once a week I also add an arts activity at the end of the yoga session. For this sequence I did choose the activity from the book “yoga in motion” and we did all paint a beautiful and colourful butterfly. As they are very young I didn’t use liquid water colour but did draw a simple butterfly with a pencil on a paper and handed it to the kids who then filled the butterfly with their colour pens. (A picture of it if attached in the email) :-) Image 2

The two teachers are my assistants who sit in the back and help me when I need them to say something in Tamil which is mainly before meditation to make them aware to close their eyes and not talk, sit straight and still.

I teach the class daily and change the sequence weekly to give them a bit of routine and repetition.

As I am in Tamil Nadu and all these children are Hindus, I don’t use the Ong Namo to tune in but we sing OM

Indian child meditatingExperience:

For my first class they welcomed me loudly and also the Om singing was very loud and forced and only after the third day they learned to sing more peacefully, with their eyes closed and in tune with themselves. I was actually impressed how quick they understood this.

The balloon breath is really a great tool to a) do a basic pranayama and b) to calm them down. They love it and I add it at the beginning and end.

They do love the story about going to the forest and seeing all the animals. And even though at the beginning they were a bit reluctant in joining in, they now know what to do when I call out the name of the animal, some even remember the sequence in which the animals follow after 3 days of the same session. I do let them make the sound of some of the animals and let them carry out the asanas in a playful way. They also started to take over when whe do the train; they would say “slower” and then “faster” and so we would go moving slowly and then moving faster (same with the bycicle). I like that at the beginning it was one boy who started it and now even the girls join in and call out “slower” and “faster”. I love to observe them and to see that even the very shy girl who for almost one week did not move and only looked at me with big open eyes, is now enjoying the yoga. I am happy I gave her the time and didn’t force her. I felt that she just needed to figure out what we are all doing. She is a very awake and observant girl and now she feels confident enough to join in.

In general I am very surprised how well they follow and how quiet they are. They only disturb the class sometimes during meditation but then I open my eyes and give them the sign to be quiet by putting my finger on my lips. Usually this works. And there are only about 5 kids of the 30 who are a bit disturbing. Many sit still but wouldn’t close their eyes and then there are a few who really go deep during meditation. When I bring them slowly back to balloon breath, I can observe how they get out of a deep relaxation/meditation. It makes me happy that they enjoy yoga and see it as fun and still it is doing something more subtle to them which I somehow can already feel. The teachers are also enjoying it and said they now start every morning at 9am with a short meditation. My yoga class is only at 10:30 after they had a short break. This is good to have the full support of the teachers and when I was sick for two days they kids asked about me and yoga.

When we do the clothes dryer and also the train I observe how some children have problems with the coordination of their arms and hands which is absolutely normal at that age. Little children here in India might be less developed in motoric skills than children in the West. This I think is due to their completely different lifestyles. Also they do not have toys  to play or create things and rarely do they have pens to make drawings.

By repeting the same asanas for one week and then including some of them into the new sequence, helps them to “master” them and when a few children were not able to do the clothes dryer first, they can do it now with ease. Image 1

Timing:

Yoga is 13 minutes; Shavasana is 2 minutes; Song and/or Game is 4 minutes; Meditation is 2 minutes

CLASS PLAN – a journey through the forest

Beginning

  • all children are sitting in easy pose their hands folded in front of their chest.
  • we tune in with a continious singing of OM (1 minute)
  • we do 5 balloon breaths (inhale through nose, arms up and exhale through mouth, arms down)

Warm-up

  • sitting cat stretch (riding a camel) (we are waking up and stretch our body like a cat)
  • washing machine (then we wash our clothes)
  • motor (clothes dryer) (we first have to take a car to go to the train station)
  • train (then we jump on the train which starts slowly and gets faster. This is the start of our beautiful journey)

Sequence

  • dog (we look out of the window of the train and see a dog stretching)
  • walking bear (later on we can see a bear walking in the forest)
  • monkey (and then there are many monkeys jumping around)
  • elephant (an elephant we also see with a big family of 10 more elephants)
  • lion (further into the journey we observe a big group of lions roaring)
  • frog (and also some little frogs jumping around)
  • cobra (the cobra is not far away and gliding softly through the grass)
  • walking crow (next animal we see are crows walking around)
  • walking crab (and also crabs walking around)
  • jumping Jack (then we get off the train and we jump. This is to bring them up standing again and let them get active
  • Here I include a Game to let them run around but still control their movements: rain drops (it starts raining in the forest, first slowly and then faster and stronger rain and then slowly again until it stops raining)
  • going up the hill and down the hill (then we have to go up the hill and at the other side down)
  • cycle (we take a bycicle to get home. When we get home we are very happy but also very tired)

Relaxation

  • Savasana (2 minutes) (so we go to bed and have a deep sleep)

Song

  • Shakta’s Fly Like A Butterfly song with moving the legs like a butterfly (2 minutes)

Meditation

  • we do 5 balloon breaths to calm and and relax
  • we sit in easy pose, hands on knees, eyes closed and meditate (2 minutes)

Ending

  • we close with another 5 balloon breaths
  • then we sing continuous OM (1 minute)

*see http://www.childrensyoga.com for the materials used, as well as upcoming trainings.

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