Our children have an opinion and I feel it is important for them to be heard. In my classes I welcome discussion and I let my students know that their opinions matter. Yesterday’s classes were magically healing. My Thursday morning class at LEAD Homeschool in Avondale Estates started off the day with heart opening poses and balancing poses. My afternoon class at Decatur Yoga was very similar but we went deeper within ourselves while wringing out the muck so we could create more room for positive and clear communication (the perfect way to end the day).
When I arrived at LEAD, I saw heads hanging low and felt a shift in the energy inside the room. The girls are usually laughing and their eyes sparkle. Not yesterday. So, like I often do in all my classes I asked the kids how they are feeling and if anyone would like to share. I asked if anyone would like to set an intention so we can go from there.
One very open and honest 12 year old asked if we could focus on GAINING BALANCE. Another, also age 12 wanted to work on FORGIVENESS and HEALING. And, another requested that we work on POSITIVE COMMUNICATION. So, we sat in Easy Seat and honed in on our hearts by beginning our practice with our hands over our hearts and our eyes closed.
We spent a few moments looking inward by breathing deeply to cleanse away any judgement, frustration or anger we may of stored. We exhaled releasing anything and everything that was not serving us at that present moment. We practiced I Am What I Am to celebrate that our opinions matter.
Then, we got to work by opening our hearts in Cat Scratch Fever, Snake, Warrior I Up and Camel. We began smoothing out our edges so we could soften more and respond from a place of love by stretching our side bodies long and revisiting Dark Seed Light whenever we needed to remember our intention and reconnect with the breath.
We gained balance by rooting our feet so we could rise tall, strong and confident in Tall Mountain and Warrior I with Harmony. And, then we did the hardest work of all, we practiced No Table Yes, Calm Down, Hold On a Minute and No Whining to wring out anything holding us back from healing and moving forward.
We tested our balance, challenged our hearts and began healing through positive communication while we chose a partner so we could check our alignment of our feet and help each other find more space. We ended the practice with Do the Twist, Savasana and Lotus Breath. In Savasana, we studied ourselves by scanning our bodies and asking ourselves how we feel verses when we first arrived to class.
We reconnected with our hearts and our intentions while recognizing that our original intention may of shifted due to our emotions and our thoughts balancing out. We realized that a lot came up emotionally. We learned that when we twist and shine we create more space for love, forgiveness and healing. When we balance, get strong in our legs and connect with the ground below our feet we become more grounded and confident so we can speak easy and lovingly while not losing what matters most – our voice. When we zoom in with our breath like in Lotus Breath we experience breathing and moving in unison.
The children thanked me, hugged me and each other. One student said it was the best class she had ever experienced and when I asked her why she told me because she needed to work on her stuff, her emotions, her frustrations and find balance.
At the local Barnes & Noble families joined together for storytime and yoga to celebrate Dr. Suess’s birthday and Read Across America Day. I was inspired by Dr. Suess’s “The Cat In The Hat” and Co-Founder, Cheryl Crawford’s Grounded Blog Post, “Suess Sutra 1-1: Big Picture Play of Conciousness”.
We tuned into our highest Self and listened to our small, limited and fearful side, inviting both to play with one another in a little game of “UP-UP-UP With a Fish!”. In Cheryl Crawford’s blog post, “Suess Sutra 1-1: Big Picture Play Of Consciousness” we are reminded that once we tune into our Highest Consciousness we begin to understand why we are here and where we should go. Our Highest Consciousness watches over us and helps steer us in the highest direction. By creating a lesson with a series of poses families invited their Highest Self (The Cat) and limited Self (the fish) to play together. By doing this we created space within ourselves by getting wider with each breath in and taller with each breath out. Now that’s elevation!
“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”
Close your eyes if you wish and breathe into your heart. Lets introduce 3 tricks along with the Cat that will help the fish along the way. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Breathe into your heart. Breath out through your nose. Continue to follow your breath. By bringing your hands together and placing your pinky and thumb fingers together, opening your three middle fingers in Lotus Breath lift the fish Up-Up-Up and support him along the way. Remind him that he will not fall,
“Have no fear!
You will not fall.
You will not fall.
I will hold you up high…”
Gratefully, I wake up every morning, breathing, heart beating and mind wide open. As I breathe into my heart I pray, “God, thank you for this day, thank you for this breath and thank you for this life.” I am passionate about living life through peace and love rather than through fear and hate. My passion in embracing love pours forth in my teaching and my parenting. We are all born with love in our hearts and taught to fear later in life, and at a very young age. This is one huge reason why I chose to become Grounded Certified. As a mother and wife I attempt to fill our home up with the power of love. Each morning I begin my ritual, curtains opened, sunshine pouring in, incense burning and candles lit. I have hot tea or coffee brewing and as I wait I practice the Sun Salutations to get my juices flowing. I begin to feel love dangling on the curtains, flowing through the air and seeping into my pores. Maya Angelou once said she is convinced that negativity has power. And if we allow it to perch in our house, in our mind, in our life, it can take us over. With love it is the same. My sophomore year of high school, at Shamrock High School (now Druid Hills Middle School), Coach John DeVore taught myself and my fellow peers the importance of setting intentions. He said, “write it on a Post-It and put it on your mirror or your wall to look at every morning.” I started doing this and I felt the universe shift around me. When I was about twenty-two I received a life changing gift from my Aunt Ellen, a box of intention cards. Words like integrity, strength, and grace filled my bedroom and settled in my heart. It is those tiny cards today that I share with my family in an attempt to create peace throughout our day. Marianne Williamson, author and speaker said “God created us to co-create with Him a world of harmony and peace and joy, which the love in our hearts gives us power to do. With every thought, we choose heaven on earth or hell on earth, for ourselves and for all the world. We have the power to bless or blame, to forgive or judge. With our thoughts we have the power to honor or mock, to believe in miracles or deny the possibility that they ever happen. When our minds move in harmony with love—through forgiveness or prayer or the simplest tender thought—then mountains move and the universe shifts.”
In my family we practice gratitude and we teach each other the importance of compassion. I teach Grounded Yoga to children of all ages and although I often begin each practice with a word of intention I wanted to create a game. Somehow I wanted to incorporate the intention cards. I wanted the game to lift my students up so they could go out into the world and lift others up as well. So, my five year old daughter and I sat down and brainstormed. Nothing. A few days later we came across some scrap pieces of wood left over from a tumble tower game. The idea blew up in my mind like fireworks! I grabbed a variety of permanent colored markers and my daughter and I got straight to work. We wrote an intention on each block, decorated them and began building our Intention Tower.
To set an intention is to have a purpose or plan in mind, to direct the mind and to aim. When we lack intention, we stray and often find ourselves surrounded by chaos. But with intention, we become aligned and our eyes open to the miracles which surround us.
Intention Tower is easy to create and can be played in a variety of ways. Build your tower and carefully pull your intention without peeking. Pull an intention block per class or per day until the tower falls and rebuild. Another way to play is to have children sit in a circle around the tower. Each child will take a turn choosing a block and/or intention. When the tower falls remind children that when we fall we must pull ourselves back up.
In celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday we learned how to work our feet and our hands. Just as Suess’ Mr. Brown Can Moo!, Mrs. Cat can MEOW! In “Mrs. Cat Can Meow! Can You?” A Poem of Wacky, Wonderful Noises – While Clawing the Mat we allowed our inner animal out on the mat while paying close attention to our hands and feet. Are they wacky? Are they flat? Are they clawing the mat? When practicing this wacky flow while making Suesserrific noises you too will learn the importance of clawing the mat. In playing “Stop Foot, Go” (a zany spin on the all time favorite game, Musical Chairs) and studying the 4 corners of our feet we checked on our left foot and our right foot making sure they were fuzzy fur feet. While “Roaring”, “split – splatting” and “meowing” along with Mrs. Cat we learned that when our four paws are aligned we feel more steady, more grounded, and in balance with the universe.
To push ourselves farther and to study our hands more thoroughly, we used a block in forward fold
throughout this silly flow and colored a Feet and Hands coloring page inspired by Grounded teacher, Vanessa Braun’s Mandala picture.
Mrs. Cat Can Meow! Imagine That?! ~ A Poem of Wacky, Wonderful Noises – While Clawing the Mat
by Kelley Sue Hardin
(Inspired by Dr. Suess’ book “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?”)
Oh, the wacky, wonderful sounds
Mrs. Cat can make!
She can sound like RAIN
In I Am What I Am
Dop, dop, dop
She can sound like a LION
In Pride Plank while clawing the mat
She can sound like a DOG
In Down Dog
Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!
She can whisper, whisper
In Dark Seed Light
Like the soft whisper of a BUTTERFLY
She can hover over her mat
And spread her wings
FLAP!, FLAP!, FLAP!
While lying on her belly
In Flat Like a Pancake
With fingers spread wide
And her back puffed up
She can HISS!
She can CLAW!
She can stick her tail up in the air
And MEOW! MEOW!
In Cat Scratch Fever
She can sound like a HORSE
KLOP! KLOP! KLOP!
In No Table Yes
She can sound like THUNDER
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
In Go To Your Room!
She can even slam the door
She can sound like a CLOCK
In Do The Twist
While moving her hands
Just like this… Tick, Tock
She can SPLIT!
She can SPLOT!
She can sound like a BUG
In Baby Got Back
Oh, the wonderful sounds
Mrs. Cat can make.
All while clawing her mat.
Why don’t you try them out?
It all began one morning while following Grounded Yoga’s Facebook page. Co-Founder, Amy Haysman posted a super cool picture of Deepak Chopra’s “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheros” that peeked my interest. On the cover of Chopra’s book is a new super hero with the world in her hands and with text that reads, “Harnessing Our Power to Change the World”. I had to go further and research more about the book and the author. In his book, Chopra teaches us that by exploring the boundaries of energy and awareness, allowing us to better understand ourselves and our potential, we are capable of changing the world. Yes! Of course!! This made total sense to me. So, I decided to take on the challenge of saving the world by tapping into my own Chakras. I found that I was becoming more grounded, more creative, more present, and more aware of my surroundings than ever before. My soul just opened up! This was only the beginning of my Chakra Adventure! I had to take what I was learning into my classes. I taught a six week Chakra System series to children ages 4-11 Super Hero style! It was Chakrariffic!!
Kids LOVE tapping into their super powers!! Discovering the different levels of activity each Chakra has and igniting them through yoga is life changing! When we gain more balance and become more energized our super powers become stronger helping our senses work more clearly. Just as Hulk, Spider-Man , Wonder Woman, Wolverine, and Supergirl all have super powers…We do too!!! When we ignite these super powers life becomes more blissful!! Just ask Chakra-man.
The Red Chakra forms our foundation! “KA-BOOM!” It is related to our survival instincts and the ability to live in the present moment. Breathing in LIFE!! When tapping into this Chakra we feel more secure and rooted! The Orange Chakra connects us to others through our feelings, desires, and movement. “OM-POW!” It is related to creativity and the ability to express ourselves clearly. The Yellow Chakra is known as the “Power Chakra”! “ZAAAP!” It rules our power, independence, and energy level. The Green Chakra is related to our ability to feel centered and peaceful. “Zing!” The Blue Chakra bridges the body and mind and is related to talking and self-expression. “OM-BAAM!” The Indigo Chakra is about insight and visualization. “THWAP! And, the Violet Chakra is about wisdom and awareness. It’s related to our spirituality! “NAMASTE!”
I taught the Chakra System during a 6 week series. We learned about a new Chakra each class and created our very own Chakra Super Heros by the end of the series. Our heart centered word throughout the lesson was “bliss”. Anusara Yoga founder, John Friend was asked in Yoga Journal Magazine’s September 2010 issue if he was happy. He answered, “Yeah, I’m blissed out! I’m dancing better with the Divine all the time.” I want to be blissed out!! I think we all do!! When we tap into our super powers we reach blissfulness. “Chakraaariffic!”
Be on the lookout!! In January of 2012, Grounded Yoga’s NEW Lesson Plan Series on the Chakra System will be available for purchase. To go deeper, these oh so awesome energy centers will also be available on Grounded’s website in worksheet format for students to color.