Focus Five: Prepare to Thrive and Feel Alive

Written by

Lillarose, Grounded Student, Age 10

(Grounded elevating student since age 3.)

It was a rainy day… A perfect day to do yoga to set my day straight and to breath in my emotions.  Sometimes we feel happiness, sometimes we feel sadness, sometimes we feel joy and even stress.  There is good stress and there is bad stress.  It’s okay to feel these emotions.  Let’s honor them all, let’s talk about it and let them guide us to be the best we can be.  The Focus Five Prepare to Thrive sequence will help anyone who needs to be calm, relaxed or to become more confident.

FOCUS FIVE

I like to think that each finger has an emotion.  Think that the thumb has happiness.  Breathe in happiness and send out light.  The pointer finger has sadness.  Breathe in sadness and allow the light to embrace the darkness, shining out.  The middle finger has joy.  Breathe in joy and send out light.  The ring finger has stress.  Breathe in stress and allow the light to hug the darkness, sending out light.  And, the pinky finger has love.  Breathe into love and send out love to the world.  When you breathe and press your fingers together you are breathing in all these emotions.  Feeling happiness, sadness, joy, stress and love are all natural emotions.  Embrace them all and honor the dark, sending out love, light and comfort.  When you exhale you are allowing them out and they go into other people’s breath and out into the world.

LOTUS BREATH

Imagine flowers… Like a Lotus flower, they are calming.  They grow in dirty waters, but are really pretty.  If you are in a difficult situation remember the Lotus.  You can always rise out of the muck and bring beauty to any situation.

WASHING MACHINE

In this pose, let your head and shoulders relax.  You will go in circles and in different directions just like life will take you.  Try to close your eyes in this pose.  Imagine life taking you somewhere.  Somewhere with a cool breeze and a gentle cycle.  Then, do it one more time with your eyes open and in the opposite direction.  Think about where the world is taking you.  Allow the water to rinse away all the dirt that is holding you back from living your life.

WAKE UP MOUNTAIN

Imagine yourself as a mountain… Strong and with a cool breeze.  Imagine you are that mountain.  You are feeling all the seasons (the spring, summer, winter and fall) in one swoop of wind.  Bring your arms in with an inhale and feel the wind inside you.  You will realize how beautiful it is.  When you move your arms up, exhale and allow the wind to breeze through the world for others to experience.

LEFT BREATH RIGHT BREATH

Imagine on one side you are breathing in your doubts.  On the other side, you are breathing in confidence.  With both sides there is a goodness… even the doubts.  The doubts help us push through to learn how to be more confident.  Stand tall and strong.  You are who you are.

FOCUS FIVE: PREPARE TO THRIVE

These cards are perfect to use on a rainy day, a sun shiny day or any given day.  Color, practice and breathe to prepare to thrive.

The singing bowl is just the thing to help you focus, clear your mind and set the day straight.

Grounding Educators and Kids Through Peace Circles and Yoga

I love using Yoga, especially Grounded Kids Yoga poses in my role as a certified Peace Circle Trainer with educators. It such a natural fit as the philosophies of both are about tapping into that ever present true or best self. Creating a sacred and safe space for participants to practice using their deep and rich reservoirs of wisdom and compassion for self and others is the foundation of both Peace Circle (P.C.) practices and Grounded Kids Yoga.

Let me back up and explain as a semi retired school Counselor of 38 years who has used circles in classrooms and groups for the last 20 years, I now have the privilege and the skills to train any community group in Restorative Practices, especially Peace Circles. Many schools here in western N.Y. and more specifically the Rochester City School District are embracing these trainings and incorporating them into their school environments in an effort to uplift the school cultures for both students and staff. More and more evidence is now available to show that these experiences build relationships, reduce violence, harm and conflict and when wrong doing does happen using Restorative Practices is a humane way to hold those accountable. Harm can be repaired with this process with support instead of punishing and alienating people, most often students. Its an honor to be a part of this cause and using Grounded Kids Yoga in these trainings is extremely helpful and a wonderful tool to use and to teach others to use for themselves and their students.

BettyI am happy to say I when I began working as a trainer 3 years ago I started using the Grounded Kids Yoga in most of my workshops and now many of the other trainers are incorporating some of the poses as well. I always begin first by briefly explaining the philosophy behind Grounded Kids Yoga as we all know there are many different types of yoga. Since doing openings and closing for every P.C. session is an integral part, I teach participants Just Breathe, “I am”, Lotus Breath and Namaste’. (I also add my own success stories using this yoga with kids.) I explain the mind jar when we do JB and have one available to demonstrate. Many educators have since adopted this for their classrooms and counseling groups. Tree Friends is a favorite to use as a closing (as in the picture above with educators from July 2015). If time allows we do Mountain, Tall Mountain, Breath of Joy and Half Lift. I use a chime for some added mindfulness and talk about ways to use this in the classroom. Dark Seed Light might be hard to do in the classroom but having the kids do a quieting, centering breathing pose with the chime is what I teach educators to use as great substitute and a positive way to facilitate kids managing their own behavior.

The list is growing and I find teachers have become more open to all of these practices as they recognize the value of connecting more with their kids, co-workers and themselves. Its exciting that many of our city schools are actually building in time for teachers to this. By the end of a training they all seem so appreciative for the experiential learning process, feel more connected to each other and are encouraged to have practical and new ways to create a more positive atmosphere in their own groups and classrooms. I walk away so grateful that two of my loves have come together to give me such purpose as well as hope for many of our struggling schools.

 

For more information on Restorative Practices and Peace Circles:

http://www.pirirochester.org/

http://www.iirp.edu/

 

Oh, Say Can You See, the Sacred and the Silly…

 Part of my practice is to create sacred spaces where I honor my guides, my teachers, a theme, what I am manifesting, what I am inspired by, and what I am teaching.

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This ritual helps me remember my intention, connect to the deeper teachings which I take quite seriously, and to myself {which I don’t }.

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My routine usually entails selecting pose cards or chips, children’s drawings, a poem or passage, photos of my heroes and heroines, and my particular notes and books about the message I am working on to share with my students.  I usually add stones and malas.

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When I gaze upon these creations, I see the world differently and know what I’m opening to.

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When I then close my eyes, I see myself differently. I know what I’m stepping into.

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I hold this space to focus my intention on the best outcome for my creations and projects. It works to enliven and build more life force in my body, lift the clouds of doubt, and sharpen my mind so it can penetrate beneath the surface.

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I start to gain a higher perspective and feel brighter and more clear and present~ and perhaps a bit silly. That just happens to be my wish for the children.

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Joseph Campbell says, ​”​[Sacred space] is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.​”​

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I want my students to experience themSELVES. I do this practice so I can give them that.

Oh, Say Can you See? The Sacred and the Silly~ Please share your sacred {and silly} spaces with us. What objects have you brought together to manifest your creative projects?

Sat Nam

 

Photos by Rachel Schattle & Annabelle Finley, my brilliant and creative interns.

Yoga By Letter: X

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In X Out X

Yoga with the X

X-pand, X-plore, X-tend

In X In

Letter-X_2

In X Out X

Yoga with the X

X-clusive, X-plosive, X-hausted,

Out X Out

Letter-X_3

In X Out X

Yoga with the X

X-traordinary, Xpressive, X-hales

In X In

Letter-X_4

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May All Children X-plore the X-uberant X-periences of X-haling…

Sat Nam

XOXOX

 

 

 

Teaching Children in India

Thank you, India

for teaching me how to feel in my bones

the truth of my purpose

and my presence

here and now…

DSC02936 - Copy…How to build on my prana, on my vitality behind my communication….

 

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…How to refine my

communication

so it is effective and precise…

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…That I don’t necessarily need to speak the language,

{or even use words}

to share steadiness, compassion and connection..

 

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…I do need to do the {yoga} work beforehand to intuitively tap into the  children’s NEEDS…..

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and collaborate more and more and more with other like-minded individuals. Through what Yogi Bhajan has called the collective pool of intelligence……

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Because wherever passion and inspiration flows, connecting with  others creates an even  greater flow…

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and breathing

and chanting

and laughing

and moving together

is Universal…

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…And moving through the pairs of opposites without struggle or being affected by them is the universal teaching…

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… We need to receive in order to hold space…

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Love is a creative force within us that makes the impossible, possible.

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May we love deeply both which feels like hurt,

and that which feels like nourishment.

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 I bow to the subtle and not so subtle, {more like intense}, teachers inside and outside…

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…especially this one….

IMG_8836…who taught us

NOT to feel sorry for someone,

it’s diminishing and never helps.

Turn that energy into prayer.

Think, “How can I serve them?”

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself feeling sorry for them.

Serve them.

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May we  remember that LOVE is a creative force in EVERY human being.

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Thank you, Somer, Katia, and Kasia for teaching with me.

 Thank you, Somer for capturing the beautiful experience with your camera.

Thank you, India for your Grace.

Sat Nam

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