Friday, March 12, 2010

Yoga & Flamenco at the Tobin Montessori School, Cambridge, MA.

I am participating in Dance in the Schools 2010 for Children's Dance Teaching Artists. I was assigned two classrooms at the Tobin Montessori in Cambridge, MA. One group is a Pre-K to K group and the other is a Grades 1& 2 group. What a great way to start off the day; two yoga classes full of fun loving kids.

I started the classes by saying the number one most important thing about yoga is to have fun and that yoga should never hurt. The second most important thing is, here I would take in a big inhale and exhale and say “who knows what I just did?” They responded “Breathing” and I related the fact that breathing is something we do every day all the time; it is what shows that we are alive. Because of that yoga and breathing go hand in hand, that breathing allows us to yoga. We then took some big breaths in where I had them fill their bellies up in the inhale and release on the exhale. I had them notice that at first the air goes in cool, but when we exhale, the air is warm. I had them place their hands over their hearts and feel the beating of their own rhythm.

After warm ups and poses, we had fun dancing and singing to “Yogini Went to Sea” by Shakta Khalsa and then we sat and did my modified version of the chant meditation “I am happy; I am good” (see January 30, 2010). I was inspired right after to go into the a capella version of “We’re The Rockin’ Yogi’s”, too.

I then told the students that we were going to learn a little about a special dance called Flamenco, from Spain. I told them that yoga originated in India and that the original people who created flamenco also originated in India.

I had them practice a bit of foot stamping and then hand movements using the poem from a singer who I know:

Le coje la manzana (You fetch the apple)…Reach up!
Le muerde la manzana (You bite the apple)….Bring the apple past your mouth!
Le tira la manzana (You drop the apple)…Drop the apple!
Le pisa la manzana (You step on the apple)…Stamp your feet!

Then using a Pepe Habichuela and the Bollywoood Strings Orchestra piece, Yerbaguena-Oriente, we twirled, using our hands, stomping our feet. We danced flamenco. We shared our energy.

With a one final Sun Salutation, we lay on the floor and did Savasana.

Namaste! Ole!

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