Phone: 678-974-5198 | Email: info@gogrounded.com

Author: Amy Haysman

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I was asked by a high school media specialist if I would be interested in helping their students deal with the anxiety of final exams. “Of course I would, that’s what I do” was my response. On a side note: Witnessing students transform fear into freedom in a matter of minutes is something you can’t un see. Nor can you then deny the potential  value that even more minutes of yoga on a regular basis would have on these kids.  If you want to teach more kids more yoga, volunteering is visible value.

My plan was to teach our Focus Ten: Time and Again series and also base the teaching on their answers to my opening question “How are you feeling about finals?”

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Spring pics 2012 188

Spring pics 2012 188We all know through research and probably experience that meditation is a good thing. It’s true that meditation helps children to feel better, know better and do better. That’s because meditators are in touch with their best self. If we’ve neglected to stay in touch with that part of ourselves, then how can we introduce that self to others? When access to our best self is as close as our next inhalation and expressing our best self is as easy as the next exhalation, then showing up to school, tests, parties, conversations, and even to do your chores as your best self feels natural. If your best self feels like a stranger, this meditation will help you tune in to your goodness and integrate that energy into your being. This powerful mantra, mudra and meditation practice prepares children, so when it’s time to show up as their most grounded and elevated self, they can bring it!

Touch thumb to pinky and say One

Thumb to ring finger and say Two

Thumb to middle finger and say Three

Thumb to index finger and say Four

Keep repeating the hand positions (mudra) with each set of words (mantra).

Touching the thumb to each finger creates a specific mudra that stimulates the brain and calms the nervous system.

When we repeat words or sounds, they become our Mantra. Repeating a mantra is a very effective way to direct the mind.

One

Two

Three

Four

Ground

Feel

Charge

Explore

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Truth

Wit

Now

Meditate

Either hold this mantra (thumb and index finger touching) for several deep breaths or…

Touch thumb to pinky finger. Breathe in, Breathe out.

Touch thumb to ring finger. Breathe in, Breathe out.

Touch thumb to middle finger. Breathe in, Breathe out.

Touch thumb to first finger. Breathe in, Breathe out.

Show thumbs up. Breathe in, Breathe out.

Repeat as many times as needed to result in a balanced body, a peaceful heart, a settled mind and an uplifted spirit.

Variation – Practice saying the words aloud, then in a whisper, then only in your mind, then return to a whisper, and finally once again aloud. Remember to practice the five deep breaths before repeating the mantras.

The words associated with the numbers represent each chakra.

First Chakra- Ground your foundation and steady yourself

Second Chakra – Feel your emotions and honor yourself

Third Chakra – Charge your power and express yourself

Fourth Chakra – Explore your heart’s desires and guide yourself

Fifth Chakra – Truth in what you speak and tell yourself

Sixth Chakra – Wit is inner wisdom and your intuitive, intelligent self

Seventh Chakra – Now exist in the present moment and know yourself

Eighth Chakra – Meditate and all of the chakras align with your best self

 

Meditate before and after this asana practice for even greater grounding and elevation.

Just Breathe

Do Your Chores (both directions)

Cat Scratch Fever

Down Dog

No Whining & Because I Said So (both on one side, then the other)

Laughter Hero

Down Dog, Straight Leg Lunge, Bring It On (both on one side, then the other)

Oompa Loompa

Get Up

Serious Crow Playful

Bubble Gum Breath

Calm Down

Baby Got Back

Bridge

Just A Sip (stay on back)

Do The Twist

Rock and Roll  (side to side)

Lighten Up

Savasana

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The Element Space & Wait Time

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The Element Space & Wait Time from Amy Haysman on Vimeo.

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I had an experience this week in one of my yoga classes interacting with a 10 year old girl that could help you see the value in kids who seem to distract everyone else by taking up a lot of room, making noises and craving attention. An intense desire to constantly get filled up by other people’s energy is one way that having an overabundance of the element Space can manifest. Kids who basically claim the whole space for themselves and need constant input can be tricky for a teacher to manage. A couple of weeks into the session I let this girl know with no fuzzy boundaries that she is better than the behavior she’s been bringing and any actions that were unbecoming of her best self, the girl she is when she feels proud and great, will not be tolerated in the yoga room. If she needed to scream,run or fall down, she could do so outside in a place where I could still see her but the others could not. I continued to fill her up with the truth of what she was doing well like showing up enthusiastically, helping others, holding crow pose, being open to new experiences and each class I pointed at the door less and less. She never did go outside; my non-verbal reminder was enough.  

Kids who seem to be in a Space all of their own that the rest of us aren’t occupying at the moment need to be taught how to focus, so one pointed focus was my theme for this week. I taught them to use a drisht, to fix their gaze on a non-moving point that shifted depending on the pose. They all worked through a sequence of intense poses to build one pointed focus and when they struggled I asked them to think about what would be better in their life if they actually knew how have keen focus on one thing at a time. Would anything change at school and at home?  This one girl wanted it BAD because she is very familiar with the misery that comes from not being able to pay attention.

Intense focus takes a lot of energy, so by the time they finished the sequence they needed a long Savasana to absorb the benefits of the poses. During Savasana I read the story The Three Questions. It is about a boy seeking answers to the questions: When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one?  What is the right thing to do? It begins with three different characters giving the boy their opinions and the boy deciding to journey on. He winds up asking a wise turtle for the answers and then doing garden work to help the turtle when all of the sudden a big storm comes along. The boy ends up saving the lives of a mother panda and her baby because he hung around to help the turtle. I won’t tell you the answers to these questions but after Savasana I asked my class how this story related to one pointed focus. Many of the girls had great answers such as the boy had to really focus on where the cries were coming from to find the baby panda or if he hadn’t been able to focus on the garden he wouldn’t have been in the right place to even help the pandas. This one very spacious girl who was still sprawled out lying down raised her hand. She began to talk, then laughed, then started to agree with the others and then backtracked and wiggled around. There was around ten or so seconds of silence, and this is where the concept of “wait time” comes in. To allow someone who is very spacious the time to collect their thoughts is very empowering.

 

  As an instructor of kids who take up a lot of space we often have the urge to contain them – to get them to be in the moment with us- so we jump in and prompt their answers. I held in my heart the knowing that she was going to be able to get it together and that she had something important to contribute to the class. That through this practice, she was filled up enough to give. When she spoke, it was an incredibly profound answer. She said something completely different from what any of the other girls came up with about how the story related to one pointed focus. What she had to say was that the boy at the beginning of the story heard three different answers from three different characters to the questions and none of their answers sat right in his heart. He was focused on finding his own truth and not taking someone else’s opinions to be okay for himself. And so by allowing this very spacious girl the time to gather herself, we were all given wise insight into finding our own Truth. 

Create Your Own Deck of Cards

“Whatever follows I AM will find you.” This sentiment can be expressed in so many ways. “Like attracts like,” “Energy follows thought.” However we choose to express it, the belief that our thoughts influence how we feel, act and interact in the world is undeniable. This idea is a rich theme and one I’ve explored deeply in Grounded classes. The following activity can serve as an introduction, a culminating project, or an ongoing art activity throughout a class series. These beautifully telling photos are from a special 3 hour Grounded gathering with some of my long time students and a few brand new ones.  

Discuss this concept with your students. Create a list of all the different emotional states they can think of. Share examples from other decks of cards (see resource list).  Make sure that the students understand it is natural and important to feel the whole gamut of emotions and that this deck is to serve as a reminder of who they are at the core of their being. A good example to guide this understanding is that the sun is always there, even when it is hiding behind clouds in a thunderstorm. Talk about the power of affirmations. Have the students pick one particular positive heart quality word and ask them to remember a time when they felt that way. When was it? Where were they? How did it feel in their body? Who were they with? Incorporate as many senses as possible into the recall. Repeat this guided visualization often during the process of creating the deck of cards.

What You’ll Need:

  • Index Cards – 11 or more per person.
  • A box to hold the cards. I used a small gift box typically used to hold jewelry.
  • Watercolors & Paint. I included metallic paint.
  • Markers & Pens.
  • Examples of affirmation cards and a word bank of heart qualities for inspiration.
  • Paper for brainstorming.
  • Time & space to create.

What To Do:

After brainstorming on paper, write or paint the “I AM” statements on individual index cards. Illustrate and write a sentence that further explains the statement on the same side of the card. Design the other side of the all of the cards alike. 

If you’ve never used an affirmation deck or angel cards, I suggest doing so before leading this activity. Then you will be able to incorporate your own experiences and lessons and teach from an authentic place. There are many ways to use the cards. Some people pull a card each morning as a message for the day. Others use the cards to help tune inward to find answers for specific questions.

These Create Your Own Deck of Cards are intended to empower kids with the knowledge that they are in control of their thoughts and innately good, worthy human beings.

How To Use: 

Shuffle the deck until you have the urge to stop. Turn over the top card, read it and contemplate the message. While shuffling, if a card happens to drop from the pile, take it as a sign that it is meant to be your card. You can’t make a mistake with these cards because they operate with the law of attraction. This means that you will always pull the card that is right for you at that moment in time. The cards validate what you already know to be true and help you manifest the awesome life you were meant to have.

 

 

Resources:

Music: “I Am” sung by Guru Singh. Album, A Game of Chants 

“I Am The Light Of My Soul” & “I Am Happy” & “Sa Ta Na Ma” sung by Snatam Kaur. Album, Feeling Good Today

Meditation:

“I Am Happy, I Am Good” by Shakta Khalsa. Album, Happy.

“I Am What I Am” Grounded Pose (click for ideas)

Book:

I Am: Why Two Little Words Mean So Much by Wayne W. Dyer, Kristina Tracy and Stacy Heller Budnick (Mar 15, 2012)

Cards:

I Think, I Am!: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations by Louise Hay, Kristina Tracy and Manuela Schwarz (Oct 15, 2008)

Manifest Your Magnificence (64 Affirmation Cards for Kids 6-12 Years Old) by Susan Howson and Mike Polito (2002)

                                                              

    

 

 

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