But both classes were so fulfilling and joyful!
The basic layout for the day:
Started by playing Pather Panchali by Ravi Shankar, which comes from a movie of the same name. If you have never seen it, you should. It is one of the greatest Indian films ever made and is one of my favorite movies of all time. I shared seeing it with my mom on many occasions-and I cried every time!
I created a flow using the music in the background and it was both calming and energizing. We flowed through sun salutations, floor work, standing poses and times of stillness and silence, using child's pose as our home base. Child's pose is a great pose to bring the energy down, find a time to snuggle deep inside yourself, slow down your breathing and relax muscles that have just been used.
I asked the kids if they knew what meditation was:
1. Calms your mind
2. Sitting still and relaxing
3. Floating (um,no, that is called levitation)!
4. Thinking of only one thing so it quiets all the other chatter in your brain (Wow! That was a good answer...How did you know that?...You told us last week!)
Today I taught the "Sa Ta Na Ma" meditation. The ancient yogis believed there were 5 sounds in the universe "s", "t", "n", "m" and "a"-so combined they make the chant "Sa Ta Na Ma". With "Sa" press the pinky and thumb tips together simultaneously on both hands; With "Ta" press the ring finger and thumb tips together simultaneously on both hands; With "Na" press the middle finger/tall man and thumb tips together simultaneously on both hands; With "Ma" press the pointer finger and thumb tips together simultaneously on both hands. For the chant, I have the kids say it out loud 4-8 times, in whisper 4-8 times, in head (still with finger movements) 4-8 times, in whisper repeat and out loud repeat and end with a full breath in arms rising above the head and a full breath out, hands to heart center.
I also used the book "My Daddy Is A Pretzel" by Baron Baptiste. I wanted the classrooms to know about the book because it is a fun book for kids to self initiate yoga poses. We read the story and did the poses in the book (We especially stopped on bridge pose and spent a long time creating the pose. I went by each child and placed my finger in their upper back to help them locate the area to lift from-some children who I felt would understand, I also told them to lift at their sternum, but I did this by touching the area and having them lift. The biggest difficulty was having them keep their shoulders on the ground). I also decided to forgo plow pose as we are doing these classes on hard linoleum floors and I really did not feel it was a safe pose for the kids. I explained how the neck could be in jeopardy in this pose and then we moved on. I opened up the floor for kids to offer up poses that were some how related to their parent's careers...one funny one was: "hand cuff pose" which was kind of like bridge with your hands encased by your feet below your body, for a father who works in the courts; and then I said if my son was here, he would choose Dancer's Pose because his mom is a dancer.
In grade two, we danced to Happy Jio, which is moving meditation I learned from the wonderful, radiant Shakta Kaur Khlasa. You can buy the song from the Radiant Child Music CD Happy.
For final relaxation, I led the kids through a rainbow mediation that I adapted from a Buddhist Meditation for children:
This meditation guides children to discover their innate virtues and potentials.
First lay back and allow your palms to rest by your sides, with the palms facing to the ceiling and let your legs be gently spread and allow your feet to flop to the sides. Allow you body to relax and let the energy flow freely. Allow your yoga to sink into your body. Notice that you are breathing, gently in and out, with your belly rising and falling with each inhale and exhale.
Feel your body becoming lighter and lighter. See all the colors of the rainbow. Feel your body becoming all of the colors of the rainbow.
Feel the color red. Your whole body becomes the color red. Feel yourself giving out energy and strength. You are now full of energy and strength.
Feel the orange color. Your whole body becomes the color orange. Feel yourself giving out happiness and joy. You are now full of happiness and joy.
Feel the color yellow. Your whole body becomes the color yellow. Feel yourself giving out intelligence. You are now full of intelligence.
Feel the color green. Your whole body becomes the color green. Feel yourself giving out harmony and friendship. You are now full of harmony and friendship.
Feel the color blue. Your whole body becomes the color blue. Feel yourself giving out peace. You are now full of peace.
Feel the color indigo. Your whole body becomes the color indigo. Feel yourself giving out gentleness. You are now full of gentleness.
Feel the color violet. Your whole body becomes the color violet. Feel yourself giving out beauty and self-respect. You are now full of beauty and self-respect.
You are the rainbow; your colors are going out everywhere. Feel yourself getting bigger and bigger, your colors going out further and further, until they cover up this whole room, then further until they cover the whole school, the city of Cambridge, the state of Massachusetts, the whole United States, and still further until they cover the whole world. As you spread out all the colors, you are also spreading out energy, happiness, intelligence, friendship, peace, gentleness and beauty. You spread out even further and become even bigger. Now your colors of light are spreading throughout the whole universe. You are as big as the whole universe; your light shines out in every direction in space.
Slowly, all the colors change into a stream of white light. This white light is now flowing down the top of your head down to your heart. Feel all the white light going into your heart. Feel the color and light and energy and grace fill every cell in your body.
Then I sit quietly and allow rest to happen for about 5 minutes.Wiggling fingers and toes; rubbing hands together, placing warm palms on closed eyes and opening then inside the closed hands and allowing the light to enter slowly; curling up on the right side of the body; coming to an easy seated position; hands to heart center “Have a wonderful rest of your day; Namaste!”