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.

Singing Bowl Steps: Inviting the Bell to Sound

WHO

Everyone has the right to invite the bell and invite others to stop and practice.

WHAT

An invitation to sound the bell. Inviting instead of striking is more sacred, more of a nonviolent attention.

WHEN

  1. Beginning of the day, end of the day, and transitions.

  2. Before meals.

  3. Whenever someone doesn’t feel grounded or the atmosphere doesn’t feel peaceful.

  4. Before a yoga practice.

WHERE

  1. Front of the room

  2. Meeting space

  3. Mini centering center

  4. Small room

HOW

1.Sat Nam or Namaste or Hello your singing bowl~ as your friend.

2.Close your eyes. Place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart.

3. Tune into your rhythm, your pattern, your sensations.

4. Place bowl in the center of your palm, fingers open wide. {Closing fingers will stifle the sound.}

5. In and out, take two breaths.

6. Gently tap the bowl to “awaken the bell” and let those around you know that soon there will be a full ring.

7. Invite everyone to stop what they’re doing and tune in.

8. Follow your breath for another 11 seconds, 22 if you’re generous.

9. Invite the bell fully. The sound as Thich Nhat Hanh describes it, sounds like a bird soaring up.

10. Take 3 deep breaths and invite the bell again. And again-three breaths and one final invitation.

11. Invite everyone to open their eyes and look at you when they don’t hear the sound of the vibration anymore.

WHY

  1. The sound brings us back to our true home where we feel grounded and elevated.

  2. Others feel they can breathe deeper by being around you.

  3. The deeper we tune in, the deeper our breath, the deeper our nerves, the deeper our thoughts, the deeper our words, the deeper our actions, the deeper our lives..

Please share your singing bowl stories with us..

Sat Nam

 

 

 

 

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Just Breathe

My journey into Grounded started at home with my kids. They are naturally curious about anything I do so of course they wanted to learn yoga. I started teaching them from what I know best, the Primary Series in Ashtanga Yoga. My 2 girls are very different. While my younger daughter really took to Ashtanga yoga, my older daughter was bored. She craved variety in the practic IMG_5161and often times just wanted lay back and breathe…so I let her. After all, yoga is a breathing exercise with Asana sprinkled in, right? It was my kids that led me to Grounded Yoga. I wanted to be able to provide them with not only Ashtanga Yoga, but all kinds of yoga. I wanted them to be able to build a firm foundation in Yoga that will carry them through their childhood right into their adulthood. I wanted to provide them with the tools to be able to find their place on their mat, be it Ashtanga yoga or not. I wanted them to know that some days it’s ok to just breathe, that if breathing was all they did for their practice on a particular day(s), then they are still practicing Yoga.

As the final portion of my Grounded Teacher Training, I mentored under Holly Reese at Barnwell Elementary School with their Yoga Club. What an amazing, and rambunctious, group of girls we had! I have to admit, I was completely intimidated by the group after our first few meetings. I was extremely thankful to have Holly there with me. She knew most of the girls personally and was able to fill me in the intricacies of each one. Together we worked hard to support each individual as they needed, but to also set boundaries so we could all work together as a team. We were able to figure out who works well togetherIMG_5143 and who loved to goof off together. As the semester went on, I got to know the girls and the girls got to know me. I started to figure out each girl’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc. On one of my solo teaching days a student in the club was suffering from back pain due to a chronic condition she has. She participated in the class minimally but was present with us nonetheless. She spent the majority of the class breathing and observing. During Savasana, she was still sitting upright on her mat, just breathing. So I placed the “Just Breathe” pose sticker on her nametag and gently reminded her that breathing was the most important part of yoga some days and she did a great job in class. This must have struck a chord with her because after class she came up to me and gave me her favorite pencil, which was just a nub of a pencil with an eraser still attached. However, it was special to her. So now, that pencil is special to me. A reminder of how powerful and effective the breath can be. That some days it ok to Just Breathe.

Finals Exams: This too shall pass (and so will you!)

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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?” I spoke about how motion helps us move through emotions and the temporary nature of exam triggered panic. We got real about self care strategies and awareness boosting techniques that help minimize chronic stress so we are better able to handle situational stress. And finally, they felt the instant gratification of a 3 minute Savasana. yoga-cartoonizer1

I am so grateful to Buffy Hamilton, the dedicated media specialist who shared these photos, vine videos and school newsletter write up with the  families and staff of Chattahoochee High School and may it lead to more.yoga2

Below is an excerpt from The Hooch Learning Studio

Today’s Winterfest “De-Stress” activity during our lunches was “Yoga and Breathing for Relaxation” with Amy Haysman of Grounded, a group and studio that works with young people. Their core belief is that “yoga can have a profound and positive effect on kids and teens. From our foundation as professional educators we have embraced the principles of yoga to create a program that enables instructors, school teachers, and even kids and teens themselves to “ground” themselves and others through yoga, laughter, and elevation.”

These beliefs were put into action with an overwhelmingly positive impact today in the Chattahoochee High School Library Learning Studio! Amy led students in our 4B, 5A, and 5B lunches through a yoga session that emphasized stretching, relaxation, and stress relief all grounded in a positive framework that she related back to the everyday academic and social challenges teens face, particularly here during finals time. Most of our students were new to yoga, and she did a fantastic job of providing them a great yoga experience at their point of need. We worked through a range of series of gentle movements and breathing exercises. Some students enjoyed the session so much that those with an hourlong lunch returned to do a second session!

img_4093Amy’s good humor, her ability to relate to our teen students, and her expert instruction created a phenomenal experience for our students here today. I am so impressed by the reaction and response of our students that I hope to get a grant to provide this kind of yoga experience for our students during lunches on a regular basis. Many thanks to our students who participated and to Amy Haysman for such a positive and energizing day!

 

 

 

You get what you need…

TS30_WarriorIIDecide_outlineThis is the time of applied, intuitive consciousness.

This is the time we let our hearts open up.

This is the time we need our children to experience reality through the compassion of the heart.

This is the time I asked our Fernbank Yoga Club Students~

What do you need to feel more present?

This is the time to state your needs so we can better serve our yoga club…

 

 

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Celia, fourth grade

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Ellis, third grade

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Beverly, fourth grade

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Julia, second grade

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Elena, first grade

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Emily, second grade

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Audrey, second grade

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Lauren, kindergarten

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Lucy, first grade

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Jack, third grade

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Brooklyn, kindergarten

…This is the time to strengthen our nervous systems, so the power of the magnetic human heart can be the force of peace.

Peace has a force to it.

It’s not passive.

This is the time to create a peaceful force to help us navigate through ups and downs, so we can really move mountains.

 

Let there be Peace
Let there be Peace of Mind
Let there be Peace with Mankind
Let there be Peace of the States
Let the World dwell within the Force of Peace~ Yogi Bhajan

Thank you, Traci Childress, The Mindful Reflection Project, for the “What are your needs?” inspiration.

Sat Nam

 

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