Tuesday, January 8, 2013
How many ways can we sit in yoga?
This afternoon's youth yoga for grades 5-8 was so much fun. Really! I had the kids sitting still, focusing on their yoga, relaxing. The hubbub seemed to just come to an end!
We placed our five mats out in a ray pattern. One block per students. We began seated or lying down on our mats. Our voices were kept low and staying on the mat was a must. I asked everyone to sit. I did not specify how they should sit; they just needed to sit. Looking around, I noticed everyone was "sitting" a different way. So I posed the question..."How many ways can we think of to "sit" in yoga?" Look at yourself right now. One by one, we noticed how we were sitting and saw the yoga poses that they were.
1. Easy Pose (making sure our feet were under our knees)
2. Frog Pose (like a beginner turtle pose. Seated, knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms reaching to floor between legs)
3. Lotus (trying a quick lift and balance here)
5. Bharadvajavasana I (carefully twisting in both directions but making sure our shoulders stayed in alignment and to not allow are arms to move without the shoulder girdle)
6. Squat/Garland Pose
7. Staff Pose
I then had them all lie down on their mats using a block, in low position, as a pillow. Chins dropped slightly. Focusing, their attention being drawn inward. Noticing sensations. And suddenly all the electricity went out. I don't mean in the building, but in their bodies. Shut down. Calm. Relaxed. Breathing. All of a sudden a deep sense of stillness entered the room and it settled down on us. We stayed here for a good five minutes. IN silence, listening to the ticking of the heaters.
To bring back sensation, we began noticing our breath in our nostrils and deciding which side was breathing more strongly. Notice if you are breathing through both nostrils? Mentally can you take your breath in through the right and out the left and then reverse?
Coming up to stand...Posing the question, "How many ways can we stand in yoga?"
1. Mountain Pose (feeling the triad of the big tow, little toe and center of heel)
2. Up-Mountain Pose
3. Chair Pose
4. Skiers Pose (belly on deeply bent legs, but they do not drop below the bottom)
5. Bent knee forward bend (hands on floor, let head drop, like a standing deep child's pose)
6. Bent knee chest lift (stay with legs bent, but lift collar bones and roll shoulders back)
7. Standing forward bend, legs bent enough to support the torso on the thighs (standing child's pose)
9. Goddess Squat
10. Dancer's Pose
11. Tree Pose
12. Triangle Pose
Now a mini Savasana. Noticing which nostril was breathing more strongly, we rolled to that side and sat up.
Today we began our yoga journals. I brought B.K.S. Iyengar "Light on Yoga"; B.K.S. Inyengar "Yoga The Path To Holistic Health"; Baron Baptiste " My Daddy Is A Pretzel" book and card deck; Marsha Wenig "Yoga Kids". We looked for all the poses we had done today and started to draw them in our journals writing an English translation for the pose, plus the Sanskrit. I wanted to help the kids have a visual to help them understand their bodies in space in these poses.
I will keep the journals at the center ad every week we will add a new section. We will continue drawing and naming poses, but we will also collage, to make dream boards, work with affirmations, and delve into the Yamas (the restraints of yoga: Ahimsa (non-harming); Sateya (non-lying); Asteya (non-stealing); Bramacharya (of Brahma); Aparigraha (non-hoarding)) and ideas of how to practice yoga off the mat.